So now it turn out to be Richard Goldstone–author of the notorious Goldstone report–who is politicizing his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Jewish authorities in South Africa didn’t “ban” Goldstone from the synagogue at which his grandson was being bar mitzvahed, as Goldstone and his supporters had alleged. A small group of protestors had said they would exercise their right of expression to picket Goldstone. Though they clearly had the right to do so, most Jews in South Africa and elsewhere–including me–were uncomfortable with the idea of picketing a grandfather attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. It was Goldstone who decided not to attend and instead to publicize the matter.
The South Africa Board of Deputies have now persuaded the protestors to pick a different time and place to show their disdain for Goldstein. The matter should have been put to rest, with Goldstone quietly attending the bar mitzvah. But Goldstone won’t let it go. He has attacked the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, who was instrumental in working out a compromise where the protests would be called off and Goldstone would agree to meet with Jewish leaders. Goldstone escalated the dispute by writing a letter to the local newspaper complaining that,
“the Chief Rabbi would so brazenly politicize the occasion of my 13 year-old grandson’s bar mitzvah to engage in further personal attacks on me.”
But it was Goldstone who brazenly politicized the bar mitzvah by mischaracterizing the Chief Rabbi’s statement and using it as an excuse to continue the controversy about the bar mitzvah. The alleged “personal attack” by the Chief Rabbi consisted of a statement that every synagogue:
“should welcome in a tolerant and nonjudgmental way all who seek to enter and join in our service and pray to God.”
The Chief Rabbi also exercised his own freedom of speech to express his opinion–an entirely accurate one–that the Goldstone report:
“has unfairly done enormous damage to the reputation and safety of the State of Israel and her citizens.”
Was the Chief Rabbi obligated to remain silent about the report until the bar mitzvah is over? It would have been irresponsible of Rabbi Goldstein to say nothing in the face of the evil represented by the Goldstone report and its biased authors. Is it not enough that he curbed those who wanted to protest in front of the synagogue? It is Goldstone who is using his grandson’s bar mitzvah as a shield against legitimate criticism, just as he has used his “jewishness” as a shield against criticism of the Goldstone report.
Goldstone has not complained about another group of rabbis who have politicized his grandson’s bar mitzvah in an effort to support the Goldstone report and its mendacious conclusions. A group of rabbis, many of whom have long records of anti-Israel activism, authored a “Rabbinic letter” to Goldstone congratulating him on his grandson’s bar mitzvah and using the occasion to make virulently anti-Israel claims, including the blood libel that Israel deliberately targeted innocent Palestinian civilians without any military purpose. These ignorant rabbis, most of whom I am sure never read the 500 page report, went out of their way to “affirm” the “findings” of the Goldstone report, despite the fact that virtually every credible academic who has studied the report has found its findings to be unfounded and false.
These bigoted rabbis, who have no expertise in military matters, are prepared to contradict the military expertise of one of the world’s most experienced counter insurgency military experts, Colonel Richard Kemp, who said,
“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF [did] in Gaza.”
Goldstone of course refused to consider Kemp’s testimony and has characterized it as irrelevant to the report’s findings.
These “rabbis for Hamas” have no shame and no credibility. They exploit their rabbinical status to support any conclusion that undercuts self defense Israeli actions without regard to the evidence and without regard to the truth.
Not surprisingly, the worst of these rabbis (and that is saying a lot), Michael Lerner, after attempting to politicize the bar mitzvah by offering his anti-Israel synagogue for the event, has decided to honor Richard Goldstone with Tikkun Magazine’s “Ethics Award.” I guess all it takes to be honored by Tikkun is to pass Lerner’s litmus test of lying about Israel. That’s Lerner’s definition of “ethics.” There are some good people on the advisory board of Tikkun Magazine. They now have an obligation to reconsider their membership unless they wish to be associated with a rabbi who is prepared to accuse Israel, in the absence of any evidence, of deliberately setting out to murder Palestinian civilians without any military purpose.
Let Richard Goldstone enjoy his grandson’s bar mitzvah without anyone politicizing it, but let every thoughtful person study the Goldstone report and refuse to remain silent about its bias, its lies, its damage to the peace process and its dangers to Israel’s security. Richard Goldstone should not use his grandson’s bar mitzvah to selectively silence rabbis who disagree with his report, while encouraging rabbis who agree with it to use the bar mitzvah as a sword against the report’s critics and as a shield against legitimate criticism. His grandson deserves better.
“Hitler Drinking Game” Groups Draw Thousands on Facebook (again): Despite international negative publicity the .. http://tinyurl.com/247hflu
Bisexual Men Sue Gay Softball League for Discrimination: most Lesbians are not gay. They don’t like women… th.. http://bit.ly/aaRRbI
Bisexual Men Sue Gay Softball League for Discrimination: most Lesbians are not gay. They don’t like women… th.. http://cli.gs/ErgBv
Marc Garlasco [Updated]: A different Garlasco has surfaced who was the one questioning the radical nature of an.. http://cli.gs/DjXZz
They don’t like women… they hate men ….If the ladies really want a woman’s softball team they should ask for one instead of hiding behind the gay rhetoric. Certainly major league baseball for a very good reason is gender exclusive
The lawsuit, filed in a federal district court, alleges that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA) violates the Washington State law against sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations. It says the group did so by imposing a rule that teams participating in the 2008 Gay Softball World Series could have no more than two heterosexuals per team.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said that the organization has “tried very hard” to settle this case and have NAGAAA change its policy, but to no avail.
