Abitbol: King of Mean
David Abitbol is jealous. If he drank, you’d call him “a mean drunk.” And like a mean drunk, he’s even meaner when he’s jealous than when he’s not. And of course it goes without saying that he can’t write a word about me without lying. How does he lie? Let me count the ways.
The background: when I first read about the South African Jewish community making Judge Goldstone unwelcome at his own grandson’s bar mitzvah, I wrote a post (April 14th) denouncing the viciousness and un-Jewishness of their behavior. I introduced my post with this:
Every so often events like this happen which make me ashamed to be a Jew. Or I should say, ashamed to share a religion with biryonim (“hooligans”) like the ones I’m about to portray.
I wrote three other posts on this subject. On April 21st, I posted a rabbinic letter supporting Goldstone and criticizing the South African leadership’s “freeze-out.” and finally, on April 23rd I wrote a post celebrating the agreement between Goldstone and the community, by which he would attend the ceremony without hectoring from the local pro-Israel right.
In those posts I noted my role in initiating the rabbinic letter, while commending the rabbi who wrote it and those who signed it. I noted that other bloggers, progressive South African Jews, and the N.Y. Times South African correspondent played a role in the change of heart. Further, I mentioned an e mail sent to me by a South African Jew who said there was an internal communal split in which the Capetown Jews were unhappy with the belligerent position taken by the Johannesberg community.
Given all this, listen to David Abitbol’s lies and distortions, not to mention his disgusting ad hominem insults:
It seems cooler heads prevailed [in announcing that Goldstone would attend the bar mitzvah], especially after the scathing attack from the self-styled eminence grise of the Jewish blogosphere, Richard Silverstein, and his little gang. After noting that he was ashamed to be a Jew, Silverstein joyously followed up with a declaration of victory for the Jewish blogosphere! Apparently thanks to his post, a letter written by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb signed by 37 other Rabbis and supported by Taanit Tzedek- Jewish Fast for Gaza , Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence, Tikkun and the Shalom Center, an article in the New York Times and commentary on a South African pro-Palestinian Web site, the “bullies” backed down and decided that Goldstone could attend his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah.
Of course, I’m not ashamed to be a Jew. It’s one of the many lies in his post. I’m only ashamed that I have to share my religion with scoundrels like Abitbol and vicious people like Zev Krengel and Rabbi Warren Goldstein.
After noting the facts of my involvement in the Goldstone campaign, he continues:
One decrepit old man in Seattle and his online pals won the day! Huzzah!
It’s embarrassing that I should feel compelled to do something like this, but the difference in my age to Abitbol’s is 11 years. I am 56, he is 45. Why in heaven’s name would any decent person write the things he has? Is his purpose to show how cruel and vicious he can be? Does this type of ad hominem attack “get him off?” Are his readers the kind who enjoy such brutalism? What does this say about them and their leader?
Besides, I have no problem with aging. Some of the people I’ve loved most in this world were in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Why would Abitbol feel the need for this?
We’re not done with him yet. He attempts to diminish any role I may’ve played by noting that Jewish leaders also criticized South African Jewry including Alan Dershowitz and Gary Ackerman. What he doesn’t note is that their intervention occurred many days after Jewish blogs initially raised the issue. Then finally he completely misconstrues this statement of the South African chief rabbi (as quoted in the N.Y. Times):
Chief Rabbi of South Africa, another harsh critic of the Goldstone Report, stated that “It is simply a question of decency and compassion to the bar mitzvah boy not to ruin his day.”
Unfortunately for him, Abitbol didn’t read the post I wrote in which I too quoted this passage. If he had, he wouldn’t have made the mistake he did in interpreting the rabbi’s statement. The decency and compassion he refers to for the bar mitzvah boy isn’t having his grandfather at the ceremony. On the contrary, it is the relief of not having the grandfather there so there will be no unpleasant protests to mar the poor boy’s bar mitzvah. All you had to do was read the quotation in context to know that the rabbi didn’t mean what Abitbol said he did. Further, nowhere else in the article does the rabbi say Goldstone should attend the bar mitzvah.
Unfortunately for Abitbol, we’re not done yet:
And never mind that TM wrote a post here critical of the decision to bar Goldstone from the Bar Mitzvah (before Silverstein wrote his!).
At first, I thought: “I guess it’s possible.” But then I checked the dates of the Jewlicious post (April 15th) and my first post (April 14th). So what’s wrong with Abitbol? Did he make a mistake? Did he lie? Does it matter?
And now we’ll blessedly let Abitbol off to go lick his wounds. But not before noting his final falsehood:
The credit for this decision belongs to Silverstein alone. Goldstone should totally fly Silverstein to South Africa so that the man who saved the day can join in the simcha!
