's due in 5 days, so I don't have time to offer much commentary on this story
(how about that for an extraneous plug?), but I note we haven't run anything on it yet ...
(JTA) -- The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized.
Posters attached to his door and the fence around his Berkeley home attack Lerner personally, and liberals and progressives, as being supporters of terrorism and "Islamofascism," according to a news release from the magazine.
The vandalism occurred late Sunday night or early Monday morning, and was discovered Monday morning.
It follows a week in which the magazine and Lerner received hate mail, apparently because Tikkun announced that it will award controversial Judge Richard Goldstone with its prestigious Tikkun Award. Some have pilloried Goldstone, a South African, for his United Nations report that accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the winter 2009 Gaza war.
Lerner also offered to hold the bar mitzvah for Goldstone's grandson in San Francisco following threats of protests outside the synagogue in South Africa.
It was the first time in 24 years of the magazine's operation that Lerner's home was attacked, according to the magazine's statement.
From a Tikkun press release:
They posted a printed bumper sticker saying "fight terror--support Israel" next to a carcature 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."
In the 24 years of Tikkun's operation, we have received many death threats and vicious hate mail, including phone calls to our office announcing that "Rabbi Lerner is dead" and others saying "We will kill all of you."
This particular attack has two worrisome elements not previously there:
1. They attack Rabbi Lerner's home. As law enforcement people told us, this is a way of conveying the messaget to Lerner: "We know where you live, we know your house is vulnerable, so don't ignore our threats."
2. By linking Lerner to alleged terrorism, they provide for themselves and other extremists a "right-wing justification" to use violence against Lerner, even though Lerner has been a prominent advocate of non-violence.
Like a Tea Partier throwing a brick through the window of a Democratic law-maker out of outrage over the death panels in the health-care bill, this is another result of overheated, right-wing eliminationist rhetoric
. Consider how Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic correspondent who many people see as a respectable voice, writes
about progressive Jews who dare not to walk lockstep with him in his mindless, tribal devotion to a strip of land thousands of miles away:
In the middle of an otherwise forgettable death-to-Israel speech in Washington last week, the more talented half of the Mearsheimer-Walt Judeophobic combine placed on display, once again, his compulsive need to make lists of Jews. This time, Mr. Mearsheimer (a suspiciously Jewish-sounding name, though I'm told he's German-American) lists those Jews he considers "righteous," meaning that they seek the destruction of the Jewish state ...
Goldberg then lists some Jews of whose criticism of Israel he doesn't approve, and continues ...
[They] are part of a tiny minority of Jews who believe that the destruction of Israel will bring them the approval of non-Jews, which they crave. Mearsheimer, in this speech, goes on to label the country's American Jewish leadership "new Afrikaners."
You and I might see Goldberg as a mendacious asshole -- which he is -- and dismiss his rant, but a lot of people take him and his allies pushing this vile meme seriously.
And if you convince the wrong
people --unbalanced people -- that criticizing Israeli policy (or U.S. policy towards the region) i
s the same exact thing as wanting to destroy Israel and annihilate her people, some of them are going to take matters into their own hands.
It's worth noting that police are not investigating this as a hate crime, because Lerner was apparently targeted for his politics, not his religion.