Goldstone Herem Easing?
One of the things I’ve discovered in writing this blog for seven years is that there is only one way to deal with bullies. You have to face them down and expose them. Most will back off. That appears to be what may be happening in South Africa regarding the herem into which the Jewish leadership had placed Judge Richard Goldstone, who’d hoped to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah there next month.
After threats from various uber-Zionist groups to picket the bar mitzvah service at the synagogue and tumult within the congregation, Goldstone felt he had no choice but withdraw from the event. But now that the Jewish progressive blogosphere, the N.Y. Times (h/t to reader Robin), and even Rep. Gary Ackerman have weighed in, the bullies are retracting their claws and reconsidering their brutishness.
The chief rabbi had been involved in the original discussions about Goldstone not attending the ceremony, and presumably endorsed the community’s position. Amazing when a N.Y. Times reporter calls how quickly one can change one’s tune, or has he?
Warren Goldstein, the chief rabbi of South Africa, said he had been involved in discussions about the possible disruptions to the ceremony…
But on Friday he issued a statement saying that he, like most involved, believed the judge should be allowed to attend: “It is simply a question of decency and compassion to the bar mitzvah boy not to ruin his day.”
Since those who endorsed the herem did so out of a fake concern for ‘ruining the bar mitzvah boy’s day’ (with protests and the like), I have to wonder what Goldstein really means here. What would ruin the boy’s day? Not having his grandfather there? Or facing the howls and whistles of the Jewish mob if his grandfather was there?
If Goldstein is backing away, not everyone is seeing the light. Some leaders are attempting to rewrite history to absolve themselves of any responsibility or fault in this shande. At one time, Zev Krengel, South Africa Board of Deputies chair, had called Goldstone “a traitor to his tribe.” Open Shuhada Street notes that he also called Goldstone the worst thing to happen to Jews since the Inquisition.
Note how Krengel now blames the victim for his own exclusion from his grandson’s simcha:
It has been widely reported in the media that Judge Richard Goldstone has been barred from attending his grandson’s barmitzvah [sic] as a result of pressure from certain sectors of the Jewish leadership. While it has not been involved in this matter, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies was concerned that it would turn into a divisive issue within the Jewish community, and has therefore carefully investigated it to establish the correct facts.
What has emerged is that…at no time was Judge Goldstone prohibited from, or even requested, not to attend the barmitzvah ceremony by any organisation or individual. Rather, this was a decision voluntarily taken by the Goldstone family and the other respective parties. Certain senior Jewish communal and religious leaders were certainly involved in the discussions around the topic, but in no way did they attempt to dictate to or otherwise pressurize the family into arriving at their decision.
A character in Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street tells another:
“You can’t piss on my back and tell me it’s rain.”
That’s what Krengel is doing here. The hyper-Zionists of the community threatened pickets outside their synagogue and every unpleasantness they could muster if Goldstone attended. Yet they had nothing to do with his decision to stay away. Have you ever heard of such hypocrisy?
Though I am not Richard Goldstone and can offer my kopek’s worth of advice uninvited, I would urge him to heed the advice of a South African Jewish friend:
Justice Arthur Chaskalson, who served with Judge Goldstone on South Africa’s Constitutional Court, said the threats “reveal a level of bigotry and intolerance meant to shut down any diversity of opinion.”
He said he hoped his friend would reconsider — and come anyway.
Judge Goldstone: face down the bullies. Don’t give them the satisfaction. They will likely run and hide and you will carry the day.
7 thoughts on “Goldstone Herem Easing? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
The law, and the South African Police, ought to be on his side. Depends a little which province, but the Western Cape is very, very strong on the rights of households over intruders.
RE: “threats from various uber-Zionist groups to picket the bar mitzvah service at the synagogue” – R.S.
FROM AL JAZEERA: (excerpts)…”A very ugly feature of the response to the Goldstone report has been personal attacks like this on him and his family over a sustained period,” Doron Isaacs, a Jewish South African, told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
“This should not be seen as an isolated incident.”…
…“There is a belief amongst right-wing Zionist organisations that defaming and humiliating Jewish critics of Israeli policy, will set an example that would intimidate others into silence,” Isaacs, co-ordinator of a community-based education NGO, said.
Isaacs led a Jewish youth movement that campaigned for a just resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict…
SOURCE – http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2010/04/2010415145423264829.html
A RELEVANT FACEBOOK GROUP
Richard J. Goldstone: Integrity Personified
Category: Common Interest – Beliefs & Causes
Description: A group for individuals who respect Justice Goldstone and admire his integrity.
Open: All content is public.
LINK – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=152832719154
I wrote the paragraph below on my Facebook page when I frits heard of the New Meshuggah South Afrikana (Anti) Zionist Federation madness and totally agree with Richard Silverstein that we have to stand up to this self-appoint drech that wrongly thinks it is helping Israel.
They do the opposite – they are a danger to World Jewry with their outrageous and transparently dishonest black propaganda.
Unbelievable! Who do these people think they are? Brownshirts? The Star Chamber? The Sth African Zionist Federation is an outrageous betrayel of Jews. They make our (Victoria’s) State Zionist Council look reasonable for merely being the first to boycott an Israeli academic (former MK Naomi Chazan, who was to come here to raise funds for Israel).
It is time for Real Zionists and decent Jews to stand up to these maddies.
“It is time for Real Zionists and decent Jews to stand up to these maddies”
If only those categories weren’t mutually exclusive. Losing decency is a prerequisite for Zionism.
Zev Krengel looks like a thug, and not a very bright one at that.
Thank you for shining a light of intelligence and sense on these issues. I’m trying to bring to light a little intelligence and sense on the subject of the “useful fools” behind the mask of Solomonia.com – feel free to see what I’ve found here at my blog: http://www.mynewtonlife.blogspot.com/
I look forward to checking out your recommended reading list!
One would think that it was a duty of the leadership of South African Jewry (if there is any such) to do what it can to MODEL DECENCY both as to Bar Mitzvahs and Grandfatherly participation and, much more important, as to SPEAKING OUT in favor of HUMAN RIGHTS for PALESTINIANS (and, thus as to condemning Israeli behavior).
When enough NOTABLES OF THE JEWISH TRIBE speak out against the atrocities of the occupation, especially the cruel blockade of Gaza and the short and brutal shooting-fish-in-a-barrel “war” of 2008/2009, the rest of the world (Jews and others) will find it easier to speak out.
Being DECENT to a bar mitzva boy or to his grandfather is nothing compared to being decent to the 5 million (or so) Palestinians suffering, still, under the Israeli heel since 1948 and 1967 and 1982 and 2005 etc.