Friday, 23 April 2010

U.S. Jewish magazine honors Zionist Goldstone for 'upholding Jewish values'

The U.S.-based Jewish progressive magazine Tikkun has opted to give its annual prize to Judge Richard Goldstone for upholding what the publication called the "best ethical" Jewish values.

Goldstone was the author of a damning United Nations report which accused Israel of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip during its three-week war with Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009.

In a statement released on Friday, editor Rabbi Michael Lerner said Goldstone had been chosen as this year's recipient of the Tikkun Award because "the peace community both in Israel and around the world see Justice Goldstone as upholding the best ethical values of the Jewish community."

Lerner also voiced "outrage" at what he called "the treatment [Goldstone] has received" by the Jewish community, making a direct reference to a recent report claiming that a pro-Israel group banned Goldstone from participating in his grandson's bar mitzvah in South Africa over his Gaza report.

"The banning of him from his own grandson's bar mitzvah in South Africa, led us at Tikkun to invite him to do his grandson's bar mitzvah here in the United States where many Jews would honor him," Lerner said, adding that Goldstone "was delighted with the invite, but said it was too late."

Then, Lerner said in his statement, Tikkun had "decided to award Judge Goldstone the annual Tikkun Award at the celebration of our 25th Anniversary in the Spring of 2011."

Past recipients of the award, Lerner indicated, have included "Abba Eban, Allen Ginsberg, Irving Howe, Alred Kazin, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Marion Wright Edelman, Yehuda Amichai, Senator Paul Wellstone, and James Hillman."

In the statement, the Tikkun editor said that for those of us in the Jewish community who recognize that Israel's treatment of Palestinians and its overt violations of human rights are not only a rejection of traditional Jewish values, but are also dangerous both to the survival of the State of Israel and to the future safety of the Jewish people living all around the world."

Referring to Israel's lack of cooperation with Goldstone's fact-finding mission, Lerner said that the South African former jurist "made clear that his charges were not substantiated, that had Israel been willing to cooperate with his UN sponsored investigation they might well have helped him eliminate elements of the report that were not true according to Israeli information."

"As many of us in the peace community noted, the charges could easily have been responded to by Israel taking the stance that these acts were not part of its policy, that they regretted them and intended to take steps to make sure that things of this sort would never happen again, and that it would hold accountable and punish those engaged in or giving orders for or collaborating with human rights violations," Lerner added.

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