Author Chaim Walder has published a response to recent defamatory attacks made on him in the media, first printed in the Haaretz newspaper and since published elsewhere, along with calls to boycott his dozens of books written over a decades-long career.
“I appeal to everyone who has been exposed to the serious allegations made against me and I cry the cry of Dreyfus who was degraded in the public square, stripped of his insignia, his sword broken before a huge crowd – I am innocent of all wrongdoing. I beg of you to do just one thing: Invest a small amount of time, a drop of logic, and question whether these terrible defamatory statements have any basis to them. Do not be hasty to pass judgment on someone who has worked all his life on behalf of children and their rights,” Walder said in his statement.
Walder stressed that he categorically denies the allegations made against him, accusing him of exploiting minors. “This is a tissue of lies for which there can be no forgiveness,” he said, “and the entire purpose of these claims is to make the bizarre claim that I acted in entire contradiction to everything that I have worked for – protecting children.”
He added that, “There is also the evidence of the journalist Ariella Sternbach that people came to her ready to invest huge sums in order to damage my reputation in any way possible. I state here and now that I have never been summoned to a beitdin [rabbinical court] on such matters or anything related to women. The document that was published does not bear my name and only attests to the calculated and well-funded campaign being waged against me.”
Responding to statements by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Tzfat, that people should remove his books from their homes, Walder said, “I was stunned to hear what Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said, given that he did not take that very simple step of turning to me personally to hear my account. He should have known that he was being misled. When he spoke with me, I asked him how he could have ruled on this issue without hearing my side, and he responded that this was the reason why he had called for my books to be put into storage rather than entirely removed.
“How can I address such claims when I have not been given any specific details and have no idea where the claims are coming from and what might be the specific motivations of the accusers?” he continued. “People have to understand that the kind of holy work I was engaged in – helping children – brought me many enemies in the form of the people who sexually or violently abused them, whom I exposed – thereby stopping the abuse. The more I achieved on behalf of children, the more enemies I gained.”
Walder stated that he was not familiar with any of the people making accusations against him, other than one single case. “I cannot identify a single one of all the people who have made defamatory statements against me, other than one woman who made a complaint against me in 2008 that was shown to be a false claim and the case was closed without me even having to engage a lawyer on my behalf,” he said.
“Various experts have advised me to remain silent until the storm passes,” he added. “I don’t know if they are right or not, even though they are the experts. But everyone knows that it’s impossible for a lone individual to cope with a flood of defamation against him like this one.
“I have written this clarification at the request and with the support of Rabbi Chaim Shaulzon,” he continued, “and I believe that it will soon become clear who is behind this unprecedented campaign of defamation – and then I will refute the claims, one by one. Do not forget that I passed a polygraph test and emerged as one telling the truth, showing the allegations printed in the Haaretz newspaper to be unfounded,” he concluded.