[sixties-l] Rabbi Moonbeam [Michael Lerner] (fwd)

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Date: Sun Apr 28 2002 - 17:35:36 EDT

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    Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 11:22:26 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Rabbi Moonbeam [Michael Lerner]

    Rabbi Moonbeam

    By Steven Plaut
    FrontPageMagazine.com | April 24, 2002

    THE PROPHET ISAIAH WARNED THE JEWS that those seeking their destruction
    would emerge out of their own midst (Chapter 49, verse 17). The prophecy
    has come home in spades in recent years, in a wave of anti-Semitism among
    Jewish Leftists that has accompanied assaults against Israel. For many
    years, assimilationist, Jewish leftists have served as fig leafs for
    anti-Jewish bellicosity and anti-Israel aggression as collaborators with
    anti-Semites. These are folks who essentially hate their own people and so
    support anti-Semitic bigotry and belligerence throughout the world, all in
    the name of promoting "peace and justice." While they are better seen as a
    psychiatric phenomenon than a political one, they nevertheless do enormous
    harm and play a destructive role in the current Middle East crisis that
    must be properly understood.

    One of the more amusing pastimes is watching how the myriad instruments of
    the Israel-bashing media keep discovering the novelty of Jewish leftists
    who justify anti-Semitism and even Arab terrorism. Their serendipity knows
    no boundaries when discovering Jews who justify PLO atrocities and insist
    that Israel is to blame for everything wrong with the world. In reality,
    self-hating Jews promoting a "Blame the Jews" ideology have been around for
    thousands of years and go back at least to the Hellenistic Age, and
    probably even earlier. Anti-Semites have always utilized them voraciously.
    After all, if even these "Jews" are convinced that the Jews are a greedy
    and evil people, surely it must be so. Jewish anti-Semites, like gentile
    anti-Semites, generally do not concede that they are bigots. They insist
    that they are 'only" anti-Zionist and really want only the best for the
    Jews, which just happens to include the total capitulation of Israel to
    Arab fascism.

    Of the countless such Jewish Uncle Toms, "Tomming" it up for the
    Jew-bashers of the world, perhaps the best known in the United States is
    Michael Lerner. Lerner made the evening news early in the first Clinton
    Administration, when Hillary Clinton briefly considered promoting Lerner's
    New Age "politics of meaning," a sort of generic liberation theology, whose
    deity is the Idol of political correctness. The "politics of meaning" was
    nothing more nor less than the advocacy of the left's political agenda
    mixed with a shtikele of Hillarycare, superficially dressed up in religious
    slogans and symbols. Under the "politics of meaning," all prayer is
    replaced with self-indulgent endless repetitions of the mantra "loving and
    caring" and assertions that all those who disagree with the Left are greedy
    and selfish.

    Within the Jewish world, Lerner is better known for serving as editor of
    the flaky Far-Left Tikkun magazine, a sort of a mix between a
    nominally-Jewish Rolling Stone and Z Magazine. "Tikkun" means "repair" and
    refers presumably to the concept in Judaism of "repairing the world." The
    only problem is that, characteristically, "Tikkun" is completely
    misrepresented by Lerner and his people. It has nothing to do with
    politically correct "social justice," as they insist, but rather with the
    battle against paganism and the submission of the world to God's will. In
    other words, the pursuit of PC paganism a la Tikkun is the exact opposite
    of the traditional Judaic concept of "Tikkun."

    Tikkun Magazine presents its readers every month with a roll call of
    shallow leftism, mixed with New Age touchy-feely recreational "compassion"
    and peace posturing. It uses the word "healing" the way most people use
    commas, usually in the sense of "spiritual healing" (whatever that is), but
    is not averse to offering pop medical tips without a license.

    Tikkun seeks to serve as a nostalgic fossilization of Sixties
    counter-culture and New Left radicalism. Last fall Tikkun Magazine insisted
    that the US respond to the September 11 attacks (which it calls the
    September 11 "disturbances") by feeling Osama bin Laden's pain. It has
    repeatedly advocated psychedelic drugs use and proposes transcendental
    meditation as the solution to Middle East strife.

