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October 27, 2015 6:50 am

‘Rabbi’ Michael Lerner Tramples Jewish Values With Anti-Israel Slander

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Rabbi Michael Lerner. Photo: Cropped version of Flickr image by Barbara-James/ Wikimedia Commons.

Rabbi Michael Lerner. Photo: Cropped version of Flickr image by Barbara-James/ Wikimedia Commons.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine says that Israel’s Prime Minister attributing the Holocaust to Palestinian influence over Hitler is a “Blood Libel”-level lie.

…In a speech to an international group of Zionist leaders attending the 37th International Zionist Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Hitler was intending to only banish Jews from Europe, until he met with the anti-Semitic Palestinian al-Husseini, the “Mufti” of Jerusalem who convinced him to murder all the Jews.

“As Israeli Policy Forum’s policy director Michael Koplow explains, ‘Netanyahu brought up al-Husseini’s well-known connection to the Nazis and vocal support of Hitler in warning about the dangers of Palestinian incitement regarding Israel’s alleged efforts to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount. His connection between these two seemingly disparate threads was that al-Husseini had instigated riots in the 1920s by accusing the Jews of wanting to destroy al-Aqsa, and he later met with Hitler in 1941 and — in Netanyahu’s telling — convinced Hitler to exterminate European Jewry rather than expel them. So the implication is that false warnings about Jews trying to take over al-Aqsa, or to even just change the Temple Mount status quo, lead to attempts to exterminate Jews, including the Holocaust.’

Really? That’s the implication?

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…[T]he historical distortion here, far from being a sudden ‘oops,’ is part of the larger picture of hatred toward Palestinians that Netanyahu has been promoting throughout his political life.

Bibi was wrong to imply that Hitler would not have enacted the Final Solution before the Mufti urged him to do so, and he said so himself.

But this is not a blood libel. A blood libel is where the libel is meant to incite the population to murder people, and nothing that Netanyahu said could be construed that way, except by people blinded with extreme hate like Lerner — hate that he projects onto Netanyahu.

Bibi’s speech wasn’t about the Mufti. It was about the lies that Israel’s enemies (like Michael Lerner) voice about Israel today. Netanyahu listed ten lies and showed them to be false. The story about the Mufti was an aside for Lie #2.

Bibi’s point wasn’t that Palestinians who today make up lies about Al Aqsa have the potential to create a new Holocaust. (Though if they had the power to do that, they very well might — why would anyone think that they would treat Jews better than Muslims treat each other? But that wasn’t the point.)

The part that Lerner refers to in the speech was a short aside from the main points, and Bibi’s message was that the idea that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger is a lie that has been around for 100 years, one that is still repeated even as the Mosque remains intact under Jewish rule. To take Netanyahu’s aside about the Mufti — who indeed wanted to kill all the Jews — and call that a “blood libel” is itself a libel.

Does Bibi promote hate of Arabs? No, that’s another slander. The village that saw the highest percentage of votes for Netanyahu was Arab — literally named Arab al Naim. Its residents voted for Likud to show appreciation for the improvements in infrastructure that this supposed Arab hater gave this Bedouin town.

Similarly, Israel under Bibi has been spending millions of shekels to improve schooling and infrastructure in Arab towns. Does this sound like the actions of someone who hates Arabs?

The only hate we see here is exhibited by Michael Lerner.

Lerner likes to pretend that he is supporting Jewish values. He likes to selectively quote parts of Jewish texts, interpret them in ways that fit his biases, and ignore the rest. But that is not Judaism.

A Jewish value is “dan l’chaf zechut,” to give people the benefit of the doubt. But in this case, he takes words that Bibi himself has walked back, and uses absurd extrapolations of those words as his own Torah, while anything that Netanyahu says in plain English that is the exact opposite of what Lerner pretends he is saying is dismissed.

Lerner isn’t being “dan l’chaf zechut.” He is instead violating the very serious Jewish prohibition of motzei shem ra” — slander. He is taking Bibi’s words out of context, blowing up a mistake out of proportion as if Bibi is trying to justify murdering all Palestinians in response to their genocidal desires, and ignoring the clarifying statements that Netanyahu made almost immediately.

