The End of the Goldstone/Apartheid Brouhaha Plus Rabbi Takes Apart Dershowitz

05/11/2010 09:32 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • MJ Rosenberg Worked on Capitol Hill for Democratic Senators and House members for 20 years

On Thursday, Yedioth Achronoth, the mass circulation Israeli daily, revealed that the foreign ministry was sending the word out to Israeli diplomats worldwide that the best way to "get" South African Justice Richard Goldstone for writing his Gaza war crimes report was to link him to the apartheid regime.

A Yediot "investigation" produced some half-baked evidence that Goldstone was implicated in the crimes of apartheid and, almost in passing, noted "that an [Israeli] Foreign Ministry official referred to the investigation as 'explosive PR material,' Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman plans to instruct his office to send the information published in the newspaper to all of Israel's representatives in the world to be used in their PR activities."

Within 24 hours, Jeff Goldberg, Alan Dershowitz, and Jon Chait jumped to it: repeating the Israeli charge.

But then, yesterday, Foreign Affairs magazine's senior editor, Sasha Polakow Suransky, took the Israeli foreign ministry's meme and blew it sky high in Foreign Policy's blog. Polakow-Suransky, the leading academic expert on Israeli/South African relations (and author of "The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa") provided a timely reminder.

While Justice Goldstone's record on apartheid was outstanding enough for Nelson Mandela to put him in charge of investigating crimes of the apartheid regime, Israel had been (to the very end) the apartheid regime's closest ally and arms supplier.

The facts about Goldstone and apartheid begs the question. Can it be that Avigdor Lieberman, Jeff Goldberg, Alan Dershowitz and the rest of the neocons care more deeply about apartheid than Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and the African National Congress (ANC)? Who knew? (Of course, Lieberman favors apartheid...but perhaps only in the West Bank).

Bottom line: the crowd who assert that there were no war crimes in Gaza (but rather a few unavoidable accidents) stand exposed, yet again. But, give them credit, it ain't easy maintaining that of the 192 member states of the United Nations, only one has never done anything wrong and, obviously, never will.

Excellent piece here in Huffpo by Rabbi Brant Rosen. The rabbi points out that Dershowitz no longer makes any attempt to counterattack with facts. He's losing and the facts all point in the other direction so Dershowitz just calls names. In the old days (before the internet and before the Israeli government jumped the shark) people like me worried that rightwingers like Dershowitz, Jeff Goldberg etc would get us fired for daring to criticize Israeli policies. God knows, the former indicted-for-espionage Steve Rosen was always organizing efforts to get progressives fired but that before he self-destructed.

Now, unless you are on the payroll of a Jewish organization, these guys can't take away your paycheck. So they call names but the targets laugh and then mock them. It is sweet knowing that a guy like Dershowitz can only bay at the moon now. The page has turned. And Dersh knows it. So Rabbi Rosen can expect to be likened to Mengele by the Harvard Law School professor!

The clock never stops and, other than a few outliers, an entire generation of American Jews is either indifferent to the Middle East (that's sad) or down with J Street. If Birthright didn't hand out free trips to Israel and AIPAC didn't give free trips to Washington, the whole pro-occupation crowd under 45 would fit in a Chabad house in New York.