Tikkun Magazine, which I have long criticized for spewing hatred against Israel, is now trying to silence me by employing old fashioned McCarthyism tactics. They are blaming me for inciting a group of protestors who apparently glued some political signs to the house of Michael Lerner, who runs Tikkun. Of course I don’t know any of these protestors, nor was I aware of their actions until I read about them in the newspapers. Lastly, it goes without saying that I do not approve of people pasting posters on someone else’s property.
Although Lerner regards this as a hate crime, the local authorities have apparently explained to him that he cannot achieve the martyrdom status bestowed on victims of hate crimes because his Jewish attackers were not attacking him for his religion, but for his politics. On a scale of one to ten, having a few posters glued to your house ranks at about a one for seriousness. Lerner went to the press and is trying to use it to bully me into silence.
Tikkun blames the posters on an article I wrote criticizing Lerner for claiming that the Israeli government made a decision to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible, without any military purpose, during Operation Cast Lead. This of course is entirely untrue, and the Goldstone report, which originally made this claim, produced absolutely no evidence to back it up. The reality is, as Colonel Richard Kemp, the former British Army Colonel, said,
“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”
My criticism of Lerner was entirely valid, and it must have struck a painful chord in this rabbi who pitifully claims that he is pro-Israel; a curious statement to make for one who is essentially accusing the Israeli government and military of a blood libel. Lerner has been trying to silence me for years. In reviewing one of my books, he accused me, in the pages of Tikkun Magazine, of having the blood of OJ Simpson’s victims “on my hands,” because I was a member of the legal team that defended him.
This time, the anti-Israel guru and his followers have resorted to a different technique. They claim that I incited those who glued the posters to his house. The managing editor of Tikkun, David Belden, tried to link my article to an increase in hate mail and ultimately to the great gluing gambit. “It’s undoubtedly due to Dershowitz,” he said. What he failed to consider is that the hate mail may be a reaction to Lerner’s own hate mongering.
Another of Lerner’s followers, Richard Silverstein, has gone ever further, accusing me in effect, of trying to kill Lerner. Here’s what he has said,
“In effect, Dershowitz words here are the equivalent of ‘will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ Of course there are those willing to act on Dershowitz’s rhetoric. He, of course, is too slick to be caught anywhere near a real act of violence. He would rather use rhetorical violence to impugn the morals of his enemies and gin up real violence by others.”
This is by one who supports the rabbi who has impugned the morals of his own enemies, namely the leaders of Israel, by falsely accusing them of setting out to kill as many civilians as possible. Lerner, Belden and Silverstein know that I oppose violence as strongly as I favor the open marketplace of ideas. I have long argued that the best answer to falsehood of the kind promoted by Tikkun is the truth, and that the answer to bad speech is good speech. Tikkun Magazine has incited hatred against me and others who support Israel. I have been threatened with real violence, not a couple of posters on my house. I have needed armed bodyguards, policemen with bulletproof vests and other forms of protection from those incited by Lerner and his crew. Yet I would never try to shut down Tikkun nor silence Lerner. Nor should he try to silence me.
In any event, his efforts to frighten me into silence will not work. I am tempted to make a deal with him, of the sort that Adlai Stevenson offered one of his political opponents:
“If you promise to stop lying about me, I will promise to stop telling the truth about you.”
I will not make that promise because I will continue to tell the truth about Michael Lerner, as long as he continues to lie about Israel. Let him whine to the press about a little glue on his house. If he can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen.