Group warns of Goldstone protest at bar mitzvah
cape town, south africa | A Jewish group in South Africa still plans to protest if Richard Goldstone attends his grandson’s bar mitzvah.
South African Zionist Federation Chairman Avrom Krengel told the daily Cape Times Monday that his organization would still protest should Judge Richard Goldstone change his mind and decide to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah in Johannesburg next month.
Following negotiations between the federation and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue in Sandton acting on behalf of the family, Goldstone told JTA last week that “In the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue.”
Goldstone was the head of a United Nations-appointed commission that investigated the Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09. The commission’s final report accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Krengel stressed that Goldstone had “definitely not” been barred from the bar mitzvah, but that he would not receive a welcome reception should he choose to attend.
“We’ll exercise our constitutional right to protest,” he said.
ABOVE ARTICLE IS A 4/19/2010 UPDATE OF THIS ARTICLE:
U.N. investigator of Gaza War barred from grandson’s bar mitzvah
The Jewish official who headed a U.N. war crimes probe that infuriated Israel and Jewish communities worldwide has been asked by Jewish community organizations not to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah in Johannesburg next month, according to a South African newspaper.
The South African Jewish Report said Judge Richard Goldstone will not be in attendance because of objections by the South African Zionist Organization (SAZF) and members of the Beith Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue, where the ceremony will be held.
Goldstone angered Israeli officials and mainstream Jews across the world when his U.N.-sanctioned investigation of last year’s armed conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza found Israel guilty of war crimes.
Avrom Krengel, chairman of the SAZF, told the Jewish Report, “We understand there’s a bar mitzvah boy involved — we’re very sensitive to the issues.”
While Krengel said the SAZF had “interacted” on the matter with the chief rabbi, the Beth Din and others, his organization was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel,” the Jewish Report said.
The SAZF reportedly planned to organize a protest outside the synagogue the morning of the bar mitzvah if Goldstone was in attendance.
Meanwhile, Goldstone, who is currently in Washington, D.C., was quoted by The Forward as saying that “In the interests of my grandson, I’ve decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue.”