Goldstone to attend family event

Judge will go to grandson's bar mitzva in South Africa.

Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who presided over the UN Human Rights Council investigation of last year’s Operation Cast Lead, will attend his grandson's bar mitzva ceremony at a Johannesburg synagogue next week without facing protests outside the event, the South African Jewish community’s umbrella organization announced Sunday.
Following a meeting of community leaders last Friday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said that an agreement was reached according to which no protests would mar the bar mitzva ceremony, but that Goldstone himself would attend a community gathering in which complaints about his controversial report would be aired and he would be given an opportunity to respond.
No date has been set for the meeting, but it will happen “shortly after” the bar mitzva, according to SAJBD national director Wendy Kahn.
“The community is very upset about the Goldstone Report,” she explained. “They thought it was unfair, biased and deeply flawed. And several community leaders have come out against it, mentioning specific issues with it.”
Some community members who felt “very aggrieved” wanted to stage a protest against it outside the bar mitzva ceremony, leading the family to ask the 71-year-old jurist not to come in an effort to prevent the protests.
But in the wake of the discussions between community leaders and with Goldstone himself, the SAJBD issued a statement Sunday asking that "all parties immediately desist all public activities on this matter so that the young man’s bar mitzva celebration can be returned to the privacy and dignity that it deserves."
"I am delighted that I will attend the bar mitzva of my grandson," Goldstone said following the agreement, according to the SAJBD.
The report, published in September by the commission he headed, accused the IDF of intentionally committing war crimes during clashes with Hamas aimed at stopping the firing of rockets at Israel. The report also accused Hamas of crimes, but was widely endorsed by the Arab world for its sweeping and damning conclusions about the IDF’s conduct. In Israel, the report drew widespread criticism and anger.