Rabbi Lerner’s House Attacked for the Third Time — One Day After We Presented South African Justice Richard Goldstone the Tikkun Award

I only wish you could have been at our twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, listened to Justice Richard Goldstone in all his humility and genuine caring for the well-being of all humanity, heard him unequivocally denounce the killings in Itamar, and get a sense of just how badly demeaned he is by the Jewish world. Meanwhile, I paid a small price myself as described below. By the way, the 600 people who assembled last Monday night to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary and honor Justice Richard Goldstone who wrote the UN human rights reports on Bosnia, Rwanda, and most controversially on Gaza, and also to honor Congressman Raul Grijalva, Naomi Newman, Rabbi Marcia Prager, C.K. Williams, and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, overwhelmingly reported having a very deep spiritual as well as joyful experience! Any chance you would be interested in helping us get endorsements for our ESRA and GMP (both of which are presented in detail on the NSP website)? Please let me know. Below is a description of the most recent extremist Zionist attack on my home as well as the Muslim American Society’s denunciation of this attack.

Zionist Extremist Hate Crime Against Rabbi Lerner: Third Attack on His Home and the Limits of “Freedom of the Press”

3/17/2011, Berkeley, California

Only one day after Rabbi Lerner presented the Tikkun Award to South African Justice Richard Goldstone, at a celebration of Tikkun‘s twenty-fifth anniversary attended by over 600 people at the University of California, Berkeley, Lerner’s home was again assaulted by extremist Zionists who once again plastered posters over his home. This is the third assault on Lerner’s home since he announced he would be presenting the award to Justice Goldstone, whose report on Israel’s human rights violations during the Israeli assault on Gaza in Dec. 2008 and Jan.2009 was denounced by the State of Israel and by the AIPAC-dominated House of Representatives last year. You would not have known about the second attack, which was reported to the police but not to the media, because Lerner had been advised that not giving the attackers attention might make future attacks less likely. That strategy failed.

Each time the posters have sought to display Lerner as either a tool of an evil Goldstone trying to hurt Israel. The current posters were done more professionally than the previous ones, and present a picture of Nazi officers carrying away a Jew. Lerner’s name was put on one of the Nazis, “Islamic extremists” is written on the other Nazi, and the innocent Jew is identified as the State of Israel. The perspective of the attackers is clear: “Rabbi Lerner is a Nazi assaulting Israel.” That is why the police have labeled this a “hate crime.”

What “freedom of the press” is there if an editor is subject to this kind of personal harassment for expressing his views in his editorials and in gatherings sponsored by his magazine? Anyone concerned with civil liberties should be concerned about this pattern of attacks on the private home of a magazine editor.  And for those who believe that there is a new tone of civility in the Jewish world, well . . . it obviously has not impacted right wing Zionist extremists. Please note, however, that we do not want to imply in any way that all Zionists are responsible directly or indirectly for this attack. The Zionist community in the United States, while often demeaning to Lerner, has not shown any tendency toward violence or physical assaults on his person or property, and in our view would not likely do so. These have been the acts of a small group of extremists, and while the demeaning of Rabbi Lerner and Tikkun may have contributed to the climate in which these extremists believed they could get away with these assaults, there is no reason to believe, and we do not believe, that American Zionists as a whole either intended or approve of this kind of activity. And the Board of Rabbis of Northern California publicly critiqued the last attack on Rabbi Lerner’s home as did other Jewish leaders.

Assaults on free speech are best met by encouraging more speech. The obvious goal of these attacks is to intimidate and silence Tikkun, and since Tikkun is the largest circulation liberal/progressive Jewish magazine online and in print in the entire world, silencing Tikkun would be a huge victory for these extremists. People can ensure that Tikkun stays alive by subscribing to Tikkun, joining the Network of Spiritual ProgressivesTikkun‘s interfaith education and social action organization,  making a tax-deductible contribution to Tikkun (checks can be sent to Tikkun, 2342 Shattuck Ave #1200, Berkeley, Ca. 94704 — our mailbox, not the actual address of the magazine’s office), and/or creating a local study group to read and discuss Tikkun articles every week, every two weeks, or once a month. You can also read Tikkun online by visiting our new web magazine each week to read the latest articles. You can also support us by joining other organizations that seek peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, including J. Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Americans for Peace Now, The New Israel Fund, and B’tselem.

Thank you for your support.

