I can't tell you much about Richard Silverstein. He's a figure of some prominence in the small corner of American Jewry which actively dislikes Israel as the Israelis understand it - though he might say he's against AIPAC, not Israel. He's probably in his late 50s, and I'm not clear if he's ever held a real job, with real responsibilites and the need to make decisions that are inevitably less optimal than you'd like; on the other hand, he's got three children, and raising children is a reality-based occupation. So who knows.
He runs a blog called Tikkun Olam; Make the World a Better Place. Yes, that Tikkun Olam. With a vengeance. As long-time readers will remember, from time to time I choose a blog from part of the spectrum I sorely disagree with, and follow it for a while to see if I can figure out what makes its author tick. I followed Juan Cole for quite a while; Glenn Greenwald swiftly turned boring and predictable, and Mondoweiss - well, they're so full of hatred there wasn't much of a handle on which to hang a rational reading. The good people at CiF Watch are doing a fine job so I don't need to, though I do follow the Guardian in general, not only CiF, as a long-term proposition.
At the moment I lack the time to adopt Mr. Silverstein and his blog, but maybe later.
I did however have an interesting introduction to him this week. I was sent to a post on his blog with a report on a large conference call some 150 progressive rabbis had with Richard Goldstone. Having read it, I left a comment, only to learn that Silverstein doesn't just let folks leave comments on his blog: you've got to earn it by hewing to the party line, apparently. That was yesterday; in the meantime he has published a comment that was submitted since I submitted mine, so he's clearly decided to block me.
Google being what it is, I can leave record of the blocked comment by writing this post on my blog, which contains all the words connected to the matter, so even if it's not at his blog, it is on the record. Again, here's Silverstein's post, and here's what I posted:
October 19, 2009 at 5:29 AM
I wonder how many of the 150 rabbis have actually read the report. The bias in it is so profound and counter-factual that I have my sincere doubts if Judge Goldstone himself read it carefully. Take, as a simple example, the statement in para 179: “The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli extremist in 1995 dealt a lethal blow to the peace process.” There are indeed many people who believe this, but they’re all in a particular and easily identifiable camp of observers of the Israeli-Palestinian confllict; it is also easy to find numerous factual problems with the statement. In any case, the issue isn’t relevant to the mission of the fact finders; it was only inserted as part of a clumsy attempt to frame the Gaza operation in an a-priori anti-Israeli narrative.
Judge Goldstone signed on it. He owns it.
So that's done.
If you're into comedy, by the way, you might be tickled by this post Silverstein put up today, in which he bemoans the fact the CiF didn't publish enough of his columns, so he quit.