Goldstone and the tribe

on 43 Comments

The call issued by angry human rights diehards, incensed by judge Richard Goldstone’s rebuttal of his own former ruling, solidified in its original undiluted form by his well-paid UN position, confirming Israel’s criminality in its attack on Gaza civilians, to dismiss him as a victim of senility makes my blood boil for reasons beyond my age-related infirmity of intentionality, the said judge being my junior by over five hundred days and much more capable of grammatical contortions in hiding what he wants to say so that you are at a loss as to where the subject of his sentence ends or senility sets in. Got that? And I am not a lawyer, mind you. If you didn’t get my drift, let me delve a bit deeper. Here is what the man says in a nutshell:

Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Let us not forget that the man had proven himself beyond a doubt as a veritable artist at adapting to constricting circumstances, a first-rate compromiser and double-dealer if viewed from the vintage point of his former employers. Imagine serving for fourteen years at the top of the Apartheid court system and coming out smelling like a rose. I wonder if anyone has tallied up the list of all the blacks in South Africa whom judge Goldstone sent to jail while he deliberately “undermined apartheid from within the system by tempering the worst effects of the country’s racial laws,” as Wikipedia would have us believe. I actually appreciate the man’s slaving away at making a dent in the system while not abandoning his basic commitment to his own self-interest including, I presume, promotions and a better salary. In my delusional younger years I, for example, tried to work to improve the health of the Palestinian minority in Israel from within the Zionist state system while collecting a good salary and heading a good-size office. And I achieved some miniscule positive results. I appreciate the logical and moral acrobatics that such professional compromising exercises require. It is confusing and I can see why the good judge can’t quite come out and say what is on his cluttered mind at this late stage.

If I have lost you there for a moment, let me backtrack. The man never said he was anything other than Zionist. That does not allow condemnation of Israel under any circumstances. He seeks a moral compromise out of the conundrum: He makes his acceptance of the UN assignment to head the international committee to look into Israel’s possible war crimes in its 2008-9 war against Gaza conditional on investigating Hamas as well and the UN grants him his request. Had he relied on his common horse sense he would have saved himself and us all much time and effort: Hamas never denied targeting what Israel calls its civilian population. So what is there to investigate? Still, we all were impressed by the man’s conclusions putting the blame on both sides and implying equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Richard Goldstone must have thought this was enough of an achievement to blunt the expected outrage of fellow Zionists. Seen from Bibi Netanyahu’s angle this looks very bad for Israel and for Zionism. Richard was identified as another self-hating Jew and targeted for excommunication by the tribe.

I still live in a rural Palestinian community where the clan dominates social relations. For an individual to be shunned by his or her clan spells the ablation of that person’s social and psychological comfort zone. Imagine how much more painful it must be for one to be excommunicated by the entire tribe; your own family threatens to throw you out of your grandson’s bar-mitzvah, not to mention random threats of physical harm. Had Richard been physically eliminated, it would probably have fallen under the rubric of honor killing, not an unknown entity in tribal societies including my own. After all, it has happened in Israel before, and Bibi seemed to have given it an a’priori nod at the time. Would Bibi have named a major square in the center of Tel Aviv after the good judge had it happened to Goldstone before he found a way to appease his critics?

Let us not speculate. The fact of the matter is that Richard has wised up in due time and tried to recant. But he has his international name to worry about too. After all, the Palestinian National Authority saw fit to play with the man’s report as if it were a set of political playing cards, threatening to use it to trump Israel, then magically hiding it for a while and threatening to pull it out of a hat at the right moment. So Richard sets out to bamboozle all concerned with empty doublespeak. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” Wow! How profound. You could change a comma and, technically, it would be “a different document.” Yet the trick has worked wonders: It gave Richard another chance to come down on Hamas as if we all had thought he had fallen in love with them before. And Bibi is ready to accept the prodigal son back in the fold of the family, provided Richard issues a proper and full formal apology. The problem is that there were some other minor characters who had penned their signature to that document and some of them may not have strong tribal connections here.

