Richard Silverstein meet Joseph McCarthy



Richard Silverstein

Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein is well known for his hatred of Israel and for flying loose and light with the facts. With the obsessive drive of a Captain Ahab and the energy of a toddler primed on Skittles and Coca Cola, Silverstein has sent out over 29,000 tweets and near countless Blog posts. Despite his tenuous relationship with accuracy, Silverstein appears to have a good number of followers and admirers who share his ideological bent.

Silverstein has doggedly pursued and excoriated countless unwary visitors who have crossed his radar or the transom of the comments section of his blog. Whether it be blaming Israel for motivating terrorist attacks against Jews in France or vilifying a Gazan activist for being critical of Hamas, whatever red line there may have been, Richard crossed it long ago.

Poor form is de rigueur for Silverstein, which is why we don’t usually give his antics much more than the roll of an eye along with perhaps a small dose of sympathy for his family. Yet today Silverstein surprised even the writing staff at The Mike Report. In an expectorate burst of bile, Silverstein lashed out at his Rabbi and her husband, the President of his synagogue,  the late David Brumer, and for good measure threw in Rob Jacobs and Hen Mazzig of StandWithUs.

In his fevered frenzy Silverstein theorized that nefarious forces had cooked up a conspiracy to leak the date of his son’s Bar Mitzvah (horrors!) to an online nemesis who goes by the name of Anarcho-Zionist. (Why a grown man knows or engages with anybody by the name of  Anarcho-Zionist is a question for another day.)

As despicable and petty as those attacks were, what stood out for us in his pages long manifesto was the cruel targeting of Marjie Cogan, the hard working and dedicated receptionist at Congregation Beth Shalom. Silverstein identified Ms. Cogan as the ring leader of his imagined Bar Mitzvah-date data leak. He accused this gentle woman of releasing his sensitive private information, an accusation that if true could have resulted in her dismissal from a much needed job.  A longtime critic of NSA excesses,  Silverstein (cough, hypocrite! cough) went so far as to demand an electronic search of the poor woman’s computer and phone records. Powerless to defend herself against Silverstein’s electronic soapbox, one can only imagine the anxiety and stress inflicted on Ms. Cogan as she weathered Richard’s accusations and demands.

It was later revealed that it was Silverstein himself who had published his son’s Bar Mitzvah information on his own Twitter feed in early January.  Once the truth came out Silverstein deleted his original post and replaced it with this.  You can view a screen shot of the original post HERE

What Silverstein never addresses is why under any circumstance would he publicly target and torment a powerless synagogue receptionist even if she had shared the date of an upcoming simcha at her shul?  Such things are never presumed confidential and in fact are widely shared in community bulletins and shul websites.

Why under any circumstance would Silverstein publicly target and torment a powerless synagogue receptionist?

Unbounded by morality, Silverstein retaliates mercilessly against those who have called him on his reckless behavior. He has threatened to reveal the home address of a critic of his and has published the sexuality of a pro-Israel activist despite the man’s pleas for Silverstein to leave his private life private.  This all from a man who was offended at the thought of an unauthorized leak of his son’s Bar Mitzvah date. 

Senator Joseph McCarthy

Senator Joseph McCarthy

With a relentless drive, a boundless desire for self aggrandizement and a disturbing lack of conscience; Silverstein conjures more than a passing resemblance to a certain politician who gained his fame from engaging in similar tactics back in the 1950’s.

Senator Joseph McCarthy searched under couches and inside closets to expose what he saw as enemies of his nation with a self righteous zeal that was little concerned with the real people he harmed along the way. The term “witch hunt” has become synonymous with McCarthy’s methods of accusing and smearing  first and investigating later.

Speaking on behalf of all of the Marji Cogans caught up in Richard Silverstein’s ever widening net of defamation we  cite the same appeal made by Joseph Welch to Senator McCarthy at the Army McCarthy hearings so many years ago.

 Until this moment I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? 


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