According to Ha’aretz, Richard Goldstone has come to an agreement with some activists in South Africa to stay away from his grandson’s upcoming bar mitzvah celebration.

“We understand there’s a bar mitzvah boy involved – we’re very sensitive to the issues; at this stage there’s nothing further to say,” the Writing Rights blog quoted the SAZF (South African Zionist Federation) chairman Avrom Krenge as saying.” The Zionist federation was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel,” the blog quoted Krenge as saying.

The head of South Africa’s Beth Din – or Jewish religious court – told the blog the court had not been officially involved in the matter, but that he supported the move as it spoke to the sentiments of many in the community and could prevent potential “unpleasantness.”

“I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul, a lot of anger,” the blog quoted Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag as saying. “I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organize a protest outside the shul [there were] all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed.”

Well, reason prevails at Jewlicious as well. I can’t speak for all of our writers, but I know there are a few of us who strongly disagreed with Goldstone’s report, its conclusions, the foundations of its conclusions and the fact that he took on the role of shepherding this report in the first place. And yet, Jewlicious will take a markedly different approach to Goldstone’s grandson’s bar mitzvah.

In some ways, I understand the desire to punish him. Goldstone has caused Israel severe harm and may well have put Israeli soldiers at risk in future wars as they now have a virtually impossible task fighting wars according to doctrines in the Goldstone Report that make warfare virtually impossible in the conditions prevalent on two of Israel’s borders.

However, this “punishment” of preventing Goldstone from participating in his family’s simcha is shameful. It hurts not only him, but it also hurts his grandson and the grandson’s parents. Essentially, for political motives, a group of activists has hijacked a family celebration and ensured that no matter the outcome – whether Goldstone attends or not – the day has been tarnished. No matter what, the absence of the grandfather will loom large that day.

Now, I’m not a torah scholar, but I’m pretty sure there’s a verse in our Torah that reads something like, “Lo tisa avon avot al banim, al shileshim v’al ribeim.” I’m sure that’s not the exact quote, so I’m now also going to paraphrase its translation: “You shall not place the father’s sin upon his sons, grandsons or great grandsons.” I’m pretty sure the verse doesn’t mean to imply that you can go crazy on the great-great grandsons but rather THAT YOU LEAVE THE GRANDSON ALONE ON HIS BAR MITZVAH DAY AND LET HIM COME INTO OUR TRADITIONS IN A WAY THAT WILL MAKE HIM WANT TO BE A PART OF OUR COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE.

I can’t fix what some idiot pro-Israel advocates are doing to Goldstone in Johannesburg. What I can do, however, is let him know that he is welcome here. Yes, we disagree with his views, but he remains part of our community and more importantly, his children and grandchildren most certainly are part of our community and deserve to be treated respectfully. As such, Judge Goldstone has an open invitation to post a post on Jewlicious without any reservation and about whatever topic he would like to cover.

If I may, I would suggest a congratulatory bar mitzvah message to his grandson – we tend to achieve fairly high Google rankings on many topics and if you word it correctly or write his name, he may get a kick out of seeing Jewlicious as a first page result for his name. If, however, a different topic winks at Judge Goldstone, the floor is his.

This is a serious offer. I can be reached at themiddle@jewlicious.com or the founder of this blog, David Abitbol, is reachable at jewlicious@gmail.com.

Even if Goldstone declines to take me up on this offer, he should know that some of us feel strongly that while he’s a prominent person and can defend himself, attacking his family is unacceptable and those who do so are not speaking for those of us who are critical of the Report.

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themiddle

26 Comments

  • I disagree. There are many Torah passages about excluding from the community people who injure the community. And the type of exclusion often involves the death penalty. What Goldstone did was as bad for the community as acts which Torah commands the death penalty. Obviously, Goldstone’s actions would not merit the death penalty under any modern law even in countries with a death penalty. But we should shun traitors.

  • Dude, you can shun him all you want, but his grandson ain’t being shunned and neither are his children. One way to ensure that they feel included is to include him, which is exactly what I propose to do here. I hope he reads this and posts here.

  • Goldstone is a turd.
    A sniveling “galuty” Jew of the worst kind.

    BUT…

    To take it out on his GRANDSON?!?
    What are you guys?
    NUTS?!?

    I suggest all the fervent South African Zionists quit bullying 13 year old kids & do something really Zionist instead, like MAKE ALIYAH.

    sheesh…

    Mike
    @pop_art

  • I don’t think the last chapter in the book of Goldstone has been written. Goldstone struck me as a well meaning and honest man placed in a difficult and nearly impossible position. I won’t demonize the man. Israel really should have cooperated with his investigation. Maybe they’ll learn for next time. Now, I’m as Zionist as it gets. I left the fleshpots of the diaspora and came here. Seriously, if there were still swamps here I’d drain them! And whoever banned Goldstone from attending his Grandson’s bar mitzvah brings shame on us all – please don’t call yourself a Zionist. It’s embarrassing.

