Photo: AP
Goldstone in Gaza (archives)
Photo: AP

Judge Goldstone to attend grandson's bar mitzvah

Judge who drafted controversial UN report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza says scheduled protests against his attendance at Jewish rite-of-passage ceremony in South Africa were cancelled

The internationally respected jurist who accused Israel of war crimes in a UN report said he will attend his grandson's bar mitzvah now that he no longer faces protests from Jews upset by the report.


Richard Goldstone told The Associated Press on Saturday that his planned presence at the Jewish rite-of-passage ceremony in South Africa is possible because protests against his attendance were called off.


Goldstone, currently teaching in Washington, has faced criticism in South Africa and elsewhere for finding that Israel committed war crimes during its offensive in Gaza in 2009. Goldstone concluded both sides committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.


Last week the Writing Rights blog reported that the South African Zionist Federation had prohibited Goldstone from attending his grandson's bar-mitzvah.


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, told Ynet, "The vast majority of Jews here don't like him, and are very angry with him. The vast majority here are Zionists, love Israel unconditionally, and have excellent ties with Israel that go beyond politics."


Goldstone is retired from South Africa's Constitutional Court.


Aviel Magnezi contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 04.24.10, 18:57
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