SAZF: Goldstone wasn't ‘barred’ from entering the synagogue

S.African Zionist Federation denies Goldstone was asked to skip grandson’s bar mitzva.

Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The South African Zionist Federation over the weekend denied reports that former Constitutional Court judge Richard Goldstone, who chaired a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, was told not to attend his grandson’s bar mitzva in Johannesburg next month, according to a report in South African daily The Star.
“Contrary to distorted media reports and false blog accusations, the SAZF states unequivocally that at no time was there any suggestion raised by any party that judge Goldstone should be ‘barred’ or ‘banned’ from entering the synagogue,” SAZF chairman Avrom Krengel was quoted by the paper as saying.
“The SAZF wishes to clarify that discussions were held with the Sandton Synagogue regarding the forthcoming bar mitzva of the grandson of judge Richard Goldstone, and agreement was reached between the parties that no comments would be made until after the celebration.”
On Thursday, before the SAZF denied the report, US Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York) sent the federation a letter chastising the community for the supposed move. Though Ackerman himself is an outspoken critic of Goldstone’s role in the report, he said such opposition should not be carried into the synagogue.
Goldstone himself said last week that he would not attend so as not tohurt his grandson’s celebration, since he anticipated that hisattendance would draw protesters who would interrupt the ritual.
“In the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue,” he said.
In a scathing report commissioned by the UN’s Human Rights Council,Goldstone accused both the IDF and Hamas of war crimes and possiblecrimes against humanity.
The commission he headed recommended that the sides investigate theirown conduct and, failing this, the allegations be brought to theInternational Criminal Court.
Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.