Richard Silverstein exposed

January 2, 2012
(CARL) One of the biggest shmucks in the Jewish blogging world – Richard Silverstein – thinks he has exposed Aussie Dave of Israellycool’s true identity.

Now, due to a sloppy error on his part (thanks to an eagle-eyed Israeli who finds him as repellant as I, who caught it), Aussie Dave has exposed his real identity. And since I believe that hypocrites deserve their comeuppance and that their dark secrets deserve to see the light, I’m exposing him for what and who he is: David Loeb, 23 Rashi Street Beit-Shemesh, Israel. In his Facebook profile he notes some sort of affiliation with Virgin Megastores, which may mean he works there. If anyone knows, I’d like to find out.
Commenters note that Loeb has featured a picture of a U.S. basketball player for his profile photo which makes that as fake as the rest of him and his blog is. He also might’ve considered that featuring his blog’s URL in his Facebook profile would be another dead giveaway to his real identity.

There’s just one little problem: Dave’s last name isn’t Loeb and that’s not his address (I happen to know the real Dave personally). Dave set a trap for Silverstein and Silverstein fell for it (and continues to believe that he has outed Dave) lock, stock and barrel.
Read the whole thing. And if you happen to open Silverstein’s blog (or an article that quotes him in the New York Times), keep in mind what a good job of fact-checking Silverstein does before you believe a word he says.

…this guy did something unethical to me as well.I enjoy a diversity of opinions, but you don’t come out learning anything with Richard. He takes part of your tweets out of context. It really isn’t witty. It’s called a troll.


FBI bugged the Israeli embassy in Washington

October 12, 2011
Richard Silverstein WASHINGTON — FBI intercepts leaked by an Israeli employee of the agency has provided evidence of intensive monitoring of the Jewish state by the U.S. intelligence community.  The U.S. intelligence campaign against Israel was highlighted by intercepts supplied by an FBI translator to U.S. blogger Richard Silverstein who said the FBI bugged the Israeli embassy in Washington and intercepted discussions with members of Congress and the pro-Israel lobby. Silverstein acknowledged that he received 200 pages of transcripts of telephone calls to and conversations in the Israeli embassy. Later, Silverstein said he burned the transcripts.