“We are still hopeful that NAGAAA will agree to change the policy, as that is our goal here,” said Minter. “We strongly support LGBT sporting leagues, but the best practice, and the only lawful one, is not to exclude players based on their sexual orientation.”
“NAGAAA’s committee refused to entertain the idea that the players could be bisexual,” said NCLR. “In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, a NAGAAA member responded, ’This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.’”
A different Garlasco has surfaced who was the one questioning the radical nature of an organization he was involved in. in the New Republic’s Minority Report – Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel from within the organization. Apparently he had many personal misgivings and said so within his organization. When you lie with dogs you should not be shocked to wake up with fleas. I’m not sure I trust this article. Garlasco has some very powerful friends who are trying to save his reputation that has been tarnished by some very obvious lies. Here is the guy writing the paper accusing Israel of war crimes! Marc Garlasco had 7,000 “juvenile” posts?: “I spend my days doing what I can to ensure that such horrors are never allowed to happen again.” http://ff.im/8j63R
In many ways, Garlasco was an odd fit at HRW. Prior to being hired in 2003, he had served as the head of “high-value targeting” at the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Iraq war. He opposed the invasion, however, and joined HRW shortly after the fall of Baghdad. His first assignment at his new job was to investigate collateral damage from the airstrikes he had helped plan. Whitson told me that Garlasco (who was one of only a handful of people at HRW with military experience) brought unique skills to the organization and enhanced its credibility. “He could look at the plumes in the sky and know exactly what weapon that was,” she says. “He could look at a canister and know what kind of a munition it was. He could look and see where the guidance system is.”
Garlasco was hardly a reflexive apologist for Israel. His time on the ground in Gaza convinced him that the IDF had a lot to answer for—using Palestinians as human shields, heavy artillery fire in densely populated areas, and rules of engagement so lax that large numbers of civilian deaths were inevitable. And he thought that both sides, Hamas and Israel, had committed war crimes during the conflict. Still, he believed that there was a fog of war that most of his colleagues failed to appreciate. “He said … ‘If I were an Israeli, I’d be so frustrated,’” recalls one friend. “You are trying to get people who are shooting from civilian areas, and how do you deal with that? I mean, I remember him talking about that—that it’s an impossible quandary for a soldier. Sometimes, they actually turn out to be kids playing on the roof, and sometimes they’re guys with missiles.”
During the war, Garlasco had gotten a lot of attention for discussing Israel’s use of a chemical agent called white phosphorous. CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera ran segments featuring Garlasco explaining the dangers white phosphorous posed to civilians: On contact with skin, it could cause second- and third-degree burns; it could even burn down houses. Soon, news reports all around the world were repeating the story.
But Garlasco would later tell Apkon and others that he thought the white phosphorous controversy had been blown out of proportion. From his experience at the Pentagon, Garlasco knew that U.S. and British forces had used white phosphorous in Iraq and Afghanistan, and usually for the same purpose that the IDF used it in Gaza: as a smokescreen to obscure troop movements on the ground—a permissible use under international law. To be sure, Garlasco did not believe that the IDF had used white phosphorous properly in every instance. But he told multiple people that he thought HRW had placed too much emphasis on this issue—specifically telling one person that he had been pushed by HRW headquarters to focus on white phosphorous at the expense of topics he thought more deserving of attention because, he suspected, it was regarded as a headline-generating story. (HRW denies that it pushed Garlasco on the subject.) What’s more, while making legal judgments was not within Garlasco’s jurisdiction, he told Apkon that he did not think Israel’s use of white phosphorous amounted to a war crime. (In a subsequent report on white phosphorous, the first of six thus far on the Gaza war, HRW would say that evidence “indicates the commission of war crimes.”)
Beyond these disagreements, Garlasco had larger critiques of HRW. He thought that the organization had a habit of ignoring necessary context when covering war, he told Apkon; and he told multiple sources that he thought Whitson and others at MENA had far-left political views. As someone who didn’t have strong ideological commitments of his own on the Middle East, this bothered him. “When he reported on Georgia, his firm feeling was he could report whatever he wanted,” says one source close to Garlasco. “And, when he was talking to headquarters, the feeling was, let the chips fall where they may. He did not feel that way dealing with the Middle East division.” In addition, Garlasco alleged in conversations with multiple people that HRW officials in New York did not understand how fighting actually looked from the ground and that they had unrealistic expectations for how wars could be fought. To Garlasco, the reality of war was far more complicated. “He looks at that organization as one big attempt to outlaw warfare,” says the person close to Garlasco. Around the time he had coffee with Apkon last February, he was beginning to look for another job.
But, before he could find one, the Nazi memorabilia story had landed in The New York Times. The controversy was overblown—Garlasco’s interest in the subject stemmed from the fact that his grandfather had been conscripted into the Nazi army, and he collected all sorts of World War II artifacts, not just Third Reich items—but it was enough to ruin whatever future he had left at HRW. Watching the scandal spin out of control, Apkon took note of the irony that the pro-Israel community had lynched one of the people at HRW who was most sympathetic to its concerns. “You’re sitting there watching this, and you realize: They’re going after the wrong guy!” Apkon says. “He’s not coming with a political agenda. He’s the one guy that’s there that’s trying to make balanced decisions and judgments about this stuff.”
Perhaps if he was as concerned about world Judaism as he was about his own ass then I might have more empathy to a rich and powerful military insider who had an axe to grind with Israel. The mere fact that he also has a problem with Hamas does not make anything he did any more true.