This is a beautifully written and sympathetic letter addressed to Dr Richard Goldstone, from 25 souls out of a few million, and I am sure Dr Goldstone appreciates their sympathy.
Dear Judge Goldstone,
As rabbis from diverse traditions and locations, we want to extend our warmest mazel tov [congratulations or good luck] to you as an elder in our community upon the Bar Mitzvah [male coming of age] of your grandson. Bar and Bat Mitzvah [i.e. male and female coming of age] is a call to conscience, a call to be responsible for the welfare of others, a call to fulfil the covenant of peace and justice articulated in our tradition.
As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the report you authoured. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel’s quote, “The world stands on three things: justice, truth and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgment of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates’ (Zekharya 8:16).” We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.
We are deeply saddened by the controversy that has grown up around the issuing of the report. We affirm your findings and believe you set up an impeccable standard that provides strong evidence that Israel engaged in war crimes during the assault on Gaza that reveal a pattern of continuous and systematic assault against Palestinian people and land that has very little to do with Israel’s claim of security. Your report made clear the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, agricultural properties, water and sewage treatment centres and civilians themselves with deadly weapons that are illegal when used in civilian centres.
This is the ugly truth that is so hard for many Jewish people to face. Anyone who spends a day in Palestinian territories sees this truth immediately.
Judge Goldstone, we want to offer you our deepest thanks for upholding the principles of justice, compassion and truth that are the heart of Jewish religion and without which our claims to Jewishness are empty of meaning. We regret that your findings have led to controversy and caused you not to feel welcome at your own grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. We believe your report is a clarion call to Israel and the Jewish people to awaken from the slumber of denial and return to the path of peace.
Rabbi Everett Gendler, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Rabbi Brant Rosen, Rabbi Brian Walt, Rabbi Haim Beliak, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Rabbi Shai Gluskin, Rabbi David Shneyer, Rabbi David Mivassair, Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, Rabbi Douglas Krantz, Rabbi Margaret Holub, Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Rabbi Mordecai Liebling, Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer, Rabbi Eyal Levinson, Rabbi Doron Isaacs, Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Rabbi Erin Hirsh, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, Rabbi Benjamin Barnett, Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Rabbi Ayelet S.Cohen, Rabbi Jeffrey Marker