Four thoughts Judge Richard Goldstone’s mea culpa. His Washington Post chest-beating is weak, but still has significance:
1. Goldstone’s clearly backtracking.
If he wanted to laud Israel for meeting his report’s demands (to investigate the army’s operation and implement changes to protect civilians), it would’ve been enough to simply say I’m satisified with Israel’s response to my recommendations.
You can’t help but hear some serious regret when he instead says, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
2. Give yourself a pat on the back.
The online community of Israel’s supporters — bloggers, readers, activists, everyone who spoke up at work, school, etc. — deserve credit for not letting the issue die and keeping up the pressure.
I don’t know why Goldstone chose to write this now, but I have to believe something about the conversation played a part in this. (For what it’s worth, the signs of something happening inside the judge’s mind were there even this past January. Maurice Ostroff saw the signs . . .
3. The media’s role.
Israel bashed big-time for “killing” Mohammed al-Dura, massacring Palestinians in Jenin, indiscriminately targeting Gaza civilians, etc. etc. etc. A French court eventually debunked the France 2 footage of al-Dura’s “murder,” while the UN eventually conceded there was no Jenin massacre. Only now is Goldstone distancing himself from his report.
Why is the media so quick to jump on the bash-Israel bandwagon, rather than take a critical look at all the allegations? How many more lives have to be lost, how much political damage has to be done, before Big Media takes a long, hard, look at itself?
4. What does this mean for the future?
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights denounced Hamas for endangering Gaza civilians. The Washington Post published maps of Hezbollah bunkers and weapons depots — many of which are in civilian areas.
So whether the next round of fighting takes place in Gaza or Lebanon, you know Israel will take another Big Media beating for targeting civilians.