This is funny, funny coincidental rather than funny funny. No sooner had I got the homophobic email denouncing the rabbis that congratulated Goldstone than I got one pointing to Judge Goldstone’s letter to the South African newspaper, Business Day, suggesting that South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein, is no fan of the commandment about not bearing false witness.
It looks to me like Judge Goldstone is saying that South Africa’s Chief Rabbi has lied about the latter’s approach to the saga of Judge Goldstone not attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.
Here’s a list of articles in South Africa’s Business Day newspaper:

Here’s an article with the SA Zionist Federation apparently granting permission to Goldstone to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah

 FORMER Constitutional Court Judge Richard Goldstone, who chaired a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, will be allowed to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah in Johannesburg next month, the South African Zionist Federation said today.

News of his likely return from Washington for the family ceremony in Johannesburg met with opposition from the South African Zionist Federation, which lobbied the synagogue in question to prevent his attendance.

 [the sheer arrogance of these people!
Here’s the Chief Rabbi saying “ban, what ban?”

AT THE heart of the storm around the barmitzvah of Judge Richard Goldstone’s grandson there stands an ancient and sacred principle: open synagogues.
The rabbi and lay leaders of the Sandton Synagogue, where the barmitzvah is taking place, consulted me and, together, we took the decision that the synagogue is open to the entire family, including Goldstone, and that everything possible would be done to ensure that the barmitzvah be celebrated with the dignity and joy befitting such an important religious milestone.
Only a few months ago, Business Day published an article of mine in which I criticised Goldstone’s report on Gaza as replete with numerous procedural and substantive injustices, all of which tainted its findings legally, factually and even morally.
His severely compromised report has unfairly done enormous damage to the reputation and safety of the state of Israel and her citizens.
Nevertheless, and in spite of all he has done, there is a great principle at stake here, one which is central to Judaism: open synagogues

Here’s Judge Goldstone’s letter calling the Chief Rabbi’s version of events into question:

I read with dismay Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s article in yesterday’s Business Day. I was dismayed that the chief rabbi would so brazenly politicise the occasion of my 13-year-old grandson’s bar mitzvah to engage in further personal attacks on me.
I am prepared to respond fully to those attacks, but not in the run-up to my grandson’s bar mitzvah.
He and his family have been working for close to a year preparing for the once-in-a-lifetime rite of passage into the Jewish community. Of all people, the chief rabbi should be aware of the importance of this. Yet, for whatever reasons, Chief Rabbi Goldstein would rather focus on me.
I was further dismayed when I read his article because his rhetoric about “open synagogues” simply does not coincide with how my family and I have been treated.
The chief rabbi has been well aware of the situation, and instead of using his position of leadership in the South African Jewish community to promote the “open synagogues” principle that he purports to profess, he would rather write articles and threaten others with lawsuits.
I must state that at no time whatsoever has the chief rabbi reached out to my family. Acting on information that we received from the synagogue, and the recent threat by the leader of the South African Zionist Federation of demonstrations if I attend the synagogue service, it was decided that it would be better if I did not attend the bar mitzvah. We have taken that decision in the best interests of my grandson and my family.
My only concern at the present time is that my grandson’s bar mitzvah should be the joyous occasion that he deserves it to be. I would dearly love to attend my grandson’s bar mitzvah. The questionable and unfortunate approach of the chief rabbi, in all the circumstances, makes it less, and not more, possible for me to do so.
Judge Richard Goldstone
Via e-mail

And finally, an article rounding up the sorry saga:

The chief rabbi had at no stage “reached out” to his family.
Goldstein said last night he empathised with Goldstone’s “anguish as a grandfather”, but called on him to understand the pain his report had caused.
“Under difficult circumstances and amid heated emotions I, together with the rabbi and executive of the Sandton shul, ensured that he would be free to attend the bar mitzvah; and we did our utmost best to persuade those who wished to protest not to.”
But people did not need his permission to protest in a “free democracy”, he said.
Goldstein last week threatened activist Zackie Achmat with a defamation lawsuit, after Achmat accused him of betraying his predecessor’s “tolerant tradition” by supporting the SAZF’s stance against Goldstone. He withdrew the threat on Monday.
Can’t wait for the full version of Goldstone’s case against South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein

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