Richard Goldstone retracts Israel genocide accusation after damage done

Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic reports that Richard Goldstone has retracted his accusations against Israel (emphases mine):

This is as shocking as it is unexpected: the South African Jewish judge Richard Goldstone, who excoriated Israel for allegedly committing premeditated crimes against civilians in Gaza — contributing, more than any other individual, to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state —  now says, well, Israel didn’t actually set out to target Palestinian civilians, unllike Hamas, whose plainly-apparent goal was to murder Israeli civilians.

It is not clear, reading Goldstone’s mea culpa in The Washington Post, that he fully understands the consequences of his work:

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted [by Israel] as a matter of policy.

Well, I’m glad he’s cleared that up. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.

This is, indeed, roughly the judicial equivalent of the New York Times making an outrageous accusation on the front page above the fold, then running a correction/retraction on page A20 months later. The damage is done and can never be wholly undone.

His retraction now may be rank opportunism or the beginning of teshuvah (repentance). Repentance (as Jews understand the concept) has three steps (actually four): (1) recognizing the transgression or iniquity; (2a) expressing remorse and (2b) trying to undo the damage insofar as possible; (3) taking steps to ensure it can never happen again. If Goldstone’s step is genuine, it is only a baby step and it now falls upon him to go out and speak everywhere with a loud, clear voice.

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One thought on “Richard Goldstone retracts Israel genocide accusation after damage done

  1. Considering that Judge Goldstone is a wise and well respected juror one can only conclude that he has no idea about the how the cesspool, aka the Middle East, actually works.

    If he can compare Israel to any of its Arab neighbors and specifically Gaza, the man has come to this fight armed with preconceptions that have no use in the realities of the middle east. Israel, ranked 15th in the best place to live in 2010 is fundamentally different from places like Gaza where favoritism, corruption, clan heirarchy, chauvinism, homophobia and the rest of these untasteful -isms are the norm.

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