crybabyThe Herald Tribune recently reported on a group of bloggers who feel that there’s a need to “bring civility” to the Web.

Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of what to many would be common-sense – though already controversial – guidelines to shape online discussion and debate… Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship… A recent outbreak of antagonism among several prominent bloggers “gives us an opportunity to change the level of expectations that people have about what’s acceptable online.”

Now, of course I am all in favor of civility. When it is merited. And I have in the past, on rare occasions, removed comments that I felt crossed a certain line – usually when they were personal attacks not meant in the least to advance any form of discussion, or when they revealed private information. As I was reading this article, I was amazed by the controversy these common sense ideas were generating and then… Richard Silverstein popped up!

Richard Silverstein writes a blog, that I am not even going to bother to link to, that focuses in part on his far left anti-Israel and anti-Zionist opinions. I of course do not begrudge him his right to hold and disseminate controversial, hateful and even patently idiotic ideas. What annoys me most about Mr. Silverstein is what a whiny bitch he is.

Witness the following from the article:

For the past four years, Richard Silverstein has advocated for Israeli-Palestinian peace on a blog … that he maintains from Seattle… People who disagree with his politics frequently leave harassing comments on his site. But the situation reached a new low last month, when an anonymous opponent started a blog in Silverstein’s name that included photos of Silverstein in a pornographic context… “I’ve been assaulted and harassed online for four years,” Silverstein said. “Most of it I can take in stride. But you just never get used to that level of hatred.”

The pornographic context was, as far as I could tell, the use of the word penis and a reference to “Little Dickie.” Go see for yourself here. I mean, I was prepared to be horrified by pics of Little Dickie’s ass or something equally horrific. But no. Instead what I got was something less than pornographic and more lame ass whining by the blogosphere’s premier Jewish whiner. he considers anyone who disagrees with him and says so on his blog to be a harasser. When he doesn’t get included in Jewish blog awards because his opinions are simply too offensive and too off the radar, he considers that harassment. At the end of the day, he’s a giant nudnik, unbelievably self righteous and incapable of any nuance or of fathoming the possibility that a legitimate opinion can exist that he disagrees with. If he puts his opinions out there, he shouldn’t cry if people disagree. And given what a pain he is, he shouldn’t whine when people don’t want to have any association with him.

So have I been less than civil? Maybe. But some ideas and some people do not merit civility. that bothers you? Tough titty.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

30 Comments

  • I of course do not begrudge him his right to hold and disseminate controversial, hateful and even patently idiotic ideas. What annoys me most about Mr. Silverstein is what a whiny bitch he is.

    CK-

    Not only is that uncivil, that is sexist. By assuming that a bitch (an uncivil and not so nice word for a women) is whiny is not a good thing but then to tag it on to an individual with whom you disagree on such a hot button and important issue as blogging, you degrade not only all women but those who whine, regardless of gender. (-read with slight sense of sarcasm-)

    I am sure you would have jumped at the chance to be in the IHT about being nice online if it came your way. Point out something better than not being nice you tit. (also meant to be kinda’ funny)

  • This story was also on the front page of the Times over yom tov, slightly above the fold. Me to my parents: “Hey, my people are on the front of the NY Times!” I think for a minute they thought it was about PresenTense Magazine. When I meant bloggers. (What, me…a geek?)

    To an extent, any of us who express our opinions in public all have to thicken our skins when it comes to people exercising their rights to be whiny bitches or to tell us that we’re racist for various reasons like when we indicate a wish that Zach Braff would marry a Jewish girl.

    And then there’s the dangerous stuff, the death threats, the misogynistic threat to dismember or to sexually violate or whatever, which is what happened to Kathy Sierra (also mentioned in the piece, and her post about the experience is here).

    CK, you may remember that a few years ago members of a website found my blog and, in disagreeing with my post vociferously, made awful personal comments about what I looked like, and how I had no talent and that I should just shut up. And for a while that was really scary (although nothing on the par of the Sierra stuff). After the initial shock of having people I never met critically discuss my appearance and writing ability, I saw the nature of their comments (“where does she live, Iceland? Go out and get some sun!”) as the words of a bunch of drunks. Because literally, that’s what they were.

    The point is, I do believe that in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need guidelines. And guidelines won’t stop everyone. A recent example here proves that there are always going to be people who hijack a comment thread for personal negative comments about a specific person. But I always thought Mobius was onto something with his Jewish Bloggers Campaign For Responsible Speech Online, even though I was kind of alienated by the picture of the rabbi in the logo. Seemed too much like using that label would make me feel like the Orthodox rabbis who taught in my high school would be personally policing my free speech. And there’s no point to that.

    But in theory, I support the effort to remind people that just because they can’t see my reaction, doesn’t mean that I’m not hurt by vindictive or violent comments. (And in that sentence, I’m talking about the universal, theoretical “I.”)

    But maybe that’s just me.

  • Hi POLJ: As far as I know, a bitch is a dog (female yes, but mostly dog) and Mr. Silverstein is a man. No reference to women as a general category was intended. And, like, I’m sorry and all. I wish i could be more noble and more tolerant. But Silverstein is darn annoying… and only Christians turn the other cheek. At least I’m honest and open about my feelings. 🙂

  • Ck,

    I blogged on the same topic few days ago, but I think I prefer this post – especially the picture. Although I also LOVE the FIB awards picture you prepared a while ago….

