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Saturday, November 22, 2014

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The pariah who won’t go away

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As a patsy for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), South African judge Richard Goldstone has spearheaded one of the most deplorable indictments of Israel in recent memory.

His report on the so-called “Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” has been roundly criticized for its omissions, obvious biases, unfounded allegations and legal misinterpretations. By drawing egregious equivalences between the murderous intentions of Hamas and the Israeli Defence Forces’ reaction to such provocation, the Goldstone Report exposes itself as a paradigm of moral inversion and perverse distortion.

The Economist has called the report “deeply flawed” and a “thimbleful of poison,” while commentator Melanie Phillips has gone so far as to describe it as a “blood libel against Israel”.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has been quoted as saying that “Goldstone’s name will be forever linked in infamy with the most notorious haters of Israel,” while Ma’ariv’s opinion editor, Ben Dror Yemini, refers to the Goldstone Report as a “parade of lies” and has accused Goldstone himself of having “perpetuated a moral crime… not [only] against the State of Israel but against human rights.”

Amid a universal firestorm of anger and condemnation, it looked for a while that Goldstone was having second thoughts about the thrust of his report and the way it was being received. In an interview with the Forward newspaper, he insisted that “ours wasn’t an investigation, it was a fact-finding mission” and “if this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.” Later, with the UNHRC’s release of its draft resolution on the report, Goldstone complained about the one-sidedness of the motion, which he said “includes only allegations against Israel, [without] a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report.” Big surprise!

Anyone with a shred of insight – and even more particularly someone such as Goldstone, who presumes to embrace his Jewish identity – should have recognized how he had fallen headlong into that snake pit of anti-Zionist prejudice that hides under the banner of the UNHRC. Surely he should have understood the seriousness of his misjudgments and sought a face-saving exit strategy.

But no, not Goldstone. There he is, still busily working the media circuits, promoting, through obfuscation and shrewd manipulation (as was evident in his recent debate with ambassador Dore Gold at Brandeis University), what he perceives as the merits of his report. There he is, bellyaching over the United States’ “lukewarm” response to him, and there he is, ludicrously castigating Israel for not wanting to have anything to do with him.

It’s beyond comprehension that he remains out there, defending the indefensible, and seeming forever to wallow in the glow of his treachery and ostracism.

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