As an admirer of Bill Moyers, I was disheartened by the debacle of his playing cowardly "Devil’s Advocate," interviewing Judge Richard Goldstone and pushing the Israeli government’s lies. Goldstone personified integrity compared to Moyers.
Moyers treated Hamas as the aggressor and Israel as the victim acting in self-defense against thousands of Hamas rockets. When framing the charges against Goldstone’s report, Moyers did not mention the Occupation of Palestine, the siege and imprisonment of the people in Gaza, the Walls jailing the people of the West Bank and snatching their land. Above all, Moyers omitted the Israeli raining of death on civilians with White Phosphorus–or the intentional targeting of non-combatants carrying white flags–among other crimes. Moyers never alluded to the fact that Israel violated the truce (did he even discuss the ceasefire that the Palestinians honored?) by, first, refusing to lift the blockade and open the borders of Gaza; and by, second, killing Hamas members on Nov. 4–our U.S. Election Day, when the American news media was distracted. Neither did Goldstone’s report account for those facts, or the truth that the Palestinian resistance to Occupation is self-defense, to which the people of Palestine–as an Occupied society–have at least as much right as Goldstone claims for Israel.
Moyers finally did discuss the term "Occupied," calling such language unfairly "charged," slavishly blaming the original U.N. Human Rights Council mandate for the investigation–which Goldstone had refused as unbalanced–of the attack on Gaza. Moyers obsequiously pretended that Israel is above criticism: a dangerous conceit. Don’t we all remember that those who are treated as beyond reproach often act in ways that are beneath contempt? Besides, Moyers carried on the charade that all Jewish people always gang together, refusing to hold any Jew accountable for any act–no matter how heinous. Moyers, did he but know it, in effect accuses every believer in Judaism of having no conscience above tribal identity. Trying to evade charges of "Anti-semitism," Moyers in fact caters to racist stereotypes.
Worst of all: every challenge Moyers shot at Goldstone could have been turned back on himself, about any report of principle Moyers has ever pursued. Bill Moyers violated all his own journalistic ideals, trembling before the lobby. The ghost of Kenneth Tomlinson lives.
Richard Goldstone, however, defended morality and international law.
P.S. I acknowledge that the effect of this interview may be good, in conveying the power of Richard Goldstone’s logic. Phil passed along Jim Abourezk’s comment– "It was an amazing interview, showing how fair and unbiased Goldstone was with his investigation"–also a friend’s note that Goldstone’s argument convinced his mother to change her mind about Israeli actions in Gaza. Opening minds is laudable. However much I wish for a more just vision from Bill Moyers, he did let Richard Goldstone speak. Offering 48 minutes of debate about Israel’s targeting of civilians in Gaza is braver than anything that newshounds Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz–or even satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert–have dared.