    The magazine serves as the flagship for Lerner's pseudo-Judaic cult
    movement, calling itself the Tikkun Community, which has a handful of
    "synagogues," the largest located in San Francisco. Since Lerner can be
    counted on to support the Arab position on the Middle East with perfect
    consistency, he has become the darling of much of the anti-Israel liberal
    media. He regularly writes Israel-bashing Op-Eds for the Los Angeles Times
    and for other outlets and has appeared in the New York Times, where he
    complained about being victimized by a witch-hunting anti-progressive
    conformist Jewish community. Naturally, Lerner sticks to the line that he
    is only opposed to Israel's current policies, not to its existence, and if
    he happens to "understand" and rationalize the mass massacres of Israeli
    civilians by Arab terrorists, this has nothing to do with him wishing Jews
    harm. The campus protesters who took to the streets to support bin Laden
    also claimed that they possessed not a smidgen of anti-Americanism.

    Lerner's op-ed piece claiming he had been subjected to threats of violence
    appeared in the Los Angeles Times (May 18, 2001), and was widely cited and
    reported. But Lerner's word on the existence of such threats is not exactly
    ironclad or inscribed in stone tablets. The Philadelphia Inquirer a few
    years back reported that letters to the editor, in Tikkun, agreeing with
    Lerner's articles, were in fact being written under false names by Lerner

    Lerner routinely is introduced in his columns and at events as a Rabbi, and
    he signs his columns and his electronic postings as "Rabbi Lerner." In
    fact, it should be emphasized up front that Lerner is not and never has
    been a Rabbi, and virtually no one outside the Tikkun cult acknowledges him
    as being any sort of clergyman. He did briefly take some courses in the
    1960s to prepare him to be a Jewish Sunday School teacher. But he has no
    Rabbinic training and was never ordained as a Rabbi by any Rabbinic
    training seminary or institution. He claims that he was "ordained" when
    three mysterious unnamed "Rabbis" placed their hands upon his head, while
    perhaps wishing for The Force to be with him, but no Rabbi and no one
    outside the Tikkun movement would recognize this "ordination" as kosher.

    Lerner began his political career back in Berkeley in the 1960s, where he
    was active in several leftist groups and in the "movement." In one of the
    finest reminiscences of the day, David Horowitz describes Lerner's wedding,
    which he attended, in his book "Radical Son":

    "The cake at his wedding was inscribed with a Weatherman slogan: Smash
    Monogamy. Soon he and his wife had a child, and the young family went east.
    When the couple separated shortly thereafter, mother and son went to live
    in Boston. Lerner, however, returned to Berkeley. "Michael," I said, "how
    can you leave your son in the east to come to Berkeley? He needs you."
    Without hesitation, Lerner answered: "David, you don't understand. I have
    to be here. Berkeley is the center of the world-historical spirit." Lerner
    also made me understand that drugs were central to the consciousness of the
    Movement. On discovering that I had never taken LSD, he was incredulous:
    "You have to take LSD. Until you've dropped acid, you don't know what
    socialism is."

    >From Berkeley Lerner migrated to Seattle, where he served as commissar of
    the thuggish Far-Leftist Seattle Liberation Front (SLF). In a February 22,
    1970 interview in the Seattle Times, Lerner predicted that he would be
    fired from his academic post (as visiting assistant professor) at the
    University of Washington because "I dig Marx," and that "three years from
    now I don't expect to be alive. I'm too public a person." At least one of
    these predictions came true when, in March, the philosophy department voted
    against renewing Lerner's appointment due to his lack of serious
    credentials, and so the university joined a long list of bogeymen whom
    Lerner claims have persecuted him because of his politics. Earlier,
    Lerner's Seattle Liberation Front joined with the Black Student Union to
    invade six university buildings and brutally beat at least fourteen
    instructors and students who did not heed their "strike order." (Lerner, if
    we can judge from newspaper photos, remained at a safe distance, bullhorn
    in hand.) State Senator James Andersen, (later a state supreme court
    justice) described the firing of Lerner as being based on the fact that the
    taxpayers were "fed up to their ears with paying Lerner to teach violence."

