The Last Word: Gary Rosenblatt Still Lies

This is, I hope, my last word on this subject. I confess that I expected better. I expected that Gary Rosenblatt and the Jewish Week would do what is honorable and decent, a sign of integrity, and what should be typical among Jews with even faint aspirations for ethical goodness: retract and apologize for printing a demonstrable lie, to wit: that I resigned as Rosh Bet Din in Bergen County because the RCA appointed women to a committee to review the standards and practices for conversion and to minimize the potential for future abuses. But rather than apologize, the Jewish Week utilized two standard journalistic gimmicks, both of which reflect poorly on the publisher and his staff.

The first gimmick involved just dropping the lie from subsequent news accounts. No clarification, no correction, no retraction and, of course, no apology. The lie was just dropped, lifted from the printed page as precipitously as it was first placed there. To the unsuspecting or casual reader, it is as if it never took place. But, of course, the lie remains in cyberspace, and especially in the accounts of other newspapers that re-printed it before it was summarily dropped. To the Jewish Week way of thinking, apparently, dropping a lie is the same as retracting it. In the real world where normal people live and interact, it is not. One who wrongly insults another person does not make amends for the insult by abstaining from its repetition.
The second gimmick – oh, how they must have enjoyed this one! – was accusing me of exploiting the Holocaust by, in their words, comparing the publisher to a Nazi and the paper to an infamous Nazi propaganda vehicle. Of course, as several astute readers pointed out with elaboration, I did no such thing. Sadly, not every reader is as astute, and many – apparently including some of my colleagues – suffer from reading comprehension issues. (Granted, any mention of anything Holocaust-related often causes people’s rational faculties to shut down and their emotional sensitivities to shift into overdrive.)
All I did was respond in kind to a sleazy journalistic trick that they attempted to use on me. The trick? Conflating “comparison” with “commonality.” It goes like this: the statement, “Gary Rosenblatt has two eyes and two feet, just like Genghis Khan” is a true statement. It is not a comparison of those two individuals, but an assertion of what they have “in common.” It is no indication at all that the two men are essentially alike – values, personality, temperament, world-view, etc. – but the linkage of the two is designed to arouse in the mind of the reader an  unfavorable image.
This is the game that the Jewish Weak played with me (I imagine it does with other targets as well). Writing about me, they decided to drop in a couple of sentences that indicated that I served on the Executive Committee of the RCA (a true statement) along with (the gratuitous expression of commonality) a certain DC colleague who has since been arrested for voyeurism. In their choice phrase, I “shared company” with him on the RCA. Did they “compare” me to him? Not really. They just wanted to awaken in the mind of the reader the unfortunate association on the RCA between him (alleged miscreant) and me (their new target).
Obviously, dozens of other rabbis, perhaps as many as 100, at one time or another “shared company” with the alleged offender. Not as obviously, some RCA rabbis had a much closer relationship with him than I did and failed to rein him in when made aware of his past misconduct. But no matter: what was important to this tabloid was to plant the thought in the mind of the reader that bad guy (him)=bad guy (me) without actually saying that.
Well, if they wanted to play the game of commonality v. comparison, then I suggested they should try this on for size: both Gary Rosenblatt and Julius Streicher publish[ed] newspapers. Both use[d] ink on paper. Both were preoccupied with Jews. Etc. Is that a comparison? Of course not. It is just underscoring the commonalities that exist between the two – in non-essential matters – in order to plant a negative image in the mind of the reader.
Having exposed the cheap trick that they used, the publisher soared into high dudgeon and accused me of “exploiting the Holocaust.” That was certainly a masterful way of changing the topic away from his lies, and attempting to portray himself as victim rather than as victimizer. I did remove the phrase from my comment in deference to an esteemed colleague who is exquisitely sensitive to any Holocaust reference, not that it did me any good. But the focus wasn’t on the Holocaust – but on journalism. I could’ve provided examples of “yellow journalism” and Hearst, Pulitzer and the rest, but that allusion would have been lost on most people.

It is true that whenever the Holocaust is referred to at all, any subtlety is completely lost in the process. It is indeed unpleasant to find one’s name gratuitously linked in the same sentence with a Nazi, as it is unpleasant to find one’s name gratuitously linked in the same sentence with an accused voyeur. That was my point! Yet, the publisher acts as if it was some innocent mistake on his part, or something that lent itself to different meanings, and something that offended me and would not have offended another person.
It is not surprising that he resented having his sordid tactics used against him, and his only response – rather than concede the use of the dastardly ploy – was to cry “Holocaust.”
So allow me to state unequivocally that Gary Rosenblatt is not a Nazi, and the Jewish Week is not Der Sturmer. The Jewish Week is adept at a modern form of yellow journalism, in which the use of commonality as comparison is rampant, in which lies are wantonly published and in which targets – especially Orthodox Rabbis, Orthodox Jews and the Holy Torah – are routinely assailed. Sadly, such drivel has its audience.
I am among the legion of Jews who ordinarily pay absolutely no attention to the Jewish Week. As such, I never realized the extent to which this paper and its publisher have tormented Rabbis, trampled Orthodoxy, and provided a forum for hatred of Torah (as well the liberal politics that passes in some circles for Torah). I also never realized the extent of the disdain and contempt with which the Jewish Week and its publisher are held in this corner of the Torah world.
Now that the attempt is being made to shift the story away from the lies they print to – Rosenblatt- shorthand – “he called me a Nazi” (which, obviously, I did not), I take this opportunity to correct the record, or to make the record. Some will say that I should just ignore them and their lies. But the days are long gone when I will let someone else define me, depict me falsely in the public domain, or otherwise defame me without response. That mistake I made in the 1990’s, and with this same “news” paper, among others.
I should not leave off the hook the reporter who printed the original set of lies – several, not just one. One would think that a reporter named Dreyfus would be sensitized to the dangers inherent in lodging false accusations against innocent Jews. I guess not. (What amused me was the characterization of my emotional state that led to my original decision. To the Jewish Week, I was “angered” by the RCA decision; to one cellar-dweller, I was “enraged” by their decision. What’s next? Livid? Foaming at the mouth? Needed to be restrained by a strait-jacket? Fabricating someone’s emotional state is just another insidious journalistic technique to paint the story in line with their agenda. I haven’t felt even a twinge of anger. Angry? Why would I be angry?)
For the record, and at the risk of redundancy, I did not call Gary Rosenblatt a Nazi nor did I compare his paper to Der Sturmer. He is not and it is not. I simply pointed out commonalities that do not reflect the true essence of either – i.e., exactly what he did to me by linking me to an accused voyeur. I have exactly the same amount of regret for doing so that he does for doing it to me.  I did it to point out to him the device that he used against me – and, for all I know, against others as well: linkage through innuendo, commonality as comparison.
Gary Rosenblatt is not a Nazi, nor a Communist, nor a Fascist. But until he retracts and apologizes for the lies he wrote about me, he remains a Liar.
And that is the last word. Anticipating no apology, we move on.