Tikkun Magazine


Muslim American Society Denounces the Hate Crime Committed Against Michael Rabbi Lerner

The Muslim American Society (MAS) was one of a number of national organizations notified by the Tikkun progressive Jewish community that Rabbi Michael Lerner of California, a leading advocate for reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis and a principled opponent of the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, was victimized by an attack by unknown assailants who desecrated his home with posters that characterized him as a “Nazi” who attacks the State of Israel in partnership with Muslim “extremists”.  This act of vandalism, committed after Tikkun presented an award to South African judge and international human rights activists Richard Goldstone, was similar to a previous attack on Rabbi Lerner’s residence in the Bay area.

Judge Goldstone is the author of a report issued after the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza that criticized Israel for numerous human rights violations and deliberate acts of armed violence committed against civilians in the territory.  This report was vehemently denounced by the pro-Israel political lobby in the United States and by the pro-Israel U.S. Congress.

MAS Freedom denounces this attack on Rabbi Lerner’s home, and on the Tikkun organization that has courageously stood for mutual justice for the people of both Israel and Palestine. Ibrahim Ramey of the MAS Freedom human and civil rights program stated that “Rabbi Michael Lerner is a courageous voice not only for the progressive Jewish community in America, but for all people who oppose violence and injustice anywhere. It is important that the Muslim community stands in support of him, and the Tikkun community that he leads. Those who oppose justice will not be intimidated by this sort of attack.”


7 thoughts on “Rabbi Lerner’s House Attacked for the Third Time — One Day After We Presented South African Justice Richard Goldstone the Tikkun Award

  1. It is evident that you and your supporters seek the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of another 6 million Jews in the Arab gas ovens. Therefore, your complaints about Jewish “extremists” or “Zionists” are oxy-morons( sharp-dull). Your friends, the Arab Jew haters would, if they could, kill you too becaue you are a Jew in their eyes even if you seek,in the words of Winston Churchill
    “that the crocodile will eat you last”.

  2. The misdirected attack on your house, Michael, seems to be in response to your speaking truth to power or in this case to self-perceived authority over others. I know of characters in history who tried to exercise their authority but were vanquished by power. The power of the truth.

  3. I can not understand why placing posters outside of someone house is an attack, but writing one’s views and e-mailing them to all to see and into other people homes is not.
    If you believe in free speech- you should embrace it everywhere

    • The reason placing posters on Rabbi Lerner’s house is an attack is that 1) the posters were an ugly, ad hominem attack on the Rabbi’s character and 2) the posters were placed on his home, to terrorize him by making him feel unsafe where he lives.

      The latter situation you describe (writing, emailing) is an expression of opposing viewpoints by articulating them civilly in a public space. What happened to Rabbi Lerner was a substance-free act of intimidation in a private space. To suggest there’s any equivalence between the two is absurd.

  4. Goldstone’s Report

    First of all, the report was pre-fabricated by UNHRC and Goldstone team: Goldstone, Hina Jilani and Desmond Travers signed a March 2009 letter initiated by Amnesty International , stating that “events in Gaza have shocked us to the core.” Similarly, in a letter to the Times (UK), member Christine Chinkin expressed her predetermined conclusion that “Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime”. Moreover, before the Goldstone team started working, UNHRC Chair Navi Pillay said, that if Goldstone does not find evidences of Israel’s war crimes, we will send those who will. Secondly, no doubt that Goldstone’s investigation was under Hamas close supervision and tight control. There are mounting evidences from credible sources that must be anonymous due to death threat from Hamas as they are living in Gaza. No doubt that Richard Goldstone and his team perfectly understood the situation, but decided to go on with fake and Hamas-staged and controlled investigation. His report contradicts to previous complaints from Gaza residents on Hamas using civilians as human shield and civilian infrastructure for military purposes reported by Italian and other newspapers and UN officials. The report was pre-fabricated by UNHRC staff, including UNHRC Chair Navi Pillay, who are notorious pro-islamofascist orientation. This report is pre-meditated crime and these people must be treated as criminals. Such prefabricated approach makes all previous report questionable and it is very possible that innocent people have been wrongfully punished. An investigation on every team member, including UNHRC Chair Navi Pillay, is urgent.

    Obviously UNHRC Chair Navi Pillay, Goldstone and his team are pathological liars. Due to the severity of crime they committed, they must be put on trial and deserve a death penalty.

    Mark Bernadiner, Ph.D.

