Yesterday, I wrote about the strange case of Joseph Weissman, who writes the Seismic Shock blog, whose virtually sole purpose seems to be to politically cyberstalk Anglican vicar, Stephen Sizer, for his allegedly anti-Semitic, pro-Iranian, anti-Israel views. Wiseman developed almost a personal vendetta against Sizer, infiltrating his parish’s Facebook profile to send personal messages to members denouncing him and sending letters to groups sponsoring Sizer’s lectures demanding that they cancel his appearances.
Understandably, the cleric becamse annoyed and frustrated by this anonymous attack (Weissman took the identity of Mordechai Ben Emet as his pseudonym). After discovering Weissman was using Leeds University computer facilities for his online escapades, Sizer complained to authorities. He also complained to the local police who visited Weissman. According to Weissman, the police asked him to take down one of his blogs and he reluctantly did so.
That’s when all hell broke loose among the idiot wind British blogging right. Charges of violation of free speech, rampaging police state, “the knock at the door” phenomenon, etc. flew across the internet reaching as far as Melanie Phillips in the Spectator. He’s become the right-wing poster boy and cause celebre of the moment (lasting about 5 minutes in media time).
Turns out thought that good master Weissman is even more strange and complicated than I gave him credit for. Turns out that besides the two blogs he used to attack Sizer he has at least one other along with an entirely different fictional identity. What’s more, he outed himself today in a rather feeble attempt to diminish the sting of my post attacking him yesterday.
Several months ago, someone calling himself Yeze Yezekiel, approached me with information that an Israeli settler group, Honenu, was lobbying for amnesty for settler murderers like Yigal Amir and providing legal representation to settler terrorists like Jack Teitel. I get these kinds of messages regularly and this one was quite useful and interesting. I followed up with research of my own and wrote a post in which I linked to this fellow’s blog, The Rosh Pina Project.
Turns out I should’ve smelled a rat when Yeze told me that he’d published about Honenu at Harry’s Place, a vociferously pro-Israel blog which takes a shine to exposes of alleged anti-Semites and anti-Israelists like yours truly, who’s been pilloried there. I should’ve asked myself, what is this guy doing publishing there? I considered the matter and decided he sounded like he was trustworthy enough despite his unsavory affiliation.
Now, what I’d like to know is why Harry’s Place allows contributors to blog using multiple identities. There’s just something weird about that unless the owner of that blog himself was fooled. I somehow doubt this, since Weissman has published multiple times there under his Seismic Shock identity. The idea that HP wouldn’t have known Yeze’s real identity seems far-fetched.
Another catch for me was that Yeze allowed me to believe he was a Messianic Jew who was compelled to act by Jack Teitel’s bombing of the apartment of an Israeli Messianic Jew, which wounded the man’s teenage child. Here is what his blog says about its religious affiliation:
The Rosh Pina Project is an online meeting place for Messianic Jews and all those who believe that Messianic Jews deserve fair treatment in Israel and the Diaspora, and protection as a religious minority in Israel. Yeze and Gever, both affiliated with Messianic Jewish fellowships, are currently the main contributors to this site. The Rosh Pina Project will be highlighting the persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel, unfair treatment of Messianic Jews in the mainstream media, and post cultural and political reviews.
I replied to Yeze that I had absolutely no interest in Messianic Judaism, but that he sounded like a reasonable person and as long as he kept his religious beliefs out of any interaction we might have I didn’t see any problem.
That was the end of it till Yeze outed himself today and revealed that he is none other than Joseph Weissman himself. At this point, I’m really scratching my head and wondering what’s going on with this person. Who is he? Which is his real identity? Is he Joseph Weissman, a Jew? Is that his current name, birth name? Is he a Messianic Jew? Is he something else altogether that no one besides him knows? What are his motives for doing this? What is wrong with this person?
Clearly he craves the notoriety, as his blog is now littered with links to all the other blogs and newspapers that have featured his little imbroglio. There’s more than a little of the youthful, confused, passionate college student testing of identities and modes of discourse here. But there comes a time when this wears thin and it has.
