NEW YORK (JTA) – Tikkun magazine will give its 25th annual ethics award next year to Richard Goldstone, author of the U.N. report on the Gaza war.
The announcement of the award came amid the controversy over Goldstone’s attendance of his grandson’s bar mitzvah in South Africa. Goldstone initially said he would skip the family simcha to avoid planned protests at the event by Zionist groups in South Africa, but late last week an agreement was reached to allow Goldstone to attend the bar mitzvah without protest.
Goldstone, a respected jurist in South Africa, has been persona non grata in pro-Israel circles since the publication last year of his U.N.-sponsored report on Israel’s 2009 war with Hamas in Gaza that said both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. Israeli officials denounced the report as dangerously biased and inaccurate.
Tikkun’s founder and editor, Rabbi Michael Lerner, told JTA that the decision to recognize Goldstone was made prior to the bar mitzvah brouhaha and that the timing of the announcement was the result of his “outrageous” treatment by his fellow South African Jews.
Goldstone is doing a service “for the Jewish people in reinforcing the notion that our ethical judgments are not tied to blind support for any government,” Lerner said.
He said the award stems from Goldstone’s record on human rights and is a “reflection on his contribution to the Jewish people in affirming the independence of loyalty to the policies of the State of Israel.”
Before the bar mitzvah situation was resolved, Lerner issued an invitation last week to Goldstone to relocate his grandson’s bar mitzvah to Lerner’s congregation in Berkeley, Calif.