It behooves the UN, and I hesitate to extend the generalization to the US, for that would render the recommendation impossible to implement, to refrain from putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop: You cannot appoint an avowed Zionist to investigate Israel unless you want to get a quick clearance. Mind you, I am not accusing my junior friend, Richard, with ill intent or anything unsavory, other than being a Zionist. What I am talking about is the standard precaution that we, physicians, are repeatedly admonished during our training to observe: Never treat a member of your immediate family, except in an emergency of course. The rationale is that you don’t want to let your emotions cloud your medical judgment. This is doubly so when we are dealing with self-diagnosis and treatment. And yet many physicians disregard such advice and treat their next of kin or even themselves. I recall the story in my medical training days in Boston of a third-year surgical resident at a Harvard-associated top-rate hospital who was fired for going overboard in disregarding the above accepted principle of professional conduct: He was caught operating on himself, lying supine on the operating table and using a series of large mirrors to enable himself to perform his own hemorrhoidectomy.

You shouldn’t have, Richard!

This post originally appeared on Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh’s blog A Doctor in Galilee.

About Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. His collection of short stories entitled Chief Complaint was released by Just World Books in the spring of 2015.

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43 Responses

  1. seafoid
    April 5, 2011, 10:36 am

    Dr Hatim is one of the reasons Israel hates education for Palestinians. Educated Palestinians wipe the floor with Israelis.

    • Walid
      April 5, 2011, 11:33 am

      Seafoid, it’s not just his education that’s hated, his name tells you that his family has been in Palestine longer than any Jewish family there now. The Zionist squatters destroyed the villages to try to erase the Palestinians from the land but failed and will continue to fail.

      • seafoid
        April 5, 2011, 12:35 pm

        “Publish it not” has some great quotes that show how plausible the notion of *the Jewish national home in Palestine * was in the 1930s.

        They will never beat the Palestinians.

  2. longliveisrael
    April 5, 2011, 10:42 am

    I love how you are all vilifying Goldstone now. “Double dealer, Zionist” because he told the truth which you don’t want to hear

    • Chaos4700
      April 5, 2011, 1:03 pm

      So it is your contention that Goldstone was lying when he submitted his official findings to the UN, but the op-ed he publishes in the same right-wing American rag that blithely touted the case for war in Iraq predicated on the notion that Hussein was building nukes is supposed to be the truth?

  3. GuiltyFeat
    April 5, 2011, 11:07 am

    “The man never said he was anything other than Zionist. That does not allow condemnation of Israel under any circumstances.”

    This is simply false. I am a Zionist. I regularly condemn Israel for its actions. Your basic assumption that self-identification as a Zionist precludes one from recognizing wrongs perpetrated by the State of Israel is fallacious. The rest of your argument unravels from there.

    • Walid
      April 5, 2011, 11:37 am

      Guilty, it’s nice of you to admit some of Israel’s wrongs; would you accept to let any Palestinians return to live in Israel?

      • Chaos4700
        April 5, 2011, 1:01 pm

        Of course not! You expect GF to extend equal rights and return rightful property to those people?! Why that means he’d have to live NEXT to them! Like next door! To Arabs!

      • GuiltyFeat
        April 5, 2011, 3:34 pm

        Chaos you try to project your racism onto me and it’s revolting. Where have I ever described anyone as “those people”?

        Walid, the right of return for Palestinians is a tough issue that I think should be included in the negotiations. I would propose that Israel offer money and land instead of citizenship. I think that the right offer would satisfy a significant number of Palestinians and move us towards a negotiated two-state solution.

        I understand that there are some who do not believe that their land can be negotiated away. I am sympathetic to that opinion, certainly more sympathetic than to the Jews who argue that the same land is theirs by divine right. Nevertheless I think it’s impossible to move forwards without taking into consideration the facts on the ground.

