Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz (Opinion)
April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

In any event, when Richard Goldstone "retracted" he didn't really retract. Read his op-ed in the Washington Post once, twice - there's no retraction there on any substantial issues. And when he stated in his "regret" that Israel had started its investigation after his conclusions were made, that is a kind of reaffirmation of Goldstone's report. At the time, we should recall, Israel vehemently refused to conduct a probe of Operation Cast Lead. According to the strange interpretations of his "regret," 1,400 people - most of them civilians - were killed in Gaza by mistake. Well, only a professional "mistake maker" could cause killings of such magnitude.

To stand firm for two years is an act of heroism. At his advanced age, it would have been quite cruel had Goldstone been prevented, in his own community, from being called up to read from the Torah at his grandson's bar mitzvah. To humiliate him publicly, in front of his family, that's like a 20-year-old IDF soldier humiliating a Palestinian in front of his sons.

It is hard to identify when the breaking point came. Apparently it was a sequence of events: total ostracism on the part of every Jewish organization the world over; declarations, not from the lunatic fringes, but from central figures in world Jewry to the effect that Goldstone, the world-renowned human rights activist, was "spreading lies" about his own people, and he was the one preventing Defense Minister Ehud Barak from visiting London - "while Khaled Meshal, an arch-terrorist, can move around freely," as one prominent Jewish activist said. And so the judge who joined the United Nations commission as a human rights activist emerged as someone who obeys the terrorists.

We can state here: Goldstone's "regret" is a result of emotional pressure - and this time around, not a moderate amount.

The escape hatch used by a person in distress is usually the tortured question: Why go through all this suffering? For Hamas? The organization that doesn't respect human rights in Gaza itself? And that operates contrary to Palestinian public opinion, international law and ethics - firing on Israeli civilians, and in so doing providing another excuse for the Israeli government? Or for Muammar Gadhafi, whose country is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, but who slaughters his own people?

Why? For the sake of justice, to limit an insane use of force, so that not every person bearing arms will simply do whatever he pleases. Goldstone made a tremendous contribution on this issue, to both the Arabs and the Jews.

The headline in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said: "The pressure and the regret." It should have read: "The pressure and the surrender." Another successful campaign of targeted assassination. We can report on the two-way radio: "The judge is in our hands, over." Poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote: "Hurray to the conqueror of a village." In that spirit we could continue: "Hurray to the subduer of a judge." It's a shame that Israeli society chose to break the mirror.


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