Politico-religious fanatics disrupt family simcha

By Dan Judelson
April 16, 2010

Mixing politics and religious doctrine almost always produces a toxic brew, whatever the faith involved. As if to demonstrate the truth of this maxim beyond any reasonable doubt, the South African Zionist Federation has effectively banned Judge Richard Goldstone from attending the barmitzvah of his grandson. The campaign of vilification Goldstone experienced over his investigation into Operation Cast Lead was revolting, but now his critics seek to plumb new depths. There were plans for a demonstration outside the synagogue during the service. Richard Silverstein puts it well when he says of these people “let them call themselves something other than Jews”. Magnes Zionist Jerry Haber – showing magnanimity – feels sorry for the “heresy hunters and the pusillanimous cowards who caved in to them.”

Indeed, it is hard not to feel sad when someone asserts that they “think (the agreement) was quite a sensible thing to avert all this unpleasantness.” That was the opinion of the head of the SA Rosh Beth Bin Rabbi Moshe Kurstag. Just as sickening are the words of the SAZF chair, Avrom Krengel who made the breath taking claim: “We understand that there’s a barmitzvah boy involved — we’re very sensitive to the issues.”

“Sensitive to the issues?” What was the SAZF doing getting involved in the first place, in a celebration where they had precisely NO relevance? “Sensible?” That’s a euphemism for “we collapsed in the face of inexcusable political extremism.”

There’s coverage all over the web on this. You might like to contact the South African Zionist Federation to let them know just how low they have sunk. Former president of South Africa’s Constitutional Court Arthur Chaskalson offers a pithy suggestion: ““If … this has the blessing of the leadership of the Jewish community in South Africa, it reflects on them rather than on Justice Goldstone. They should hang their heads in shame.”


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:17

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No-one "banned" Goldstone

Many in the congregation said they would walk out if Goldstone was called up.

He took the decision to stay away.


Sat, 04/17/2010 - 10:43

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A bit harsh tho surely, on the occasion of his grandsons barmitzvah...
I'm sure his decision to stay away was taken in order to prevent disruption of the occasion and the spoiling of the Barmitzvah boys day.

This is exactly the manner in which fanatics are able to let zionist philosophy override religious occasions. It is very sad that they cannot give the man the joy of attending his grandsons barmitzvah in peace simply over a disagreement.


Sat, 04/17/2010 - 12:25

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I support Israel but a Barmitzvah should not be turned into something political like this. It is the right of the parents, who are paying for the Barmitzvah to decide who will be going to their son's Simcha and the guests should accept their decision.


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