  • As much as I understand what you are saying, think about it if you were in there shoes. Would you want Naturei Karta or Norman Finkelstein attending your synagogue, for whatever reason? His family could have avoided all of this by having a private service, however by doing it publicly they have to deal with the repercussions. Now, as family of this evil man I would probably never have invited him in the first place and ignored his phone calls, but that is their right. Just as it is the Jewish community’s right to outcast someone harmful to them.

    • You know, we’re not too big on Norman Finkelstein here on Jewlicious, but if he had a grandson in my synagogue who was coming up for a bar mitzvah, I would make sure he would have my seat if there were no others available in the sanctuary while the ceremony was going on.

  • I have to say, I am quite shocked at the Middle’s position as well as many of the posters.

    I think many agree that Goldstone: a) Was wrong to take on the task of the court Jew in the 1st place, regardless of intentions, b) Went about putting together his report in an inappropriate and sly way, c) Came to absurd and dangerous (and misleading) conclusions, and d) followed up on his report with a “personal tour” that served no purpose but to fan the flames and further his own personal celebrity which continues to this day.

    Why is any of this relevant? 1) It has further ostracized and isolated the only jewish state, Israel, to a point where Israel is probably in its most precarious position since 1973 and/or 1948., 2) As a Jew (in his late 30s), I can honestly say this is the most threatened I have ever felt in my life …even worse, as a father of two young children, I have even greater concerns and worries that burden me on a daily basis as a result of the campaign that Goldstone has been central in.

    Did Goldstone cause ALL of this by himself – obvously not. But he has played a central role and helped keep the demagogury at the forefront of the MSM. He has put the state of Israel in danger and more importantly, on a personal level, he has put all Jews and their CHILDREN at real risk and he continues to do so.

    As chance would have it, I live in the same city as his daughter. Through some sleuthing, I tracked down her personal contact information. I thought about contacting her to try and urge her to talk some sense into her father (after the report came out, she was quoted as saying her father loved Israel more than anything and would never do anything to hurt it). I decided not too for the moment as maybe it would be crossing a line – if her father was coming to my shul (which has seen more grafitti since her fathers report than in the last 20 years) I DEFINATELY WOULD HAVE CALLED.

    JUST MY OPINION

  • Love the post. The grandson, as he becomes an adult in the Jewish community, should announce that he has decided not to celebrate his becoming a Bay Mitzvah at that synagogue, and have the celebration elsewhere, sincewhere that respects or tolerates his family and the Torah

    • Larry, I gather that the problem isn’t the synagogue but a group not necessarily comprised of members of that synagogue that most likely threatened demonstration and disruption if Goldstone should be there.

  • If the Goldstone family really wanted take stand and they all love Israel as much as they claim (and for that matter their grandfather which they want to include), why don’t they hold the Bar-Matzah in Israel (like I did). I was thinking holding it Sderot might be a nice gesture? Or in the alternative, I hear Gaza is very nice this time of year

  • These Zionist are destroying real Jews again. They caused the Holocaust and now are trying to cause another holocaust for Jews.

    Everyone knows that the Zionist are a bunch of Converts who come into the Jewish community to cause trouble.

    The Zionist want to use Jews to battle and control the world threw hate activity and murder torture of the Palestinian people.

    Persecutors terrorist Zionist are punishing a Bar Mitzvah Family due to race hating and control.

    Sounds like “Hitler Zionism and Nazism” are the same activity-

  • As a former member of the synagogue I can assure you that it has nothing to do with punishing the son for the (grand) fathers crimes.

    The event is being held in the Beit HaMidrash HaGadol Sandton, a private organization, and the organization’s board decided that Richard Goldstone can’t set food on the premises.

    The family is under no obligation to have the barmitzvah there, and are welcome to move it to another location. However even the family is fine doing it without Richard Goldstone being there.

  • He’s a Jew! The most important mitzvah in the torah is V’ahavta le’reacha kamocha! Love Your Fellow Jew!

    Enough people outside our own nation hate us, don’t pick on this guy, no matter how controversial or absurd you may think his opinions are, and bring more hatred between our own people.

  • The Middle – interesting post. I must disagree with you, given that while I agree that he should not be kept from his grandson’s bar mitzvah, i believe that the Beit Midrash had the right to shun Go0ldstone, and that his family could have chosen a location which would not have objected to his presence. Nonetheless, thank you for posting.

    Humans – What? Did you really just say that Zionists caused the Holocaust?

    Akiva – Rabbi Hillel stated “Ma she sanua aleicha lo taaseh lachaverecha” (What is hateful to you do not do to another [lit. your friends]). Is it not hateful to publish libelous material?

