Sunday, April 18, 2010

Goldstone Will Not Attend Grandson's Bar Mitzvah In South Africa After Demonstrations Threatened

On Friday, both the New York Times and the South African Jewish Report carried articles on the pressure being placed on South African jurist Richard Goldstone that has led him to decide not to attend his grandson's Bar Mitzvah next month in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton. Many Jews in South Africa are severely critical of Goldstone's Report to the United Nations on the 2008 Israeli incursion into Gaza. The South African Zionist Federation had threatened to hold demonstrations against Goldstone outside the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue where the event will take place. After negotiations between the various parties, Judge Goldstone, who is currently a Distinguished Visitor at Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C., says that he has agreed, in the interest of his grandson, not to attend the Bar Mitzvah service. A number of lawyers and judges in South Africa strongly criticized the threats against Goldstone. Lawyer George Bizos said that those applying the pressure "ought to hang their heads in shame."