Everyone who considers writing about this person from any sort of sympathetic angle–beware! We don’t know who he is or what he stands for. We don’t know how many identities he might have. We don’t know his motives or his real beliefs or agenda are. You owe it to yourself to do a lot of due diligence before you attempt to write anything definitive about this fellow. If not, you could end up with a lot of egg on your face. Buyer beware!
I want to add an addendum here: I do not know Stephen Sizer. I do not necessarily agree with every position he may take regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To me, that is not the point. The point is that Joseph Weissman does not have the right to engage in acts that may be illegal against anyone including Stephen Sizer. And Joseph Wiseman does not have the right to exploit and manipulate the blogging world for whatever strange personal agenda he may have.
UPDATE: Weissman also outs himself here revealing that he was born a Jew, but is now a Messianic Jew and Christian, and comes from a family which for three generations has accepted Jesus Christ. No wonder he has a case of multiple blogging personalities/identities. Now that we’ve cleared all that up I think the man is perfectly transparent!
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- The Boy Who Cried Censorship (o-l-p.blogspot.com)
Richard there is no evidence for the Facebook claim, only allegations and repeating allegations do not make them fact! Weissman did not take the identity of Mossad it was also a false accusation made by Sizer based on what an ex-Royal Marine he asked to help him track the blogger had told him. This is all clear on the interaction with the ex-Marine on the Seismicshock blog.
Weissman has not broken laws, he has, as you do, vigourously argued against those ideas he disagrees with.
Maybe if you lived in the UK Weissman could call the cops on you for making false claims that he pretended to be a Mossad agent and labeling him a bully, but then he is only a student and not an influential establishment vicar who has high ranking cops as friends!
As to his identity, he explains all here: http://www.hurryupharry.org/2010/01/26/introducing-myself-2/
Richard Silverstein says
There is more credible evidence for the Facebook claim that there is for Weissman’s claim that Sizer is a fascist thug or supporter of the Iranian mullahs. And all of Weissman’s allegations don’t make them fact either.
As for the Mossad claim, thanks for clarifying. I don’t claim to be an expert in all the murky details of this weirdness. But what IS true is that Weissman adopted a pseudonym of Mordechai Ben Emet. I’m rather unfond of pseudonyms & anonymity in the blogging world. It gets you into too much trouble & causes one’s credibility to be more easily discredited as WeissmanBen EmetYezeYezekiel discovered.
“There is more credible evidence for the Facebook claim…” Where, all I see is unsubstantiated accusations.
Weissman has never claimed Sizer is a facist thug or supporter of Iranian mullahs, that is just a crass misrepresentation. He challenges an establishment vicar for spending so much time sharing platforms with such types. His allegations are backed up with links to Sizers words on his blog and articles.
Richard Silverstein says
First, I simply believe Sizer is a far more credible person. He’s a vicar in the Anglican church which is a fairly responsible position. Weissman is a strange, confused former college student. If you look at the Facebook account as one of my trusted readers did she tells me you can see that the group used to be open and now its closed. Why would they do that if they had not had precisely the kind of problem Sizer alleges. Third, if you don’t believe the allegation then it’s incumbent on you to verify whether it’s true or not. Write to the Church & ask for further information. I’m not in England & frankly the issue is a bit remote for me of I would do this myself (if it was something that happened here in the States for example).
If you’d read my blog posts more carefully you’d see that Weissman does indeed use precisely the phrase “fascist thug:”
Even you will concede that the main target of this pitiful blog is Sizer. Clearly, Weissman believes Sizer is an anti-Semite and anti-Israel. If you add fascist thug into the mix you’ve got the trifecta. I stated clearly that a reader could INFER that Sizer was the fascist thug being named. I’ll let a reasonable reader make that decision for themselves.
As for supporting the Iranian mullahs that is there too, clear as day and that’s not inferred, it’s stated plain as day:
Did you miss that?
If Weissman’s allegations are backed up with links to Sizer then where is the link proving he’s a fascist thug?
Joseph W says
How was that a reference to Stephen Sizer?
It’s a reference to Far Right groups like the BNP and Forza Nuova who misuse Christianity to justify their thuggery – groups who I have written about extensively.
