Local Israel Hater Richard Silverstein


Here in the Pacific Northwest,  Israel is not so much a topic of discussion for some, but rather an obsession. One person for whom this is true is Richard Silverstein.

Seattle resident, Richard Silverstein obsesses, pontificates and ruminates on the Jewish state. On his ironically titled Tikun Olam blog. Silverstein (somehow with a straight face) calls himself pro Israel which is akin to Karl Marx calling himself pro business. In his Proctologist’s view of the Jewish state, Israel is incapable of producing anything of worth, and any benevolent act,  in Silverstein’s opinion, is merely a clever hasbara scheme to deflect attention from Israel’s racist, apartheid policies.

In appearance Silverstein is a sort of  white haired, smug version of Mr. Rogers but with a perspective more akin to Yasser Arafat.  Silverstein refers to Israel as a non-democratic, “exclusivist and supremacist”, “apartheid state” without “rule of law”.  Always capitalizing on his Jewish DNA but utilizing Christian theological references, he asserts that Israel bears collective guilt for her “original sin” of “racism” which can only be rectified by recognizing the Palestinian right of return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.  Silverstein argues that the boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel is “obligatory” upon every Jewish person, making the shocking assertion that “If you are truly a committed Jew,  it becomes MORE, not less important to boycott other Jews”. While he says he would prefer a two state solution to the conflict, he professes to be agnostic regarding the demographic destruction of Israel as a Jewish state via the “one state solution” to the Jewish problem.

When Silverstein talks about a two state solution, neither of the states he proposes is a Jewish state.

Silverstein’s use of the term “two state solution” is not to be understood in the traditional sense (of a Jewish State in pre-1967 Israel and a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza). For Silverstein the very notion of what he calls a “supremacist Jewish state” is anathema.  When Silverstein advocates for a two state  solution he is referring to a place that is neither a Jewish State or a Palestinian state. This is in contrast to the Palestinian state that he proposes for the West Bank and Gaza.  Silverstein explains in the comments section of a recent post “I don’t see why Israel needs to exist as a supremacist Jewish state. It needs to exist as a state in which there is a Jewish community and a Palestinian community in which the heritage, religion & traditions of both are protected & respected. As long as those rights are respected Israel doesn’t need to be a Jewish or Palestinian state.” In another post he elaborates on his repugnance of the existence of a  Jewish state “Now to return to one of the more problematic aspects of the issue of Israel as a Jewish state.  If Israel is a Jewish state, then it is not a democratic state.  It is an ethnocratic state.  That is, a state with a hierarchy of rights with Jews at the top and Muslims at the bottom”. There is no similar concern expressed by Silverstein of the 49 Muslim majority countries, where minority rights are rarely a consideration.

The Silverstein prescription for peace is that  “Israel must return, or be forced to return to the 1948 cease fire lines, Jerusalem must be shared, and refugees must return”.  Mr. Silverstein knows full well that flooding Israel with up to five million Arabs would make Jews a minority in their own land marking the end of the Jewish state.   In other words his solution to the Arab Israeli conflict is for Israel to take a collective cyanide pill.

 “Will no Israeli leader ever cry for any child he kills? Of course not.”

But Mr. Silverstein took his jaundiced view of Israel to a despicable new low following the murder of four Jews by an Islamic extremist in Toulouse, France in March of 2012.  He of course inserts the self-exculpating platitudes about how nothing can justify the murder of children and then proceeds to focus his wrath on… Israel.  At the moment of our collective grief,  Mr Silverstein unleashed his indignation at “pro Israel supporters” who “only  care about children with Jewish blood in their veins”.  More worried about Jewish guilt on that horrific day rather than the actions of the murderer, he asked  “will no Israeli leader ever cry for any child he kills?” and then answered his own question “of course not.” The all knowing Silverstein posits that “there is only one way to end the worst of this mayhem”.

 Silverstein does express some annoyance with the terrorist murderer in the Toulouse case, but not so much for killing the innocent but rather for sullying Islam’s good name. “He has brought his religion into disrepute. He has immeasurably heightened the level of hate, fear and hostility toward Islam.”

Silverstein concluded his Toulouse diatribe  by assigning  blame for the murder of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, his six-year-old son Aryeh and his three-year-old son Gavriel together with eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego.  But it is not the murderer Mohammed Merah to whom he assigns responsibility, nor does he suggest there is any teshuva required of the faith that spawned Merah and so many like him. No, it is Israel that is the cause and it is Israel that must perform penance.  He laments that “if Israel continues killing Muslims (and Christian Arabs as well) at the rate it has, hate of Israel (and of Jews) will fester and burst out into similar acts of violence.”

In November of  2008 Islamist  terrorists committed a horrific mass attack in Mumbai, India killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.  Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg who ran the local Chabad House  were targeted and murdered in that attack along with seven others at the Mumbai Chabad House.

Silverstein quickly denied the antisemitic nature of the gruesome murder of Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, making the perverse claim that “They chose Chabad House to avenge the suffering of the Palestinians. Therefore, the attack was anti-Israeli, though not necessarily antisemitic.”

Always quick to defend terrorists he  responded to a critic of Hamas (02/15/2009) with the following outburst ” Do please provide a single ounce of evidence that Hamas is corrupt”. And in 2008 he opined “Can you prove that Hamas is launching rockets into Israel? No, of course you can’t because they’re not.” Yet regarding Israelis he declared (01/21/2009) “Speaking as someone who truly does want to find something that would allow me to see humanity and decency among Israelis, I am forced to concede that I am always disappointed”.

In addition to his blog, Silverstein has appeared on Al Jazeera and other international television networks and been featured and interviewed in the national papers of record. Using his Jewish credentials, Silverstein frequently speaks  to church groups who unwittingly digest his skewed perspective as some sort of mainstream Jewish position.

Updated from the original Mike Report article posted on  04/05/2012.