Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bringing up old memories

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was very happy to hear the news: Judge Goldstone had been unmasked. Yes, The Goldstone, he of the Goldstone Report which disclosed so many unpleasant things about the doings of Israel's soldiers in the Gaza Strip. It turns out that Goldstone had been a judge in South Africa at the time of the Apartheid regime. The Foreign Minister was quick to order the full article, exposing Goldstone's past, translated and disseminated it to Israeli embassies throughout the world - at last some ammunition to a creaking hasbara machine.

A judge adhering to the laws of the Apartheid regime in South Africa - that's certainly not a bright point in Goldstone's career. South African Apartheid was a racist regime which openly and blatantly discriminated between Blacks and Whites on the basis of their skin color, and which cruelly oppressed any who dared protest. A regime whose deeds aroused a furious protest throughout the world.

Throughout the world? Well, not quite. There was one exception. One country which did not share in the worldwide protests against the blatant racism. A country which on the contrary maintained cordial good relations with Apartheid South Africa - cooperation in the international diplomatic arena, and also military cooperation, from the supply of equipment for the forcible dispersal of demonstrations to the joint construction of nuclear bombs. As is happens, that country - the partner and a friend of Apartheid South Africa - was called the State of Israel. True, Lieberman was not at that time in a position of influence, but veterans of the Foreign Ministry can certainly provide him with the full details.

Judge Richard Goldstone has changed very much since the days when he rendered judgement under the draconian laws of Apartheid. There is no doubt that nowadays he would not have signed any such verdict. Did the State of Israel change since the time of being the best friend of South Africa's Apartheid? And if so, in what direction did Israel change?