I just read a 2224 word screed by Richard Silverstein about Dan Sieradski and the Occupy Wall Street, Freedom Waves Gaza Flotilla, tweet “controversy” and now all I want to do is take a very long, very hot shower. See, it all started when Occupy Wall Street’s twitter account released the following tweet:

We support and would like to express #solidarity to #FreedomWaves #Palestine #ows”

Shortly thereafter, the tweet was deleted, but not before being noted, repeated and retweeted by the New York Times and a number of others. Why was it deleted? Well, occupy Wall Street is a consensus based organization, and the tweet was not the product of consensus but rather the work of one person who did not represent Occupy’s General Assembly and its working groups. This kind of “direct democracy” is a pretty weighty affair – here, watch this video to get an idea of what I’m talking about:

So when Daniel Sieradski, one of the founders of Occupy Judaism, and others, questioned the provenance and representativeness of the tweet, it was quickly acertained that it did not represent anything that the General Assembly had discussed or approved. Thus it was an easy decision to delete the tweet. This is kind of how it went down according to Tablet:

Daniel Sieradski, the Jewish social media guru and activist with connections to Occupy Wall Street (among other things, he organized last month’s Kol Nidrei service across the street from Zuccotti Park), told me this morning that a single individual with access to the feed had made the tweet, and that then Sieradski and others “raised concerns to folks on the PR and media teams that there had been no consensus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (opinions differ as to whether the topic is even germane), that it was not appropriate for this individual to make such a declaration on behalf of the movement, and that the ramifications would likely be severe.” He added, “Others in their affinity group concurred that it was inappropriate and the tweet was deleted.”

I’ve been following Occupy Wall Street from day one. I’ve seen umpteen videos of the decision making process. It’s not one that lends itself to being “stifled.” The only things being stifled are attempts to coopt the movement and use it’s popularity to advance narrower agendas. And let’s face it, when you’re trying to be the voice of the 99% – most agendas are narrower.

Occupy Wall Street is basically an economic movement, brought on by the havoc caused when an under regulated Wall Street sold poorly secured mortgage backed derivatives, thus inspiring the housing bubble and the inevitable collapse that followed. I’m admittedly oversimplifying a bit (to say the least), but I hope you get my point. Occupy Wall Street is also very decentralized and the space at Zucotti Park is open to one and all. This includes all kinds of people who do not represent the movement. Some of these people may even harbor anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israel sentiment – but they are not representative of the movement as a whole. Please, let’s put that distortion to rest right now, ok? OK! Moving right along…

Knowing this, it would be ignorant, if not outright mendacious to claim that Dan Sieradski “stifled” anything, as Siverstein has. But ignorance and mendacity are par for the course for Richard Silverstein as they are for the many extremist anti-Israel Palagandistas that attacked Sieradski on twitter and on anti-Israel blogs like Silverstein’s. They described Sieradski as a racist, ethnocentric, fascist etc. while spitting out “Zionist” in much the same way you’d expect a Klansman to say “nigger” just before a lynching. Sieradski’s position on Israel seems to be in a constant state of flux, but it’s pretty safe to say that whatever it is, it’s not racist, it’s not ethnocentric and he firmly opposes the occupation. Siverstein’s issue with Sieradski, other than the fact that he quite aptly called Silverstein a douchebag, is that Sieradski opposes an unfettered Palestinian Right of Return. Silverstein himself came to the same conclusion after 35 years of being “intellectually and politically absorbed by the issue of Middle East peace.” His flip flop on this issue only happened maybe 6 years ago, but now anyone who doesn’t toe his line is worthy of the sort of scathing attack Sieradski was subject to, the facts be damned!

Again, this has nothing to do with anyone’s particular perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict. It’s just another example of the ideological Orthodoxy demanded by extremist elements, who will do whatever it takes to attack those who disagree with them, including outright lying and misrepresenting facts. Dan Sieradski did not stifle or censor the Occupy Wall Street movement, and Richard Silverstein is a liar and a bully. Those who choose to rely on or associate with this nasty piece of work, do so at their own peril.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I myself have been called many things by Richard Silverstein: A bully, a true scumbag, a gay basher, a thief, a liar etc. I have also called Richard Silverstein a whiny bitch. Sue me.

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About the author


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.


