The publication of Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday heralded a weekend of frenzied hasbara. Goldstone’s “retraction” (though ‘qualification’ is more accurate) of the report into Operation Cast Lead was welcomed by Israeli leaders, Israel advocates in the USA, and others. Ha’aretz columnist Aluf Benn described Goldstone’s op-ed has “a major public relations coup”, claiming that Goldstone had “retracted his allegations that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead”.
These responses ironically paralleled the fallout to the Report itself, with sound and fury (and in this case, delight) preferable to cold facts. Since the Israeli government and its propagandists have a track record in establishing certain ‘myths’ and ‘truths’ that are then repeated for years to come, here are five points about the Goldstone op-ed and the fallout.