The Backlash Against Goldstone

So now it turn out to be Richard Goldstone–author of the notorious Goldstone report–who is politicizing his grandson’s bar mitzvah.  Jewish authorities in South Africa didn’t “ban” Goldstone from the synagogue at which his grandson was being bar mitzvahed, as Goldstone and his supporters had alleged.  A small group of protestors had said they would exercise their right of expression to picket Goldstone.  Though they clearly had the right to do so, most Jews in South Africa and elsewhere–including me–were uncomfortable with the idea of picketing a grandfather attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.  It was Goldstone who decided not to attend and instead to publicize the matter.

The South Africa Board of Deputies have now persuaded the protestors to pick a different time and place to show their disdain for Goldstein.  The matter should have been put to rest, with Goldstone quietly attending the bar mitzvah.  But Goldstone won’t let it go.  He has attacked the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, who was instrumental in working out a compromise where the protests would be called off and Goldstone would agree to meet with Jewish leaders.  Goldstone escalated the dispute by writing a letter to the local newspaper complaining that,

“the Chief Rabbi would so brazenly politicize the occasion of my 13 year-old grandson’s bar mitzvah to engage in further personal attacks on me.”

But it was Goldstone who brazenly politicized the bar mitzvah by mischaracterizing the Chief Rabbi’s statement and using it as an excuse to continue the controversy about the bar mitzvah.  The alleged “personal attack” by the Chief Rabbi consisted of a statement that every synagogue:

“should welcome in a tolerant and nonjudgmental way all who seek to enter and join in our service and pray to God.”

The Chief Rabbi also exercised his own freedom of speech to express his opinion–an entirely accurate one–that the Goldstone report:

“has unfairly done enormous damage to the reputation and safety of the State of Israel and her citizens.”

Was the Chief Rabbi obligated to remain silent about the report until the bar mitzvah is over?  It would have been irresponsible of Rabbi Goldstein to say nothing in the face of the evil represented by the Goldstone report and its biased authors.  Is it not enough that he curbed those who wanted to protest in front of the synagogue?  It is Goldstone who is using his grandson’s bar mitzvah as a shield against legitimate criticism, just as he has used his “jewishness” as a shield against criticism of the Goldstone report.

Goldstone has not complained about another group of rabbis who have politicized his grandson’s bar mitzvah in an effort to support the Goldstone report and its mendacious conclusions.  A group of rabbis, many of whom have long records of anti-Israel activism, authored a “Rabbinic letter” to Goldstone congratulating him on his grandson’s bar mitzvah and using the occasion to make virulently anti-Israel claims, including the blood libel that Israel deliberately targeted innocent Palestinian civilians without any military purpose.  These ignorant rabbis, most of whom I am sure never read the 500 page report, went out of their way to “affirm” the “findings” of the Goldstone report, despite the fact that virtually every credible academic who has studied the report has found its findings to be unfounded and false.

These bigoted rabbis, who have no expertise in military matters, are prepared to contradict the military expertise of one of the world’s most experienced counter insurgency military experts, Colonel Richard Kemp, who said,

“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF [did] in Gaza.”

Goldstone of course refused to consider Kemp’s testimony and has characterized it as irrelevant to the report’s findings.

These “rabbis for Hamas” have no shame and no credibility.  They exploit their rabbinical status to support any conclusion that undercuts self defense Israeli actions without regard to the evidence and without regard to the truth.

Not surprisingly, the worst of these rabbis (and that is saying a lot), Michael Lerner, after attempting to politicize the bar mitzvah by offering his anti-Israel synagogue for the event, has decided to honor Richard Goldstone with Tikkun Magazine’s “Ethics Award.”  I guess all it takes to be honored by Tikkun is to pass Lerner’s litmus test of lying about Israel.  That’s Lerner’s definition of “ethics.”  There are some good people on the advisory board of Tikkun Magazine.  They now have an obligation to reconsider their membership unless they wish to be associated with a rabbi who is prepared to accuse Israel, in the absence of any evidence, of deliberately setting out to murder Palestinian civilians without any military purpose.

Let Richard Goldstone enjoy his grandson’s bar mitzvah without anyone politicizing it, but let every thoughtful person study the Goldstone report and refuse to remain silent about its bias, its lies, its damage to the peace process and its dangers to Israel’s security.  Richard Goldstone should not use his grandson’s bar mitzvah to selectively silence rabbis who disagree with his report, while encouraging rabbis who agree with it to use the bar mitzvah as a sword against the report’s critics and as a shield against legitimate criticism.  His grandson deserves better.