  • Goldstone is undeniably a moser. It sounds like the place at which they’re holding the bar mitzvah agrees and wishes to give him the cherem treatment. Shame for the kid, but now Goldstone sees how hated he is by his own people. I mean, you can talk about loving your fellow Jew all you want, but would you embrace Korach (sons of Korach are fine, they wrote a lot of beautiful Psalms. I’m talking about Papa Korach)? Or what about Dathan and Aviram? Goldstone belongs in that category, in my humble opinion.

  • Just study Goldstone’s track record on many prominent cases and then make your own judgement – the facts will be very clear!

  • Since Judge Goldstone is certainly too busy to be reading blogs and stumbling across your invitation to post here, I’m taking the liberty to do what will suffice as a substitute.

    Please see these links to learn about what really happened with Judge Goldstone and the report.

    A collective of rabbis, which you surely consider as “anti-Israel”, wanted to learn from the horse’s mouth before establishing a judgment of the report. So they set up a conference call with him. You have 100% access to the call, the transcript and an overview written by a rabbi at the following links:

    http://fastforgaza.net/node/93
    http://fastforgaza.net/audio/goldstone-10-18-2009

    Hope this makes up for him being too busy to be cruising blogs….

    • Okay Lolo, I let your propaganda through. Happy?

      When the Dore Gold-Goldstone debate took place, we covered it. When the Report came out, we covered it. We’re not afraid of the report, although it has and will cause Israel and Israelis untold problems in the future. I will speak for myself when I say that Goldstone has not succeeded in convincing me of many of his claims. I am happy to point out why if you would like, but as one example, calling the “door knockers” a war crime is to turn truth and justice on their heads.

      And how do you know whether Goldstone is too busy to cruise blogs? Are you suggesting we’re not sufficiently important or that he does not possess the humility to communicate with others because they “blog?”

      He has an offer to come here and write a note to his grandson who won’t see him at the bar mitzvah, or actually, he is welcome to write anything he wants to write. He does not have many friends left in any Jewish community since he may well have placed our Israeli families and friends in jeopardy, not to mention tainted them with what is potentially a blood libel. In this case, lowly (Jewish) bloggers are extending a hand out in an effort to treat him in a civil manner.

  • Dahlia- He’s doing his job. Why does everybody have this notion that Israel is above and impervious to all criticism. I spent last year living and studying in Jerusalem. I can whole-heartedly say that I love the land of Israel, but the government does a lot of pretty screwed up things.

    I think it is our duty as informed, educated Jews, to distinguish between the land and the country. I’m not advocating for any Neturei Karta-ness, but I think people should push themselves to recognize the difference, and the consequences of those differences. As Jews, we should stand by the land no matter what, as our G-d given home land. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to lose all reason and intellect anytime anybody criticizes the government. People (namely the Israel government) make mistakes, but in order to fix the problem we can’t just sit around bitching (not that any of you do that, but I happen to know people who do), and actually act.

    As evangelical as this may sound, we also have to keep our eyes on the prize, striving for Moshiach and the ultimate redemption when all the Jews return to Israel. Before flying off the handle, lets contextualize a little bit. The era of moshiach is, most simply put “Imperfect people creating a Perfect society.”

    I’m sure we can all agree to working towards that.

    Cheers.

  • Um Anton, in one of the first pages of the report on Gaza, Goldstone acknowledges that his Palestinian witnesses may have been feeling pressure from outside sources (read: Hamas). Knowing this, how could he proceed in good faith?

    When he debated Dore Gold and was asked by an audience member how he thought Israel should have responded to the rocket attacks since his report essentially makes fighting as an army impossible. He responded that Israel could use commando operations – even though Israel had been trying that approach unsuccessfully for years.

    Were other countries to be investigated and charged in the same way as Goldstone has done to Israel, you would find that what the US and its allies have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan would be deemed war crimes, just as Russia’s actions in Chechnya would. However, he took a mandate to investigate Israel from a body that studiously ignores virtually all the other countries of the world while focusing almost exclusively – almost exclusively!!! – on Israel.

  • TheMiddle,

    I’m sure Goldy would be happy to cruise your blog…….as long is there is something in it for him e.g. ICJ seat, furthering the media attention he recieves, book deal, etc.

    Funny that many who are outraged at the Bar Mitzvah issue are really only using the incident to further the demonization of Israel and legitimazation of Goldy……kind of speaks volumes…

  • Akiva – there is a difference between seeking out the truth, and speaking libel. He was asked by the UN Human Rights Commission to look into war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. Already a problematic statement, in that it presupposes a judgement, and he agreed to do so, and supplied the material, based upon one-sided, and often false, statements, and conjectures. Tzedek tzedek tirdoff. We are taught to seek out justice; not lies.

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