        Whether you like it or not, Israel is by any measure of Middle Eastern countries a success. The new state of Palestine can be a success too with the need to dismantle Israel.

        That’s my opinion. I shall wait patiently while chaos thinks up new insults for me.

      • Chaos4700
        April 5, 2011, 6:21 pm

        Walid, the right of return for Palestinians is a tough issue that I think should be included in the negotiations.

        Because Israel’s adherence to international law treaties they themselves have signed should always be subject to negotiation. Seriously now, what incentive would Israel have for not breaking its promises otherwise?

      • Avi
        April 6, 2011, 7:17 am

        GuiltyFeat April 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        That’s rich coming from an Oleh who enjoys leeching off the resources of the indigenous people by virtue of his Jewishness.

        Did you manage to dodge military service, or did mommy get you a nice cushy position as a singer on Lahakat Ha-Nakhal?

        Nahhh, I bet your voice is shrill. They wouldn’t take you.

    • Keith
      April 5, 2011, 6:38 pm

      GUILTYFEAT- “The man never said he was anything other than Zionist. That does not allow condemnation of Israel under any circumstances.”

      “This is simply false. I am a Zionist. I regularly condemn Israel for its actions.”

      Hatim Kanaaneh is obviously referring to Zionists whose opinion carry some weight in the court of public opinion. He is not referring to you, or to your opinions which are primarily a self-indulgent defense of Zionism, the fig-leaf of criticism notwithstanding.

  4. longliveisrael
    April 5, 2011, 11:32 am

    This is what I sent to that Professor

    That’s funny, till a few days ago you and your cohorts were falling over themselves quoting that dishonest report at every turn. Of course, none of you deal with the part of Hamas firing rockets at civilians for 8 years, following years of homicide bombs in buses, cinemas, markets and Passover dinners.

    Now, he is a Zionist, a first-rate compromiser and double-dealer , and now you bring up his Apartheid years. When we pro Israel supporters brought that up, you ignored it.

    Jonathan Kay wrote it better

    link to

    • Walid
      April 5, 2011, 12:45 pm

      Kay writes a lot like eee; that’s probaly where he gets his inspiration. It’s cute how this Zionist refers to Hamas as a cult.

    • Chaos4700
      April 5, 2011, 1:00 pm

      that dishonest report

      Who loves you now, Richard Goldstone. Boy, are you fucked.

      • DBG
        April 5, 2011, 2:46 pm

        His op-ed proved his report was dishonest, how exactly is he fucked? I’d say it is anyone who wrote a book praising the report is fucked. at least their book sales.

      • Chaos4700
        April 5, 2011, 6:24 pm

        Oh yes an OPINION PEACE written in the same newspaper that reported constantly that Hussein was within years of having nukes certainly does trump a FACTUAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT where at least two of the other three authors have categorically rejected Goldstone’s revisionism, and I’m confident the third is forthcoming.

        And you’re worried about book sales? It’s always about money for you and eee and other people of like minds, right?

  5. pabelmont
    April 5, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Goldstone should have remained quiet. The time for Israel to cooperate with the report was the time the evidence for the report was being collected. Courts and jurists are well acquainted with the punishments meted out to litigants who do not cooperate with courts.

    (Israel also declined to cooperate with the International Court of Justice when it decided the legal consequences of Israel’s WALL, and Israel lost, horribly. And tho participating might not have changed the outcome, it had itself to blame for not even trying.)

    Goldstone probably wanted two things. First, as many have said, he must have wanted to get back into the good graces of his tribe. Second, he may have wanted to reform Israel, to suggest to Israel that co-operation is better than stone-walling.

    He said the result “probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.” He did not say “definitely”. And the fact that Israel’s new “facts” touched only a minuscule part of the 500-pg GR should put anyone on notice that the “influence” would have been at best local (to the narrow issue of intentionality of killing civilians) and only “probable” at that. The other authors appear not to have been moved to make similar statements. Perhaps they come from different “tribes”.

