Judge Richard Goldstone will not attend his grandson's bar mitzva due to the South African Jewish community's anger caused by the United Nations-backed Goldstone Report, the South African Jewish Report said. Goldstone has decided to avoid the occasion out of concern that his presence would cause a scene.
According to synagogue officials, Goldstone's concern is not without basis. The Goldstone Report, compiled by a UN Commission which he chaired, harshly condemned Israel over the Cast Lead counter terror offensive in Gaza, and angered many South African Jews, they said.
Synagogue sources said they had suggested that Goldstone not attend the event, but would not prevent him from doing so. If he were to come, they explained, the synagogue would need extra security in order to ensure that there are no disruptions.
The UN Goldstone Report accused Israel of war crimes, while going relatively easy on Hamas, which was not referred to by name. The document was based almost exclusively on uncorroborated testimony from Gaza Arabs and from foreign-funded organizations in Israel known for criticizing the military, such as Breaking the Silence and B'Tzelem. The IDF repudiated and refuted the claims in a report containing photographic and other proofs.
The UN report caused anger in Israel and in pro-Israel Jewish communities worldwide. In South Africa, many Jewish institutions made public statements criticizing the report and distancing themselves from Goldstone, who is a native born South African..