  • OWS can’t ever address the Palestinian issue, just as it can’t address any issue outside the US, at least not if it wants to maintain consensus and advertise that it speaks on behalf of the 99%. Sieradski stated that he got involved because the banks were going to foreclose on his Mother’s house and force his family into bankruptcy. That’s a fine and noble reason to want to get active and force the government to regulate Wall Street to prevent untrammeled greed that affects the entire nation. Pension plans bought into these crap derivatives that were rated AAA and the kinds of people that lost their homes and their investments never cared about how the American capitalist system affected the rest of the world. Maybe they cared a little, but not really enough to make a huge difference. If this domestic economic revolution were to be a truly global search for true justice, then 1/3 of the world’s population would consume 1/3 of the world’s resources. That would require a massive decrease in most Americans’ standard of living. Massive! You’re not going to get 99% of the country behind that idea for sure. So, no Palestine flotillas, no African hunger and disease, no Tibet, no China, no Sudan, none of that stuff. Bring it in and OWS stops being representative of most Americans who just want to live comfortably, no matter how much that comfort costs the rest of the world. Just for the record, I think most of the world’s poor would gladly switch places with Palestinians in Gaza.

  • Ynet just reported that Silverstein has accused the Mossad of the blast in Iran that killed the Brigadier General in charge of some of their missile systems and particularly those used by Hizbullah and Hamas.

    So now Silverstein apparently has access to the Mossad. Hahahahahahaahahahha!

  • I noticed that Siverstein just changed the title of his post attacking Dan Sieradski from “Occupy Wall Street Stifled Solidarity with Gaza Flotilla at Dan Sierdski’s Urging” to “Occupy Wall Street Stifled Solidarity with Gaza Flotilla after Dan Sieradski Query.” That changes the thrust of the post a bit although Silverstein doesn’t explain the alteration at all. It’s still dishonest with respect to causality though. As Dan himself explains:

    “I would first like to reiterate that I did not request the tweet’s deletion. As Will from the OWS PR working group told Mondoweiss, “The tweet was erased because there was discussion about how it was not appropriate to address this issue on these large public social media accounts until we had agreement from the group on our exact stance on these kinds of international conflicts.” I was not a part of that discussion, as I am not a member of the media working group.”

    This and more can be found in Sieradski’s post titled “My last word on Israel/Palestine at OWS”

    Another interesting thing I noted is that in changing the title, Silverstein made it easier for his article to appear on search engines when one searches for Sieradski (old title “Sieradskis” new title “Sieradski”). This is one of Silverstein’s signature tactics when he publishes a hit piece, whether it’s against Abitbol for being a homophobe, Gershon Gorenberg for being a liar or Dan Sieradski for being a “stifler.” Prior to the change, Silverstein’s rant didn’t appear on search engine results for Sieradski’s name, unless you typed in Sieradskis with an S. Now it appears on page 2 of my search results. That’s a totally scummy move on Richard Silverstein’s part. If that’s not online bullying, I don’t know what is.

  • Paliganda? Is that like Palestinean propaganda? I guess so. It’s a bit awkward, but there needs to be a word for people who spew anti-Israel propaganda. Good one! Palagandista sounds sort of like balagan… I still have no idea why you pay any attention at all to Silverstein though. He’s a total loser.

    • Yeah, not sure if it should be Palaganda or Paliganda. Palaganda has a kind of lyrical tone to it and lends itself quite well to the singular version, namely Palagandista. Yesterday, the founder of Electronic Intifada called me a racist for coining this term. I told him I was as Arab as he was… besides, not everyone advocating on behalf of Palestinians is a Palagandista, just the ones that lie and distort or simply repeat empty catch phrases without thinking about what they mean. As for Silverstein? He’s a hateful little man, and I am repulsed by every mention and contact with him. But someone has to respond to his bullshit, no?

  • Hahahahaha. These idiots deserve each other. I love blue on blue!! It’s like a race to the bottom of idiotic doublethought among leftist Israel haters. Can we have more please? #occupystupid

  • Both these guys are big fucking assholes. Two of the biggest fucking assholes I have ever encountered. Can’t comprehend why you would defend one of these assholes over the other. It’s like choosing Hamas over Hezbollah, or vice versa. And both of these assholes help those terrorist organizations, so who cares if one of them attacks the other. I don’t.