By all accounts, Menachem Stark was not a nice guy. He was a slumlord, a scammer, a molester, a loan shark and a variety of other things. Did he deserve to be killed, no, nobody does. Is it surprising that he was killed? No, people who live certain lifestyles know and understand the risks of their lifestyles. People who dabble in the trade of cheating people, put themselves and their families at risk.
The controversy surrounding the New York Post’s front page article which posed the question “Who Didn’t Want to Kill Him?”, an actual quote from a law enforcement agent who was clearly overwhelmed by the number of people who hated Stark is manufactured nonsense .
It has become very obvious over the past few years that any newspaper or radio show host or anyone, as a matter of fact, who decides to cover any story that depicts someone dressed in religious Jewish garb, who has committed some sort of crime or done something immoral, is the enemy. No, not the person who did the crime or immoral act, but the newspaper person who covered it.
I saw this phenomenon with the Rubashkin case. Even after Shlomo Rubashkin pleaded guilty in a plea bargain that got the government to drop some of the harsher charges that he faced, the religious community still insisted on his innocence and still held rallies calling him a Pidyon Shvuyin (capitve).
When I used my radio show to criticize the community and ask them where the rallies and fundraising for Gilad Shalit, who at the time was being held captive by Hamas and, who, unlike Rubashkin, was not a criminal and was threatened with death every minute of every day, I was called a self hating Jew and worse yet, a Chassid hater. I was physically attacked outside a restaurant and even today, many people who were very friendly with me before my comments on Rubashkin, don’t even say hi when they see me.
This morning, when I defended the NY Post’s headline, I was called an ignoramus, a self hating Jew and at one point compared to a Nazi.
Ok, I understand that many people in religious communities live with blinders on, perhaps they don’t understand the social implications and dangers of being a scumbag. But to quickly and uniformly label someone a Jew hater because they disagree with your opinion, that is disturbing. I never liked being told I must agree with everything everyone says all the time, last time I checked, I live in Canada, a free and democratic society, where I have the freedom to express my opinions.
I think that the New York Post did nothing wrong, I believe strongly in the freedom for them to cover the story in the way they see fit. I also believe that those who don’t like the way the story was covered, have the right, as they currently are, in calling for a boycott of the newspaper. Nobody is forcing you to buy it and if you don’t like the editorial slant, don’t spend money on it.
But let me leave you with this sound piece of advice. Sometimes you are right, sometimes you are wrong, but everyone is entitled to their opinion without being called ridiculous names. Once again, if you don’t like what I say on my show or what I write on my blog, you have the option to just turn me off.
By Howie Silbiger