First, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz last fall called Richard Goldstone a “Jewish anti-Semite.”
Then last December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “Goldstone threat” was one of “three primary threats facing us today.” Just last month, the threat of demonstrations in his native South Africa caused him to momentarily cancel plans to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah.
Now, Israel’s Washington ambassador, Michael Oren, has told The Jewish Week that Goldstone has, in effect, provided aid and comfort to the enemy because of his report accusing Israel of war crimes in last winter’s Gaza war.
“Hezbollah has internalized the lessons of Goldstone,” Oren said of the terrorist group’s decision to place, in the basement of private homes in Lebanon, rockets aimed at Israel.
“It knows that when the rockets are fired and we have to defend ourselves, we’ll be branded as war criminals because we’ll be hitting homes,” he said. “So Goldstone is not just about casting aspersions on alleged inappropriate Israeli behavior in Gaza in 2008-2009, it literally threatens Israeli lives.”
Asked about Oren’s assertion that Hezbollah moved its rockets from silos to private homes based on information gleaned from the Goldstone Report, a military analyst said it wasn’t true. The analyst, who asked for anonymity so as not to criticize the ambassador, noted that both Hezbollah and Hamas had used this tactic over the years. However, the report, the analyst said, gave a public relations boost to Israel’s critics because it allowed Western countries to criticize Israel.
Asked whether Israel should concentrate on attacking those who question its right to exist rather than lashing out at those, like Goldstone, who don’t question its right to exist, Oren replied: “Goldstone in a way impugns Israel’s right to exist too because if it can’t defend itself and it’s surrounded by enemies who want to wipe it off the map, basically you are hobbling its ability to continue existing.”
Reminded that Goldstone has said he has “a deep interest in Israel” and its future, Oren quipped: “If that’s indicative of what a supporter of Israel would do, I would hate to see what the enemies of Israel would do.”
Goldstone could not be reached for comment.
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