Larry Derfner's Op-ed in the Jerusalem Post today is a reaffirmation of my confidence in the Israeli people to detect BS. Derfner is fair, and does not shy away from questions about Goldstone's record. But he is correct that Judge Goldstone's record in apartheid South Africa is completely unrelated to the findings of the Goldstone report.
This kind of guilt-by-association is the bane of democratic discourse and is abhorrent nonsense. The fact that some on the pro-Israel right have stooped to the level of smokescreens and smears is not only ill-advised strategically, it is pathetic. They despise Israel's enemies for smearing Israel's name, but creating smears of their own demonstrates to the world that Israel's supporters are no better. They would rather find any excuse to sling mud than to actually make progress. No wonder the Obama administration doesn't take their views seriously.
The old guard of the pro-Israel camp is stunningly immature, juvenile, and is becoming increasingly irrelevant with this kind of mishegas. Their delusional strategy is harming Israel's ability to progress and learn from the mistakes of Operation Cast Lead. It is preventing solutions for the families in Sderot and Ashkelon who will spend tonight under threat of rocket attack. Again. Ad matai?
This small radical minority is making both Israel and the Jewish community look petty and ashamed of Israel's Cast Lead record. The smear campaign is bad for Israel, and bad for global Jewry.
The better strategy would be to invest time and energy on finding lessons learned from Cast Lead. Israel should undertake an internal investigation of Operation Cast lead, as it did for the Lebanon War in 2006, and the 2nd Intifada. The State of Israel ought to be the global leader in counter-insurgency, yet it falls far behind the United States and many of its European allies. Those who would rather engage in petty radicalism are preventing Israel from achieving its rightful and natural place as a thought leader on issues of humane counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. And destroying what little credibility Israel had left in the process.
So Goldstone smearers: Knock it off. Seriously.