  6. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2011, 1:02 pm

    I think the article does illustrate a clannish orientation, that Goldstone is disloyal to the activist clan, and is now the object of ridicule.

    The content of that phrase “if I knew then what I know now”, is stating that to his mind, the accurate conclusion from the beginning would not have been “war crimes”, but “war”.

    It is a big deal. The US state department agrees with his reasoning.

    It is still very reasonable to note that civilians get the brunt of war, and to actively oppose war.

    It definitely takes the edge off of the logic of ‘ANY resistance to occupation is sanctioned by international law’.

    • Walid
      April 5, 2011, 3:17 pm

      Clannish? Richard, you’re pinning too much hope on Goldstone’s U-turn. I never read the Goldstone Report or any part of it and I never invested much in anything to do with him and his damn report for a simple reason: I spent 3 weeks watching what was going on in Gaza on TV for about 20 hours a day and it made me very sick, very bitter and an avid hater of Israel. My opinion was not formed by Goldstone’s conclusions but by what I saw myself of hospitals and schools being bombed and ambulances being hit. In short, Goldstone didn’t fizz on me back then and its not now either and I’m only upset at the continued dirty tricks by the Americans and Israelis on the backs of the Palestinians and I’m afraid of what’s to follow after this stunt.

      • Richard Witty
        April 5, 2011, 5:58 pm

        I don’t have a TV, but I expect that if I had I also would have found watching the harms done to civilians sickening.

        If you were awake in 2002-3 and saw the remains of weekly suicide bombings in Israeli civilian areas, you’d also be a hater and sickened.

        Do you hate harms on civilians, or do you hate Israel?

      • Donald
        April 6, 2011, 12:07 am

        “If you were awake in 2002-3 and saw the remains of weekly suicide bombings in Israeli civilian areas, you’d also be a hater and sickened.”

        If you weren’t a hater you’d add that the Israelis consistently killed more civilians during the Second Intifada, several times as many in fact, even with all the suicide bombings.

      • Walid
        April 6, 2011, 4:23 am

        Richard, I have always been against the killing of Israeli civilians. These distressed me to the point of hating all Palestinians when they happened. The image of the wrecked Park restaurant can’t be forgotten. I had the same shitty feelings towards the Palestinians when they were into plane highjackings. No matter how much Israel had acted monstrously in Palestine or Lebanon, I never for a second agreed with the killing of any of its civilians. For its military, it was something else

        But I’m also aware that the horrible assassinations of innocent Israelis by Palestinians mostly always came in reaction to a prior Israeli action that had caused civilian lives. The Passover seder bombing of the Park Hotel by Abdel-Basset Odeh of Tulkarm came in reaction to Israel’s savage re-occupation of Tulkarm a couple of months earlier to teach Arafat a lesson. The Maxim restaurant bombing by Hanadi Jaradat of Jenin came after the Israeli assassination of her brother, her cousin and her fiancé and what the Israelis had done in Jenin a few months earlier. Almost 95% of all Palestinian bombings were similarly rooted in prior and equally hideous Israeli actions.

        I’m also remembering the long list of Israeli assassination of Palestinian civilians killed. Killing Palestinian militants is one thing and killing civilians is another. To Zionists like you, there is no distinction.

        Richard, I’m sure that most non-Zionist posters here are just as appalled by the violent assassination of innocent Israeli civilians as they are of Palestinian ones. This is what you’ll never understand.

      • Chaos4700
        April 6, 2011, 5:55 am

        If you hadn’t noticed, Witty, since you decided to close your eyes whenever non-Jewish civilians are murdered (even when their murdered by the hundreds) it’s impossible to do one and not the other, thanks to the IDF.

      • Richard Witty
        April 6, 2011, 6:52 am

        “To Zionists like you, there is no distinction.”

        Stop speculating and then lying about my, or others’ views. You’d have to talk with me to know them. Guessing is your self-talk.

