Man Accused in Cyber Attacks against Scroll Scholars

NEW UPDATE: Raphael Golb sentenced to six months in prison!

UPDATE: Raphael Golb found guilty by jury! Update and video of original testimony to police below.

In what seems like an eternity ago, I attended a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in San Diego. I loved it and wrote about it. Another Jewlicious writer, Rabbi Yonah, and his lovely wife Rachel, also attended and planned to post about it. However, a little problem by the name of Charles Gadda got in the way.

Well, it appears that Charles Gadda may soon be put away. In prison. “Charles Gadda,” appears to be the same person arrested by the Manhattan DA, Raphael Golb, a couple of days ago for “creating multiple aliases to engage in a campaign of impersonation and harassment relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls and scholars of opposing viewpoints.”

It appears that Raphael Golb’s father, Norman Golb, is a scholar who studies Dead Sea Scrolls. The Manhattan DA is alleging that Raphael used aliases to defend his father’s theories and attack others (with different theories). To do this, he used internet aliases.

Norman and Raphael Golb

Norman and Raphael Golb

Well, we at Jewlicious have known about this for a long time. We didn’t know who was doing it, but after I posted the review of the Scrolls show in San Diego, we were visited by “Charles Gadda” who offered a critique of the show and disagreed with my review. The weird thing is he never saw the exhibition, he just felt confident about attacking it. Soon after Gadda arrived, another new commenter, using the name “Allegro Was Right,” posted an incredible essay showing similarities in language between a series of people posting on the internet, including Charles Gadda, who were all posting attacks on Dead Sea Scrolls exhibitions and praising Professor Norman Golb.

That essay seemed to drive Gadda wild with anger. He began posting highly offensive comments attacking people involved with the San Diego exhibition. I recall that he accused William (Bill) Schniedewind and Risa Levitt Kohn, the curator, of terrible things. it was one of the most vicious debates we had ever seen on Jewlicious. He also introduced other aliases into the discussion, but it was obvious that the same person was doing it. At one point, one of the aliases posted unfounded allegations of antisemitism against Schniedewind and that was when I decided to remove the discussion, shut it down and asked Rabbi Yonah not to post his positive review of the San Diego exhibition so as to convince this Gadda person to keep away.

It was a truce of sorts: Jewlicious removed the “Allegro Was Right” essay showing that multiple characters were “promoting” Norman Golb and attacking people that appeared to be in Golb’s way, and Gadda would not use Jewlicious as a platform to accuse innocent professors of being antisemites or whatever other nasty things he was saying about them. I feel that if you’re going to attack somebody for being an antisemite, you better have a strong case. In this case, it appeared to be a cynical attack, intended to besmirch people to advance a position, not because they are antisemitic.

Gadda (allegedly Raphael Golb) or aliases have tried to post here a couple of times since, but I removed his comments each time. I also removed one follow-up comment by “Allegro” who hasn’t been seen since (unless it is he who posted the arrest news a couple of days ago) so as not to fan the flames and draw the ire of “Gadda.”

Now, one of the main victims of the actions of “Charles Gadda” and the multiple aliases that the Manhattan DA says were allegedly the creations of Raphael Golb, Robert Cargill, has created a site tracking all the aliases. He titled it, appropriately enough, Who Is Charles Gadda. It is a comprehensive list of the known appearances, IP addresses, aliases (there are dozens and dozens) and other information related to this campaign to harass Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.

The alias “Charles Gadda” is one of over 80 known anonymous internet aliases dedicated to the advocacy and defense of the academic theories of Dr. Norman Golb, the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor of Jewish History and Civilization at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. The puppet master behind alias “Charles Gadda” and the other aliases is engaged in a scorched earth campaign to criticize, libel, and defame any and all scholars involved in any manner with the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, who do not accept the theories of Dr. Golb. Additionally, the puppet master has dedicated himself to an organized and systematic campaign of criticism of the traveling Dead Sea Scrolls exhibitions presently touring North America. While the alias “Charles Gadda” was not the puppet master’s first alias, he became the central alias due to his presence on the NowPublic website.

Raphael Golb is accused of going beyond these internet attacks and actually stealing the identity of one such scholar, Lawrence Schiffman, which is the reason for the criminal charges.

What about Norman Golb, the father? In the Chicago Tribune article he basically admits his son’s guilt.

“The fact of the matter is that if I understand it, Raphael was responding to the attacks on me,” Golb said from his university office. “I suppose my son felt it was important to get things straight.”

In other words, Norman is saying that Raphael did what he’s accused of doing. He was “responding” to attacks and “felt it was important to get things straight.” I hope Raphael’s lawyer doesn’t fire him as a client because his father just made the job of getting Raphael off the hook much harder. Based on our experience at Jewlicious, “Gadda” was a malicious and highly aggressive writer who was lying to get his point across.

Norman Golb also claims, amazingly, that the conspiracy has been directed against him and in the NY Times, he called his son “an honorable person.” Well, had Norman Golb seen what Charles Gadda did on his behalf, he would keep quiet because there are many people who have been victims of this slander and alleged criminal actions. If getting things “straight” means stealing people’s identities and calling them antisemites because their views don’t jibe with another scholar’s views, then perhaps Norman Golb needs a primer on basic civility. His son is about to get one from the Manhattan DA.

