Poor Michael Lerner’s Petunias

Steven Plaut is a native Philadelphian who teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton.  He is author of the David Horowitz Freedom Center booklets about the Hamas  and Jewish Enablers of the War against Israel.


Michael Lerner’s home vandalized!

Lerner’s own organization’s website has the scare headline:  “A Right-Wing Zionist Threat: Vandals Strike Tikkun Editor’s Home.” Leftist bloggers have been even less restrained.  The Zionists are violent thugs and hoodlums, Judeofascists, vandalizing the home of Tikkun’s editor and and threatening him.  The “attack” on Lerner’s house in the upscale Berkeley Hills was a direct consequence of criticism from Alan Dershowitz–more proof that foolishly allowing non-leftists to exercise freedom of speech results in violence and hooliganism!

So just what exactly happened?

Lerner, a leading collaborator in leftists’ wars against the Jews, is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.  He calls himself “Rabbi,” although he never graduated from any rabbinic seminary and has no rabbinic ordination recognized by any branch of Judiasm. His Tikkun Magazine, publishes every Jewish anti-Israel crackpot and crank on the planet and many a non-Jewish anti-Semite.  In recent weeks, Lerner made the news for organizing a petition of anti-Israel leftists to support Judge Richard Goldstone and even offered to grant him an award.  Goldstone had headed the UN commission that smeared Israel for “war crimes” when it was forced to go to war against Hamas to stop its rocket attacks.  Since issuing his libelous report, Goldstone has been shunned by the Jewish communities all over the world, including in his own native South Africa, where some members of a synagogue where Goldstone’s grandson was having a Bar Mitzvah declared him persona non grata.

At that point, Prof. Alan Dershowitz, who considers Goldstone an anti Semite, denounced Lerner for his toadying to the jurist and denounced the petition circulated by Lerner as coming from “Rabbis for Hamas”:

“They have no shame and no credibility. They exploit their rabbinical status to support any conclusion that undercuts self defense Israeli actions without regard to the evidence and without regard to the truth.  Not surprisingly, the worst of these rabbis (and that’s saying a lot), Michael Lerner, after attempting to politicize the bar mitzvah by offering his anti-Israel synagogue for the event, has decided to honor Richard Goldstone with Tikkun Magazine‘s ‘Ethics Award.’ I guess all it takes to be honored by Tikkun is to pass Lerner’s litmus test of lying about Israel. That’s Lerner’s definition of ‘ethics.’”

A few days ago, some anonymous people, evidently Jewish students at the University of California at Berkeley, paid a visit to Lerner’s home up in Berkeley Hills.  (Just how Lerner came up with the cash to live with the capitalist class in one of the ritziest locations in the Bay Area is something about which his magazine readers might be wondering.)  The visitors taped up four stickers or leaflets around his home   Here is the Tikkun version of the story:

“They posted a printed bumper sticker saying ‘fight terror — support Israel’” next to a caricature of Judge Goldstone whose UN report on Israel’s human rights violations in its attack on Gaza last year has been denounced as anti-Semitic and pro-terror by right wingers in Israel and the U.S.  The caricature has Goldstone talking about his being kept from his grandson’s bar mitzvah, and the caricature of Rabbi Lerner responds by saying ‘any enemy of Israel is a friend of mine.’”

Lerner of course called in the cops.  You know – those civil servants whom he used to refer to as The Pigs when he was a leader of the Seattle Liberation Front (SLF), a 60s group which participated in numerous violent anti-war protests and riots along side the Black Student Union (BSU) and the ultra-violent  Weatherman terror group.  When the cops arrived they found a victimless non crime.  The leaflet hangers did not assault Lerner, and in fact never met or spoke with him.  They did  not so much as trample on the petunias in his yard.