I never took sole credit for this victory. I noted everyone who contributed. I shared credit and even noted that developments within the community itself may’ve played a decisive role. But here’s what’s really going on. David Abitbol has an acute case of jealousy. I’ve broken or helped break some big stories in the past month or so and it’s just eating him alive, poor boy. He missed the interview with Judith Miller and the mention in the N.Y. Times and the Israeli papers. That’s glory he feels should’ve been his. Or maybe not his, but just not mine. Maybe the solution would be to get off his ass and do some research and reporting of his own and break some stories instead of demeaning someone for doing the job he should’ve done. But until he does, I’ll just go on eating his lunch.
22 thoughts on “Abitbol: King of Mean – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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dont want to get in the middle of your blog war, but i highly doubt that any blogger from the states or any state side rabbi, especially those who arent orthodox, had any impact on the community’s decision.
the chief rabbi, rav goldstein, stated clearly that he was against barring goldstone from the synagogue….i think that this was weighed heavily.
futhermore, it is not un-jewish behavior to bar those from public worship who a community feels has caused harm to the jewish community.
had goldstone been placed in a formal cherem, the act of barring him would have been very jewish…as has occurred with the neturai karta.
however, goldstone was not placed into cherem and the protestations against him ended up being purely political…and that indeed was wrong.
i do find blog wars very entertaining, especially since terrestrial radio is now owned by 3 companies, who frown on the practice of the old time radio wars.
Absolutely not true. Goldstein, who I would never grace with the honorific “Rav,” until the day before the leadership caved was still maintaining it would be better for Goldstone not to come. It was only AFTER the board of deputies issued the statement inviting Goldstone & promising no shenanigans that GOldstein all of sudden made nice-nice.
It most assuredly is when the man is a grandfather wishing to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to punish a man in a religious context when you’re dispute with him is political in nature. Show me where in Jewish tradition it says that the sacred principle of hachnasat orchim can be breached when you don’t like a fellow Jew’s politics?? Go ahead, I dare you to show me.
im sorry richard, but you dont understand the concept of cherem
if the family wished to have a private bar mitzvah, held at some hotel, attended by family and friends, you would be correct
however, had goldstone been placed in formal cherem, he very well could have been barred from entering the shul.
this has happened, and i witnessed it, as a member of the neturai karta was asked (politely and in private) to leave a mincha/maariv service
and i take it that you didnt fully read my post.
it is not appropriate to bar someone from communal prayers when it comes to political disagreements…if it were, i would probably be barred from my own shul, as i lean much further left than any of the rest of the congregation.
it is appropriate to place an individual into cherem if the decision has been made that he has caused harm to the community.
i gave you a perfectly good example. the whole of the neturai karta have now been placed into cherem as a result of their attending the holocaust deniers conference in iran. none are welcome in shuls or communal gatherings outside of their small group. this includes satmer.
im not sure what any of this has to do with hachnasat orchim…but im sure if you want to invite goldstone into your home for a shabat meal, no one will stop you.
Don’t tell me what I do or don’t understand about Jewish tradition. I assure you I have at least as good & probably better training than you do on this score.
I did not mean that the Jewish community went through a formal excommunication procedure. Luckily that process went out of favor sometime after Amsterdam’s community infamously placed Spinoza in herem. But in effect what the South Africans did was put Goldstone in herem. IF you don’t like the phrasing that’s too bad.
What utter narischkeit. Who decides who has harmed the community? And if the Capetown community decides Goldstone has not harmed the community and Joberg decides he has, does that mean he’s welcome in Capetown but not Jo-berg? And once we go that route, we’ll have Jo-berg synagogues barring anyone fr. Capetown they don’t like since Capetown will have decided to welcome someone who in Joberg’s view has harmed their interests. This happens in Hasidic communities already. And almost all Jews want none of this foolishness. No Jews that I know & almost no one in the American Jewish community accepts yr definition of herem.
Hachnasat orchim is the welcoming of guests into one’s home or community. You’re being disingenuous in limiting the definition as you have done.
sorry richard…not you…i highly doubt that anyone has ever come to you for any halachic questions
the sa community never placed goldstone into cherem. and since they do have a chief rabbi, it wouldnt be their place to do so.
i do like how you have totally ignored the cherem that the neturai karta was put in. done by gedolim who are far greater than you or i (although i am sure you would disagree)
again, not sure what hachnasat orchim has to do with the events of sa.
one is not forced to invite into their home someone who they dont want there.
and the mitzvah is a positive commandment, one is not punished for not abiding by it.
like i said, if you wish, no one will stop you from inviting goldstone into your home.
the only reason i included shabas, is that is usually the day that hachnasat orchim is mostly practiced
I’m not a rabbi, why would they? Has anyone come to you for a p’sak din lately?
Of course they did. They met together & decided he wasn’t welcome. All the leaders decided this together & informed him that if he came the Zionist Federation would picket the ceremony & make life hell for him. Of course they put him in herem.