    A South African journalist and historian R.W. Johnson criticized Judge Goldstone’s proceedings in regard with the mission. The criticism included accepting a commission subjected to UN Human Rights Council that is biased against Israel and writing a report based largely on interviews with Hamas members (Your honour is taking an injudicious kick at Israel, Times, October 18 2009; Who Is Richard Goldstone?, RF Europe, October 20 2009)

    Who Actually Committed War Crimes in Gaza
    “CNN: Hamas uses civilian infrastructure, including schools, houses, kindergarten facilities, hospitals, for storing and launching rockets and other ammunition, placing training camps inside populated areas in violation of Geneva Convention and international law. “
    “Ms. Rice, The Secretary of State, told reporters at the State Department :… Hamas participates in activities like human shields and using buildings that are not designated as military buildings to hide their fighters”
    «Così i ragazzini di Hamas ci hanno utilizzato come bersagli»
    Abitanti di Gaza accusano i militanti islamici:
    «Ci impedivano di lasciare le case e da lì sparavano»
    Lorenzo Cremonesi, Corriere della Sera
    “Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs, like the Dogmoush, Andalous, Jawarah, Siussi, and many others, had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames. The same goes for the villages in the valley along the border who were more devastated by the mad fury and punishment of the Zionist,” echoes his cousin Um Abdallah, 48. They use family nicknames, but they provide important circumstantial details. It was difficult to get these testimonials. In general, fear of Hamas prevails and the ideological alimentary taboos reign in this century of wars with the “Zionist enemy.”
    Terrorized people were obliged to protect Hamas men; they were kept prisoners in their homes, as human shields in schools, hospital, ambulances, etc.”

    EU aid chief: Hamas ‘enormously responsible’ for Gaza war

    “Michel echoed Israeli criticisms that Hamas used civilians as “human shields” by fighting in populated areas and, describing Hamas rocket fire on Israel as a “provocation”, he said in English: “Hamas is acting in the way of a terrorist movement.”

    Top IDF officer: Hamas made ‘monstrous’ use of children during Gaza op

    “The IDF Gaza Division Commander on Thursday, meanwhile, branded Hamas’ use of women and children during the offensive in Gaza as “monstrous” and “inhumane.” Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg said the civilians were sent by Hamas to transfer weapons to gunmen during the offensive. He also accused the Islamist militant group of booby-trapping many of the civilians’ homes. “Entire families in Gaza lived on top of a barrel of explosives for months without knowing,” Eisenberg said. “

    Sources: Hamas leaders hiding in Shifa Hospital basement

    By Amos HarelHaaretz

    “Senior Hamas officials in Gaza are hiding out in a “bunker” built by Israel, intelligence officials suspect: Many are believed to be in the basements of the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, which was refurbished during Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip. “

    WATCH: IDF uncovers booby-trapped school next to Gaza zoo

    By Haaertz Service

    “Israel Defense Forces troops this week uncovered a school in the Gaza Strip rigged by Hamas militants with a large amount of explosives. The school, located next to a Gaza zoo, was entirely surrounded by a fuse connecting to the explosives. Inside the abandoned classrooms, IDF troops found a number of weapons. “
    Hamas raids aid trucks, sells supplies
    Jerusalem Post
    “Hamas on Monday raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders. The IDF said that since terminal activity is coordinated with UNRWA and the Red Cross, Israel could do nothing to prevent such raids, Israel Radio reported. “
    Roee Nahmias, PA: Hamas Converts Hospitals Into Jas, YNET, Feb. 7, 2009, avaable at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3668018,00.html.
    Jason Koutsoukis, Hamas Tried to Hijack Ambulances During Gaza War, MORNING HERALD, Jan. 26, 2009, avaable at http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/hamas-tried-to-hijack-ambulances-during-gaza-war/2009/01/25/1232818246374.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1.
    In a November 2010 interview given by Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad to the Al-Hayat newspaper, Hamad acknowledged that 600-700 Hamas members were killed in the Gaza fighting.

  5. Hate blinds objectivity to reality. I saw the same mentality ferment the conflict in Northern Ireland (Thatcher era), when people were used as pawns by the establishment to divide and posture people against one another. Compare the UK Prevention of Terrorism Act to the US Patriot Act. Notice any similarities?

  6. Brutality by the enemy does not excuse brutality by the avenger, and brutality by the avenger will never dissuade the enemy from resorting to more brutality.

    The only answer is pursuit of a (painful) path to mutual respect and accommodation.

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