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Goldstone blitz shows peril for Jews breaking ranks

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Good for Moment, it has published this vigorous defense of Richard Goldstone by Letty Cottin Pogrebin:

According to witnesses, IDF soldiers shot people whose arms were shackled and a mother and three daughters who were carrying a white flag. Twenty-one members of one family were killed in Gaza City. This testimony echoes first-hand accounts by 30 Israeli veterans of Operation Cast Lead who co-founded the organization Breaking the Silence, as well as the findings of human rights groups such as B’Tselem and Amnesty International. The Goldstone report recommended that Israel and Hamas undertake independent internal investigations and if war crimes were proven, the perpetrators be punished in their own courts. If the parties refused to investigate themselves, it asked that the evidence be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Some weeks after the report’s release, a rabbi friend emailed me asking what I thought of it, promising me “confidentiality.” He knew how perilous it can be for a Jew to go public with an opinion that diverges from the “mainstream,” meaning the views expressed by “Jewish leaders” of “major Jewish organizations” and others who purport to speak for “the Jewish community.”

To understand the price for breaking ranks, just look at how mercilessly Judge Goldstone—a proud Jew and declared Zionist—was vilified, not by gentile anti-Semites or Arabist Israel-haters but by Jews in the Israel-right-or-wrong mafia who, rather than address the troubling issues raised in the report, resorted to character assassination to delegitimate its lead author.

An international blitz of blogs, op-eds and talking heads rained slander on Goldstone, accusing him of “blood libel,” favoring Hamas, betraying his people, being a naïve dupe, malicious traitor, self-hating Jew and enemy of the Jewish State. Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, called the report “the most serious and vicious assault on the State of Israel” since the UN’s 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism…

I wish the document’s charges were being actively discussed and convincingly rebutted by an internal investigation, but debate has been effectively squelched. Smears and death threats have done little to erode Judge Goldstone’s prestige among those familiar with his lifelong commitment to truth and justice.

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