But Lerner and his supporters are having trouble containing their rage.  The perps of the leaflet hangings are Zionist terrorists, thugs, vandals!  Some political observers in the Bay Area are expressing skepticism.  At least two local pro-Israel activists told me they suspect Lerner himself put up the leaflets in order to play martyr and get himself publicity.  Lerner has a track history of what might be called strategic misrepresentation when it comes to getting himself attention.  A few years back he got caught inventing pseudonymous imaginary letters to the editor printed in Tikkun Magazine agreeing with Lerner’s own writings there. (One wag claimed he should have signed them Ichael-May Erner-Lay.)

Lerner’s whining about being the victim of “Rightwing Zionist violence” is also a bit beyond hilarious.  Lerner himself has a long track record of organizing and participating in violence.  While he was in Seattle, Washington state attorney (and later Senator) Slade Gorton described the tactics of Lerner’s Liberation Front as “totally indistinguishable from fascism and Nazism.”   Lerner himself was one of the so-called “Seattle Seven,” charged in a federal trial with “conspiracy to incite a riot.”  He spent several months in prison.

In those days Lerner’s two passions, by his own admission, were LSD and Marxism.  Later he moved more into goofy pseudo-Jewish liberation theology and hatred of Israel.  He considers the rebirth of international anti-Semitism to be the fault of the Jews themselves for being so cussedly evil and racist.

He launched the bizarre magazine he called Tikkun in 1986 and has devoted it to radical politics, bashing Israel, and denouncing America, along with a monthly dollop of New Age touchy-feely recreational “compassion” and peace posturing.

Around the same time that he launched his magazine Lerner started telling people that he was an Orthodox Rabbi.  In fact he is neither a Rabbi nor Orthodox.   He says he was “ordained” when three hippy “rabbis,” one of whom claims in fact to be a Buddhist, put their hands on his head and proclaimed him rabbi.  A few years back I emailed him an inquiry as to whether he would submit to a small quiz of his knowledge of the Bible and the Talmud; he indignantly refused.  He claims his rabbinic status is recognized because he is a member of the California Board of Rabbis.  But membership in the Board does not mean anyone has acknowledged one’s rabbinic credentials as bona fide; it just means one pays annual dues.

While insisting that all he wants is peace and justice in the Middle East, Lerner’s prescription for achieving this is essentially the same as that of the Hamas.  He demands that Israel return to its 1949 borders, forego all forms of self-defense, and allow itself to be drowned by an influx of  Palestinian “refugees.”  Lerner has never seen an act of Arab terrorism that he does not rationalize, nor an act of Jewish self-defense he is willing to justify.  Lerner recently hosted Alice Walker on Yom Kippur, who devoted her talk to denouncing Israel for raping Arab women.

Besides Israel bashing, Lerner may be best known for sharing his “politics of meaning” (his nonsense term for disguising leftist politics under a thin veneer of theology) with a credulous Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady.  After 9-11 he demanded that Americans “feel the pain” of the al-Qaeda terrorists.  While claiming to be a rabbi he has also issued calls to “Smash the Synagogue.”   When Professor Edward Alexander from the University of Washington wrote an expose of Lerner, the latter sent threatening letters to numerous Jewish newspapers and magazines, warning they would be sued by him if they printed the piece.  Professor Alexander has described Lerner as “a kipah (skullcap)-wearing, rotund beard-plucker of vaguely ‘rabbinic’ appearance who could always be relied on to blame Israel and not the Arabs for the absence of peace, and to liken Israeli defense against Palestinian Arab violence to medieval Christian mobs . . . organizing pogroms against the whole Jewish community.”

A few years back Lerner demanded that all Jews devote their traditional Passover Seder to bemoaning the oppression of the Palestinians by the Zionist “Pharaoh.”  The same Palestinians used the occasion that year to murder 29 people at a Seder in Netanya, Israel.   He has long supported sanctions and boycotts against Israel to force it to capitulate to the Arabs.  He considers Arab terrorists to be the “New Maccabis,” and his writings are routinely carried by the publications and distribution lists of Islamic fundamentalists – the sorts of people who support car bombs in Times Square.