Lerner’s hate extends beyond Bibi to many religious Jews:.

[W]hen a group of Jewish fundamentalists called Atteret HaKohanim (who explicitly believe that it is time to tear down the Al Asqa Mosque, rebuild the ancient Temple, and begin animal sacrifices once again) were allowed by the Israeli government to go to the Temple Mount on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot a few weeks ago, it is no surprise that many Muslims reacted by thinking that the Israeli government, which controls access to the Mount, intended to send a signal to the Muslims that their stay on one of their holiest sites is in danger. Some responded by throwing rocks at these extremists (a response I find unacceptable), and then the Israeli government, rather than restraining the Jewish fundamentalists, shut the Temple Mount to Islamic men under the age of fifty. This is a pattern that happens over and over again, and led to the start of the 2nd Intifada and to the current spontaneous acts of outrage at the Occupation, this time by Palestinians living in Jerusalem who had not joined in previous demonstrations against Israeli occupation.

Lerner, who is supposedly liberal, says that Israel should ban Jews from peacefully walking on their holiest place because some of those walkers would like to see the Third Temple built there. Instead, all Jews must be restricted. Collective punishment is mandatory. Israel, by preserving the status quo of allowing people of all religions to visit the Mount, is — according to Lerner — responsible for forcing the poor Arabs to stab Jews.

How sick is that?

Lerner cannot find a single example of a Jewish “fundamentalist” civilian acting with violence or even insults against the Muslims on the Temple Mount, yet Lerner has more sympathy for the violent Arabs than of the peaceful Jews.

Is that a Jewish value, Lerner?

Another Jewish value is “kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh,” “all Israel is responsible for one another.” Yet to “Rabbi” Lerner, Arabs who threaten violence because of their hatred of Jews are more worthy of respect than Jews who want the basic rights to visit their holiest place.

What kind of a “rabbi” would prefer the murderers instead of the Jews who merely walk on the The Temple Mount?

One who has no shame.

The article reveals even more hate that Lerner has for Israeli Jews:

While we deplore the murder of random Israeli citizens by their Palestinian neighbors and the murder of (many more) random Palestinians by their Israeli neighbors, … we see all this as the inevitable working out of the logic of Occupation and subordination.

Lerner is accusing Israeli Jews of “murdering” more Arabs than Arabs are murdering Jews.

Not “killing” — murdering.

Which means that Lerner believes that every Arab killed in the process of trying to stab Jews, or of throwing firebombs, has been murdered– premeditated killings, where the stabbings and Molotovs are merely an excuse for the bloodthirsty, amoral Israeli Jews to target them for death.

This is a slander against the entire people of Israel. And “Rabbi” Lerner is perverting Judaism to pretend that such slander is righteous, not reprehensible.

I urge you to read the entire speech that Netanyahu gave to the 37th Zionist Congress. Because Bibi destroys the lies of Michael Lerner and other haters of Israel, and  Lerner does not want anyone to see the rest of that speech, which shows him to be a fool.

Michael Lerner is not practicing Judaism. He is no rabbi. He has created his own new-age cult, using vaguely Jewish-sounding but bogus concepts like “Tikkun Olam” (making the world a better place) as the basis of his newer testament. But scratching below the surface, you can see that his sorry excuse for “faith”  is centered  on his own hate and that Lerner uses pseudo-Judaism to further his perverted agenda.

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  • Mike P.

    It’s not a blood libel when the Mufti:

    1) asked for Hitler to kill all the Jews; and
    2) raised up 2 of 9 SS mobile killing squads that committed the Holocaust of bullets in Southern and Eastern Europe

    Methinks Lerner doth like the Mufti too much.

  • he is really a moron not a rabbi

  • Jeffrey Justin

    You need to bone up on your history if you cant find an example that ” Jewish Fundamentalist civilian did not try to destroy the Mosque on the temple mount ” Facts are facts ,you just don’t seem to have use of them . In the 1970’s a Jewish civilian tried to enter the Mosque,with the desire to blow it up or cause as much mahem as he possibly could , he was arrested before he could “be a Martyr?” . Maybe try google and looking it up in the Jerusalem Post

  • A Zionist

    In his book, “Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England”, Anthony Julius describes how Israel haters, like Chomsky, operate.They take a passage out of context and then apply a pseudo-analysis in order to indict the Jew/Zionist ie the entire people of Israel.