I don’t have any interest in the Neturey Karta herem. I don’t have any interest in herems at all no matter who’s being excommunicated.
Richard Goldstone was visiting his homeland. Therefore the concept of hachnasat orchim comes into play. No Jew may refuse hospitality to another in such circumstances. To do so is to violate a basic precept of Judaism.
I didn’t say the South Africans should be punished. They actually punish themselves by violating the precept & acting like overall chnyukim.
First of all, congratulations on the repeal of Goldstone’s “disinvitation”.
I guess only the committee members know all their reasons for this decision, but I would guess that seeing how it was viewed by you and others outside their community has its influence. Your post and the letter must have made an impact, even if it wasn’t the sole reason.
I hope you don’t let people like David Abitbol discourage you.
And besides, men don’t age, they mature.
I have to say, usually I agree with you 95% of the time, but in this case, I agree with you 110%!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! I cannot believe how petty, pathetic and mean-spirited some people can be.
You did an excellent, excellent job with your pieces on Goldstone, Kamm and Blau, and I find it laughable that this “individual” would stoop so low as describing you as decrepit which is so off base, so ridiculous and childish actually, like the behavior of a bully in the school yard.
I guess this is the price you must pay for speaking your mind, the truth, fighting for justice and just being a compassionate, authentic human being.
There’s a sea of meaningless tripe out there and your blog is an island of refreshing and hopeful truth and don’t you forget it!
RE:”…the self-styled eminence grise of the Jewish blogosphere, Richard Silverstein, and his little gang” – David Abitbol
MY COMMENT: Yo, whassup homeys? It sounds like that Abitbol sucka might be ridin’ dirty. I’m down with that!
Chamillionaire, “Ridin’ Dirty” featuring Krayzie Bone (04:04) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtwJvgPJ9xw
Ridin’ Dirty Remix (03:28) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZbFtny1xLY
Richard, the “eminence grise” link on the main page is broken (the corresponding link on the “permanent link” page is fine) – the problem is due to the link’s incorrect relative URL, which leaves out the tikun_olam directory (i.e., in the source, ../2008/01/28/semifreddis-bakery/ resolves to https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2008/01/28/semifreddis-bakery/). The link’s correct absolute URL is:
I just pasted this in directly fr. Abitbol’s own blog. So the mistake is his. Personally, I don’t care whether anyone follows his links. I want them to follow the links that I’ve added to this post. But thanks for alerting me to this.
I have some questions that I have been unable to get a written answer
1) Who told Mr Goldstone that he couldnt come to the barmitzvah?
2) Did the synagogue internally decide to uninvite him?
3) Who negotiated with whom to allow Goldstone back
4) How can the federation completely prevent all protests?
1. The Zionist Federation publicly threatened to protest at the synagogue during the ceremony
2. Many synagogue members feel as other Jo-berg do & intensely disapprove of Goldstone’s report. Those who feel this way were undoubtedly pleased he wouldn’t be coming. Now that he IS coming I imagine somehow they’ll deal w. it.
3. I don’t know. But I imagine some of Goldstone’s Jewish S. African friends quoted in the NY Times article may’ve negotiated w. the Bd. of Deputies.
4. The ZIonist Federation threatened the original protests. It is part of the Bd. of Deputies, hence it must abide by the Bd. of Deputies promise of no disruptions.
“So what’s wrong with Abitbol?”
Ziocaine is a chemical messenger which depresses the vagus nerve, and stimulates certain regions in the brain among other actions. It is produced in the bodies of Zionist-supporters by any discussion of the issues in the ME. Apparently ziocaine produces a feeling of self-righteous grandiosity and vicarious pugnacity alternating with periods of paranoia and victimology, followed by rhetorical amnesia, which allows the experience to be repeated endlessly with gratifying results. The sensations associated with ziocaine make it addictive, and habitues seek out every possible reason to induce it’s production. Sometimes called “the Hasbara high”.
That explains a lot!
“That explains a lot!”
Thanks for that kind response. I wish it explained more. Learned since then it explains less than I thought.
Yes, subsequent research conducted by four-out-of-five dentists who chew gum have shown that no specific hormone or special chemical imbalance is involved.
It is more correcter to say that it is a ” Ziocaine syndrome”, a behavioral syndrome. It’s easy to think it is some kind of drug or chemical, but it is not.
It’s “Johannesburg”. “Johannesberg” is located in Bavaria.
Maybe the Tikkun Olamy thing to do would be to just stop taking swipes [back even] at CK. I mean, you know, since it would be good to demonstrate on even a microlevel the kind of restraint it takes to quell conflict, not perpetuate. Or — maybe you’re finding it hard to sit still while a foe is always launching verbal missiles at you. I mean, that’s totally understadable.
He wrote a 2nd post following this one accusing me of “spewing bullshit.” Have you seen a reply here fr me?