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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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WOW Blame Jewish Press, Bloggers, for Graffiti

None of us support violence and we found out about the story in the media, just like every one else.
Peggy Cidor, executive board member of Women of the Wall, in the stairwell of her apartment building in Jerusalem, Israel.

Peggy Cidor, executive board member of Women of the Wall, in the stairwell of her apartment building in Jerusalem, Israel.
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Read also: Orthodox & Reform Rabbis Condemn Arab Violence against Settlers

Last week, the home of Women of the Wall board member Peggy Cidor was attacked with graffiti. The graffiti read: “Petty, watch out” and “Women of the Wall are villains.” Ever since this incident, before a police investigation has even determined who the culprits are, Women of the Wall have started a media campaign falsely claiming that “right-wing Orthodox journalists and bloggers false accusations” against the Women of the Wall organization “directly cause a real, physical threat and danger to the lives of the women.” These slanderous statements have been published in the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and all across social media.

As the journalist who broke the story about the Women of the Wall leadership’s connections to anti-Israel organizations, I would like to stress that neither my articles published in the Jewish Press and Jerusalem Online News nor that of Varda Epstein and Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks in the Times of Israel, nor Jonathan Rosenblum in the Jerusalem Post, nor Gil Ronen in Arutz Sheva, nor Daniel Greenfield in Front Page Magazine are responsible for the graffiti. None of us support violence and we found out about the story in the media, just like every one else. I am sorry from the bottom of my heart that Peggy had to go through this.

However, I would like to emphasize that just because Peggy was the victim of a graffiti attack does not give Shira Pruce, spokeswoman of Women of the Wall, the right to make false accusations against her political opponents before any police investigation has been conducted, especially when there is zero evidence indicating that there is any connection between the recent media exposure connecting the Women of the Wall leadership to anti-Israel groups and the graffiti.

As Ronit Peskin of Women for the Wall asserted in an interview I conducted with her last week in Jerusalem Online News, “It could have been someone with a personal grudge against Peggy, rather than someone prompted by the leaderships connections to anti-Israel groups, especially given the fact that she was never mentioned in JPOST, Arutz Sheva, the Times of Israel, Front Page Magazine, the Jewish Press or any of the other news organizations that wrote about the connections between Women of the Wall and anti-Israel groups. Furthermore, she is a relatively unknown board member of Women of the Wall, who is not really mentioned in any media about the organization. This undermines the argument that the recent news articles exposing the Women of the Wall’s leadership to anti-Israel groups has something to do with the graffiti.”

In that interview, it was also revealed to me that Women of the Wall accused Women for the Wall of being responsible for the negative media exposure. I would like to take this opportunity to state that I am not in any way connected with Women for the Wall. I am an independent pro-Israel writer who is not part of any particular group either for or against women praying with tallits at the Kotel. My only interest as a journalist is to expose the truth to the public, so that they can have the information needed to make their own decisions. I would also like to add that it is my commitment to the truth and not my religious beliefs that caused me to expose the Women of the Wall’s leaderships’ connections to anti-Israel groups to begin with. I would have wanted to also write articles exposing the links of a Haredi organization such as Neuterai Karta whose leadership is connected to anti-Israel groups, if such links were not yet public knowledge.

I would also like to note that I only became familiar with Women for the Wall once I exposed the connections between Women of the Wall’s leadership and anti-Israel organizations. Before I took this step, I never heard of them nor met any of their leaders. Even though I now have sympathy for them as a fellow victim of Women of the Wall’s slander, I continue to remain independent from them.

Given that Women of the Wall continue to claim that I stated lies about them, I would like to ask them, why haven’t you produced the proof showing that your leadership is not associated with the organizations that I listed? And if no proof can be produced and there truly is nothing wrong with your leaderships’ connections to the organizations that I listed, why are you so disturbed that these connections have become public knowledge to the point that you threatened news organizations and when that failed, resorted to engaging in libel against those who spoke out against you?

I would like to add that had Women of the Wall not responded to my original story, my article would likely have remained only in one news source and quickly become old news. It only spread all over the internet once Shira Pruce decided to make a scandal out of it by threatening news organizations and then choosing to spread slander against her opponents instead of offering a proper rebuttal. Shira Pruce furthermore continues to refuse to mediate with Women for the Wall, to try and calm down the situation.

When I spoke to Shira Pruce on twitter, in an attempt to understand her logic, she defended her organizations connections to the New Israel Fund by claiming that attacking Women of the Wall was like attacking rape crisis centers because they also receive funding from them: “You attack WOW based on an association fallacy. I await your article attacking rape crisis centers.” The fact that the leaderships of rape crisis centers generally aren’t publicly active in anti-Israel causes on the side and don’t usually engage in highly politicized provocative actions doesn’t register with her.