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10 responses to “The Last Word: Gary Rosenblatt Still Lies

  1. The Der Sturmer Nazi periodical had one Jewish writer, whose writings constantly condemned his fellow Jews while never criticizing “Aryans.”

    In the 1980s, the Jewish Week had one Orthodox writer [Emanuel Rackman], whose writings constantly condemned his fellow Orthodox Jews while never criticizing Reform or Conservative.

    Comparing the Jewish Week to Der Sturmer is justified, in my opinion.

    I read every article in the Jewish Week for around 20 years [because I got for free], and it seems to me that nothing would give the Jewish Week greater happiness than the total extinction of Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Judaism.

  2. There Gary Goes Again

    Fantastic writing, Rabbi Pruzansky!

  3. I wouldn’t make the comparison, and I just reiterate that my point was to expose the device he practices of condemning B because of a tenuous connection to A.
    – RSP

  4. Mr Cohen’s tag along comments to this blog have always been annoying.
    But the last sentence of his latest comment about the “Jewish Week and the extinction of Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Judaism,” is beyond the pale
    ridiculous and disgusting. He has destroyed any credibility his previous, and
    any future comments might have had. My advice to him is to just read and
    keep his comments to himself.

  5. Thank you for explaining your use of Holocaust-related imagery in your missive against Rosenblatt and the Jewish Week. While I agree with much of what you wrote with regards to the Jewish Week and its publisher, I felt (and still feel) that the use of Holocaust imagery in this context is insensitive and wrongheaded. It is all too easy to lose the legitimate core of one’s argument with ill-conceived phraseology.

  6. Tanna DeBei Eliyahu Zuta, Chapter 16, Paragraph 10:
    Jews who are ignorant of Torah, they hate Torah Scholars more than Gentiles hate Jews.

    Babylonian Talmud, tractate Pesachim, page 49B:
    The hate that ignorant Jews feel towards Torah Scholars is greater than the hate that Gentiles feel toward Israel, and their wives hate Torah Scholars even more than them.

    Substitute “the Jewish Week” for “ignorant Jews.”
    Substitute “Orthodox Jews” for “Torah Scholars.”

    These substitutions give us:

    “The Jewish Week hates Orthodox Jews more than Gentiles hate Jews.”

    AND:

    “The hate that the Jewish Week feels towards Orthodox Jews is greater than the hate that Gentiles feel toward Israel, and their wives hate Orthodox Jews even more than them.”

  7. Sergey Kadinsky

    There was a time when David Ben Gurion referred to his rival Vladimir Jabotinsky as “Vladimir Hitler.” Anyway, a Jew should not be using Nazi references against a fellow Jew.

    • Sergey: you’re compeltely missing the point, and, in so doing, playing directly into the hands of Rosenblatt’s Holocaust card.

  8. I posted this comment on the latest naaishkeit coming from that paper
    ——————————————————————————————
    I applaud the Jewish Week for printing (at least some) of the criticsim they are getting for this riddiclous pecadillo of their publisher. Come on, guys – you’re devoting all this energy to attacking a Rabbi. And he’s not only still standing, but thriving. I personally think the Rabbi has been 100% right on all counts, including your papers transparent attempt to play the Holocaust card to deflect from its poor reporting. But even if you disagree, still – dont you realize how petty this makes you look?

    And as for Gary’s defense, that he can’t be anti-orthodox becasuse his parents & grandparents were orthodox – sure sounds a lot like “some of my best friends are black” to me. Or, from that matter, “what do you mean, I’m married to a woman.” Something tells me Gary himself wouldnt buy those defenses when he’s accusing someone of racism of misogny. So what makes him think its OK when he’s being accused? Does he think his readership is too stupid to notice?

    Finally, of all the insults to our intelligence we’ve seen from the Jewish Week on this matter, nothing beats this. A “Staff Report”, dressed to look up as a “News” item, but in which the publisher is the protagonist, and he “contributed” to the report. Again, come on, Gary – stop playing games. Air your personal opinions, like Rabbi Pruzansky, under you’re own byline. You’re entitled to think whatever you want, no one disputes that. But all the various tricks we’ve seen thus far are unbecoming, and not fooling anyone.

    DF