    This dates back to Matthew’s Gospel where the citation says that Jesus stated: “Ye have heard me say love thy neighbour as thyself and hate thine enemies, but . . .”

    Love thy neighbour as thyself is central to Judaism, but the second statement is a fabrication.

    J’accuse Michael Lerner of behaving as other Jew-haters of the past has behaved. It is worse, because they claim to be “Jews who love Israel.” With their kind of love, who needs enemies.

  • Joel

    From what Yeshiva did this jerk get smika?

  • marta mikey frid

    Being Jewish has to do with your values and ethics. Not with the Halacha. Some of our best Jews were not born Jewish but chose to be Jewish; Abraham, Rebecca, Ruth and all our brave patriarchs and matriarchs. They are the true Jews. Not this evil. Stop calling the Chomskys and the Finkelstein et al Jews please!

  • Annie Wise

    Lerner is a pervert

  • Dear ‘Rabbi’, may we send you a history text book? There’s a word for a person/people who refuses/refuse to be one’s friend, yet connives behind one’s back.

  • steven L

    An antisemite like many other.

  • A Switzer

    Lerner is a bigot, dishonest and disturbingly ignorant. His bias is old news, and no one need invite him to speak since he’s not relevant.

  • SteveHC

    People like Lerner are thoroughly detestable.

  • Fred

    He is Rooshe of the first water. He would betray the Jews in a blink. Michal Lerner you are not much of learner sitting ensconced in your high chair pontificating whilst your people are butchered in the streets of Israel. As for being a”Rabi” does not absolve from abysmal ignorance & betrayal of the worse kind. What difference would it make to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount , there is plenty of room for goodwill, but not in your books. As for the Mufti if you would be true to yourself get some German Papers 1941 and read yourself. How when Hitler & the Mufti had tea for the Jews was no sympathy . When Himmler showed the Mufti the flower garden in Auschwitz he pointed out the block for gassing Jew. You seem to be an Arab squatter apologist.

  • Julian Clovelley

    I feel there is a distortion of meaning in this article that seems made to attack the Rabbi in question

    The blood libel is generally defined in a fashion of this nature: “an accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered the children of Christians to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during Jewish holidays.”

    We know only to well the motivation for creating that lie – it was to defame threaten and create an atmosphere to expel attack and murder Jewish people

    In the Huffington Post article there are two main references to the blood libel – not quoted here.. The first is “Israel’s Prime Minister attributing the Holocaust to Palestinian influence over Hitler is a “Blood Libel” level lie.” The use of the word “level” surely indicates we are talking in terms of magnitude rather than other qualities of the statements compared.

    The second reference is more complex and is more about the quality of Netanyahu’s claim. In full the Rabbi said “While we deplore the murder of random Israeli citizens by their Palestinian neighbors and the murder of (many more) random Palestinians by their Israeli neighbors, and the arrest of hundreds of Palestinians with no right to trial by a jury of their peers, we see all this as the inevitable working out of the logic of Occupation and subordination. All the more reason to be outraged at Netanyahu’s further stirring of hatred toward Palestinians with his blood libel. It is not the viciously murderous Mufti of Jerusalem, long dead, who is the target of Netanyahu’s hatred, but the entire Palestinian people whom he sees as an extension of the Nazis.”

    The assertion here is that Netanyahu’s claim is similarly motivated to the motivation of the blood libel – It is asserted that it is used to defame an entire people – irrespective of its being in reality a claim about one man

    I think the Rabbi’s argument is not entirely unreasonable albeit certainly rather inflammatory and simplistic – a fault shared by both the (ridiculous) blood libel and the Mufti claim

    As for the accusation against the Mufti – in the interests of history it is worthy of further academic research. The suggestion that Hitler was inspired by an Arab is drawing, to my mind, rather a long bow. Hitler does not seem to be recorded as ever speaking directly about the ongoing Holocaust. But his speeches before the outbreak of war suggest he needed no further encouragement.

    if you can stomach it an excerpt from such a speech appears on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLo_tHQgunw

    Pure evil!

