Judge Richard Goldstone made a mistake.
An ardent Zionist, he believed that he could alter the course of the Jewish state’s trajectory. Undoubtedly pained by the actions of his Zionist fellows – and earnestly knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way – he pointed at the ugly things they’ve done and said, “Look.”
The problem, he knew, was not about supremacist ideology. It wasn’t about willful blindness, callous indifference or jingoistic bloodlust either. The Jews of Israel are good and moral, and they just don’t know. If they did, he reasoned, they’d change.
Judge Goldstone would show them what they’ve done, and they’d repent. Or at least they wouldn’t do it again.
But he was wrong.
They knew what they’d done – how could they not? Some of them were willfully blind, or callously indifferent, or were active participants in the massacre.
The Zionists knew their crimes, but more importantly they knew that they’d been betrayed. Didn’t Goldstone know that blood is thicker than truth and integrity? Or that Zionist arms are sanctified by God? Or that his words would rend the community? Young Jews would leave the tribe because of him. He was destroying the Jewish people and Israel would wither and die because of him.
The education of Richard Goldstone began at the age of 71. He aimed to lead the Zionists of Israel out of their barren humanity. And he was savaged for his efforts; he was excommunicated and vilified. Shining a light in the mirror, he saw their bared teeth.
“The Zionists aren’t broken,” they snarled, “You’re broken.”
The Zionists aren’t misguided, they are actively destructive, he learned.
And they were right that Richard Goldstone was broken. He sought to do his job. He applied the same standards he applied everywhere. His methodology was good. But he was still wrong, somehow.
The fallout showed him just how wrong he was. That was when things began to be clearer. Being a Zionist meant that the truth is subordinate, he learned. Israel comes first! In Everything! And then you can do your job, Goldstone! And Never Again, too!
Confronted with a choice – the Tribe or the Truth – he buckled and folded. He repented in the most medieval way, with a public recantation. He took to the pages of the Washington Post to write: “Believe the Zionists; it was my own eyes that lied.”
Now he stands with his beloved community. But will they take him back? Is there a doggie door large enough for him to crawl through?
It’s impossible to know how the judge lost his integrity. Maybe it had to do with the prospect of being buried in a lonely cemetery. Or maybe it’s something more prosaic. Like the pain of not receiving a much-anticipated invitation to something. Perhaps it was the University of Johannesburg’s recent decision to break with apartheid (“You did this to us, Goldstone!”).
Whatever the cause, Goldstone’s shameful behavior has demonstrated that Zionists are not fit to produce and disseminate the truth. Any doubts of the inherent contradictions of the two should be laid to rest now. Goldstone went about as far as any one of them is permitted to and he’s snapping back into the velveteen fold, double-time.
So, Zionism and truth; Zionism and decency; Zionism and integrity; Zionism and liberalism; Zionism and humanity are deeply contradictory. Richard Goldstone’s education began at 71, and lately he’s begun to teach.