  • esther: I agree with you completely. But remember, those drunks were idiots. There was nothing really offensive about your writing. But if someone goes out there, seeking to annoy and to offend, well, not only will I be annoyed and offended, but I will express it. I would never seek to curb Silverstein’s right to spew. God forbid! But hey, I’m human. I’m allowed to react – within reasonable bounds of course.

  • I hate to jump on the sexist bandwagon, but I do feel (and this is from 4 or 5 years of writing for various blogs) that more often when a reader disagrees with an opinion, etc and proceeds to comment the gender of the writer plays into their reaction, whether conscious or unconscious.

    Female bloggers are more often left comments that are more personally slanderous and potentially hateful because of the personal nature and male bloggers are usually disputed on more philosophical and/or abstract terms that are far less personal. Then there is the whole psychological aspect of “groupthink” on comments threads that irks me about the same as the gender stuff.

    But that could just be me.

  • And then of course, there’s the fact that when Ck uses the term “whiny bitch,” he’s inevitably talking about a dude, albeit a whiny one.

  • Hey CK,

    I’m with Esther and Beth on the sexist terminology, but that’s not why I’m responding to this post.

    I’m glad you mentioned the article, but I think you skipped over some salient points about the Silverstein mention.

    1. It is not true that Silverstein advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace on his blog. Actually, what he does is highlight and link to MSM articles that further his All Evil Israel, All the Time agenda. He has no clue about the real dialogue that’s going on in Israeli society (because he doesn’t live here, perhaps?) and his writing is utterly lacking in balance.

    2. It is supremely ironic that he complains of being harassed, given that he has not hesitated to harass me over being excluded from my Global Voices roundups (me: but I write about the Israeli blogosphere and you are not Israeli; RS: I don’t care! I wanna be in the GV roundups! And the fact that you’re excluding me means you’re a right-wing fanatic!).

    3. He was never excluded from anything due to his opinions. If he wanted to participate in the JIBs, then he could’ve nominated himself – no-one was stopping him.

    4. He is not an important blogger! I mean, putting him in the same article with Blogher, Dooce and Richard Scoble makes me think of that old Sesame Street song about one of these things not belonging… Who reads the guy’s blog besides a few like-minded people? He has never expressed an original idea, nor has he influenced other bloggers.

    5. As you point out, he has *never* been civil to anyone who disagreed with him. So who is he to join the clamour for online civility?

    Hmph.

  • Lisa!!!!!

    It’s good to see you. I loved that Had Gadya clip you had from Hava Alberstein. If I wasn’t a technical doofus, I would have “borrowed” it to post here.

    I think the problem here is that Silverstein got mentioned in the NY Times, in an idiotic article where using him makes no sense, instead of promoting our site.

    As for personal attacks on bloggers, I have to report, dear Beth, that unless I’m mistaken about my gender, I can point you to dozens of instances on this site where I’ve been attacked on a personal basis in the middle of debates.

  • Come to think of it, it *is* rather shocking that the IHT reporter neglected to mention Jewlicious – especially given all those dreadful ad hominem attacks you guys have suffered over the years.

    CK, I understand your pain.

    TM, I am very glad you like the Chava Alberstein song. (It’s from her London album – 1989). And it’s good to see you too!

  • I don’t care about us not being mentioned! I don’t care at all. What I am surprised that Silverstein got such a forum to spread his whinyness. Good to see ya here Lisa!

  • Lisa, I think the reporter ignored us because he understood that we fully deserve the attacks.

    ck, if you’re not nice to me I’ll ask Richard Silverstein to contribute a guest post for us.

  • CK as usual is a bald-faced liar. I am not anti-ZIonist or anti-Israel. I am a progressive Zionist & he knows it. He persists in lying about me because he calls himself a liberal regarding the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict & I’ve pointed out to my readers that he’s nothing of the sort since he is not opposed to ending the Occupation, excuses IDF murders of Palestinian civilians, & is not opposed to extrajudicial assassinations.

    Regarding Aussie Dave’s image, it was taken from the Pajamas Media site. I asked Dave why he hadn’t requested that I take the image down or declared his copyright on it (in which case I would have taken it down). He never replied.

    The material below excerpted from an e mail to Google’s senior VP for marketing (Google owns Blogger the host for this fraudulent blog) is an accurate characterizaation of what those hateful Kahanists with whom CK has allied himself against me have done to me and my reputation at their pornographic, hateful, defaming website. If you have the balls to publish this, then yr readers will get to judge for themselves instead of having it filtered through yr demagogic perspective.

    I have unsuccessfully appealed to Blogger Help regarding a fraudulent Blogger website, Little Dickie’s Diaper Droppings (http://www.richardsilversteins.blogspot.com), which impersonates and defames me using pornographic and hateful language (complaint #129709468). Initially, the site also displayed images of me in violation of my copyright rights. Though Blogger has removed those images, the site is deeply invasive of my privacy and defames me by assuming my identity.

