The difference between Richard Goldstone and the NY Times: One recants, the other doesn't

Leo Rennert
Ever since Richard Goldstone discredited his UN inquiry report by recanting its poisonous accusation that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in its three-week counter-terrorism offensive in Gaza two years ago, the New York Times has gone to great pains to treat him with utmost empathy and to seek multiple ways of rationalizing his betrayal of the Jewish state.

The latest such attempt to soften blows directed by critics against Goldstone for his reprehensible act appears in the April 20 edition of the Times in a lengthy article by Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner and Los Angeles correspondent Jennifer Medina ("Investigator On Gaza Was Guided By His Past -- Goldstone Once Led South Africa Inquiry"

Readers are told that Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, helped further an end to apartheid a couple of decades ago by heading a fact-finding mission about black violence that also revealed a covert government campaign of sponsoring black killings to undermine the opposition.  The result:  "Heads rolled, hands were shaken and Mr. Goldstone was hailed as the most trusted man in the country, going on a to a distinguished international career."

The article goes on to describe Golstone as a Zionist who tried two years ago to do something similar to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  This time, the result was not a happy one.  Goldstone accused Israel of potential "war crimes" by deliberately aiming fire at civilians -- a libel that spread like wildfire and fueled a global campaign to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.

So, why did Goldstone recant?  Why does he now tell the world that "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a different document?" The Times gives multiple reasons. Goldstone was extremely hurt by all the criticism directed against him -- "The year and a half since the Gaza report was published have been hard on Mr. Goldstone."  One of his daughters has been "furious with him."  He was nearly unable to attend the bar mitzvah of his other daughter's son in South Africa because of the threat of demonstrations.

A close friend tells the Times:  "He told me last year that he was dreaming of the day when he would be able to sleep again at night."

And then there's Goldstone's own alibi -- that the libel was the fault of Israel because, while he had full access to visit Gaza, Israel barred him and his panel from the country, thus depriving him of the opportunity to witness the destruction caused by Hamas rockets.

This is, of course, all poppycock -- a clumsy attempt by Goldstone to transfer his own guilt to Israel.  What the Times fails to point out -- and thus lets Goldstone off the hook -- is that there was ample, reliable, extensive documentation of the horrific impact on Israeli civilians from thousands of rockets raining on Sderot and other communities near the Gaza border.  Goldstone didn't have to go to Israel to find that out.

And, if Goldstone has spent sleepless nights since publishing his infamous report, what about all the sleepless nights spent by Sderot parents waiting to hear siren alerts about incoming rockets that could destroy their families -- the lingering traumas of their children?  For years, the Times has paid scant attention to the human suffering in places like Sderot.  And while it shows empathetic concern about Goldstone's sleepless nights in this article, it remains blind to all the sleepless nights endured by hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the paths of Qassam and Grad rockets.

This week marked the 10th anniversary since rocket barrages against Israel began -- a milestone ignored by the Times.
Ever since Richard Goldstone discredited his UN inquiry report by recanting its poisonous accusation that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in its three-week counter-terrorism offensive in Gaza two years ago, the New York Times has gone to great pains to treat him with utmost empathy and to seek multiple ways of rationalizing his betrayal of the Jewish state.

The latest such attempt to soften blows directed by critics against Goldstone for his reprehensible act appears in the April 20 edition of the Times in a lengthy article by Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner and Los Angeles correspondent Jennifer Medina ("Investigator On Gaza Was Guided By His Past -- Goldstone Once Led South Africa Inquiry"

Readers are told that Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, helped further an end to apartheid a couple of decades ago by heading a fact-finding mission about black violence that also revealed a covert government campaign of sponsoring black killings to undermine the opposition.  The result:  "Heads rolled, hands were shaken and Mr. Goldstone was hailed as the most trusted man in the country, going on a to a distinguished international career."

The article goes on to describe Golstone as a Zionist who tried two years ago to do something similar to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  This time, the result was not a happy one.  Goldstone accused Israel of potential "war crimes" by deliberately aiming fire at civilians -- a libel that spread like wildfire and fueled a global campaign to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.

So, why did Goldstone recant?  Why does he now tell the world that "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a different document?" The Times gives multiple reasons. Goldstone was extremely hurt by all the criticism directed against him -- "The year and a half since the Gaza report was published have been hard on Mr. Goldstone."  One of his daughters has been "furious with him."  He was nearly unable to attend the bar mitzvah of his other daughter's son in South Africa because of the threat of demonstrations.

A close friend tells the Times:  "He told me last year that he was dreaming of the day when he would be able to sleep again at night."

And then there's Goldstone's own alibi -- that the libel was the fault of Israel because, while he had full access to visit Gaza, Israel barred him and his panel from the country, thus depriving him of the opportunity to witness the destruction caused by Hamas rockets.

This is, of course, all poppycock -- a clumsy attempt by Goldstone to transfer his own guilt to Israel.  What the Times fails to point out -- and thus lets Goldstone off the hook -- is that there was ample, reliable, extensive documentation of the horrific impact on Israeli civilians from thousands of rockets raining on Sderot and other communities near the Gaza border.  Goldstone didn't have to go to Israel to find that out.

And, if Goldstone has spent sleepless nights since publishing his infamous report, what about all the sleepless nights spent by Sderot parents waiting to hear siren alerts about incoming rockets that could destroy their families -- the lingering traumas of their children?  For years, the Times has paid scant attention to the human suffering in places like Sderot.  And while it shows empathetic concern about Goldstone's sleepless nights in this article, it remains blind to all the sleepless nights endured by hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the paths of Qassam and Grad rockets.

This week marked the 10th anniversary since rocket barrages against Israel began -- a milestone ignored by the Times.