This is the man victimized by the merciless violent “terrorist vandalism attack” by Rightwing Zionist thugs against his home in Berkeley that spared even his petunias.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

    A few years back Lerner demanded that all Jews devote their traditional Passover Seder to bemoaning the oppression of the Palestinians by the Zionist “Pharaoh.”

    That only seems fair since Jews have demanded that the entire world stop what it's doing and observe holocaust day. Considering that Israel is currently engaged in perpetrating a Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza and the West Bank it is the height of chutzpah.

    • Stern

      Wow John, some holocaust. The West Bank currently has one of the highest growth rates in the world! Gaza – believe it or not – cannot provide a single scrap of photographic evidence of a single starving child. In fact, take a look athttp://www.globallawforum.org/ViewBlog.aspx?Artic… and be sure to check out the photos. Seems to be no shortage of food, vegetables etc. in Gaza right now. Like I said, some holocaust.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      Wow, a 40 year 'holocaust,' what are they doing, killing them with cholesterol? They kill more of each other than the Israelis kill. The hutsis killed more tutsis in a week using machetes. If the Israelis ever decided to go that route, they'd be done in a week. Think much?

    • Sashland

      But its TRUE!!111!!!

      The evil Jews are building walls to keep the slave locked in their camps.

      Wait, the walls are to keep them OUT? It must be the evil Jews who are keeping them from leaving via Jordan or Egypt too?

      Yeah, sure, just like the pharaoh who would not let the slaves leave,

      well, al long as you are confused by the difference between "enter" and "leave"…

      in other words 'johnz52' you are full of _______

      The only "Palestinian Holocaust" is the attempted genocide BY the pals.

    • Paul Freedman

      Obviously not all the Palestinians are dead. In a conflict that has gone on for decades. Literally dead. Within 6 years virtually all the Jews of Europe were starved, beaten, or gassed to death. All gone. Holocaust denial typically goes hand in hand with calling non-holocausts holocausts in the Jooz are in the vicinity, and then going on to praise future Holocausts against the Jooz. Anti-Semites find it hard to keep their multiple personalities all in line. Coz anti-Semitism is not about the Jooz but the man in the mirror. Unfortunately the Jooz die because anti-Semitism tries to displace what is one long drawn out delayed campaign of self-hatred and suicide.

    • Cat

      Written by someone, of course who was NOT AT the Seder…or any of his Passover seders! It did no such thing!

  • bill

    Hey Johnz52 – what happened, your momma run away with a Jewish man and left you behind in the barnyard?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

      The brilliance and wit exhibited here, one would have to attend a Klan rally to encounter the like.

  • Sarah Leah Lawent

    BS"D He thinks the Zionists are oppressing him? Well, we non-Zionist pro-Jew folks aren't too crazy about him either. I think his best friend finally died the other day – Arafat's (ymach shmo) Jew-hating "rabbi" playmate. I say "Gut Shabbos" to the Jews and "good riddance" to Lerner.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

      Feel the love.

  • Jason

    Johnz52 – does not take much to get the Nazi cracpots out and leaving behind their droppings

    Porr John hates dem Joos

  • Duncan Druhl

    You know, I've come to realise that there are a few people that have never gotten over their idolatry of Jerry Rubin. I'll bet this guy still remembers Mario Fazio. Most of us have grown up…well, most of us outside of politics and the government, that is.

    One deluded apostate schmuck with a key to press coverage is no different than the self-deluded goyim in the used-to-be-major media, whether he calls himself Jewish or not. Our history is filled with apostates who have caused no end of trouble, death, and destruction. It appears that if an ordinary guy goes wonky, well, he goes wonky, maybe locally "postal". But if a Jew does so, there is this drive to do great destruction on everything that is attached to his former religion. History has the examples.

    The reaction to Eastern European orthodoxy that began in the early 20th Century, meaning the drive to assimilate into the country club set, has produced some strange phenomena. Jews outside the USA just look at them and shake their heads as the US version of reform Judaism is far more akin to Presbyterianism – except they don't have quite as many committees.