Shira Pruce’s poor leadership was highlighted about a month ago when my story became public and her recent reactions demonstrate her unsuitability for the job once again. Once the graffiti became public knowledge, Women of the Wall had a chance to gain sympathy from every one, including me. They lost that golden opportunity by taking advantage of the spotlight to slander others without any kind of evidence to back up their claims. If Women of the Wall wants to be viewed as a credible organization, its time for them to find leadership not connected with anti-Israel groups and to choose a new spokeswoman that knows how to properly defend a cause that she professes to care about, instead of causing more damage to her organization.

About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."


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20 Responses to “WOW Blame Jewish Press, Bloggers, for Graffiti”

  1. Sarah Williams says:

    Well done!

  2. David Blatt says:

    Given your regular invalidations of these good women, I would say that the Jewish Press is partly responsible for these atrocities.

  3. @David Blatt: According to you, since the Jewish Press expressed criticism of certain people, it should therefore be held "partly responsible" for any acts of vandalism committed against their property.

    Following your logic, since you have criticized the Jewish Press, do you believe that *you* should be held "partly responsible" if someone were to vandalize the property of the Jewish Press writers?

  4. Dan Silagi says:

    Avraham, you and your fellow right-wing extremists masquerading as journalists need to take some responsibility for this act of vandalism, just as an earlier generation of right-wing morons need to take responsibility for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir, who didn't act in a vacuum.

  5. abbushuki says:

    @Blatt: No one invalidated the women. It’s what they attempt to propagate that’s problematic. Hoffman for e.g. represents Reform professionally. Before she got involved, Rosh Hodesh was not observed by even one US Reform temple. (Except I heard of one that made it into a woman’s only event defying liberal egalitarianism). Hoffman’s anti-Reform concept of ‘women only’ is acceptable to her employers only because WOW is a political movement, anti-Chreidi pure and simple. That makes WOW correctly vulnerable to disputive discourse with all the usual shmuts that accompanies such fare.

  6. Joe Settler says:

    I'm waiting for the left-wing morons who enabled and supported Arafat and the PLO, brought them into Eretz Yisrael, gave them guns, and caused the death of a thousands Jews and permanent injuries to tens of thousands more, to finally take responsibility for their actions. After all, Arafat and the PLO didn't act in a vacuum.

  7. @Dan Silagi: According to you, since Rachel Avraham expressed criticism of certain people, she therefore "need[s] to take some responsibility for this act of vandalism" committed by others against those people's property.

    Following your logic, since you have criticized Rachel Avraham, do you believe that *you* would "need to take some responsibility" if someone else were to vandalize the property of Rachel Avraham?

  8. Anonymous says:

    These misguided women don't care about the facts. They only care about making their chillul Hashem political statements. Brava to you, Rachel, for exposing them for who they are. And you are being more than generous.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh, please.

  10. Another poster aptly asked the question;after the first attack, why weren't any security cameras installed? This is the first thing someone does if they have become a target unless they did it themselves, of course.

  11. Dan Silagi says:

    Moshe Z. Matitya Typical ultra-right Haredi crap. Avraham very plainly, in language even you yeshiva bochurs can understand, said that WoW is "Anti-Israel." If that's not enough to incite the haredi crazies in Israel, I don't know what would be.

  12. Dan Silagi says:

    Joe Settler Because I'm opposed to Jews oppressing other Jews, how does it follow that I enabled and supported Yassir Arafat and the PLO? That's a complete and total non-sequitur, and a damned lie. But that's what I expect from the ultra-right these days.

  13. Dan Silagi says:

    I don't call the editors and writers of the Jewish Press "enemies of Israel." Nor do I write guest editorials for the Jewish Press, for the Jerusalem Post, nor for the Times of Israel.

  14. Dan Silagi says:

    I don't call the editors and writers of the Jewish Press "enemies of Israel." Nor do I write guest editorials for the Jewish Press, for the Jerusalem Post, nor for the Times of Israel.

  15. @Dan Silagi: Your laughably clueless misidentification of people as "Haredi" and "yeshiva bochurs", as well as your utter ignorance as to the nature of things that "incite the haredi crazies", are a pretty good indication of the worth of your judgement in general.

    Oh, and you never answered my question. But then, I didn't really expect you to.

  16. Dan Silagi says:

    Moshe Z. Matitya I could misidentify you, moisheleh, as a mensch. But my powers of observation are way better than that.

  17. The police did install cameras. And then Peggy needed to run after them when they stopped working. And then the tapes needed changing. In short, the police did not take the case seriously enough. It's Israel here.. "Every thing will be OK…" יהיה בסדר

  18. I will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt when Mochaich has come, when WOW will finally SHUT UP. Argh. I am just sick to death of their whining!

  19. Omri Golan says:

    Rachel Avraham you are pathetic!

Comments are closed.

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