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Goldstone to attend barmitzvah

    Judge Richard Goldstone will be attending his grandson's barmitzvah after all.

    The Washington-based judge, who authored a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, agreed earlier this month to miss the ceremony following negotiations with the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Johannesburg synagogue at which the barmitzvah is due to take place. The SAZF had reportedly threatened to protest outside the shul should Judge Goldstone attend.

    Last week the South African Jewish Board of Deputies announced that a new agreement had been reached between the parties, confirming Judge Goldstone's attendance at the ceremony and guaranteeing that there would be no protests associated with the barmitzvah, due to take next month.

    "My whole family feels joyful that we'll be able to celebrate the barmitzvah together," Judge Goldstone said.

    As part of the agreement, the SAZF will host a meeting between the judge and community representatives "to discuss the Jewish community's response to the report of the commission chaired by Judge Goldstone last year and for Judge Goldstone to give his perspectives on the issue".

    In light of the agreement, the board of deputies requested that "all parties immediately desist all public activities on this matter so that the young man's barmitzvah celebration can be returned to the privacy and dignity that it deserves."

    Following the worldwide outcry in reaction to the proposed protests, the family received offers from the United States and Israel to hold the event in those countries.

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