The "Get Goldstone" Campaign

May 10, 2010 1:30 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg

The Israeli right (and its friends in the US) will never tire of their obsession with Judge Richard Goldstone. Because he had the temerity to write a United Nations report calling Israel's actions in Gaza "war crimes," they are utterly unhinged by the man.

Their obsession is personal because they have no way to knock down the facts about the Gaza war (1400 Palestinians killed, including 320 kids, while 13 Israelis were killed, four by friendly fire). Not only that, the Israelis leveled Gaza and have now kept it under blockade since 2007. 

In other words, defenders of the Gaza war cannot win any argument about Gaza unless they change the subject.  

So they have decided to focus on Judge Goldstone's record as a South African judge during the apartheid regime. Here is the Israeli argument in a nutshell. It is from the Yedioth Achronoth "exposé" on Goldstone that appeared on Thursday.

A special Yedioth Ahronoth investigation reveals Richard Goldstone's dark side as a judge during the Apartheid era in South Africa. It turns out, the man who authored the Goldstone Report criticizing the IDF's actions during Operation Cast Lead took an active part in the racist policies of one of the cruelest regimes of the 20th century.

Here is the most telling part of the article.

Israeli politicians and the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday welcomed the Yedioth Ahronoth investigation, which revealed Goldstone's dark past as a cruel judge in South Africa under the Apartheid regime.

A Foreign Ministry official referred to the investigation as "explosive PR material". Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman plans to instruct his office to send the information published in the newspaper to all of Israel's representatives in the world to be used in their PR activities.

That article appeared Thursday and on Friday Jeff Goldberg in the AtlanticJonathan Chait in the New Republic and Alan Dershowitz immediately wrote columns bashing the judge in just the terms specified. This is all in the first 24 hours after the the alleged directive to Israeli diplomats was mentioned. On Monday, Jennifer Rubin of Commentary weighed in. 

Meanwhile, the facts about Gaza, Goldstone and apartheid are not hard to find.  Sasha Polokow-Suransky, a senior editor at Foreign Affairs, has a column in Foreign Policy today on the subject and a new book on the subject. Facts matter. 

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