    Shalom

  • To the observation of commenter “McQueen” that Rabbi Lerner has been engaged in his mischief for a long time, I add that he is justifiably described as a “self-hating Jew.” I would like to see Algemeiner writers adopt that epithet for Jews such as Lerner and Tom Friedman of the New York Times. They are the same kind of Jews who supported Hitler in the 1930s until they learned, too late, that they had made a mistake as they were carted off to a concentration camp.
    Burton H. Wolfe, author of Hitler and the Nazis (Putnam).

  • GeenBeen

    Put him in Herem. He is a traitor, a liar and a denier of pure fact. How can he call himself Rabbi? He should be called out for what he is – an anti-semite.

  • The lies here about me are so immense it seems silly to try to refute them one by one. For those who think I’m anti-Israel, do you know that I brought my only son to Israel, had him study in a high school program there, and then gave my permission (required by the IDF for only children who want to serve in a combat unit) to allow my only child, the child whom I deeply love, to serve in the Tzanchanim, the ISraeli paratroopers. How many of those who cast hate at me have made a comparable act of commitment to the wellbeing of the State of Israel? Moreover, I’ve consistently critiqued those who do not recognize the right of Israel to exist, and have demanded of those who support BDS against Israel that they make clear that when they talk about ending the occupation they do not mean ending the State of Israel, but only ending the occupation of the West Bank. You may disagree with my view of how to best serve the Jewish people (though the only way to know what it really is would be to read my book Embracing Israel/Palestine available at http://www.tikkun.org/eip, but it is totally a distortion to portray me as an enemy of Israel. I am very critical of Israeli policies toward Palestinians, just as I am very critical of US policies toward African Americans, but this is out of my deep concern for the well-being of Israel and of the US, not out of some hatred of either country. As to my version of Judaism, read my 1994 national best seller Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation, which was reviewed in Conservative Judaism Magazine and described as “Stunning, miraculous, and faith renewing” and by Prof. David Biale, chair of Jewish studies at the time at the Graduate Theological Union as “A major contribution to Jewish thought.” As to the claims above, I do not believe Jews should be barred from the Temple Mount, but do believe that the fringe group Ateret HaKohanim that seeks to replace the Al Asqa Mosque with a rebuilding of the ancient Jewish Temple should be banned going there as a group, though each member should be able to go there one by one so as to not send a message to Palestinians that their mosque is in danger, which is precisely the message that that group wishes to send. You can disagree with me, but to distort what I stand for may give you momentary glee among your followers, but is intellectually dishonest and morally repulsive.

    • Scott Rosen

      Rabbi, I read your article with interest. I commend you for standing up for yourself in this post. Israeli and Palestinian efforts to delegitimize each other (and there are many on both sides) will not and cannot bring peace. There is way too much ink spilled in that regard. However, you want the West to do what it can to “end the occupation.” Let’s look forward, not backward. How exactly can the occupation be ended without increasing violence, chaos and instability? There are a lot of words written about this conflict, but preciously few ideas on how to improve the situation. Is it possible that our Western notion that every situation is problem to be solved is simply wrong? Is it possible that the status quo is the best of bad alternatives? Most of us want peace. How would you get us there?

  • McQueen

    Absolutely true. He’s been doing it for decades.

  • Cherie

    He cannot be a Jew; must have come from a mixed lineage when the Hebrews left Egypt!!

    • Ted Crawford

      That implies that being a good Hebrew is strictly genetic, and that Hebrews are genetically superior to Egyptians and other peoples of the ME. Lets not go there! Hitler did, with Aryan superiority! Yet he harbored a secret fear he carried Jewish blood. What makes Hebrews and Jews exceptional is the One Who chose them centuries ago, and still loves, guides and protects them from His throne in heaven.

    • Ted Crawford

      Lerner’s genetic lineage doesn’t necessarily make him the lying hate-monger he is; he has chosen to be that way.

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