And Goldstone is an Honorable Man / DR.Israel Bar- nir

A. Background
Among the Israeli community of Human Rights advocates, all people of impeccable moral standards, the current icon, the benchmark of virtuousness, is a good Jew by the name Richard Goldstone. On the face of it the man appears to be a most appropriate choice for the role. He has an impressive résumé, a résumé matched by few among the righteous. Little wonder that organizations like “Betzelem” and “The New Israel Fund” rushed to adopt Goldstone and cast him as the gold standard of morality. A host of other Humanitarian groups followed suit. Space is too short to provide a full list here. It appeared to be a match made in heaven.

The problem is that when one digs below the surface a rather different picture emerges. When one digs below the surface - not too deep, a mere scratch suffices, a mass grave of skeletons is uncovered, and the stench hits the sky. So bad is the stench that one realize that rather than in heaven, the match with Goldstone was a match made in hell.

The title of the article is borrowed from the refrain in the funeral oration delivered by Mark Antony, at Julius Caesar’s burial - “And Brutus is an Honorable Man”. It was Shakespeare’s way of casting doubts about the motives of people. The unfolding Goldstone saga will show how right Shakespeare was.
Virtues are most often but disguised vices and, more often than not, virtuous men’s motives are vile.

B. Richard Goldstone - the Early Years

Richard Goldstone was born in South Africa. There he grew up and received his education during the darkest era of apartheid in that country. As the sages say, lessons learned in childhood (Girsa De Yankuta) stay with one for life. Goldstone was no exception. After studying law he practiced as a lawyer for a short period and then was appointed a judge by the apartheid government of South Africa. He tenure as a judge under the apartheid regime lasted for almost twenty years, eventually reaching the supreme court of the country. As a judge Goldstone enforced meticulously the draconian "emergency laws" of the apartheid regime.

Later, in a book written in the year 2000 (Reflections of a War Crimes Investigator), Goldstone would describe that period in his life as being a “youthful activist opposing South Africa's racial policies”. The book is rather vague as to how exactly Goldstone demonstrated his “opposition to South Africa racial policies” during his tenure as a judge under the apartheid regime when, during the 1980s, he meted out the death sentence to more than 20 blacks. The humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch - HRW, lauded Goldstone’s getting involved in the Israeli Arab conflict, calling him “A Man of Unmatched Reputation for Fairness and Integrity”.

As mentioned above, Goldstone is a good Jew. Recently he celebrated his grand son’s Bar Mitzva. Despite a long record of severely criticizing Israeli policies, Goldstone claimed in an interview aired in the “60 Minutes” program of the CBS TV channel, that he loved Israel, and that he had its best interests in his heart.

C. The International Arena

Starting in the mid 1990s Goldstone was involved in activities sponsored by the UN or by bodies related to the UN. His activities covered many countries - Yugoslavia and Argentine to name two. An episode from that era is described by R.W. Johnson, a South African journalist and historian. In November of 1994, while serving as the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia - ICTY, Goldstone was ordered by his superiors to “indict someone” or lose his funding. Goldstone picked up the first person he could lay his hands on and summarily sentenced him (not the death penalty – the guy was not black). That episode earned Goldstone a severe censure for unethical behavior by the judges of the International Court in The Hague.

The full scope of Goldstone’s international career is a subject for a separate article. Those interested can find it on the Internet. What concerns us here is the Israeli connection.

In the wake of operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Goldstone was appointed to lead a “fact finding” commission assigned to investigate “War Crimes and breaches of Human Rights” (the precise wording can be found on the Internet) committed by the IDF (the Israeli army) in the course of that operation. Note the absence of the word “if” in the definition. Lest someone might not understand what is expected from him and in order not to leave anything to chance, Goldstone selected in person the members of that commission.

The really interesting point regarding that commission is on whose behalf it acted, who was behind the decision to form it and send it to the region.

The UN has a number of organizations active in specific areas. One of these is a council run by the countries where individual freedom is non existent and where human rights are blatantly trampled on - Cuba, Lybia, China, Pakistan to name a few. The official name of that council is the UN Human Rights Council - UNHRC. What a name. Whoever is responsible for name assignments in the UN must have a really twisted sense of humor. These countries, countries that could not care less about human rights anywhere, were the ones to set up the Goldstone commission and its mandate. This by itself should have served as an indication that rather than a serious investigation the whole escapade would be a hoax. Goldstone would say later that he “had reservations” about accepting the nomination, but that he agreed to accept it “in the interest of justice”. A really noble gesture by an honorable man.

It might appear contradictory that countries like those listed above are members of that council, let alone act under its auspices. But in the politically correct post modern world things are never what they appear to be. Among the politically correct it is almost a second nature to preach one thing while practicing the exact opposite. This environment is the natural habitat for “humanitarians” of the Goldstone type.

Goldstone’s arrival in the Middle East was a day to remember. Like birds of feather who flock together, the Israeli community of human rights advocates, all people of impeccable moral standards, embraced Goldstone. It is not clear whether they really fell for Goldstone’s mythical human rights advocacy, or whether they just preferred to turn a blind eye. From later reactions it appears more likely that it was a case where the biblical adage - Can Two Walk Together, Except They Be Agreed (Book of Amos 3,3, KJV), applies.