Richard Silverstein says
This guy calls himself “Joseph Weissman.” Are we to believe it is the real JW? Or perhaps Yeze or Mordechai?
If you are Weissman, how would anyone know that you meant to refer to those groups since you didn’t in yr original statement? So you don’t claim Sizer is a fascist thug?
It’s a fact that at Harry’s Place commenters can use multiple ‘handles’. I used to comment there regularly (before getting banned although it appears they now let my comments stand) and got serious (and serial) abuse from several commenters, among others an imbecile who uses the handle ‘Gert’s Daughter’.
Sizer’s not Desmond Tutu but his claims stack up a whole lot better than Wiseman/Weissman’s, in particular with regards to using UNI property to harass Sizer and infiltration of Sizer’s Facebook group. My confidence in the British Police is far from unlimited but I think in this case they acted legally upon overwhelming and damning evidence against Wiseman/Weissman.
Richard is correct in stating that this is not a free speech issue at all. But there may yet be a libel-sting-in-the-tail for Wiseman/Weissman if he doesn’t ease up with the attacks on Sizer.
Richard Silverstein says
Weissman wasn’t a commenter, he was a contributor. That’s different. If you have people writing blog posts (not comments) under diff. names I don’t think you can have any sense of accountability or transparency. What are the diff. identities & why does he feel the need to assume them in writing these posts?
Regardless, that’s why I don’t allow multiple identities for commenters here. I’ve had too many experiences w. people try to instigate mischief by writing w. their real identities as pro-Israel right wingers & then assuming fictitious ones as supposed Islamists whackos. All of which is designed to do what I’m not sure–embarrass me because I’m publishing Islamist whackos??
“The police did not caution me. They said they trusted me to take the blog down. I felt intimidated. I’m not a confrontational person, I just thought I’d do what the police said, but now I realise they went to the university and retrieved deleted files. The whole thing has been very upsetting.”
I’m not going to stop asking this question because it doesn’t fit what is being said, why is his other blog still standing? Does anyone believe that with two blogs running congruently he only posted from the university on ONE of them? I sure don’t. The university would have it’s own security IT department who would investigate the logs on the computer Seismic was using there. If he was engaging in criminal activity, stalking, that would be turned over to law enforcement. Are people reading here picking up on the discrepancies or is it just me?
I believe Weissman/Wiseman managed to export his blogspot blog to wordpress prior to deletion of the former. How else to explain the wordpress blog is a complete mirror of the now zapped blogspot blog?
In a sense that makes the case even less about free speech, since as Wiseman/Weissman’s not-so-peachy free speech was preserved for posterity anyway, untouchable to Sizer now, unless he want to make a libel case of it.
Wiseman/Weissman ‘not a confrontational person’???? Hahahaha, don’t make me piss myself. Wiseman/Weissman wanted to be a bit of a local hero and met someone who wouldn’t be intimidated so easily. Did you know that Sizer offered to meet with W/W? W/W declined, so much for that ‘open and polite debate’ he claims to want…
Here, I found the cache of the old blog’s announcement of the new wordpress blog, I was incorrect in stating that the new one has all the old material, they only overlap with one thread (question is did the blogspot blog just “remain” and go no further, or did he concurrently post from that date on forward) He posted 66 times that didn’t get carried over to the wordpress blog as it appears. Now in Nov 2009 he deleted due to not wanting to be confrontational his OLD blog. How much ya wanna bet it’s not completely gone (besides cache) at all?
Could it be that starting in Dec 2008 when he started his wordpress blog he wasn’t doing so anymore from the University of Leeds computers? Did he leave the university at that time possibly?
Also, Reb Mordechai Ben Reb Yaccov HaCohen states on his own blog, “did you think we wouldn’t find the moved pages?” Hmmmmmmmmm.
RE: “MULTIPLE BLOGGER PERSONALITY DISORDER” – R.S.
MY COMMENT: Nice three-pointer! The internet really does seem to ‘unleash’ certain mental illnesses.