    • Chiggles

      Do you mean "Mario Savio" perchance?
      Jerry Rubin at least wised up before he jaywaked to death.

  • Susan Somerville

    It is a known fact in a part of the Berkeley community that when Michael Lerner was given an aliyah to the Torah recently, some of the oldest members of the congregation protested. When I heard this, I remembered that when he was given an aliyah in 1985 at the same shul, the women walked out.
    Michael is incapable of changing. The political rhetoric that he espouses today sounds exactly like what he was saying more than 45 years ago. He is really sounding stale.
    About the vandalism: There are more than a few of us who would venture to say that some of his anti-Zionist cronies staged it. Another swipe at those of us who are pro-Israel activists by his gaining the "limelight" and using it to his political advantage.

  • Sarah Leah Lawent

    BS"D He thinks the Zionists are oppressing him? Well, we non-Zionist pro-Jew folks aren't too crazy about him either. I think his best friend finally died the other day – Arafat's (ymach shmo) Jew-hating "rabbi" playmate. I say "Gut Shabbos" to the Jews and "good riddance" to Lerner.

  • bostonian

    If Sharpton is reverend, Gore is scientist, Biden is the gratest friend of Israel,and NY Times is newspaper of record why Lerner can not be a rabbi?

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Lerner in yiddish means,he who learns and he who teaches.
    So the only thing he has learned is how to hate Jews;nebbish [how piittyfull].
    It is allways easy to condem from a comforable save place like America.
    If Mr Lerner is so much concerned for the well being of the poor Palestinians
    he should move to,lets say, Gaza and do a world of good to them.
    But he wont survive a day because he will still be a Jew,no matter what,and
    he will certanly be lynched. So Mr Lerner you are a meshuggene gaszer.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

      Talk is real cheap from haters. How about putting you actions where your mouth is and move to Sderot?

  • USMCSniper

    This reminds me of David Frost interviewing Baldur von Schirach, the former head of the Hitler Youth organization at Spandau Prison who brazenly said: said, 'You know, Mr. Frost, at Spandau ve grew tomatoes und ve vere not allowed to give ze tomatoes to ze old people of Spandau because zay had been grown by ze var criminals. Zo zey vere taken out und burnt. Mr. Frost–do you realize vat it can do to a man to haff his tomatoes burnt?' David Frost almost crapped himself!

  • von Starkermann

    Lerner must be in the 78% that voted for Obama. Remember that most of the Jews in Germany voted likewise for Hitler. They at least supported his claim that he will restore order, which we all can agree he did. Communists and radicals are always crying wolf. Lerner is no different.

  • Marty

    creeps such as lerner were referred to as kapos during the Holocaust. They got to be killed last if they consistently provided other victims for the death camps.

    • ze-ev ben jehudah

      Yes I have known them from up close.They beat you to dead just to survive.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

      Do you mean zionists like Rudolf Kastner who brokered a deal with the Nazis that ended up sending half a million Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz while he and 1,000 wealthy zionists could escape? Possibly you're talking about members of the LEHI and Irgun that killed Jews to further their cause.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

      Do you mean zionists like Rudolf Kastner who brokered a deal with the Nazis that ended up sending half a million Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz while he and 1,000 wealthy zionists could escape? Possibly you're talking about members of the LEHI and Irgun that killed Jews to further their cause.

  • BS1977

    Lerner is a pile of garbage. End of story.

  • Syd Barrett

    Is it just me, or does he look like Wolverine's ugly older brother?

