Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Outing anonymous critics and threatening them with death

So this has me somewhat upset. A pseudonymous critic of Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, Dana Cohen, has disappeared from Facebook, apparently shortly after one of Mizrachi's followers tracked his/her IP address.

While one may disagree with some of Dana's positions and/or approach, this is somewhat disturbing.

To explain, Rabbi Mizrachi has stated in the past that:

1) Dana Cohen is worse than Hitler
2) He wishes anonymous commenters and critics would be out in the open so that they could be killed.
3) He has followers who are thugs who will credibly threaten with death those who criticize him.

For #1, see this video, at the 2:10 mark.

For #2, see this video:
"... every IP number, have a name and automatically, if someone use his computer to public and to murder someone else in Internet, the whole world will know who he is and will be subject to lawsuits, and actions against him, and all kinds of things, even to get killed. Why? You want to kill someone else, expect him to come and kill you tomorrow."

For #3, see this video, from the 1 hour 32 minute mark, for a few minutes.

 where he says that though he knows his critic's identity, he won't reveal it, because his followers will make things rough for her. Because they are ex-criminals and tough guys. And then boasts how, when someone was opposing Rabbi Mizrachi, one such ex-criminal called the person up and threatened, if he didn't apologize to Rabbi Mizrachi, that he would come to his house, take him into the kitchen, and fry him in a pot. Or maybe drown him in a mikveh. And Rabbi Mizrachi had to beg him not to do it. He ends with 'This is not our way. But it is very sad that people lose their olam haba because they are very stupid.'

While it is good that he closed the anecdote with a claim that one shouldn't do this, his attitude while telling the anecdote seems (to me) to be one of amusement and pride. And there is this undercurrent of threat in the very telling of the anecdote -- he knows Dana Cohen is going to hear this, and so he is telling him / her to watch out, or else this might happen.

Frankly, if you have followers who are thugs like this, then it is more than inappropriate to make public statements that your critics are worse than Hitler and that an appropriate response to such criticisms is murder. As the Mishna in Avot (1:11) states:

אבטליון אומר, חכמים, הזהרו בדבריכם, שמא תחובו חובת גלות ותגלו למקום מים הרעים, וישתו התלמידים הבאים אחריכם וימותו, ונמצא שם שמים מתחלל.

I would fault Rabbi Mizrachi for the actions of his followers (including the attempt to find his / her IP address), and of the thuggish silencing of the pseudonymous Dana Cohen.


Anonymous said...

everyone has his own challenges and makes sometimes mistakes, so in one thing I would agree with Rabbi Mizrachi, that everyone of us won't be very stupid and BS"D makes a proper Tshuva.

joshwaxman said...

Your comment is not very clear. Would you care to elaborate. (And please select a pseudonym rather than anonymous)

Michael Sedley said...

Amazing that Rabbi Mizrachi is quick to sentence critics to Eternal Damnation, I had always thought that was a Christian concept - is there a Jewish source for "Eternal Damnation" as a punishment for publicly disagreeing with a Rabbi?

yaak said...

As a fan of Rabbi Mizrachi, I take issue with your taking issue. W/ regard to being worse than Hitler, I would agree that those who cause others to sin are worse than Hitler - as R' Mizrachi explained גדול המחטיאו יותר מן ההורגו.

In regard to what he said "even to get killed", it is obvious from the context that he meant "character assassination". This is clear from his previous use of the phrase "and to murder someone else in Internet".

In regard to Michael Sedley's question, yes there are sources - the Zohar Hadash has a Mahloket about a Rasha Gamur whether his damnation is eternal or not, and the Mahloket seems to be only if Teshuva is done beforehand:

וכל אלו המדורות, אש אוכלה דולקת ליליה ויום לנפשותם של רשעים. יש מי שנקרא רשע, ונידון בגיהנם י"ב חדש. רשע גמור שאין לו הרהור תשובה, אין לו תקנה, ונידון לעולם בגיהנם. רבנן אמרי, רשע נידון בגיהנם ששה חדשים. רשע גמור, שנים עשר חדש. והני מילי כשהרהרו לעשות תשובה, ומתו. אבל אם לא הרהרו לעשות תשובה, ולא עשו תשובה, עליהם הפסוק אמר, ויצאו וראו בפגרי האנשים הפושעים בי וגו'.

joshwaxman said...

You probably haven't seen the more odious or dumb statements rabbi mizrachi has made. We are not talking about mystical vs rationalist here. We are not talking about torah codes or autistic here.

No, it is not clear that he meant character assassination. You are misinterpreting him. He said actions, even to be killed. And then, realizing that this is an extreme statement, he offered a justification, that this person was murdering metaphorically on the Internet and so this is equivalent.

joshwaxman said...

And calling a specific someone worse than hitler when you know you have followers who will act thuggishly is irresponsible to say the least, even if you can find technical support on a statement of chazal.

And attacking the stupid statements (in terms of Torah and reality) of a person and thinking a person is extremist and shouldn't be doing kiruv does not make that opponent a machti et harabbim. That is the error of believing that your position is torah such that any attacks are an attack on Hashem and the Torah.

I didn't point out the stupid many erroneous statements rabbi mizrachi has made because I saw no purpose. But if you are going to try to reform him and excuse the thuggishness, I am going to point it out.

yaak said...

You probably haven't seen the more odious or dumb statements rabbi mizrachi has made.

Either that's true or I don't consider them dumb. What I have seen are quite a number of videos where he tells the truth about Judaism without beating around the bush. I know that that makes people upset and he therefore creates enemies. I, for one, applaud his efforts and videos since I believe that he is the only one saying what needs to be said.

Now, if you have some proof that he has said "some other odious and dumb things", please link to them and let your readership be the judge rather than having you be the judge for us.

Regarding his other statement, I believe it is you who is misinterpreting him. He so clearly meant character assassination from the context. He said, "You want to kill someone else," - what does that mean? He's obviously referring to internet trolls who try to defame people anonymously. You cannot understand it any other way.

azi said...

Seems like talking with these Mizrachi sheep is like trying to talk to a Scientologists, they're just so so far removed from sanity and self determination that they cant accept a rational criticism,

joshwaxman said...

"He's obviously referring to internet trolls who try to defame people anonymously. You cannot understand it any other way."

You write this as if you are pointing something out to me I don't realize. Read my comment again, where I wrote "that this person was murdering metaphorically on the Internet and so this is equivalent." The 'metaphorically' was the internet troll. But the real world action was 'even killed' in a literal sense.

"Either that's true or I don't consider them dumb."
Maybe. I emailed you a few privately. I'd rather not fill the shoes of Dana Cohen and critique hundreds of Rabbi Mizrachi's statements. These are easily searchable for those interested. Maybe in another post I'll select a few of the ones I've noticed and discuss them.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

So is dana cohen ok?
should some1 call the police regarding this lunatic?

joshwaxman said...

I'm sure Dana Cohen is ok. In fact, someone on Facebook I know has corresponded with Dana.

JewishRebel said...

I challenged Mizrachi on his Facebook page and, instead of receiving an answer, he just banned me.

Does he have something to hide?

Anonymous said...

Dana Cohen has returned.

Dan Cohen


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