    It was at that time that Lerner began his lifelong habit of threatening to
    sue anyone and everyone who criticizes him or disagrees with him (and
    FrontPage expects to receive such a threat momentarily); all this from a
    person whose claim to fame began with membership in the Berkeley Free
    Speech movement. When Slade Gorton (then state attorney and later Senator
    from Washington) described Lerner's Seattle Liberation Front as "totally
    indistinguishable from fascism and Nazism," Lerner threatened suit. When
    the New Republic revealed that Lerner's sister had been placing personal
    ads in magazines to try to get her brother dates, Lerner and sister
    threatened to sue. (Lerner seems to have a long history of dating problems;
    in a letter widely circulated on the Internet, Lerner writes an appeal to
    friends to find him dates, but only with Ashkenazi or European women, a bit
    of racism he has yet to explain.

    When Professor Edward Alexander from the University of Washington wrote an
    expose of Lerner, the latter sent threatening letters to numerous Jewish
    newspapers and magazines, warning they would be sued by him if they printed
    the piece. (The classic and authoritative analysis of the Lerner career is
    still the book written by the same Alexander (The Jewish Wars: Reflections
    by One of the Belligerents, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press,
    1996, especially pp. 141-51). Professor Alexander has described Lerner as
    "a kipah (skullcap)-wearing, rotund beard-plucker of vaguely 'rabbinic'
    appearance who could always be relied on to blame Israel and not the Arabs
    for the absence of peace, and to liken Israeli defense against Palestinian
    Arab violence to medieval Christian mobs . . . organizing pogroms against
    the whole Jewish community."

    While insisting that all he wants is peace and justice in the Middle East,
    Lerner's prescription for achieving such is essentially the same as Yasser
    Arafat's. He demands that Israel return to its 1949 borders and forego all
    forms of self-defense. Even though the bulk of Palestinians have not lived
    under Israeli "occupation" for many years, such occupation is still the
    justification in his eyes of Palestinians perpetrating atrocities. The only
    permissible response by Israelis to being butchered by Palestinian
    terrorists is to offer them endless appeasements and make sure that Israeli
    soldiers refuse to serve their country. Lerner has never seen an act of
    Arab terrorism that he does not rationalize, nor an act of Jewish
    self-defense he is willing to justify.

    In short, despite his protests that he just wants a secure Israel in a
    peaceful Middle East, when it comes to specifics Lerner's views on Israel
    are indistinguishable from those of Edward Said. (Said is more outspoken
    about his desire to see Israel destroyed.) Indeed, Said himself has been a
    featured speaker at some Tikkun events. When Commentary Magazine printed an
    expose of Said's having fabricated his own autobiography, Lerner wrote,

    [Revealing Said's background] "is as obscene as the attempts by various
    Holocaust revisionists to argue that many of the Jewish refugees were not
    really victims of the Holocaust but merely self-interestedly escaping a war

    As in all forms of anti-Semitism, Arab hatred of Jews is all the Jews'
    fault according to Lerner, just as hatred of the US is all America's fault.
    Lerner has suggested that all Jews spend Yom Kippur atoning for their
    mistreatment and oppression of Arabs. When the PLO lynched and mutilated
    two Israeli reservists, Lerner rationalized the Palestinian atrocity. He
    believes that the Jews "earned anti-Semitism" of the Arabs by "oppressing

    When the US invaded Iraq, Lerner at first waffled, but eventually came out
    solidly against the US military campaign against Saddam and also opposed
    economic sanctions. Instead, he suggested resolving the Persian Gulf
    problems by forcing Israel to withdraw from all of its "occupied
    territories." He blamed the 2001 attacks on the US by bin Laden on American
    attempts to hoard the world's resources and promote globalization. When the
    anti-globalization hooligans tore up Seattle, Lerner compared them with the
    Maccabee heroes of Hanukka.

