Sit back and fasten your seatbelts, readers. This could be a wild ride. As you know, I’ve been writing about Rachel Neuwirth’s cyber-bullying behavior toward Jewish liberals here for several months. Poor Rachel doesn’t like it one bit. But what really took the cake for her was one of my recent posts in which I said that in my opinion the version of the story originally told by UCLA Rabbi Chaim Seidler Feller and several witnesses (that Neuwirth first called him a “kapo” during a 2003 altercation at UCLA, after which he got into a physical argument with her) was more credible than her own version (Seidler Feller attacked her unprovoked after which she called him a “kapo”). I also noted in this post that Seidler Feller had retracted his original claim and apologized to Neuwirth. But that fact does not mean that I have to renounce my own opinion of what likely happened. This is America after all.
But Rachel only values American liberties when they apply to her. When they apply to others, she’d rather employ her typical bullying, intimidating tactics and forget that others are entitled to rights as well. Hence this letter I just received from her attorney. Read it and then tell me what you think is really going on here:
Re: Rachel Neuwirth vs. Richard Silverstein
The undersigned represents Rachel Neuwirth and in fact represented her in the action against Rabbi Seidler-Feller…I have read your diatribe of May 7, 2007. The only thing which Ms. Neuwirth has attempted to accomplish since defendant Seidler-Feller has taken full responsibility for the attack upon her in October 2003, and has admitted that the fact [sic] was totally unprovoked was to set the record straight and obtain retractions from those numerous individuals and media source which suggested or stated that she somehow provoked the attack upon her and which led to her vilification by many people, including yourself.
Your diatribe constitute nothing short of defamation since you state that you “didn’t believe her story” thereby calling her a liar with respect to the fact that Seidler-Feller did in fact acknowledge that the attack upon her was unprovoked. Your statements contending that Ms. Neuwirth is a liar and that Seidler-Feller was in fact provoke into striking her. I nevertheless demand such retraction and will act accordingly upon your refusal to do so. Your reference to “harassment or intimidation” applies more aptly to your diatribe then [sic] to Ms. Neuwirth’s attempt to set the record straight and to correct the old misconceptions that she was somehow responsible for goading defendant Seidler-Feller into committing the assault upon her.
I will expect a reply within 10 days.
Very truly yours,
Charles L. Fonarow
This is what a noted internet law attorney in Washington, DC wrote to me about defamation:
If you simply report the unquestioned facts of the case…and then provide a statement that is clearly your opinion, you have said nothing defamatory. Opinions cannot be defamatory — only purported statements of false facts. But, there is a risk of her suing you regardless. This is the problem with our legal system — there is little deterrent against frivolous suits.
A truer word was never spoken. If this lawsuit isn’t the height of frivolousness and vanity I don’t know what is.
Yes, folks this could get very interesting. I am appealing now for support from readers and the progressive Jewish blog world. I’d like to see others call her out for her outrageous conduct. I may need to raise funds for attorney’s fees. After all, she engaged in a four year lawsuit against Chaim Seidler Feller before he capitulated. I hope you’ll be in this with me for the long haul. The principles of freedom of thought and the right to express one’s opinions in blogs are worth fighting for. I hope you agree and join with me. I have a Donate link in my sidebar. Use it if you’re so moved.
Another thing for Rachel to consider is that if she drags this thing through the internet, news media and court, it will only remind the world that there is another version of what happened on that fateful day in 2003, and that version isn’t hers–it’s the one she’s trying so desperately to suppress.
I have written a much fuller account of my reaction to this which will be published in the coming days after I consult with legal counsel.