  • Guest

    In the Talmud we learn that beyt ha-migdash sheni (our second temple) was destroyed because of "senseless hatred" and Josephus explains how the Jewish factions of the day fought each other while the Romans stood by. I think it would behoove all Jews, whether they want to annex the territories taken in 1967 or to withdraw from them, to refrain from vilifying each other. Israelis are quite divided between those who think that Israel as a Jewish democratic state will be strengthened better by keeping the territories or by giving them up. BOTH views are those of caring Israelis who want to defend their homeland. By the same token, Americans are not divided into patriotic conservatives and traitors, or caring progressives and fascists; both liberals and conservatives love their country but just have different ideas about what policies are best for its people. Could we have less vituperation and more thoughtful analysis, people?

  • Neil

    Lerner has a history of being a disgrace to America and to Judaism. It's a shame that he actually has a following from some "fellow travelers."

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

    Not a dime's difference between Jewish, Christian or Muslim fundamentalists. With each fanatical group it is a "my way or the highway" mindset and a complete justification to say or commit any type of act of violence against "the other". It is also impossible for those who subscribe to these types of beliefs to comprehend basic logic or embrace a "live and let live" philosophy. Eradication of "the other" is their supreme goal. when that is not possible, subjugation is the next best outcome. If subjugation isn't possible then ridicule and degradation is a poor third.

    Feel the love of all the open minded posts here.

    • Guest

      Since you call the only government in the region that has free and open democratic elections "fascist," I question how open minded you are. "Not a dime's worth of difference" between rightwing and leftwing ideologues either. Blinders firmly in place.

      • Sashland

        An artist that paints with a broad brush and watery paints obscures all details of significance.

        Where is YOUR "live and let live"? Are you a fundamentalist of a different sort?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

        Would you please remind me why the "only democratic government in the region" had to arrest Ameer Makhoul in the middle of the night like SS Secret Police?

  • Dave

    It's obvious he's being bankrolled from upon high. How else is he going to afford such expensive digs in the Berkley Hills? He's a shameless hypocrite like all leftists (Sean Penn, Danny Glover, etc) Their mantra is "act as I say, but not as I do"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

    Wow, share the love and tolerance that is posted here. Just one question, if Israel is such a wonderful country, why don't all those U.S. supporters of Israel's fascist government move there?

    • Guest

      Gee, why don't you stop beating your wife?

      What "fascist government"? You mean the one democratically elected that you don't agree with? By the way, I don't agree with it either but that doesn't make it fascist. Hamas, on the other hand, is a genuinely fascist movement. But I don't suppose that makes any difference to you.

      • Yitzak

        Answer the question, douchebag.

  • Big Elk

    Lerner is typical of the demented left in Bezerkeley. My theory, just speculation of course, is that when Lerner's dope dealer, M. Rossman, croked a couple of years ago, Lerner couldn't get his usual supply of pot and that set him off. Just kidding, not about Rossman though; he was a drug dealer and died of cancer, RIP.

  • http://prosemiteundercover.phpbbnow.com/index.php Andy Lewis

    Out of misguided curiousity I clicked on John's name. I then saw this message: "No one has visited Johnz52's profile yet."

    That makes me the first visitor, and no doubt the last. Now excuse me while I puke.

  • Hersh

    Lerner's smikha is honorary. It was given to him by Zalman Shakhter as a present but lacks any scholarship at all. The man is a total fraud to use the title Rabbi when, in fact, he is not a rabbi.

    It is just as fraudulent if someone gets an Honorary MD for giving money and then calls and advertises himself as an MD.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Johnz52 Johnz52

    Fine, how about "non-compliant" and "belligerent"? Israel refuses to join the IAEA, sign the NPT and allow inspections of their nuclear facilities. N. Korea has done the same thing and they are considered non-compliant and belligerent by Secretary of State Clinton.. Oh I forgot, because Israel treat Arabs as second class people and pour millions into U.S. elections they get a pass.

  • son of jesse

    Johnz52 hates dem Joos because his pecker is so tiny

  • http://www.softwareoutsourcing.biz Mikymikye

    Why all of you debate Johnz52 so much. It's not the main topic dude.

  • ibn khaldun

    Do you realize how many starving Afghan children could be fed with the nutrition being wasted to keep Michael Lerner so fat?