New York Times Promotes Radical Sources Maligning Israel

September 8, 2011
Richard Silverstein

(Camera.org) (image Bill Warner PI) A New York Times article about the FBI’s attempts to eavesdrop on the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the resulting leak of wiretapped conversations to a blogger (Scott Shane, “Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel,” Sept. 5, 2011) was as much a defense of these actions as it was about the controversial eavesdropping and illegal leak. That is because the article was based almost entirely on the comments of extremist, anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein justifying the actions of his friend, Shamai Leibowitz, who was sentenced to 20 months of incarceration for illegally transferring wiretapped documents to publicize on Silverstein’s blog. Unsurprisingly, the New York Times article failed to accurately inform readers of the radical anti-Israel agenda of the two. Instead, it identified Silverstein simply as a “blogger” who “gives a liberal perspective on Israel and Israeli American relations” and Leibowitz as “a lawyer with a history of political activism” who shares Silverstein’s “concern about repercussions from a possible Israeli airstrike on nuclear facilities in Iran.” But was the main motive for the duo’s actions really “concern” for Israel and the U.S., as the article suggests? Given the players’ extensive background of denigrating Israel, and in some instances, working to undermine the nation’s legitimacy, “concern” is a dubious characteriztion, to put it mildly. Regrettably, The Times’ failure to identify the commentators accurately is characteristic of its often biased reporting.
Who is Shamai Leibowitz? Shamai Leibowitz is not merely a politically liberal activist. Scion of the controversial philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a notorious critic of Israel who coined the term “Judeo-Nazi” to describe Israeli soldiers, Shamai has taken his grandfather’s condemnation to another level: He has promoted the dismantlement of the Jewish state, campaigning in the boycott, divestment and sanctions war against Israel. An NGO-Monitor article by Attorney Avi Bell summarizes Shamai Leibowitz’s longtime activism against the Jewish state. Here are some examples: * In 2003, Leibowitz wrote a paper entitled “Legal Strategies for a One State Framework” for the Association for One Democratic State in Palestine/Israel. * The following year, he addressed a conference in Lausanne promoting a single, non-Jewish state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. * Leibowitz joined the Somerville Divestment Project, with the goal of bringing the boycott and divestment movement to American municipalities, and in November 2004, travelled to the small Massachusetts municipality, urging it to openly divest from the Jewish state and calling on residents to “demand that their tax dollars are not invested in companies that sell equipment and ammunition” to the Israeli Defense Forces. Despite his best efforts, the motion failed. * In 2005, Leibowitz published an article in The Nation promoting economic sanctions against Israel, and a lawfare campaign against Israeli military and political leaders which would ban them from travelling and bring lawsuits against them in international courts. In addition, Leibowitz urged the U.S. administration to prohibit the sale of any military equipment to Israel. (An abridged version of Leibowitz’s article is available here.) * Leibowitz attempted to boost the successful efforts of liberal Protestant churches in the United States to promote divestment from companies doing business with Israel by speaking at various functions and urging other churches to join these efforts. Although initially successful, similar anti-Israel resolutions were defeated at subsequent national church gatherings. * In his professional capacity as a lawyer, Leibowitz defended terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti in court for the murders of 26 Israelis. The lawyer aroused the wrath of the victim’s relatives when he declared his client to be “a Palestinian Moses” and compared his case to the biblical prophet’s killing of an Egyptian to save his fellow Jew. During the trial, Barghouti’s defense lawyers attempted to turn the tables on the case by handing out their own indictment of Israel, accusing the state of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Certainly Leibowitz’s history of animosity and agitation against Israel is noteworthy in an article about his involvement in the FBI’s spying attempts on that country. But the only hint of Leibowitz’s controversial actions come near the end of the article, sharply downplayed: He practiced law in Israel for several years, representing several controversial clients, including Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader