Antisemites love a Jewish champion, so Richard Goldstone is a godsend. But what's in it for him? Well, the human rights business is a nice little earner. Douglas Davis in The Spectator:
The United Nations Human Rights Council, which had remained steadfastly silent about the human rights of Israelis suffering rocket attacks, quickly swung into action. It strongly condemned Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which it said ‘resulted in massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people and systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure’. Then it set up a commission to confirm its opinion.
Step forward Richard Goldstone, ‘a Jew who has supported Israel and its people all my life’, to head the commission. Last week, the Human Rights Council graciously accepted his findings that Israel committed war crimes and may have committed crimes against humanity. And, hey presto, the job was done.
Richard Goldstone will now be lionised from Pyongyang to Ouagadougou, and all points in between where the oppressed find succour. Streets will be named after him, university chairs will be endowed in his honour and state medals will be struck for this great class-struggler. But to senior legal colleagues in South Africa, he will always be Richard Richard Goldstone.
‘Oh yes,’ says a former senior colleague who was close to Goldstone for many years. ‘We believed he saw himself as a future secretary-general of the United Nations. At the time Boutros Boutros-Ghali held the post, so it seemed a logical progression for Goldstone to become Richard Richard.’
It might appear unkind to doubt the purity of Goldstone’s motives in joining the human rights industry, poignantly as Israel’s excoriator-in-chief. But he is, it seems, regarded by colleagues who knew him well as an opportunist.
Perhaps most distressing for Goldstone is not the ridicule he has attracted for accepting the mission, but the painful personal dimension of his actions. Just as he cut himself adrift from the apartheid regime when he considered it prudent, he seems to have cut himself off from his Jewish and Zionist roots in accepting the Gaza commission.
As Goldstone’s former colleague told me last weekend: ‘Richard has always exercised an exquisite sense of judgment — he has always known precisely what was in his own self-interest.’
Do read it all, as it is difficult to know which parts of this eloquent and tightly written article to select.
"Richard Richard" brings to mind Richard Rich, as portrayed (perhaps unfairly) in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. This Richard Rich perjures himself by swearing that Thomas More has conspired against the King, and is rewarded by being appointed Attorney General of Wales. More observes bitterly:
"For Wales? Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world ...But for Wales!"
The United Nations wasn't around then.