Judge Goldstone must be a frustrated man. If not, he really has a problem. By now it has become abundantly clear that the Goldstone Report is not merely filled with inaccuracies. It is replete with procedural and substantive injustices and is a terrible disgrace for all those who believe in integrity, the supremacy of law and moral standards. It is the ultimate blunder for a respectable judge of international standing. Tens of articles penned by famous legislators and men of intellectual integrity, together with experts in other fields of jurisprudence and military knowledge, have demonstrated that this report is not worth the paper on which it is written. Judge Goldstone not only deviated from the truth, playing into the hands of Israel’s worst enemies, but he willingly contributed to an international climate which gives credibility to the worst forms of terrorism and in which legitimate countries can no longer defend themselves. In fact, this report lays the ground for great human suffering, far beyond the borders of Israel, and is a recipe for a future major war which cannot be won by those who deserve to win.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the judge completely ignored Israel’s standing in the international arena. Instead of fighting anti-Semitism and warning against its disastrous consequences, the judge allowed himself to be used by those very forces of hate, thereby heaping insult upon injury.
Moreover, the fact that weapons of destruction are piling up in Lebanon, Gaza and other areas, for the sole purpose of firing them on the citizens of Israel, makes no impression on the judge. All that matters is Israel’s “war crimes.” (1)
The question many of us wonder about is: What is going on in the mind of the judge? How did the man end up in this embarrassing position and how will he save himself from even more ridicule? By now, he must have realized his enormous mistake and that he could become the very cause of unlimited human tragedy. No respectable man in his position can possibly ever lay his head on a pillow and not experience ongoing nightmares after such terrible stumbling. By now, his conscience must haunt him as few men have experienced, his guilt feelings taking on huge dimensions which no man can suffer.
Nevertheless, when reading the judge’s defence of himself (such as the one published in the Jerusalem Post on October 19th) we are confronted with the painful realization of how low even the greatest man can fall. Not only did most of his arguments lack any substance, being trivial and irrelevant, but above all they revealed the judge’s inability to overcome the three strongest, negative, human qualities which all men of integrity must avoid at all cost: denial, stubbornness and arrogance.
Denial is the human tendency to relinquish to darkness anything that is ugly while convincing oneself that nothing was stored away. It is the result of human need for easy answers that can relieve anxiety, instead of an encounter with the unpleasantness of truth. No human condition robs man’s mind of all its powers more than denial. It has been at the root of the most far-fetched arguments we have ever heard in the past and will continue to hear in the future. And it is often accompanied by stubbornness, the outer expression of cowardice turned into a virtue by showing inverted courage. Stubbornness requires constancy in vigour and stability and so denies the human being of any reasonable argument or humility. Arrogance was invented to deny denial. It is the overestimation of oneself as a means to escape one’s real nature.
The judge has been overtaken by these formidable forces. He continues to convince himself that he is right. He does not yet realize that all efforts to escape his destiny will in fact lead him to it. His downfall is guaranteed because justice ultimately will prevail.
We wait for the moment when the judge will turn around and admit his mistakes in front of all UN members and the world, and they will pale in comparison to him and his moral courage. “The man who can own up to his error is greater than he who merely knows how to avoid making it,” said Cardinal de Retz. Oh yes, it will be most painful, but courage is resistance to the fear of pain, not the absence of it. To take that risk is a sign of greatness.
As long as the judge has not done so, we feel great pity for him. Nothing is worse than failing when victory is so close by. May the judge wake up and show us unfailing, authentic courage. If he does, we will all be indebted to him. He will be our teacher, and perhaps all that has transpired has happened only to instruct us through that lesson.
. We are pleased to read that Human Rights Watch founder Robert. L Bernstein sharply criticized his organization for “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state,” Jerusalem Post, 21.10.09.