convicted of directing terrorist attacks on Israelis, who Mr. Leibowitz once said reminded him of Moses.Isn’t the real story here why the FBI would turn to a person with such a radical anti-Israel agenda to help with its spying efforts on Israel, and why did they trust him with such confidential information? Needless to say, the article does not explore these obvious and essential questions. On the contrary, the reporter turned to the blogger with the same biased agenda to shape the article. Who is Richard Silverstein? Richard Silverstein is known as a radical, anti-Israel blogger who repeatedly defends Hamas while blaming the Israeli government, and who promotes Israel as a single state of all its citizens. According to Silverstein: If Israel is a Jewish state, then it is not a democratic state. It is an ethnocratic state. That is, a state with a hierarchy of rights with Jews at the top and Muslims at the bottom… (“Abbas demands Israel recognize Palestine as a Muslim state“, Tikkun Olam blog. June 16, 2009) On Hamas Every reasonable person both inside and outside Israel knows what will stop the rain of Qassams descending on southern Israel. Hamas has told them what it wants: lifting the siege. If Israel agrees to end its depraved policy of suffocating Gaza, then Hamas would renew the tahdiya and there would be, if not peace, at least calm… And in response to a reader’s comment on that blog item: I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding Hamas rockets & the siege. The siege began just after Hamas won the PA election. That’s quite a while ago. I haven’t kept track of whether Hamas was firing rockets before then or not. (“Gaza, Meretz and the Bankruptcy of Israeli Politics.” Tikkun Olam blog, Dec. 25, 2008) Blaming Israel For its response to the Eilat Attack:This is exactly the sort of gift that Israeli rightists like Bibi Netanyahu love. … Yesterday’s attack in Eilat has fueled an Israeli reaction that can be described as uncontrollable fury, which has killed 14 including three children. ..Oh but I forgot, Palestinian blood is less red than Jewish blood. (“IDF Kills 14 in Gaza, Hamas Renounces Ceasefire, IDF Disagrees With Netanyahu on Responsibility for Eilat Attack,” Tikkun Olam blog, August 19, 2011)For the stalemate in peace talks: I don’t want to appear to be blaming Palestinian militants for the current impasse. They’re clearly at best opportunists taking advantage of prevailing conditions. The blame is entirely Israel’s and belongs to the Netanyahu government… (“2 IDF Officers, 4 Palestinian Militants Killed in Gaza,” Tikkun Olam blog, March 27, 2010)To support his agenda, Silverstein levels false and absurd accusations. For example, he accuses Israel of lying about Gazans carrying out the Eilat attack because three of the terrorists were found to have been Egyptians. (See “Bibi and Barak’s Terror Fraud: Egyptian News Reports Attackers Were Egyptian, Not Gazan”.) And he frequently attacks people and organizations with whom he does not agree by fabricating the facts. (See here, here, and here.) While he has labeled some bloggers he does not agree with as “Kahanist swine,” he himself gets quite bent out of shape when others criticize him. (See, for example here .) Hence many in the blogosphere view him as unhinged. (See here, here and here.) For more details about Silverstein, see here.Why would the New York Times use such an unreliable source—someone who admitted to burning the leaked evidence in his Seattle backyard after Mr. Leibowitz came under investigation in 2009—for the essentials of the story? Perhaps because he bolsters the spin wherein Israel and its supporters are to blame for everything—even questionable FBI actions and illegal leaks of confidential information. Indeed, readers are told that Israeli intelligence operations in the United States are “quite extensive, ranking just below those of China and Russia, and F.B.I. counterintelligence agents have long kept an eye on Israeli spying”… and that Mr. Silverstein views Leibowitz “as an American patriot and a whistle-blower.” Silverstein is then given the platform to present his charges: “Mr. Leibowitz, though charged under the Espionage Act, was acting out of noble motives…”“Mr. Leibowitz… released the documents because of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran…” “Mr. Leibowitz also believed that Israeli diplomats’ efforts to influence Congress and shape American public opinion were excessive and improper…”“What really concerned [Leibowitz] at the time was the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, which he thought would be damaging to both Israel and the United States.” Mr. Leibowitz considered “Israeli diplomats’ attempts to influence Congress” as “violation of the law…” And in this way, the New York Times manages to stay on message – namely, to blame Israel and its supporters.


