Michael Lerner 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Rabbi Michael Lerner lashed out on Tuesday at some of his critics, who he said had created an atmosphere of incitement and hatred that led to the vandalism of his northern California home on Monday.
Someone glued posters to his door and fence that criticized him, together with other Jews on the left, for supporting terrorism and “Islamofascism,” according to a statement released by Lerner’s magazine Tikkun.
“I’m tremendously frightened that this is going to happen now in the Jewish community, and it starts with me – the movement from demeaning to incitement to actual physical attack,” Lerner told The Jerusalem Post
from his Berkeley home.
Among the inciters, he named Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who had written a blog entry on the Huffington Post
and the Jerusalem Post
Web sites castigating Lerner’s support for former judge Richard Goldstone, author of the UN report that accused Israel of intentionally harming civilians during last year’s Operation Cast Lead.
In the blog posting, dated April 29, Dershowitz called the group of rabbis who wrote in support of Goldstone “rabbis for Hamas,” and named Lerner as “the worst of these rabbis (and that’s saying a lot).” He also called Lerner’s synagogue “anti-Israel.”
“This is the kind of incitement that then leads other people to act,” Lerner said. “They call us ‘Hamas rabbis.’ What is that, if not incitement? Hamas is a terrorist group. We have denounced Hamas many many times. We don’t support Hamas.”
His synagogue, he added, “is not anti-Israel. In fact, every Shabbos in birkat hamazon [grace after meals] we give a prayer for the State of Israel.”
The incident had left his family “in deep fear that they might be targeted,” said Lerner. “We’re just thankful that this action was only against our property and not yet on our persons.
“A climate of violence is being created, and the Jewish world should
stop it. The leading voices in the Jewish world need to say, ‘No matter
what you feel about this issue, do not attack. And do not call people
‘anti-Semites’ or ‘self-hating Jews’ because you disagree with their
policies,” Lerner added.
Asked for a response, Dershowitz said that “Tikkun
Lerner edits] is a magazine that incites all the time. It has incited
the world against Israel by claiming falsely that Israel deliberately
targeted civilians in Operation Cast Lead.
“Of course I don’t approve of anybody putting
posters on people’s homes,” he added. “On the other hand, on a scale of
10, having a couple of posters glued to your home is a 1.”
According to Dershowitz, Lerner is “trying to silence me by using the
term incitement. I didn’t incite anything. All I did was tell the truth
by criticizing him. The hate mail and the posters are a reaction to his
own hate speech and hate mongering against Israel. So if we’re talking
about incitement, Michael Lerner should look in the mirror.”
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