Richard, this post is dated today. The blog author states that it is Stephan Sizer’s response to him
Don’t Get Fooled Again
A book blog by Richard Wilson
Comment from Reverend Sizer
with 7 comments
I’m grateful to Reverend Stephen Sizer for getting back to me (having initially chosen not to comment) with a detailed clarification of his position in the recent “Seismic Shock” controversy, which I am reproducing below. Again I have no position on the original argument but having given space to one side of the dispute, I felt it was important that Stephen Sizer have the opportunity to give his side of the story. He says:
I approached the police because I felt my life was put in danger by his defamatory statements. In the last year we have had a rather violent break in to our home, had computers and cameras stolen, then my car has been vandalised and more recently broken into and possessions stolen. I receive anonymous phone calls and very nasty emails on a regular basis. Other academics, journalists and clergy targetted on the SS blog have also been in correspondance with the police.
In the last 18 months SS (I think he chose the name as a play on my name so it was very personal) has associated me with holocaust deniers, white supremists, antisemites, islamists, terrorists, suicide bombers, and the 7.7 bombers, on a weekly if not daily basis. He used anonimity to do so. I repudiate racism and anti-semitism as well as his allegations unequivocally. I believe my occasional blog articles as well as published writings give evidence of this. I feel no need to clarify or justify my theological views further which are entirely consistent with mainstream conservative evangelicalism.
Politically, I uphold the rule of international law, I want to see the Arab-Israeli conflict resolved peacefully and diplomatically with a secure Israel and viable independent Palestine – the postion of the UK government, EU, USA and UN – so hardly controversial, except in Zionist circles. I have written a couple of books on Chritian Zionism and US fundamentalism, which I regard as a threat to the security of Israel as well as future of Palestine, so I understand why SS and his friends do not like me.
The police initially consulted me for advice (not the other way round) on extremist groups on the edge of the Christian community. On their advice I approached the local police to investigate whether the articles posted on the SS blog constituted harrassment and incitement to religious hatred.
Their investigations led to the identification of the individual. Apparently he agreed to remove certain material and apologised. I was asked to inform them if it happened again. The police have given me and my family a measure of additional protection. I do not know his name but believe he is a Christian living in Leeds. It makes me sad that a Christian would use anonimity to harrass other Christians in this way.
I don’t plan to respond to him personally. He has many friends who have already expressed their opinions quite plainly and explicitly this week. The invitation I made to him a year ago to meet and talk through our differences personally remains open. I am happy now to leave the matter in the hands of the police.
Curiously I found this post. Similar to your own experience, in this case, the website Vanguard had taken an email by Sizer and published it there. Sizer went there to post that he did not agree with their philosophy, denounced anti-semitism, please remove, then Seismic commented afterwards, “Bravo Reverand Sizer” (“The Maverick” was Seismic’s user name for his deleted blogspot site)
# Stephen Sizer Says:
24 September, 2008 at 4:27 pm
I wish to confirm, as requested above, that I have never had any personal contact with Vanguard, have never sent them any emails and totally disassociate myself from their website, views and activities. I repudiate unequivocally, anti-semitism and all forms of racism.
The email cited above, was sent to people who had requested updates on the Middle East. This particular email encourages responsible citizens to express their democratic rights and lobby politicians. You will note that I do not recommend any particular viewpoint. My email was simply enabling recipients to express their opinions.
I ask Vanguard to remove the email from me as the impression given is that I sent it and/or that I endorse their views. Neither is true.
# The Maverick Says:
26 September, 2008 at 7:47 am
Bravo Mr Sizer!
Mmmmmmmmm, I just noticed something, the Vanguard post was dated July 2006. Sizer made his comment Sept.2008 right at the time Seismic started his blogspot.
As bloggers it is very difficult to protect where your posts are published!!! If we aren’t watching for it our material can be all over the internet without our knowledge or approval. For a well-known blogger it could take hours out of your day trying to protect yourself against your material being posted elsewhere without your permission. Of course those doing so are the ones in the wrong, it only takes a cut and paste job and hitting publish to do this.
Here are some tips on protecting yourselves against this
Bottom line, just because your material has been cut and pasted somewhere it doesn’t mean you published it there OR you endorse the viewpoints of that website. To say otherwise is pure NONSENSE!