Whose Side are Richard Goldstone and Bill Moyers on?
Bill Moyers recently interviewed Judge Richard Goldstone, now famous as the author of the UN Report that says Israel and Hamas both committed war crimes against civilians. (The transcript is at
BILL MOYERS: Let me put down a few basics first. Personally, do you have any doubt about Israel's right to self-defense?
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Absolutely not. And our approach to our mission and in our report the right of Israel to defend its citizens is taken as a given.
BILL MOYERS: So the report in no way challenges Israel's right to self-defense-
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Not at all. What we look at is how that right was used. We don't question the right....BILL MOYERS: You're Jewish, and a Zionist as well. When you say, "I'm a Zionist," in your case, what does that mean?
RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, what it means, that I fully support Israel's right to exist. That's for the Jewish people to have their own national homeland, in Israel.
This is what's wrong.
Yes. Hamas fired rockets aimed at Israeli unarmed civilians. That's a war crime. It is certainly true that Israeli war crimes killed far far far more Palestinian civilians than vice versa, but this doesn't take away from the fact that intentionally killing unarmed civilians is a war crime. Palestinians have every right to use violence against armed Israelis who deny them their right of return and their right to live as the equals of Jews. This is justifiable violence in self-defense, and resistance against oppression. But violence against unarmed civilians, such as the rockets fired at Sderot or the earlier suicide bombings at bus stops and restaurants in Tel Aviv, is not self-defense or resistance. It accomplishes no military objective. Such violence, on the contrary, strengthens the Zionist leaders by helping them persuade Israeli Jews that the Zionist leaders are their protectors. Such violence also enables Palestinian leaders to use the conflict the same way as Zionist leaders do, to strengthen their control over "their own" people.
No. In fact the Hamas rockets did not justify the Israeli government in doing anything harmful to Palestinians, armed or civilian, no matter how "proportionate"--not even verbally yelling at them, never mind shooting them. Until the Israeli government ends its ethnic cleansing it has no justification for anything: it hasn't even any right to exist.
It is clearly not because he is on the side of the angels. But people on the "other side" can disagree with each other. It seems that Goldstone is worried that the Israeli government has "crossed a line" with its war crimes, a line that, for the sake of Israel's need to maintain support in the world, it dare not cross:
RICHARD GOLDSTONE:... I think true friends criticize their friends when they do wrong things....I've got no doubt that the laws of war are sufficient to cover the situation of fighting what is now termed asymmetric war. It's not easy; I concede that. But there's a line over which you just don't transgress, without clearly violating the law.
Yes. To persuade somebody to adopt a controversial point of view, it is often more effective not to argue directly for that view but rather to argue for something else less controversial, but in a manner that implicitly, even silently, takes the controversial view as a premise. This way the controversial view enters into the audience's mind "through the back door" without announcing itself and thereby inviting the criticism or suspicion that one naturally has for any obvious propaganda message.
The controversial view in this case is that Zionism is a just cause and that Zionist leaders do whatever they do for the just cause of protecting Israeli civilians. The less controversial view is that Israel committed war crimes. (Anybody seriously following the Gaza massacre or even just reading newspaper headlines knows this is true.) Goldstone focuses on persuading people that Israel committed war crimes, but he does so while implicitly agreeing with the key Zionist premise that Israeli leaders acted, even if wrongly, for the just cause of defending Israeli civilians. This is how effective propaganda works. Let us not fall for this Zionist propaganda.