Rob Goldstone: the Jewish boy told he wouldn't succeed

His father was a founding member of the Hillock Hebrew Congregation, he attended two Jewish schools and  trained as a journalist at a Jewish newspaper



Rob Goldstone is the man at the centre of the Trump email scandal. The music publicist and former journalist set up the meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016, where they - and the others present - were to discuss some information which could be damaging to Hillary Clinton and help to boost Mr Trump's election chances.

The British-born PR man grew up in the heart of the Jewish community in Whitefield, north Manchester. His father was a founding member of the Hillock Hebrew Congregation, he attended two Jewish schools and trained as a journalist at a Jewish newspaper.

He's remained close to his Manchester roots, despite moving away in his  twenties, and still boasts close friends in the community. "He's a larger than life character, a real extrovert," said one this week. "He's as mad as the hats that he wears," he added, with obvious affection.

"He's honest as the day is long. Remember, he's a publicity agent. His job is to bring people together. That's exactly what he was doing in this case."


Rob Goldstone started at King David Infants School, but by the age of seven, concerns over his health  meant his parents, Ike and Bertha, sent him to a Jewish boarding school, Delamere Forest School in Cheshire. Later a school for children with special educational needs, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Goldstone was there it was a charity-run school for children with health issues, whose families and GPs  thought would benefit from its programme of fresh air, healthy eating, strict discipline and less rigorous education.

The school was run according to the philosophy of head teacher Bernard Benjamin, who believed in a holistic regime of culture and exercise. Pupils listened to a poem and a piece of classical music before breakfast. They ate a strictly regulated diet which included a mixture of egg and milk every morning and cup of Complan in the afternoon

“We were often punished for slight transgressions,” said one pupil who was at the school at the same time as Goldstone. “I remember that once Robert Goldstone put salt on my icecream. Both of us were punished by being sent to bed straight after tea.”

When he  left Delamere Forest, he went to Heys Boys’ County Secondary School, in Heys Road, Prestwich which had a reputation locally as “very rough”, according to another former pupil.

“There was a lot of bullying and aspirations were very low,” he said. “We were told on our first day that if we worked hard we might become a lab assistant.”

Goldstone  left school at 16, having been told by a school careers’ adviser that “you can’t” become a journalist. Undaunted, Goldstone begged the Jewish Gazette for a job, and became a trainee sports reporter.

Last year he told the Manchester Jewish Telegraph: "Years later, I went back to Heys Road and saw the same careers master and just said, 'By the way, you can'.

"I was given sport to look after at the Gazette and then went on to general news."

He then worked for the Bury Times, then for newspaper and radio stations in Birmingham, before heading for London where he continued his career in radio and on tabloid newspapers. He moved to Australia, and then established his PR business in New York. “I was happy when I head he’d done so well,” said the former Heys Boys' pupil, “because we all felt written off when we went to that school. Rob was clever and funny and deserved to do well.”

Goldstone loved mixing with the celebrities that he promoted, telling many anecdotes about them.

One, that he recounted to the Jewish Telegraph may come in useful now he is embroiled in the Trump email affair.

He recalled a conversation with U2 frontman Bono.

"U2 were quite cerebral, but my colleague struck up a conversation with Bono.

"Bono, exasperatingly, had an answer for everything my colleague said.

"My colleague became so frustrated, he just got up and said, 'I am a coconut'.

"Nowadays if I am ever in an awkward situation, I just say, 'I am a coconut'. It is a brilliant way to defuse a situation."

Goldstone is "lying low" at the moment, according to his Manchester friend.  "He's done nothing wrong. This will all blow over in time."

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