    Here are some representative samples of its egregious nature:

    1. the blog URL is ‘richardsilversteins.blogspot.com,’ which is my name.

    2. the contact e mail address provided is a fake address also using my name richardsilverstein@yahoo.com

    3. Here’s a pornographic quotation placed into my mouth: “When I get “religious” then I just stroke my penis to see what comes out.”

    4. Here’s a comment calling me a “kapo”:

    “We figure that Little Dickie would like to be a kapo in those nice camps that the people who accept Carter’s claims about Israeli “apartheid” are planning to build for the Jews.

    Once inside the camps, Little Dickie can then ask Jimmy for some nice peanuts that he can insert in his nice anus and then play Chew the Nice Peanuts!”

    4. More quotations:

    “I am a third-rate subliterate pretending to be an intellectual

    Why am I so stupid?

    Interests:

    Destroying Israel

    Favorite Books:

    Mein Kampf”

    As an American Jewish blogger, I hope you can understand how deeply hurtful it is to have a fraudulent website proclaim in my name that my favorite book is one of the most anti-Semitic books ever written: Mein Kampf. And as a Jew who supports Israel, you can also imagine the pain caused by someone purporting to speak in my own voice that I wish to “destroy Israel.” There are visitors to this blog who will actually think that the disgusting words and ideas put into my mouth are things I believe.

    This website violates the following Blogspot.com terms of service (see italics):

    “You agree to not use the Service to: (a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;…(c) impersonate any person or entity… (e) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that infringes any…copyright or other proprietary rights of any party”

    And as for poor Lisa. I complained to her editor that the blogs she chose to present at Global Voices were not politically or ideologically diverse. I also feel that excluding Diaspora blog voices form the Israel section is wrong since I consider myself part of Am Yisrael whether or not I live there physically. I told her so. I told her editors so. That’s harassment by her. You folks should look up the term harassment. Someone who talks about sex acts you commit is harassing. Someone who disagrees with your editorial decisions or political views is not harassing.

    And CK, if you’re collaborating with Steven Plaut or Rachel Neuwirth or whoever the real coward is who’s created this blog, you might want to consider the dog you’re lying down with because you might wake up covered with fleas.

    Finally, do you think it’s right for this person to hide behind anonymity & create a blog in my name that defames me? Is this person a coward or not? I challenge you to tell me whether you’re collaborating directly w. him or her. If you don’t answer or refuse to answer then we’ll all know that you too are a coward.

  • “Regarding Aussie Dave’s image, it was taken from the Pajamas Media site. I asked Dave why he hadn’t requested that I take the image down or declared his copyright on it (in which case I would have taken it down). He never replied.”

    YOU are the liar here. I let you know of my disapproval in a number of posts, as well as here. So let me make this nice and clear for you so it penetrates that thick cranium of yours:
    If the image is not taken down off your site within the next 24 hours, I will seriously consider my options.

  • Richard, if you hadn’t whined to the NY Times and traveled far and wide across the Internet to discuss it, I suspect most people would have never heard of it.

  • Why can’t this motherfucker write the word “your”? Is it an implicit protest against the Orthodox Union? Did vowels ally with Steven Plaut to defame him?

  • Aussie,

    “God damned son of a bitch stupid asshole bastard motherfucker” may not be as succinct or family friendly but it’s much more fun to say…try it, you’ll like it.

  • “Mofo” does not carry nearly the same weight and resonance as “motherfucker.” “Mofo” is for people who replace the “vagina” in “The Vagina Monologues” with “hoohah.” “Mofo” is MIDI and “motherfucker” is a nasty dinged-up full upright bass with more encrusted funk than George Clinton’s rainbow dread extensions. I’ll stick with “motherfucker,” thanks. We’re all grown-ups here…

  • Then there’s Roosevelt (the Original Honey Dripper) Sykes’s ‘dirty mother for you’.

  • “Nasty dinged-up full upright bass with more encrusted funk than George Clinton’s rainbow dread extensions.”

    I think that describes perfectly what Olmert is currently doing to Israel.

  • I came across Silverstein’s blog when he decided to praise “Rabbi” Eric Yoffie for his embrace of Islamists. I wrote to him that calling Yoffie a “Rabbi” is an insult to every rabbi who has earned that title of respect. He proceeded to imply that I am not a Jew, and he then banned me from his site. What a disappointment! I thought someone with as big a mouth as his would at least spar with me for a short time.
    Silverstein is a perfect example of what is vile and atrocious about too much of the American Jewish population.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity of writing this. Silverstein is evidently too much of a coward to take me on.

  • Little Dickie Kapostein, the real name for Richard Silverstein, is a fanatic anti-Semite and Neo-Nazi who seeks Israel’s annihilation and a new Holocaust. The semi-literate Silverstein would like to be the next Jewish Neo-Nazi after Norman Finkelstein crashed and burned. There has never been an act of Arab savagery against Jews he does not justify, nor an act of Jewish self-defense that he supports. His blog is little more than his exercise in political masturbation, trying to draw attention to himself. He has been unemployed for years.

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