        My entire motivation for raising the question is for consideration of proposal as to the best way to reduce harms to civilians, to reduce the hate. (The distinction between hate and anger is that anger subsides, hate is imprinted and much more long-lived and much less conditional. When hate is involved, responses to violence are only partially “responses” to violence.

        The wave of 2nd intifada suicide bombings was not an “eye for an eye”. It was “as many eyes as I can dislodge for one eye”. NO intelligence involved, intended or mistaken or opportunistic. ONLY opportunistic.

        The rejection of the concept of “intentionality” is a BIG modification, a morally significant one.

        It is only one opinion, but an opinion that Phil, Adam and MANY others relied on for weight to support their contentions.

        Terror is used for two purposes, intentional ones.

        1. To terrorize a population, to get them to leave
        2. Street credibility

        For dissent to buy into the logic of “punish them” creates the same result as the IDF stating/acting “punish them”. They feed on each other, palpably, identifiably.

        You really have to decide if you yourself are peace-seeking or are punishment-seeking.

        If you are peace-seeking, it is necessary to do everything that you can to quiet the heat, not escalate the heat, to encourage mutual sympathies and to act on that.

      • eljay
        April 6, 2011, 7:33 am

        >> If you weren’t a hater you’d add that the Israelis consistently killed more civilians during the Second Intifada, several times as many in fact, even with all the suicide bombings.

        According to RW: I will criticize policies that I become aware of that I find repugnant.

        Evidently Israel’s policy of disproportionate killing – even if it “started it” – is not repugnant to him. Or he’s simply “not aware” of it.

      • Walid
        April 6, 2011, 8:42 am

        Richard, I’m going by what you have been writing. I’ve given up on any peace with Israel that needs violence to stay in business. Israel expanded over the 67 lines only because of the continued state of violence. Until Israel’s lust for land and water is satiated, it’s definitely not interested in any peace with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Israel goes on proving day after day that crime pays. Nothing to be proud of, Richard.

      • Richard Witty
        April 6, 2011, 8:58 am

        You’ve carelessly misinterpreted my writing. Have bothered to read my blog? Click on my name to the link.

        Israel is a democracy, meaning that there are a variety of streams of thought and policy that run through it.

        I have not given up on Israel.

        And, I have not given up on peace.

        You do understand the distinction between “enough” Israel (that I advocate for) and expansionist Israel?

      • edwin
        April 6, 2011, 9:25 am

        witty: In a democracy it is not illegal to run on the platform of supporting a secular democracy.

    • Chaos4700
      April 5, 2011, 6:27 pm

      “Activist clan?” Goldstone was never in the this so-called “activist clan.” He was a UN appointed investigator on a fact-finding mission.

      If there’s any “clan” who feels betrayed by him, it’s the United Nations. I’m pretty sure this is the very last time they’re going to ask anything of Goldstone where the conversation isn’t being put on record under threat of perjury.

  7. yourstruly
    April 5, 2011, 2:14 pm

    gaza and the warsaw ghetto

    same place

    different times

    while the world stands by



    *slow motion in gaza

    • DBG
      April 5, 2011, 2:44 pm

      AJE doesn’t like the Warsaw/Gaza analogy

      link to

      • Chaos4700
        April 5, 2011, 6:29 pm

        Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle East history at the University of California, Irvine…

        The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera.

        (emphasis added to aid in obvious reading comprehension issues)

        The next time you cut and paste something from the right wing Muslim hatefest blog from whence you came, you juuuuust might want to actually read the whole thing first. You all seem to have a nasty habit of reading convenient headlines and not bothering with the content.

      • Walid
        April 6, 2011, 7:36 am

        Chaos, Mark Levine appears to have the same train of thinking as Richard here; he’s saying Gaza is ugly but not as ugly as Warsaw ghetto and many died in Gaza but not as many as at Warsaw ghetto and many died of diseases in Gaza but not as many as at Warsaw ghetto. It’s therefore wrong to use Warsaw ghetto in any comparatives with Gaza. Pure Witty.

