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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Thanks for the Criticism, David Ha’ivri, But I Think We Were 100% Right

“Shofar Road” photo on the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College home page. We believe our readers can tell the difference.

“Shofar Road” photo on the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College home page. We believe our readers can tell the difference.
Photo Credit: Dan Epstein/Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue

Pundit David Ha’ivri has written a profound criticism of the Jewish Press Online, which I heartily recommend: (Activist: Jewish Press Online Chided Israel’s friends while Legitimizing Progressive Jewish Groups).

Here is my response, in my capacity as Front Page Editor:

Dear David,

It is quite possible even for the Jewish Press online edition to be wrong, and when we are, we welcome criticism.

We weren’t wrong in this instance, though.

First, we had already dealt with this story only a few days earlier, in two articles published July 20th: “Michelle Bachmann Doubles Down on Muslim Brotherhood Infesting US Government Charge,” and “Is Weiner Running for Mayor? Show Me the Money…” So that the JTA story we “copied and pasted” came within a context with which our readers were familiar.

Incidentally, JPress editors rarely copy and paste a JTA story mindlessly, if only for the fact that we receive 39 whacks every time we let slip a reference to the “West Bank” instead of “Judea and Samaria.”

So that when you write: “Also surprising and disappointing is the fact that The Jewish Press mentioned in passing that this Muslim woman, who is a top aide to Secretary of State Clinton, is married to a former congressman who himself happens to be Jewish. It does not mention that this man brought shame on himself and was impeached for sending pictures of his private parts to young women via text messages” – we didn’t because we had just done it the other day. Twice.

Personally, I honestly and completely believe that Michelle Bachman is several tea cups short of a party. She has been known to make bizarre statements which rarely stand up to scrutiny. All of America recalls the GOP debate when Bachman went after Texas Governor Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that young girls in Texas be vaccinated against HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease and one that can lead to cervical cancer.

Bachman actually said: “To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. That’s a violation of a liberty interest.”

She then told NBC’s “Today” show: “I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”

Except the congresswoman was unable to identify that tearful mother, nor substantiate with any known medical authority a connection between the vaccine and mental retardation. It was a stern reminder that perhaps the U.S. primary system is not as good a way of picking leaders as we thought.

You write: “When I looked into the backgrounds of these ‘Jewish’ organizations, I was even more surprised – and disappointed – that an established and respected Jewish publication like The Jewish Press would give a platform to groups like The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and The Society for Humanistic Judaism.”

I don’t think it’s our job as a news website to decide who is and isn’t entitled to be called Jewish. In a broader context we could point out the subtle distinctions between a Shomer Shabbes Yid from Flatbush and anyone from either of the above mentioned organizations. But in a story that’s about a blip on the political radar screen – Congresswoman made a wild, unsubstantiated attack, a bunch of organizations including Jewish ones registered their objection – citing those distinctions doesn’t make much sense. Plus, our readers are smart enough to know the difference.

But near the end, you write something truly scary: “The person mentioned in the representatives’ inquiry is not a very observant Muslim, and the inquiry did not refer in any way to her religious observance. What was in question is her very close family relationship to leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

I don’t respond well to guilt by association. I think it’s cheap. It doesn’t show concern, it’s a permanent call for pitchforks and torches and let’s kill the bastards.

Don’t get me wrong, as a husband and a father I’m in favor of racial profiling in some cases, when it means police get to do a better job protecting all of us—at the expense or inconvenience of some individuals. I’ve been pulled off lines at airports because of my helmet-size, black yarmulke and my suspicious beard, I know the drill.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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14 Responses to “Thanks for the Criticism, David Ha’ivri, But I Think We Were 100% Right”

  1. Davide Shalome says:

    Those women must be Bat Woman because they had BAT Mitzvahs, lol.

  2. Yossi Pollak says:

    Yasher koach Yori. That line is great-"several tea cups short of a party".

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    Hey, man, long time!

  4. Stu Loeser says:

    I like this line better: "As your brother who, like you, has been accused by millions of 'killing Christ' despite the fact that neither one of us was even in the neighborhood at the time…"

  5. Gil Gilman says:

    I am sorry for having a great galloping guffaw over several statements in this article. I know it is a serious topic, but I can't help it, and am still chortling as an attempt is being made to type this on my iPad to thank you for brightening my day!

  6. We may not want guilt by association; however to ignore the radical Muslim.
    Brotherhood relatiaves of high American government officials ( privy to.
    American secrets ) is to be less than intelligent. Its just plain stupid and.
    dangerous.

    People handling sensitive information should be vetted , screened, and.
    suspect if their family members are radical muslims.

    Better careful than dead.

    Michelle Bachman may actually be brining up valid concerns. I say survival.
    of the American way of live over political correctness.

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    Is this a get together of the old neighborhood? Stu — Mazal tov on #3 and on your new freedom.

  8. Yori Yanover says:

    No, she's not. And anyone working for the State Dept. gets vetted. They just don't do it in the middle of the street. You think the FBI now went — OMG, she's a Arab, how could we be so foolish — ? Give me a break.

  9. Yossi Pollak says:

    Yori-I commented on an earlier one of your articles but you didn't take notice, sniff, sniff…hope all is well in Israel.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yori Yanover, I am curious to see the lady's Form 86…which MUST BE FILLED BY ALL STATE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES and which NO ONE has requested… If and what she disclosed of her mother's and brothers' belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and of her growing-up in Saudi Arabia…? MAY BE, we don't need to go back to the '20s and ARAMCO to find the roots of today's positions of the State Department on Israel and Muslim Brotherhood… It's enough to remember that Monica's trick's wife in 1995 INVITED A HAMAS MEMBER TO THE WHITE HOUSE PRAYER SESSION and hired a "Muslim Sister" to work for her…
    I can't forget the "Jews needn't apply" for interpreters and translators positions from Arabic NOT ONLY in the FBI…
    Wake-up!

  11. Yori Yanover says:

    Good weather, good food, good beach, good job, healthcare for all, no outsourced tech support, fast Internet. But ya gotta have a job. No job no goodies. So God provides. Regards!

  12. Nancy Kramer says:

    we miss you and send regards to Brooke the kids and you…come visit us by the sea!!! yarden off for a three month adventure in the states…shabbat shalom

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    I used to hold a security clearance, and I am familiar with the process. If you have any relatives in any country deemed potentially hostile to the US, you have to go through a huge vetting. There is no way that anyone with MB connections would get any kind of security clearance. Any implication to the contrary by ignorant politicians like Bachmann is reprehensible. Note that a lot of Bachmann's fellow Republicans, who normally keep silent during her rants, couldn't keep silent after this one.

  14. Charlie Hall says:

    Unfortunately, some frum Jews have bought into the junk science that Bachmann has promoted and failed to vaccinate their children. That there can be measles outbreaks in frum neighborhoods today is a chilul HaShem.

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