Bradley Burston on the importance of the Goldstone report for Israel:
This is about the war we made in Gaza, and what it did to Israel. This is about how Israel’s conduct of the war has done more damage to the Jewish state than all the thousands and thousands of Palestinian rockets and mortar shells put together. It has been a year and more since a truce was called in Gaza, and – thanks in no small part to Israel’s freely admitted policy of hamstringing and stonewalling UN investigators – the world is still at war with Israel.
The result is only now becoming felt. In a thousand ways, in new ways every single day, we have brought the war home.
Israel’s battle plan, which effectively called for bludgeoning Hamas and the whole of Gaza into a state of shock, had the further effect, intentional or not, of inducing shock in Israel itself.
We have been sensing the symptoms for a year now. In shock, the first sign to appear is often confusion. A curious sense of weakness can be felt. A restlessness that is little understood. A coldness. Mental clouding. Apathy. Inactivity. There may be blurred vision.
We think: It’s not the war. The war is over. The war was over there. The place we can’t see. The place we’re not allowed to see. The place, that is, that we don’t want to look.
The place that makes us much prefer dreading the truth, to the truth itself.
In some cases, shock expresses itself in combativeness. A lashing out even at those who are trying to help.
In our state of shock, we were unable to see that Richard Goldstone was trying to save us. And that the Goldstone Report is exactly what Israel needs. We fought him every step of the way, convincing ourselves – just as in Gaza – that the unfolding catastrophe was the best of the available scenarios.
Had Israel cooperated with the panel, it might have begun to learn how to prevent another war like this one, and how to fight future wars entirely differently. Only now, with the shock beginning to subside, have Israeli military and legal officials begun publicly to concede that battling the Goldstone panel was a colossal blunder.
We fought Goldstone with everything we had. As if our very identity depended on it. More than Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, Ahmadinejad – Justice Richard Goldstone became the enemy. In a bizarre twist of something very akin to self-hatred, far-rightists began routinely, intentionally, sneeringly mispronouncing his name as Goldstein.
Even people whose business it is to know better, people who consider themselves temperate, moderate, lost their minds in calling Goldstone the worst names in the Jewish book.