Richard Goldstone in Gaza - AP - June 3, 2009
In this June 3, 2009, photo, UN investigator Richard Goldstone visits the destroyed house where members of the Samouni family were killed during the Gaza war. Photo by AP
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Judge Richard Goldstone told associates several months ago that ever since publication of his report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, he has been in great distress and under duress.

He complained that close friends kept away from him and some family members even had reservations about his cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council.

Last year, a Johannesburg synagogue initially said it would not allow him to take part in his grandson's bar mitzvah.

Goldstone told Haaretz's Akiva Eldar at the time that the bar mitzvah was an event of joy "after much aggravation," and added that he was very upset by the witch hunt and accusations against him. He was particularly offended by a Yedioth Ahronoth article about verdicts he handed down to black defendants during the apartheid era in his native South Africa.

He said at the time that despite the attacks on him in Jewish communities, he does not regret agreeing to chair the investigative committee.

"I felt that because I was Jewish, it would be hypocritical not to get involved in the Middle East," he told Eldar, explaining that he was a Zionist, but did not intend to visit Israel any time soon, for reasons of personal security. He also said he was saddened by what he saw as recent attacks on Israel's democracy, including bills banning criticism of the Israel Defense Forces.

Goldstone observed that Israel has trouble taking criticism, but said he still hopes the government will conduct an open inquiry of the events in Gaza, adding that the country has distinguished justices and reputable lawyers who can lead such an effort and put an end to the affair.