Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where's the Goldstone report into Sri Lanka, Congo, Darfur – or Britain?

If you want a glimpse of the anger and heartache caused by the Goldstone report into the Gaza conflict of 2008-9, you could do worse than take a trip to the National Theatre. There a new and absorbing play, The Holy Rosenbergs, imagines the rift in a British Jewish family sparked by the daughter's work as a lawyer for a Goldstone-like inquiry into Israeli conduct in Gaza. It is the eve of her brother's funeral, and the local rabbi urges her to stay away: if she attends, pro-Israel activists will demonstrate at the cemetery.

If that sounds a stretch, think again. A year ago, Richard Goldstone – the eminent judge who had headed a UN fact-finding mission to Gaza – was told by key players in the South African Jewish community that he should not come to the synagogue where his grandson was due to have his bar mitzvah: if Goldstone showed his face, the 13 year-old's big day would be disrupted by protests.

In the end, the row was resolved, but that is about the only part of the Goldstone saga that was: the rest remains fiercely contested, for reasons which point to a much larger story than simply the tale of one man and his report.


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