In a manner of speaking, the initiative to set up the Goldstone Commission originated in Israel. Immediately at the onset of operation Cast Lead, before any details were known, the international media were flooded with petitions calling to condemn Israel, and to denounce the “butchery” or the “massacre” perpetrated by the IDF in Gaza. With few exceptions, Israelis were behind all these petitions. Most noted among the petitioners were Prof. Y. Oren from Ben Gurion Universuty, the current chairman of the Betzelem organization, and Prof. N. Chazan, the chair person of the New Israel Fund. The two acted independently.

And Goldstone delivered. The report generated by the commission went beyond all expectations. It was a literary masterpiece. It had everything - allegations, accusations, condemnations, denunciations, war crimes, crimes against humanity and what not. The only item missing was the truth. Borrowing from the industry, where the term “zero defects” is the standard in quality control, the Goldstone report adhered to the standard of “zero facts”.

However, as is usually the case, while the truth is not hard to kill, a lie told well is immortal. The Goldstone report was a case in point.

That having been said, the Goldstone report is not the subject here. It was fully dissected and exposed for what it is by others. This article deals with Goldstone, the author of the report or, rather with how the Israeli community of human rights advocates, all people of impeccable moral standards, reacted to the revelations about the real Goldstone.

It came as a bit of a shock to find out that the man touted as the “Man of Unmatched Reputation for Fairness and Integrity” by no less than the international humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch - HRW, fell short of that honor. Few people had reason to suspect that behind the mask of geniality lurked a monster.

The exposure of the real Goldstone came at a most unfortunate moment. The report had already made headlines. Having zoomed directly from the press to the top of the best seller list, the report had been approved almost unanimously by the UNHRC as well as by the European Union. To best of my knowledge it has also been endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Thus, the Goldstone report turned into a very visible hot potato or should I say rotten apple? But it was too late to retract it, or modify it or to dissociate from Goldstone, who has by this time turned into an international celebrity.

The predicament in which the Israeli community of human rights advocates, all people of impeccable moral standards, found itself was a real one and a very embarrassing one.

To get a feeling how bad it was, one has to look at the role that the term “Apartheid” has assumed in the context of the Israeli Arab conflict. Few among those who repeatedly slander Israel with that term know really what it means or how bad it really was, yet it is practically the corner stone of the edifice of libels constructed by those “criticizing” Israel for “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity”, “human rights abuses” and what not. It is the most frequently encountered noun in the vocabulary of those demonizing Israel. Books have been written on the subject, and editorials in the leading newspapers are rife with the term. “Israel Apartheid Week”, an annual anti Israeli hate fest, is a fixture on the agenda of many campuses all over the world. “Apartheid” is a slogan used to rally the masses into anti Israeli street demonstrations. “Apartheid” is the slogan fueling the BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, anti Israeli campaign.

And now, out of the blue, without the slightest warning, they see it in their reflection in the mirror. The epitome of human rights advocacy is unmasked as an apartheid guy, not just an apartheid guy a ruthless enforcer of the apartheid racial laws. What a shame. Little wonder that there are so many red faces around. Imagine a devout catholic learning about the Pope committing an act of pedophilia.

It was a real dilemma. On the one hand the man did a good job, a job deemed good enough in the eyes of the Israeli community of human rights advocates, all people of impeccable moral standards, to balance Goldstone’s past transgressions. Yet, even if the hatchet job he did on Israel makes Goldstone a repentant sinner (Ba’al Teshuva), being associated with him, while no longer a great shame, is not a great honor either.

To save the day attempts were made to mitigate the severity of Goldstone’s actions. One of these can be found here:
It is a masterpiece of logic in reverse. It is written in Hebrew so non Hebrew readers will never know what they missed. Another can be found in the Op Ed section of the Jerusalem Post, where the attacks on Goldstone are called “pathetic”. “Pathetic” is a very apt description of the “Do Gooders” who still embrace Goldstone.

The general approach in Goldstone’s defense follows this pattern “Oh, it is not as bad as it sounds”; “A man can be a judge enforcing the apartheid racial laws and advocate human rights at the same time”, there’s no conflict here; “Those sentenced to death by Goldstone were lowly criminals who deserved what they got” and to top it all “A black in South Africa facing Goldstone would receive superior justice than a Palestinian facing a Israeli military judge”. The last one in particular is rich. It shows a “real” understanding and knowledge of what was going on in South Africa under the apartheid regime. There’s a lot more, but the picture that emerges is clear. Goldstone himself could not put it better, and Goldstone is an honorable man.

To cut a long story short I’ll end the Goldstone saga here with an interesting related anecdote. John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, who co-authored the modern version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, described in a different article here ( ), gave a talk recently at the Palestine Center, in Washington, DC. (

In this talk Mearsheimer classifies Jews into three categories: "righteous Jews", "new Afrikaners" and those in the "great ambivalent middle". I have to admit that I failed to see any distinction between Mearsheimer’s definitions of the first two, since both aspire to Jewish unilateral control of the whole holy land, but that’s beside the point. The interesting question is where does Goldstone fit in this scheme, or maybe Mearsheimer should be asked to redo the classification and create a fourth category.

The report fabricated by Goldstone can be aptly described by Sir Walter Scott’s “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” With Goldstone, though, it is not a “first”.

The king is naked

A well written description of the person who accused Israel of war crimes.
A person who cooperated with the white apartheid regim came to teach Iasrel what is wrong and right.

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