Geneva, April 25, 2010 – UN Watch welcomes the news, as reported by the New York Times, that Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who presided over the controversial UN Human Rights Council report into Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, will attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah ceremony at a Johannesburg synagogue next week without facing protests outside the event.
Following earlier reports last week that Judge Goldstone would not attend as a result of threatened protests by some South African Jews, UN Watch contacted the South African Jewish community to convey its concerns. UN Watch, which has numerous readers and supporters in South Africa, expressed the position that any protest surrounding a bar mitzvah ceremony would be inconsistent with basic decency and propriety.
After the story made international news, its main effect was to rally defenders of the one-sided report, who pointed to the controversy as alleged proof that opposition to the document was ad hominem and not substantive.
In an L.A. Times op-ed last week entitled “Attacking Goldstone,” Daniel Terris, director of a Brandeis University ethics center chaired by Goldstone, defended the conclusions of the UN mission, and accused “prominent critics of the report” of making “a quick leap from debate to invective.”
In fact, the most prominent critics of the report have published detailed objections, including the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, philosopher Moshe Halbertal, attorney Trevor Norwitz, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. None of these significant documents has been met with any meaningful response.
UN Watch continues to vigorously oppose the report at the UN Human Rights Council, which recently voted to perpetuate the report’s findings and recommendations through the establishment of various committees, and to keep it on the agenda at future sessions.