by Phyllis Chesler
Sometime Friday night, April 1, 2011, which was also the Jewish Sabbath, the Washington Post published, online, a rather remarkable op-ed piece by South African jurist Richard Goldstone. Essentially, Goldstone recanted his own “Goldstone Report,” a document which has been used against Israel in countless, damaging ways, a document which accuses Israel of possible “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in its incursion into Gaza in response to the 10,000 rockets Hamas launched towards Israeli civilians in Sderot and southern Israel—a document which charges Israel with having “purposely targeted civilians in Gaza.”
Goldstone now admits that all the above charges are wrong, false, are based on too-little-information or on flawed-information. He partly blames Israel for not “co-operating” with the venomously biased Human Rights Council, but in truth, Goldstone really had available much of the information which is now contained in Israel’s painfully careful investigation of what happened in Gaza.
Israel looked into the false allegations that it had “targeted civilians” and investigated itself thoroughly. Of course, although Goldstone also charged Hamas with this same task—Hamas did not do so. Now, rather late in the day, Goldstone has finally noted that there are actually some important differences between an open, transparent, lawful, ethical, and democratic Jewish state and an Islamist-terrorist organization such as Hamas.
One wonders: Why is Goldstone recanting? And, if he is, indeed, recanting, why does he still hold back, why does he still not admit all that is known about the truth? But that is a question for another day. (I am sure that some Jewish leftists will insist that Goldstone was death-threatened by the Zionist Lobby, or could no longer bear his pariah status. Indeed, such articles have already appeared, long before this recantation. I doubt such cult leaders will pay attention to Israel’s careful documentation.
Here’s my concern: Once the genie is out of the bottle, once a lie has made the rounds, there is no stopping it, no way of taking it back. The damage is done. It is rarely reversible. As a psychologist, I know that “first impressions” are very powerful and almost impossible to change by introducing facts, studies, or logic.
Thus, like a rocket, once a Blood Libel is launched, it’s done its work. If, a year or two later, one carefully documents that the entire matter (the false allegation that the Israelis murdered Mohammed al-Dura, the false allegation that the IDF committed a massacre in Jenin, the false allegation that Israelis were purposely shooting at civilians in Gaza) was nothing but Big Fat Black-hearted Lies, most people have already moved on, their blood streams permanently altered, poisoned with Jew-hatred.
The number of Human Rights groups, NGOs, the United Nations, Muslim governments, the world media, that have relied on the Goldstone Report to further delegitimize Israel are as countless as the stars. That includes the UN Human Rights Council, which issued the hateful, lying document; all the supposed human rights groups (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’Tzelem, Al Haq, The New Israel Fund) that relied upon it; all the Jewish left-liberals and their patron handler, George Soros, (J Street); all the media and publishing outlets that found in Goldstone’s flawed document justification for their one-sided anger against the Jewish State.
I live in Manhattan. I read every Manhattan-based hard copy newspaper as well as 30-50 other newspapers online. Daily. Hard copy reveals certain things that online versions disappear. For example, let’s consider how Sunday’s New York Times (April 3, 2011) presents the Goldstone recantation.
The frontpage features a four column color photo which is captioned: “Palestinians prayed near Israeli soldiers on Friday. They were protesting land confiscation in the village of Qusra, near Nablus.”
One wonders how a prayer service can also be a “protest.” Wonder no more. It is what Muslims do. Far worse is what inflamed Muslims and Islamists do immediately after their peaceful prayer service. Think of the twenty United Nations workers in Afghanistan who have just been murdered by raging post-mosque mobs fired up by their mullahs about the unfortunate burning of a Quran in Florida. Burning a holy book may indeed be “disrespectful;” murdering, be-heading a whole, living human being is even more “disrespectful” both to that living being and to God-the-Creator as well.Anyway, back to the Sunday New York Times. We see the four-column color photo of the Palestinian Muslims-at-prayer from behind. We see rows of peaceful “surrendered” civilians wearing pink, red, green, rust, white, and tourquoise shirts; their heads are nearly touching the ground as they face a row of ten Israeli soldiers: armed, standing, and in army uniforms.
The column which is immediately to the right of this photo on pg 1 is titled: “In Israel, Time For Peace Offer May Run Out. Growing UN Support for Palestinian State.” It is written by Ethan Bronner and continues on pg 10 where there are no fewer than three articles all about Israel.
Back to page A 1. At the very bottom of the Bronner article, noted in bold black, we have the following title: “Gaza War Report Gets a Retraction.” The Times gives 4 ½ lines on its first page to this major, scandalous, shocking story. Four and a half lines-surrounded by peacefully praying Palestinians and a story about the continued pressure on Israel to give in more, give up more, suggesting as it always does, that it is Israel’s fault that there is no Palestinian state.
This is yet another Big Lie.
Turn to page A10. On top, Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner’s story is titled: “Head of U.N. Panel Regrets Saying Israel Intentionally Killed Gazans.” There is a small black and white photo of Goldstone. This article takes up less than 1/3rd of the page. It is immediately followed by an article titled: “Strike Kills Gaza Fighters, Spurring Hamas Warning.” Three Hamas operatives have been killed by Israel in an overnight airstrike. Their silent corpses are shown in their burial shrouds. We are meant to feel compassion towards them—after all, they are dead. We do not see them launching rockets at innocent Israeli civilians. The size of this photo is about 12 times larger than Goldstone’s photo.
Is this meant to suggest that their deaths and those who came to mourn them are far more important than Goldstone’s recantation? Well, as they say: A picture speaks a thousand words.
Finally, at the bottom of page A 10, we read the rest of the front page Bronner piece about the imminent, urgent, coming of the long-overdue Palestinian state.
This is how the Paper of Record—which has had countless articles about the Goldstone Report—now positions—softens, hides, slants–the news.
I have just been told that the BBC has also published news of the Goldstone recantation, but guess what? They link back to their previous articles which ran his allegations. Do they mean to suggest that the allegations are still as true as the recantation? Or, do they wish to remind their readers that, despite this recantation, Israel is still the state that one must remember to hate?
Interestingly, in recent years, Richard Goldstone published three op-ed pieces in the New York Times, all in 2009; one was about his investigation into what happened in Gaza. Funny, this recantation, which has major policy implications, not only for Israel but for any country which the UN wishes to similarly target—this recantation op-ed appears in the pages of the Washington Post.
I leave my readers to ponder this further.
I would like thank an unidentified correspondent for raising this very question.
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