The Guardian’s anti-Israel Jews, and a letter to my teenage nephew

August 11, 2010

CiF’s Jewish Israel defamers
When joining the team here at CiF Watch, and attempting to understand why Jewish writers for the Guardian are often among the most vociferous in expressing their contempt for Israel, and so willing to demonize the state’s Jewish supporters, I had to get up to speed on the term “Theobald Jew.”

I soon learned that:
According to the Benedictine monk Thomas of Monmouth in his The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich (1173), it was an apostate Jew, a certain Theobald, who, swore that Jews had killed twelve-year old William, a tanner’s apprentice, to fulfill their “Passover blood ritual” in the fateful year of 1144—the first recorded such episode in a long line of murderous defamations.
The CiF contributors I refer to include Naomi Klein, Neve Gordon, Richard Silverstein, Antony Lerman, Seth Freedman, Tony Greenstein, among others. These Jewish writers don’t merely critique Israeli policy, but routinely engage in hyperbole, vitriol, and gross distortions. Their rhetoric is often spewed with hate towards the Jewish state, all but ignoring the behavior of her enemies – the terrorist and reactionary movements who openly seek her annihilation. Such commentators often infer that the democratic Jewish state (the most progressive nation, by far, in the region) is almost always in the wrong, is usually motivated by a hideous malevolence, and represents a national movement which they, as Jews, are ashamed to be associated with.
Freedman, for instance, has suggested that Israel is a theocracy – one which is on moral par with Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Gordon has on several occasions accused Israel of ethnic cleansing – once advancing such an ugly calumny in the radical anti-Zionist magazine, Counterpunch. Tony Greenstein has ardently defended the ugly comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, typically advanced by extremists. Richard Silverstein has called the behavior of Israelis serving in the IDF “subhuman“, and has defended Hamas from “charges” that they are an extremist movement. Naomi Klein actually accused Israel of being so cruel and sadistic as to “bury children alive in their homes.”
While, for the Guardian, employing the services of Theobald Jews serves to inoculate them from charges of anti-Semitism, such Jewish writers, in return, receive the progressive and universalist credentials they so eagerly seek.
The Misnomer of the “Self-Hating Jew”
To be fair, I always found the term “self-hating Jew” to be at best misleading, at worst a complete misnomer. First, because we typically have no way of knowing these writers‘ inner-thoughts. But, more importantly, I never thought that it was an apt description of the anti-Zionist Jews I’ve met over the years. If anything, most seem to possess a belief that they are indeed “better Jews” for being hyper-critical of Israel, opposing their own community, and rejecting the very idea of a Jewish nation-state.
Many seem singularly focused on being seen as a “progressive”. And, as the progressive movement has moved further and further away from identification with Israel – and, to some degree, further away from identification with Jews as such – the need to be seen as progressive (“righteous”) in the eyes of others, has taken precedence over the seemingly parochial desire to identify with, and defend, their own community.
I have thought long and hard about the phenomenon of Jews who oppose their own community, have read and written about it, and there appears to be four dynamics worth exploring:
1. Moral Vanity
I was particularly inspired by Anthony Julius’s long two-part essay published at the American Jewish Committee site, Z Word. The piece was called Jewish anti-Zionism Unravelled: The Morality of Vanity. (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2). Julius also rejects the notion of such Jews as being “self-hating”. Instead he refers to them as moralisers who continually desire affirmation from the non-Jewish world as to their righteousness.
The moraliser makes judgments on others, and profits by so doing; he puts himself on the right side of the fence. Moralising provides the moraliser with recognition of his own existence and confirmation of his own value. A moraliser has a good conscience and is satisfied by his own self-righteousness . He is not a self-hater; he is enfolded in self-admiration. He is in step with the best opinion.
2. The Temptation of Innocence
Ruth Wisse, in her book “Jews and Power“, identified the tendency of some Jews to vociferously oppose their own community as a dynamic which she, in part, attributes to a Jewish uneasiness with the projection political power and a tendency to almost fetishize the Jews’ history of powerlessness. Wisse concludes that Jews who endured, or know the history of, the powerlessness of exile are in danger of mistaking it for a requirement of Jewish life or, worse, for a Jewish ideal. This puerile desire not to be corrupted by the complexities, and occasional compromises, necessitated by possessing moral agency is described by Pascal Bruckner as “The Temptation of Innocence.”
3. Jewish Fear: Assimilation and Altruism as an Inoculation from Harm
More recently, Barry Rubin, director of the GLORIA Center (Global Research on International Affairs), in an illuminating and penetrating piece, entitled “Explaining Jewish Political Behavior“, said:
[historically] Jews were attacked for allegedly having too much power, even when they had little or none, the emphasis was on being eager to make concessions, not to gain victories through threat or pressure.
