THERE IS something tragicomic about the persona of Richard Goldstone.
First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone report was issued.
What a fiend! A Jew who claims to be a Zionist and an Israel-lover, who publishes the most abominable slanders against our valiant soldiers, aiding and abetting the worst anti-Semites around the world! The very prototype of a self-hating Jew! Still worse, a "mosser" -- a Jew who turns another Jew over to the evil Goyim, the most detested figure in Jewish folklore.And now the turnabout. Goldstone, the Jew who has recanted. Goldstone who has publicly confessed that he was wrong all along. That the Israeli army committed no crimes in the 2009-2010 "Cast Lead" Gaza operation, On the contrary, while the Israeli army has conducted honest and meticulous investigations into all the allegations, Hamas has not investigated any of the horrendous crimes it has committed.
Goldstone, the Man of Stone, has become Goldstone, the Man of Gold. A man of conscience! A man to be admired!
It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who had the final word. Goldstone's recantation, he summarized, has confirmed once again that the IDF is the Most Moral Army in the World.
MY HEART bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.
The UN commission which appointed him to head the inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed during the operation was acting on a seemingly logical but actually foolish calculation. Appointing to the job a good Jew, and an avowed Zionist to boot, would disarm, it was thought, any allegation of anti-Israeli bias.
Goldstone and his colleagues undoubtedly did an honest and conscientious job. They sifted the evidence laid before them and arrived at reasonable conclusions on that basis. However, almost all the evidence came from Palestinian and UN sources. The commission could not interrogate the officers and soldiers of the Israeli forces because our government, in a typical and almost routine act of folly, refused to cooperate.
Why? The basic assumption is that all the world is out to get us, not because of anything we do, but because we are Jews. We know we are right, and we know that they are out to prove us wrong. So why cooperate with these bloody anti-Semites and Jewish self-haters?
Today, almost all influential Israelis concede that this was a stupid attitude. But there is no guarantee that our leaders will behave any differently next time, especially since the army is dead set against allowing any soldiers to appear before a non-Israeli forum, or, for that matter, before an Israeli non-military forum either.
BACK TO poor Goldstone. After the publication of his commission's report, his life became hell.
The full fury of the Jewish ghetto against traitors from its midst was turned on him. Jews objected to his attending his grandson's Bar Mitzvah. His friends turned away from him, He was ostracized by all the people he valued.
So he searched his soul and found that he had been wrong all along. His findings were one-sided. He would have found differently if he had heard the Israeli side of the story. The Israeli army has conducted honest investigations into the allegations, while the barbarous Hamas has not conducted any investigations at all into their obvious war crimes.
So when was Goldstone wrong? The first or the second time?
The answer is, alas, that he was wrong both times.
THE VERY term "war crimes" is problematic. War itself is a crime, never to be justified unless it is the only way to prevent a bigger crime -- as with the war against Adolf Hitler, and now -- on an incomparably smaller scale -- against Muammar Qaddafi.