    He sees himself and his Tikkun cultsters as full-fledged participants in
    the anti-globalization, pro-communism, anti-WTO movement that regularly
    trashes Western cities. Lerner writes:

    "The contemporary form of domination does not require colonial armies or
    imperialist interventions. The free market allows for the concentration of
    wealth and power in the hands of the few, and those few are in turn are
    able to dominate elections and dictate government policies around the
    world. Their allies in government created the World Trade Organization to
    extend their power further in countries whose democratic processes have put
    environmental, labor, and human rights constraints on the reckless pursuit
    of profits uber alles."

    The Marxist Pacifica Foundation distributes tapes of his talks.

    Lerner has organized support for and raised money for Israeli Marxists and
    fellow travelers organizing mutiny, insubordination and refusal to serve
    within the Israeli military, and has regularly granted them space in his
    magazine. As it turns out, his efforts failed. When Israel invaded the
    Palestinian terror strongholds in April 2002, Israeli reserve units had
    rates of soldiers reporting for duty of MORE than 100% (meaning people not
    even called up were showing for duty).

    Lerner demanded this past Passover that all Jews devote their traditional
    Seder meal to bemoaning the oppression of the Palestinians by the Zionist
    "Pharaoh" (his term). The same Palestinians used the occasion to murder 28
    people at a Seder in Israel.

    >From the comfort of his sofa in the yuppie bourgeois Berkeley Hills, he
    preaches to Israelis under attack that terror cannot be fought militarily,
    but rather only with Gandhian non-violence and the politics of meaning. He
    has long supported sanctions and boycotts against Israel to force it to
    capitulate to the Arabs. He considers Arab terrorists to be the "New
    Maccabis," and his writings are routinely carried by the publications and
    distribution lists of Islamic fundamentalists; the sorts of people who
    support bin Laden's attacks on the US.

    Lerner has long cultivated a special close relationship with Cornell West,
    who was until recently professor of Black Studies at Harvard before
    tangling with the current administration there. Together they co-authored
    several books and articles, including "Blacks and Jews: Let the Healing
    Begin," and long ago agreed that anti-Semitism among black Americans was
    obviously all the fault of the Jews, and that most Jews are racists. In his
    view, "The Jewish community is racist, internally corrupt, and an apologist
    for the worst aspects of American capitalism and imperialism."

    Lerner has written, "Black anti-Semitism is a tremendous disgrace to Jews;
    for this is not an anti-Semitism rooted in hatred of the Christ-killers but
    rather one rooted in the concrete fact of oppression by Jews of blacks in
    the ghetto^. An earned anti-Semitism." Who says there are no Jews that
    Louis Farrakhan likes? Lerner and West have in recent days been marching
    shoulder-to-shoulder in rallies in support of Palestinian terrorism, and if
    David Montgomery of the Washington Post (April 12, 2002) is to be believed,
    they even seem to make a habit of accompanying one another into the men's

    Since the 1960s Lerner has denounced the leaders of the American Jewish
    community as "fat cats and conformists." He originally launched his Tikkun
    magazine in an attempt to create a counter-cultural anti-Commentary Magazine.

    In the 1960s, he participated in a symposium entitled "In All their
    Habitations" printed in Judaism Magazine (Fall of 1969), in which he said,
    "Shut down the synagogues so that Judaism may have a chance." In the same
    article, he denounced Zionists for being too friendly to the United States
    and not friendly enough towards the Soviet Union. He also compared Huey
    Newton to Moses, since "both justifiably killed an oppressor."

    Lerner's views on the Middle East conflict differ little from those of the
    Hizbollah. His opinions of America resemble those of Noam Chomsky, another
    anti-Semitic leftist of Jewish ancestry. "Rabbi" Lerner's attitude towards
    American Judaism may be summed up by his statement, "the synagogue as
    currently established will have to be smashed."

    I guess a bit like monogamy.

    Steven Plaut is professor of business administration at the University of
    Haifa in Israel. He also teaches in Greece, California, and Hungary, and
    has a Ph.D. from Princeton in Economics. A Native-born Philadelphian, he
    has lived in Israel since 1981. A collection of his writings may be found
    at www.opinionet.com.

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