Justice Richard Goldstone, whose UN report on Operation Cast Lead accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, has been prohibited from attending his grandson's bar-mitzvah by the South African Zionist Federation, the Writing Rights blog reported Thursday.
It said recent negotiations between the federation, the Sandton synagogue at which the ceremony will take place, and the bar-mitzvah boy's family concluded that the judge will be banned from attending the event.
A synagogue official who refused to be named confirmed in an interview with Ynet that the bar-mitzvah would take place there and that Goldstone would not be in attendance.
"We only suggested that he refrain from coming in order to prevent a scene. No one forced him not to come," the official said. "If he arrives extensive security measures will have to be taken, and no one wants that. Apparently he doesn't want a scene at his grandson's bar-mitzvah either. There are many people who don't want him there, and if he comes it could cause problems, as people are very angry with him."
Rabbi Shalom Bacher, a native of Johannesburg and the chief rabbi of the Blairgowrie Synagogue in the city, was not surprised by the news.
"The vast majority of Jews here don't like him, and are very angry with him," he told Ynet. "The vast majority here are Zionists, love Israel unconditionally, and have excellent ties with Israel that go beyond politics."
The rabbi added that the public was easily angered by anti-Israeli sentiment. "After the report was published the Jewish institutions here made statements against it and stood up to Judge Goldstone," he said.
Richard Goldstone said in response to the blog's report that he had decided not to take part in his grandson's bar-mitzvah for the latter's own benefit.