Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 210, April 11th, 2011

An Early Kol Nidre for Goldstone


From the Jewish Journal and Huffington Post

Dear Mr. Goldstone:

You really screwed up. You screwed up so badly that Jeffrey Goldberg

of The Atlantic says you contributed, more than any other individual,

to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state.

The deliberate killing of innocent civilians is the equivalent of

murder. As far as accusations go, that's about as low as you can go.

Your report accused Israel of a lot of things, but that accusation was

the most lethal: targeting innocent civilians.

Now you write that you were wrong. Israel is not the war criminal she

was made out to be. It was Hamas that targeted innocent civilians, not

Israel. Well, like Goldberg says, "It is somewhat difficult to retract

a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world."

Remember, this was no ordinary blood libel. This was an official

indictment bearing the stamp of approval of the closest thing we have

to a global legislative body - the United Nations. Thanks to this

stamp of approval, Israel's enemies have feasted on Israel's good name

like vultures on a carcass.

I'm sure you've noticed the global campaign to delegitimize Israel, as

well as the flourishing BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions)

movement that is turning Israel into a pariah state. Sadly, much of

the ammunition for these movements has come from the Goldstone report

- the same report you now have repudiated with a phrase that might go

down in Jewish infamy: "Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a

matter of policy."

I wonder what went through your mind as you wrote those words: "Why

did I rush to judgment? Should I have paid more attention to the

hundreds of thousands of Israeli leaflets and phone calls that warned

civilians, and to the preliminary Israel Defense Forces reports and

other publicly available information that contradicted our

conclusions? Should I have put Israel's behavior in the proper context

of defending its people after years of Hamas rockets? Should I have

been more skeptical of sources I knew were unreliable?"

A friend told me over Shabbat that I should cut you some slack because

you had the courage to eat your words in public after getting "new

information." That's fine, but another friend told me a parable that

made him somewhat less forgiving.

It's the story of a man who goes to his rabbi to ask for forgiveness

because he spread false rumors about him. The rabbi instructs him to

take a feathered pillow and a knife, go to a nearby forest and slice

open the pillow. When the man returned, the rabbi said to him, "Now go

try to retrieve all those feathers."

Now go try, Mr. Goldstone, to "retrieve" all the damage your report

inflicted on Israel. Go to every television and radio station, to every

newspaper and magazine, to every Web site and blogger, to every Jew and

non-Jew on the planet who inhaled your dark accusations against Israel,

and try to take those accusations back. Try telling them you didn't

mean it.

Surely you must have known that so many past accusations of Israeli

"massacres" have been proved false (see Jenin). And as an

international jurist who is familiar with the phenomenon of anti-Israel

bias, surely you must have anticipated the vermin that would rain on

the Jewish state if a Zionist jurist formally accused it of targeting

innocent civilians.

I wouldn't be surprised if you've had more than a few sleepless nights

since then. Why? Because I do believe there is a piece of your heart

that loves Israel, that believes in Israel and that now cries for

Israel because of the damage you have inflicted upon her.

While you can never undo that damage, there is still something you can

undo: the report itself. Given your deep knowledge of international

law, with all its arcane rules and procedures, if anyone can formally

retract the report or officially amend it, it is you.

It won't be easy. You will be going up against the many enemies of

Israel, those who dream of turning the Jewish state into an illegal

enterprise, those for whom the Goldstone report is the gift that keeps

on giving - their little gold mine rich with never-ending ammunition

against the hated Zionist entity. They won't give up that gold mine

that easily.

But I have confidence you can do it. I have seen how you can be dogged

and relentless in front of intense opposition. I have seen how when

you put your mind to something, nothing can stop you, not even your

own people. I have seen you go the distance.

Now go the distance on this one, Mr. Goldstone. Make this your cause.

Put the Goldstone report where it belongs, in the delete button of

history. You can replace it, amend it, retract it or do whatever you

feel will correct it. You will not undo the damage, but you might at

least stanch some of the bleeding - not just in Israel's name, but

perhaps in yours, as well.

Kol Nidre is still six months away, but you don't have to wait that


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