  • Grantman

    Michael Lerner. He needs a spanking. He's such a petulant child. Did his parents drop him too often when he was a baby?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

    I believe protest is in order, should Judge Goldstone choose to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah. In years gone by, Judge Goldstone might have been entirely cut off from the Jewish community for this egregious and harmful act on his part. Though we do not choose our parents or our grandparents, it seems to me, we are free (even obligated) to make it known that we disagree with our parent or our grandparent if he or she should bring public shame to the family as Judge Goldstone brought upon his family.

  • Democracy First

    In no way do i disagree that Goldstone should suck it up and deal with protests against his egregious report. But his grandson and his parents should be able to enjoy his Bar Mitzvah freely. Goldstone should be protested elsewhere.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

      Explain to me why Goldstone should be protested elsewhere?

  • Carole

    The man`s a disgrace or just plain stupid, some people so easily believe the lies and distortions of the palestinian media!!

  • USMCSniper

    The sins of the grandfather (enormous damage to the reputation and safety of the State of Israel and her citizens) should not be a burden to bear by the grandson, who is innocent, particularly at his one time life event, his Bar Mitzsah. Such a protest is as inappropriate as it can possibly be,

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

      Are you a Christian? Have you read the Bible? Do you believe Joshua, Moses servant, was an evil man? Can you explain Joshua chapter 7, verse 24 to me? Will you condemn God and His servant? Or will you only condemn God's servant?

  • Democracy First

    Because his grandson and his parents shouldn`t have their bar mitzvah ruined for the sins of the grandfather. Let the protesters be mensches (even if the grandfather was not).

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

      How do we explain this?

      "….Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation…." (Ex chapter 34)

      A few months back, Judge Goldstone's daughter told the Jerusalem Post, her father loves Israel; he is a Zionist. Does she, like her father, also sympathize with Hamas? Perhaps Richard Goldstone's grandson feels the same way. If Judge Goldstone's grandson supports his grandfather's assault on Israel – if he like his grandfather supports Hamas – why should he not be protested along with his grandfather? Isn't he almost as sinful as his grandfather? Former President Bush said, you are either with us or you are with the "terrorists." Who is Goldstone with? Who is his family with?

  • artcohn

    Goldstone opened his talk at Brandeis with the claim that Israel destroyed a mosque where people were praying. My first thought washow does he think that he knows that. Unfortunately, neither Dore Gold, nor anybody in the audience asked him that question. The likely answer is that iswhat his commissionwas told by Hamas operatives, or people cowed by Hamas threats. That he should be so naive to believe their lies,or venal to repeat them, not knowing if they were true or not, atrocious.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/pfogel pfogel

    Goldstone is a disgrace to not only the Jewish people but to the world. A man reputed to be a respected international Jurist (and supposed supporter of Israel) to base and support a report that had no factual evidence aside from lies of Hamas witnesses and biased Islamic goons is an anathema to society as a whole. The fact that only self hating Jews and the Muslim world support him and his report is evidence that the man was "bought" and sold out for the love of the bigots and Anti Semites.

  • Izzie Irgun

    Goldstone has made himself a public figure and as such he is fair game no matter where he goes. Freedom of expression does not stop at the door to the shul for his grandson's Bar Mitzvah. I for one have no symapathy for goldstone or his family. He has brought shame and disgrace to the family and if they repudiated his work then I would say the bar mitzvah is off base. But if they embrace him they get the good with the bad and become fair game. When goldstone is out publically and regardless of where it is, people can express their opinions of him. As for Lerner and his Tikkum ethics award, it is a vile pervsrsion of Judisim to annoint a liar amd traitor who intentionally gave succor to the enemy and and allowed Israel's enemies to use his his jewish heritage as a tool to glorigy the report.

    Given his actions Goldstone has gotten off easy for what he did. And there is no reason why Goldstone should get a free pass to anything including his grandson's bar mitzvah. As a result of his report, Jews in Israel may die by terror that he helped pave the way for. No free pass for scum like him …

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

    How do we explain this?

    "….Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation…." (Ex chapter 34)

    A few months back, Judge Goldstone's daughter told the Jerusalem Post, her father loves Israel; he is a Zionist. Does she, like her father, also sympathize with Hamas? Perhaps Richard Goldstone's grandson feels the same way. If Judge Goldstone's grandson supports his grandfather's assault on Israel – if he like his grandfather supports Hamas – why should he not be protested along with his grandfather? Isn't he almost as sinful as his grandfather? Former President Bush said, you are either with us or you are with the "terrorists." Who is Goldstone with? Who is his family with?

  • badaboo

    Goldstone has BLOOD on his hands .He has placed the knife in the hands of Israel's enemies .
    Sickening !