Another Tack: A Goldstone in the forest

Lack of resonance abroad to the judge’s regrets perhaps most effectively underscores why Israel was so right not to play along.

Judge Richard Goldstone (photo credit: Reuters)
Judge Richard Goldstone
(photo credit: Reuters)
Rare is the high-school sophomore whose endurance isn’t severely tested by a smartalecky teacher harping mercilessly on that standard philosophical tease about the tree in the forest falling without anyone around. Does it produce noise? Don’t sounds require receptors to be more than pulses of energy? Or is it anthropocentric arrogance to ascribe value only to what reaches human consciousness? No. It’s plain news-sense. What you don’t know doesn’t bother you or shape your opinions. It’s a non-event even if it happened, even if it’s appalling, even if it merits notoriety.
Given issues can be magnified – often artificially – into full-blown controversies, while genuinely scandalous developments might never arouse minimal unease. Objective importance is hardly what matters most. It’s all a function of how many folks have heard about what.
And who determines who hears about what? Sanctimonious publishers and editors – whose politics and expedient preferences are amplified by their servile scribblers and obliging talking heads. These useful mouthpieces profess to be genuinely outraged about what they want us outraged about, and they simultaneously feign disinterest in what they judge is against their interest to get us interested in. They boost their agenda and suppress what conflicts with it.
Their line becomes self-evident conventional wisdom. If our truth clashes with their purposes, it’s simply ignored – like Israel’s ever-frustrated attempts to convince the world that we’re not the monsters that decent and reputable folks in most countries are led to believe we are. It really has nothing to do with what we do or how we explain ourselves.
IT’S VITAL to note that when pondering the partial retraction of the Goldstone Report’s excoriation of Israel by its author, Richard Goldstone.
Obviously it’d take exceptional naiveté to assume that it had never occurred to Goldstone previously that Israel was attacked and exercised its fundamental right of self-defense.
Surely Goldstone was no tabula rasa when he took up his mission from the UN’s infamous Human Rights Council. Neither we nor Goldstone were born yesterday.
All things considered, there’s no escaping the conclusion that Goldstone sold his soul to the international community’s Princes of Darkness and, for whatever personal reasons, now somewhat backtracks from his initial unconscionable choice. He was never a babe in the woods. He knew with whom he went to bed. It couldn’t have escaped the erudite judge’s attention that the UNHRC was led by the liberal likes of Libya under the tutelage of the only belatedly ostracized Muammar Gaddafi.
Goldstone did Gaddafi’s bidding and that of other no-less-dishonorable players.
It’s better that Goldstone now appears semi-repentant for his colossal transgression. Better that than to recant none of the falsehoods at all.
But we ought to note that he doesn’t exactly, and certainly not fully, accept culpability. Goldstone still manages to blame us for his role in collaborating with the forces of injustice. Had we only cooperated with his commission, says he with the wisdom of disingenuous hindsight, his findings might have been different.
This has all the hallmarks of a judge in kangaroo court reproaching the hapless defendant for not striving harder to overturn the verdict which was already stamped and sealed way before the pseudo-trial ever got under way.
Knowingly and willingly Goldstone agreed to chair the farce. He provided the respectable veneer for sham legal trappings. The charade’s purpose was to convict by going through the manipulated motions of due process. In reality, the outcome was predetermined well in advance, allowing no true defense.
Moreover, in a fair international environment, the proceeding that Goldstone opted to oversee would never have been staged at all. Israel should never have been accused in the first place. All that followed merely added massive insult to undeserved injury. The very focus on “Israel’s crimes” was tantamount to a priori incriminating Israel.
And, indeed, all that remains of Goldstone’s skewed “investigation” is the verdict he was hired to deliver.
Any retrospective retraction by the complicit Goldstone at this point is pointless because it simply doesn’t count. No one now listens to him. No one cares after the fact. The damage has been done, to the satisfaction of those who orchestrated the mock probe in order to expedite the castigation of reviled Israel. Whatever Goldstone may now mumble, Israel remains smeared as a result of his part in the pretense that bears his name.
THE LACK of resonance abroad with his regrets perhaps most effectively underscores why Israel was so right not to play along and assist in its own defamation. Whatever evidence and testimonies Israel would have brought before Goldstone’s elaborately scripted event would have received as much of an impartial hearing as Goldstone’s remorse now does: none whatever.
We were expected to plead much like the defendants in Stalin’s show trials. The only difference is that Stalin’s victims were deemed to be the enemies of the people, while we are damned as the enemies of humanity.
Our truth is unwelcome out there in the inimical world. Word now is that Goldstone sought to peddle his rueful op-ed to The New York Times but that the editor he approached rejected him outright. For its part, the Times counters that Goldstone never submitted any copy, but then again, why would he after being told that it wouldn’t be used? That, in a nutshell, is what Israel faces in the court of world opinion.
Anything that may reveal our situation in a light that eclipses the prevalent anti-Israel propaganda is regarded as heresy. When Goldstone attempted to pull back from the blanket vilification of Israel, he discovered that his corrections, disdained as undesirable, packed remarkably little impact. The UN may have turned on Gaddafi, but that didn’t bleach any of the blackness from the UNHRC’s heart.
The only place where there’s eager excitement and lots of palaver about Goldstone’s seeming reversal is inside maligned little Israel. Elsewhere selective apathy reigns. Goldstone’s second thoughts were greeted with the same sort of indifferent silence as greeted the horrific photos of the blood-soaked little bodies of the butchered Fogel children in Itamar, the attack on pupils in a yellow school bus in the Negev, the barraging of southern Israel by long-range Gazan rockets, the bus-stop bombing in Jerusalem or the apprehension of Victoria, the gunrunning ship which ferried game-changing Iranian missiles to Gaza.
In the PC dictionary of international relations, our sea blockade of Gaza remains the evil that must be eradicated and the free movement of terrorists remains a basic human right that must be facilitated.
Though we’re wowed by our own locally generated noise, it’d do us well to recall that our homespun chatter and incessant commentary are insular. Abundant ulterior motives exist overseas to render what consumes us as significant a topic of discourse as the tree that falls out of human earshot.
What does world hardheartedness impart? Perhaps that we should return to David Ben-Gurion’s recommendation of yesteryear and not care about “what the goyim [the nations] say, but what the Jews do.”