Update: Perhaps unaware that his father acknowledged that his “son felt it was important to get things straight,” Raphael Golb told a reporter that he was innocent.

Accused cyberbully Raphael Golb – who allegedly harassed the academic rivals of his father, a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar – emerged from Manhattan’s Tombs yesterday looking rumpled, tired and a little like an archeological artifact himself.

“I survived,” the exhausted Golb said of his first-ever night in jail, promising he’ll be vindicated on identity-theft and harassment charges that could put him in prison for up to four years if convicted.

New Update:
There is another admission by the father about Raphael Golb’s activities. This one does not acknowledge criminal behavior but does admit that he would write blogs to debate.

Golb’s father became short of breath when he was told of his son’s arrest yesterday. “I can’t believe this. I can’t. This is horrible,” he said on the phone from Chicago.

He said his son, who has a law degree from NYU and a Ph.D. from Harvard, “would never impersonate professor Schiffman or anyone else.”

“My dear son. He’s such a brilliant young man. He wouldn’t lie like this, first of all. There is something that’s been trumped up here,” he said.

Golb said he knew his son was a vigorous proponent of his views and would write blogs defending him and disagreeing with Schiffman.

“It was honest, straightforward debate,” he said.

The Who Is Charles Gadda page lists 14 blogs with FORTY SIX large blog entries created by this person. The 4 blog posts on two blogs mentioning plagiarism are the ones the father must be talking about. Is it really an honest and straightforward debate to accuse another scholar of plagiarism?

You do have to be pretty smart to get a doctorate from Harvard and pretty smart to earn a law degree from NYU. Raphael Golb had earned both. So even if he didn’t break the law and merely created many characters and blogs to attack others, why was he wasting his time on this? Why isn’t he writing a great novel, trying a great case in court or doing something meaningful?

NEW NEW UPDATE: Raphael Golb has been convicted by a jury of 30 of 31 counts against him. On the stand, he admitted to using various pseudonyms, including, presumably, Charles Gadda.

The Who is Charles Gadda page gives us the scoop:

The Verdict: Who Is Charles Gadda?

On Tuesday, September 28, 2010, Raphael Golb, testifying as the sole witness in his own defense, admitted to Assistant District Attorney John Bandler that he was, in fact, the alias “Charles Gadda.” Contrary to his earlier testimony to police following his March 5, 2010 arrest, where he stated he had nothing to do with criticism of Dr. Larwence Schiffman, Golb admitted that he created the [email protected] and other email addresses and used them to send emails to NYU faculty, staff, students, and administrators. Norman Golb had previously admitted that his son, Raphael, was alias “Charles Gadda”, the overwhelming evidence proved it, and in the end, Raphael Golb finally admitted it.

On September 30, 2010, Raphael Golb was found guilty of multiple counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment.

Dr. Golb is scheduled to be sentenced November 18, 2010.

NEW UPDATE: Raphael Golb sentenced to six months in prison!

Here is a New York Post video with Golb’s initial testimony to the police. According to Robert Cargill’s report, Golb admitted on the stand that in this testimony he lied about his actions and aliases.

About the author



  • This evil must be done away with root and branch. All disagreement with Middle should be criminalized.

  • You got that right. I’m afraid he comes off a little crazy. With the level of activity he generated – the blogs, the aliases, the emails and relentless communication, this mission of his was a full time job. When did he have time to practice law. I do feel bad for him but he really seems to have harmed his victims in a serious way.

  • Oy vey, I went to college with Raphy.

    I suppose you could say it’s an overgrown father complex, as part of an insanity defense.

  • Interesting. Which college? Did he show any promise of having a future, um, in the news?

    You are writing from an interesting place. If you don’t mind revealing where, I’d be curious to know what you’re doing there. Do you live there?

  • >deleted link to half-assed paper* by Norman Golb< Update on a Dr. Norman Golb paper. *opinion of The Middle

  • Spencer, as you apparently know, since we appear to be only the third website in the vast constellation of websites known as the internet to be selected to receive a commercial for a new internet paper by Norman Golb, Raphael Golb once used this website to attack a professor for anti-Semitism just because.

    Raphael Golb was given a jail sentence for what he did to Professor Lawrence Schiffman and here you are plugging his father’s new criticism of Schiffman. It appears from email exchanges that Norman Golb’s wife and other son knew about some of Raphael’s activities and perhaps even aided him, so you would think that Norman would show some humility and contrition instead of writing a half-assed paper* attacking Schiffman. Obviously, this isn’t so.

    While we often forgive strange characters with strange IP addresses posting on our site, in this case we will not play along with efforts on behalf of the convicted Raphael Golb or his father. I will be generous and say that if you are connected in any way to Raphael or Norman Golb, you may inform Norman that if he has something he wants to say to Jewlicious, he can comment right here himself. I would enjoy the opportunity to explain to him why I think his latest paper is half-assed.

    *opinion of The Middle

  • Tsk tsk

    I know, why don’t I insult somebody with info I got from somebody else.