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Deblog Fishman Now! UPDATE - Fishman Arrested!

By Tzvi Fishman
6/7/2009, 12:00 AM

Here's an email sent to the management of INN demanding that I be electronically handcuffed. What do you say?

"Friends of mine introduced me to Arutz-7 about two years ago.  I was initially heartened by the nationalistic stance taken by the site and by the news reporting of events usually left out by the mainstream Israeli press.  After a while I became faintly disillusioned by certain lapses in journalistic professionalism displayed by your columnists and bloggers.  I let a lot of it go because I concentrated on the good side of your reporting and so neglected the bad side.  No one was perfect, I rationalized.  However, events of late have caused me to bring my dissatisfaction to your attention.

"I wish to lodge a complaint against blogger Tzvi Fishman and his overwrought columns.

"Especially unpleasant was the blog of June 1, 2009 entitled "Jerusalem Splat Team in Action".  In it he advocates travelling the streets of Jerusalem with a paint splatter gun and shooting women who he deems to be improperly dressed.  This he hopes will lead to his incarceration and somehow encourage the Knesset to pass a dress-code law that will fine and eventually imprison improperly dressed women.

Jerusalem Splat Tean
"I am aware that this column is meant to be satirical.  However, there is no way that this kind of incendiary language can be laughed off as mere satire.  To put it plainly, there is a thin line between satire and cruelty and Fishman has certainly crossed that line.  He is advocating violence against Jewish women in Israel plainly and simply.  Though I am male, I have female family members and I am duty-bound to watch out for their well-being.

"As disappointed as I am in Mr. Fishman, as I have on occasion defended him in the talkbacks as merely trying to use humour in order to encourage aliyah (immigration to Israel), I am more disappointed in the editorial board that oversees the blogs.  Did no one think to question Mr. Fishman's language and tone in this blog before allowing it to be printed?  Does he have the ability to have his blogs printed without being vetted by an editor first?  I submit to the management and the editors of Arutz-7, that if you thought his blog was merely satirical, then your ethics need examination.  None of Fishman's thoughts in this blog or in others of similar vein (involving attacks on certain groups of his fellow Jews) correspond with any of the Judaism that I was taught.  Every rabbi I have ever spoken to or read has said that holiness and sanctity obtained through force or threat is a false piety.  How can one measure the sincerity of anyone's observance if it is obtained through coercion or threat?  True, many of the world's dictators have achieved order in their societies through the use of intimidation and force, but it is bought at a fearful price.  Our people have always prided themselves that we would not resort to such measures to "rein in our flock".  It appears that Fishman has other ideas.  In the discipline of logic, Fishman is using an argumentum ad baculum (roughly an appeal to force) to sell his ideas, in essence, dress properly or face violence and imprisonment.  This goes against every precept I know.  Our people believe in the rule of law.  Fishman has no authority to carry out his actions.  He is not a rabbi (by his own admission) and the Knesset has not empowered him or anyone else to impose a dress-code nor to enforce it.  He is therefore a vigilante and in violation of the law.  We Jews have never worshipped power obtained that way, for in that way lies thuggery and anarchy.  Why has no else seen this? 

"If Fishman can slip his blogs through without examination by an editor, that speaks poorly for the level of journalistic professionalism practiced at the station.  If on the other hand an editor saw nothing wrong with his blog, then that speaks very gravely of the ethics and level of tolerance practiced by the station management.

"I truly hope that Fishman is kidding.  I hope even more that no addle-brained individual takes it into his head to harass women after being "inspired" by Fishman's example.  If that were to happen, he could be held liable, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Did it ever occur to any of you how Fishman's ramblings look to the outside world that can easily access his blogs on any computer?  Our enemies could copy this blog and use it against us to ridicule religious Jews and to undermine our cause in Yesha.   We have enemies both within and without.  From within we have self-hating and left-wing Jews who just "pray" (pardon the pun) for a "frummie" to make an outrageous statement like Fishman's so they can exploit it.  From without we have anti-Semitic Gentiles who would love to denigrate us to their benighted followers by using such musings as their example.

"I say enough is enough.  Tzvi Fishman is a disturbed individual who obviously does harm to our cause, and apparently no one at the station management level can see it.  To that end I make the following requests:

"1) Mr. Fishman's blogging privileges (and voice presence) should be suspended temporarily pending a hearing on his beliefs and commitment to journalistic professionalism.  Once he has given assurance not to write material that incites hatred of his fellow Jews (those that he disagrees with) and is willing to submit blogs to an impartial editor for vetting, he can resume blogging.  If he is unwilling to change his ways, he should be suspended permanently.

"2) The editorial board of Arutz-7 should issue a statement distancing itself from Fishman's more outrageous pronouncements, indicating that the opinions that he states are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the station as a whole.

"3)  I want a statement of the editorial board's opinion of Fishman's philosophies and their view of the statements he made in "Jerusalem Splat Team in Action" sent to my e-mail address so that I may examine them.  I am re-assessing my level of support to the station in light of such carelessness and I would like to hear you tell me of your drive to improve professionalism and to keep divisiveness to a minimum.

"If you fail to address me or fail to make any gesture towards solving this dilemma, I will take it that you approve of Fishman's philosophies and cruel humour and I will react accordingly. 

"With that being said, I have no problem with ethical and social issues being addressed from an orthodox Jewish perspective, provided such issues are discussed in a calm, rational and intelligent manner with no brickbats being thrown at any who may hold different views.

"Jewish people are too few in number in Israel and indeed in the world for us to hive ourselves off in different groups and then snipe at one another.  The Fishmans of this world seek to divide us further and cause us to fight amongst ourselves, just what our enemies would love to see.  Such Jews as Fishman must be stopped so that our psychic wounds can heal and we can try to find common ground once again.  As Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing ".

"I do not intend to be one of those good men who do nothing.  Our women deserve better than Fishman.  I await your reply."