A Jew slandering his own people is infinitely more powerful than a non-Jew doing it. Those who hated Israel loved Goldstone.
Five years ago, when Goldstone’s libelous report was issued, my wife Miriam Benjamin and I were creating “Torah Tweets,” http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com, a project that showed how our life and current events reflected each week’s Torah portion.
The Torah portion Metzorah/Slanderer, which is read in synagogues on the Shabbat before Passover, proposes rehabilitation therapy for slanderers like Richard Goldstone and Bernie Sanders. This portion teaches us that slanderers undermine a free society by spreading lies that defame others.
The damage Goldstone’s falsehoods inflicted on Israel’s image and standing was beyond calculation. It made front page headlines. Buried on the inside pages of newspapers, a year and a half later, was the news that Goldstone had recanted his report. He admitted that charges that Israel deliberately killed civilians were blatant lies. But Goldstone’s slander, which had been etched in the public’s mind, could not be erased.
Professor Michael Oren reacted to Sander’s lies about Israel’s actions in Gaza by saying, “He accused us of a blood libel. He accused us of bombing hospitals. He accused us of killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?” When asked about Oren later on, Sanders said, “Who is Michael Oren?”
When CNN‘s Jake Trapper tried to correct Sanders, the senator just shrugged it off without expressing any regret that he had misinformed the public. Former US Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, along with many others, report that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in Gaza.
Sanders dared not face his fellow Jews at the AIPAC Conference and display his animosity towards Israel. His absence was conspicuous when presidential candidates Clinton, Cruz, Kasich, and Trump spoke there.
Sanders also chooses to ignore the US government designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. Perhaps he should read the Hamas Charter, and learn of their genocidal aims: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”
Shame on Bernie Sanders.
Mel Alexenberg is author of Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life, professor emeritus of art and Jewish thought at Ariel University, former professor at Columbia University and Bar-Ilan University, and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.