You’ve Got a Lot of Feathers To Pick Up, Rich

South African judge Richard Goldstone. Photo b...
Richard Goldstone

There’s an old Jewish story about a man who was furious at his rabbi for some reason or another.  He went around town slandering the rabbi at every opportunity, twisting everything the rabbi said and did.  After a long time of this, the man’s conscience pricked him, and he humbled himself by going to the rabbi to try to make amends.  After a long silence, the rabbi answered, “Very well, I will forgive you, but under two conditions.”

“Anything, Rabbi,” the man said, greatly relieved.

“First,” the rabbi said, “you must take your finest feather pillow to the top of a hill, cut it open and cast the feathers to the wind.  Come back to me when you’ve finished that.”

The man was perplexed, but did as the rabbi asked.  When he was finished, he returned to the rabbi and reported the deed done.  “What is the second thing I must do?” he asked.

“Now go back and pick up every last feather and return them to the pillow,” the rabbi told him.

“But that’s impossible!” the man exclaimed.

The rabbi nodded.  “And it is just as impossible for you to give me back my reputation.”

Appropriately enough, on April Fool’s day, Richard Goldstone, the author of the infamous 2008 Goldstone Report which condemned Israel for allegedly targeting civilians during Operation Cast Lead, tried to catch back the feathers he threw to the wind by publishing an op-ed piece in the Washington Post called “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes”:

We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document. . . .

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets. . . .  While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

Goldstone proceeds to blame Israel (hey, can’t have an apology to Israel without throwing some more blame at them, can we?) for failing the cooperate with the investigation, which was done at the behest of the U.N. Human Rights Committee.  This despite the fact that he himself acknowledges, “I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.”  If he acknowledges the HRC’s history of bias against Israel, why on earth would he blame Israel for refusing to legitimize the Council by its cooperation?

An in-depth analysis and rebuttal of the Goldstone Report can be found at the Understanding the Goldstone Report website.

The New York Times, which has become an utter joke of a newspaper, actually refused to publish Goldstone’s retraction.  Apparently it would have taken up the space vitally needed to call for Israel to surrender before it’s too late.

Well, at least that’s cleared up and the U.N. will retract the report, offer a full an official apology to Israel and revise all of its actions that were based on it, right?  Riiiight . . .

GENEVA — The U.N.’s top human rights body says it is standing by a report about Israel’s 2009 incursion into Gaza even though the lead author has backtracked from some of the report’s most damning allegations against Israel.

Israel has called for the report to be withdrawn after Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge and U.N. war crimes prosecutor, said in an op-ed he was reconsidering the conclusion that Israel deliberately targeted civilians during the three-week offensive against Palestinian militant group Hamas.

A spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report, said for the report to be canceled Goldstone would have to submit a formal request to the Geneva-based body, which he has not done.

“U.N. reports are not cancelled on the basis of an op-ed in a newspaper,” spokesman Cedric Sapey told The Associated Press.

via UN official: Goldstone must request repeal of Gaza war crimes report before it can be canceled – The Washington Post.

Of course they’re going to ignore Goldstone’s retraction as long as possible!  If they admitted that Israel was taking great pains to avoid civilian casualties while her enemies were purposefully targeting Jewish civilians–or for that matter, admitted that in Israel, “40% of Jerusalem Arabs would relocate to an area inside Israel if their current neighborhood were to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority”–that would undermine the case for putting U.N. (U.S., actually) troops on the ground in Israel under the U.N.’s so-called “Responsibility to Protect” (see here if you just came across this blog and don’t know what that’s all about yet).

Those who are now or who have in the past slandered Israel and thereby legitimized the murder of Jewish civilians are under a curse, whether they know it or not:

Exo 23:1-3 –  “You shall not spread a false report. Don’t join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.  You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice; neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.

Lev 5:1 – If anyone sins, in that he hears the voice of adjuration, he being a witness, whether he has seen or known, if he doesn’t report it, then he shall bear his iniquity.

Deu 19:18-21 –  And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother; then you shall do to him as he had thought to do to his brother: so you shall put away the evil from the midst of you.  Those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in the midst of you.  Your eyes shall not pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

That which is not settled in an earthly court will come before the Heavenly Court, from which there is no appeal and no loophole.  We pray that Goldstone’s repentance is not shallow, but will drive him to indeed formally request repeal of his report from the U.N. and to campaign tirelessly to restore Israel’s reputation.

He will never be able to catch all of the feathers, but he may be able to catch enough to save lives.

Shalom

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