      • Chaos4700
        April 5, 2011, 6:31 pm

        But, you know, while we’re getting people’s takes on the whole situation, let’s ask British MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman:

        link to

      • Avi
        April 6, 2011, 7:23 am


        The British MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, is an ummmmm self-hating Jew or something. Haven’t you heard? Anyone who rejects Zionism is not a ‘real’ Jew. Don’ta know?

  8. yourstruly
    April 5, 2011, 2:48 pm


    toxic to the jewish tribe

    justice for palestine

    its antidote

  9. yourstruly
    April 5, 2011, 3:14 pm

    the meaning of it all??

    that in the day to day as in the total scheme of things

    you are i, i am you, we are one

  10. MHughes976
    April 5, 2011, 4:01 pm

    We are one; humanity is one. We all have the same strengths and weaknesses. So in all this I want to avoid and reject the anti-Semitic conclusion that Jewish people, so tribal are they, will always betray the Palestinian cause even when they seem, in some important respect, to have definitely acknowledged its validity.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    April 5, 2011, 6:33 pm

    RE:”For an individual to be shunned by his or her clan spells the ablation of that person’s social and psychological comfort zone. Imagine how much more painful it must be for one to be excommunicated by the entire tribe…” ~ Hatim Kananneh

    MY COMMENT: Here’s a small taste!

    FROM “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict”, Published by ‘Jews for Justice in the Middle East’:

    (excerpt) Roosevelt’s advisor writes on why Jewish refugees were not offered sanctuary in the U.S. after WWII

    “What if Canada, Australia, South America, England and the United States were all to open a door to some migration? Even today [written in 1947] it is my judgement, and I have been in Germany since the war, that only a minority of the Jewish DP’s [displaced persons] would choose Palestine…

    [Roosevelt] proposed a world budget for the easy migration of the 500,000 beaten people of Europe. Each nation should open its doors for some thousands of refugees…So he suggested that during my trips for him to England during the war I sound out in a general, unofficial manner the leaders of British public opinion, in and out of the government…The simple answer: Great Britain will match the United States, man for man, in admissions from Europe…It seemed all settled. With the rest of the world probably ready to give haven to 200,000, there was a sound reason for the President to press Congress to take in at least 150,000 immigrants after the war…

    “It would free us from the hypocrisy of closing our own doors while making sanctimonious demands on the Arabs…But it did not work out…The failure of the leading Jewish organizations to support with zeal this immigration programme may have caused the President not to push forward with it at that time…

    “I talked to many people active in Jewish organizations. I suggested the plan…I was amazed and even felt insulted when active Jewish leaders decried, sneered, and then attacked me as if I were a traitor…I think I know the reason for much of the opposition. There is a deep, genuine, often fanatical emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement [Zionism]. Men like Ben Hecht are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.” Jewish attorney and friend of President Roosevelt, Morris Ernst, “So Far, So Good.”


    • MRW
      April 5, 2011, 11:32 pm

      This is absolutely accurate. I’ve written here many times that the first edition of The Transfer Agreement has a bibliography of documents that show the British and American Zionists made sure that escaping Jews could not come to the US or Canada.

      • yourstruly
        April 6, 2011, 2:24 am

        …which cost the lives of the tens of thousands of Euopean Jews* to whom, had Zionist leaders not stood in the way, the Nazis would have granted exit permits. Even today nothing would please the Zionist leadership more than an outbreak of antisemitism; anywhere, but especially in America, home to six million Jews. They wouldn’t be able to give away free one-way tickets to Israel fast enough, so desperate are they to swell Israel’s Jewish population. As for what might happen to Jewish-Americans who didn’t want to leave their beloved homeland? Zionists would say something like, “We’re sorry, of course, but ours is not to save Jewish lives, ours is to persuade as many Jews as we can to immigrate to Israel”.

        *”Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: a Reappraisal” (1983), available online at

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