Armed Hamas members celebrate Mubarak resignation 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
On my recent lecture tour in South Africa, the subject of Judge Richard Goldstone came up quite often. The man whom the media describe as a “respected international jurist” and who had falsely accused Israel of war crimes was never far from anyone’s lips.
South Africans are among the world’s proudest Jews, and most ardent Zionists. So it was understandable they would detest Goldstone, viewing him a man who engaged in a blood libel against the Jewish state to enhance his standing at the UN.
I have personally never agreed with this assessment of Goldstone, seeing him instead as a man so full of his own pomposity and self-righteousness as to be utterly blind to simple notions of right and wrong. Like Jimmy Carter before him, Goldstone is one of those well-meaning, nobly-motivated buffoon whose view of morality is that whichever party is without tanks and an air force must be the party that is just.
This knee-jerk reaction to always champion the underdog explains this
shockingly obvious statement in Goldstone’s recent Washington Post
apology to Israel: “In the end, asking Hamas to investigate [its own
crimes] may have been a mistaken enterprise.”
It took a famous judge two years to come to the conclusion that
asking a terrorist organization to impartially report its own atrocities
was not the brightest idea.
But Goldstone’s Einsteinian moment is not over yet. In repudiating his
earlier contention that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians in
Gaza, he offers a classic lesson in how not to apologize. It turns out
that grave though the damage to Israel’s global reputation by
Goldstone’s false report was, the slander was Israel’s fault: “Israel’s
lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able
to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were
combatants... our recommendations... did not include any evidence
provided by the Israeli government.”
So Goldstone only condemned Israel as a regime that directs missiles
intentionally at children because he did not have enough information to
establish otherwise. And yet, just a few lines later Goldstone writes
that the UN Humans Rights Council, which commissioned his report, has a
“history of bias against Israel [that] cannot be doubted.”
So even Goldstone admits that Israel was being asked to cooperate with
an investigation commissioned by an authority inherently prejudiced
against it, which explains why it rightly refused to participate.
IT’S CLEAR that with his most recent ramblings, the description
“respected international jurist” will never again be applied to
Goldstone, whose tattered reputation strikes this writer as sad but just
Much more troubling, however, are the comments attributed to Samantha
Power, the rising star of the Obama administration, who is being openly
discussed as a replacement for Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. I
am a huge fan of Power’s 2002 book A Problem from Hell, detailing how
America refused to intervene to stop repeated genocides in the 20th
century. I have repeatedly extolled the Pulitzer Prize-winning book in
lectures and columns, and believe it should be required reading by every
American high-school student. I was also not surprised to read that it
was Power who was instrumental in persuading an always reluctant
President Barack Obama to intervene in Libya before Muammar Gaddafi
slaughtered his people.
It was therefore with considerable sadness that I learned of Power’s
troubling statements on Israel – comments which require her immediate
clarification lest she compromise her own moral credibility. As one of
the world’s leading voices against genocide, she understands that more
Jews died in the Holocaust than in all the other modern genocides
combined. Is it accurate then, as American Thinker and other
publications have reported, that Power said the US should send a massive
military force to protect the Palestinians from Israel? Or that she
maligned the American pro-Israel lobby with her advocacy of “alienating a
domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import [the
pro-Israel lobby] and... sacrificing... billions of dollars, not in
servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the state of
Is Power really an advocate of greatly reducing American military aid to
Israel, channeling it instead to the Palestinians who have repeatedly
used foreign aid to foster hatred of Israel in schools, line the pockets
of corrupt officials and promote terrorism?
There is more, with Power seemingly criticizing The New York Times in
2003 for being insufficiently critical of Israel after it attacked
terrorist-saturated Jenin. Of Israel’s presence in Lebanon, Power wrote
in Chasing the Flame that what sparked the invasion was “dispossessed
Palestinians and Israeli insecurity,” where in truth, as everyone knows,
Israel invaded to stop the incessant attacks that terrorized its
northern cities. The phrase “Israeli insecurity” implies that Israel is
paranoid, rather than reflecting the reality of Lebanon dominated by
Hezbollah, whose aim is its destruction.
I SPENT the last day of my African trip in Dakar, Senegal, where I
visited Goree Island, the point of no return from which 14 million
African slaves were sent to a life of servitude. Both presidents Bill
Clinton and George W. Bush visited the island to acknowledge the
American sin of slavery. Obama has not.
Power is one of the few people with the president’s ear who can be
relied on to influence him to overcome his inexplicable reluctance to
broadcast American resolve to stop the slaughter of innocents. It
behooves her to immediately explain her issues with Israel – a nation
whose principal purpose in having an army is in stopping yet another
attempted genocide.The writer is the international best-selling author of 25 books, most recently
Honoring the Child Spirit and Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.