…How would this strategy try to succeed? By proving Jews were good citizens, by showing they were unselfish and sought nothing for themselves, by demonstrating their willingness to dissolve the bonds and customs of their own community…and by showing that being nice to them would benefit everyone or almost everyone. In other words, altruism was a central element in the strategy
“…A key element of the assimilationist doctrine has been to deny there was a [Jewish] collective communal interest, and to avoid making collective demands.
Rubin, who, it should be noted, fleshes out his argument more fully in his book, Assimilation and Its Discontents, continues:
large parts of the Jewish elite are proud to stand aloof from their own people and deem it virtuous to abandon it and reject any notion of communal interests (including Israel and religion). Indeed, they think they can best prove their credentials by championing the causes of other groups even–sometimes especially–those in conflict with Jewish interests.
…The elite Jew’s emphasis is often to escape identification with the community, proving he is a cosmopolitan with a universalist identity, being the first to demand the dissolution of any community loyalty and viewing the embodiment of Jewish peoplehood—Israel—as an impediment to those goals. While antisemites charge that all or almost all Jews in positions of power pursue a distinctively Jewish interest, the exact opposite is the truth. This explains how left-wing Jews extol multiculturalism and self-determination for other peoples even as they hold the exact opposite attitude toward their own people, whom they are determined to show are not their own people.
…many Jews, particularly in elite positions, are eager to prove their credentials by criticizing their own people or Israel.
4. The Adversarial Jew: Skepticism and relativism disguised as reasoned political thought
I think there’s one last dynamic at play – an insight I came upon as a result of an email exchange I had with my 16-year-old nephew recently.
He reached out to me to seek my advice on this phase he was going through. It seems that he’s going through an early “existential crisis” of sorts – a frame of mind (I warmly noted to him) that most don’t arrive at until college. He mentioned that, lately, he’s been questioning everything – every social convention, everything he’s ever been told, and wondering whether the wisdom, mores, and customs he‘s been brought up by his parents to believe in and abide by are indeed worthy. He said that, since this struggle, he wasn’t misbehaving, but had resigned himself to merely “going through the motions” – but wasn’t really buying into what he always believed to be true. He wanted to know what I thought.
In my reply, I assured him that what he’s going through is perfectly normal, and was a sign that he possessess a vibrant, active, and healthy mind – and, that, indeed, such existential crises were the inspiration for great works of poetry, literature, and philosophy through the ages. I said that I also went through a similar mental orientation – that I, during the first couple years of college, questioned everything ever taught to me by my parents and my community. I even looked down on the adults in my life, and their seemingly conventional thinking. In my arrogance, I said, I believed that I saw things they didn’t see…had arrived at answers to questions that had perplexed not only my a parents and relatives, but the most brilliant minds in my time and in generations past.
However, I also told him that I eventually learned to have a bit of humility about it all, and eventually realized that I didn’t know much about life, at that early stage in my life, at all. And, that my parents, the older I got (and as my adolescence receded) seemed to become wiser and wiser with each passing year – in what I increasingly identified as their decency, sobriety, and plain common sense.
So, I asked my nephew if he would at least try to avoid the audacity of imagining that he alone possessed the wisdom and insight that has eluded his community – the Rabbis, sages, political, and community leaders – in his generation and though the ages. I asked that he not assume that because his father claims that something is true, that the opposite must indeed be what’s actually correct. I asked that he be patient and assured him that, with time and experience, he’ll eventually not be so quick to question the intentions of those who guide him. I expressed confidence that he will come to see that a healthy skepticism about “conventional thinking” is indeed normal, but that he’ll eventually understand that such thoughts need not devolve into a knee-jerk rejection of all the traditions and values of those who have come before him and have guided generations of Jews through often dark and harrowing times.
Julius, in his Z Word essay, dissected the potential moral pathos of many such renegade Jews:
He holds that the truth is to be arrived at by inverting the “us = good” and “other = bad” binarism. He finds virtue in opposing his own community; he takes the other point of view. He writes counter-histories of his own people. It is not enough for him to disagree, or even refute; he must expose the worst bad faith, the most ignoble motives, the grossest crimes. He must discredit.
My nephew is a smart, decent, and level-headed young man. And, I have no doubt that he’ll maintain his bearings during this intellectual “crisis” and not allow himself to surrender to hubris, nor develop a malevolence towards the family and community that has supported, nurtured, and guided him through the complexities of everyday life – those who love him dearly and have tried with all their heart to provide a path to protect him from the maddeningly complicated world he lives in.
It’s a simple lesson perhaps, but a vital one. And, its wisdom that many of the Jews who write for the Guardian, quite shamefully, don’t even meagerly possess.