The Goldstone Tsunami

May 8, 2010

In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Someone needs to do a psychological study of the Israeli and Jewish right.

They are terrified by one man, the great human rights advocate, Justice Richard Goldstone, because he wrote a report revealing what everyone knew anyway — that the Israelis committed war crimes in Gaza.

The report came out months ago and, to be honest, it did not change much of anything. The Israelis are still occupying the West Bank and still strangling Gaza.

And yet the right is obsessed with Goldstone. In his home country of South Africa the rabbis and the rightists even got together to try to ban Goldstone from his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah.

Now the Israeli right is going after Goldstone’s record as a judge in South Africa because under the apartheid regime, he upheld the law and the law was apartheid law.

Here is Israel’s deputy foreign minister — a leader of Avigdor Lieberman’s transfer/apartheid party — denouncing Goldstone for racism. (There is simply nothing these people won’t say to make the world forget Gaza and that even includes denouncing racism — whose perpetuation in the West Bank and Gaza is their life’s work).

(See Akiva Eldar on this latest example of the Israeli right gone mad).

Of course, Israel was one of the apartheid regime’s main arms suppliers and was such a staunch defender of the regime that AIPAC itself had to step in and tell the Israeli government that its arms dealing (nuclear too, it appears) was harming US-Israeli relations. In fact, Israel’s friendship with South Africa was one of the main reasons that liberals in this country started losing their ardor for Israel.

One would think that Israel’s rightwing defenders (who had no problems with South African apartheid or its current incarnation in the West Bank) would be the last people to make an issue of the fact that Judge Goldstone was a judge under the apartheid regime. I mean, who didn’t know that? Judge Goldstone’s first name is Judge and he served in his home country, which was Israel’s dear departed ally, apartheid South Africa.

None of this is important.

What is important is to see just how badly Goldstone has shaken up the pro-occupation forces. Because they know that the Goldstone report is true and they intuitively understand that the occupation is evil, they have become obsessed with the judge.

If they thought his report was false, they would ignore him. But they know it isn’t and that nothing they can do can make the report’s findings go away (unless they can bring back to life the 1400 Palestinians killed in Gaza, including 320 kids).

All this is good news. If Israel was a nation without shame, I’d give up on it. But it isn’t. It is a country made up of wonderful liberals (fighting liberals in many cases who confront the occupation with their bodies) and a right that, although racist and brutal, is capable of being shamed by one judge who wrote a report on crimes everyone knew about anyway.

This says something good about Israel. Even the rightwing defenders of the occupation are ashamed of it and know that, like apartheid, it will end. And soon. They are scared. They are afraid that very soon Israel will end the occupation and will become Israel again.

That will be a day all real friends of Israel will celebrate.