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Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s Double Speak

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield seems to be a good guy. But in his response to fellow Beliefnet blogger Aziz Poonwalla’s on-point criticism of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s bizarre decision to screen the anti-Muslim hate film, The Third Jihad, he chases his tail and ends up adding unnecessary nuance to a clear-cut situation.

For example, while he acknowledges that the Wiesenthal Center is dead wrong for its support of this pathetic piece of hate propaganda, he turns around and criticizes CAIR for objecting, strangely implying that by objecting to a purported center of tolerance effectively promoting hate material, CAIR is “crying wolf.”


In doing so, he comes off as apologetic for the Wiesenthal’s center cynical act, one that he seemed to condemn just sentences before.

Hirschfield suggests that his problem with CAIR is that it is focusing exclusively on Islamophobia. But what does he expect a press release challenging the promotion of the most vile brand of Islamophobia to focus on? Of course, he neglects to mention that CAIR, in its press releases condemning terrorism, focuses exclusively on terrorism, and so on. He uses technicalities to diminish from the topic of the hour: an insiduously anti-Muslim propaganda film being promoted by a Jewish center “for tolerance.”

Moreover, a comment that appeared on Rabbi Hirschfield’s blog calling him out on his double-speak seemed to have miraculously disappeared the next day. The comment did not include any foul language or hateful material, but logically argued the case against Rabbi Hirschfield’s whitewashing of the situation from the perspective of that user.

This of course raises questions about Rabbi Hirschfield’s own approach to freedom of speech, when it does not go his way. Why was a comment that delivered an opposing view removed?

Even more hypocrytical is the fact that a comment posted by the Clarion Fund, the makers of this hate film, was allowed to stay. This comment was little more than the company’s verbatim press release promoting the film, thereby using the Rabbi’s blog as a platform for the free promotion of hate material.

Here’s the text of the original comment posted by Motamer:

May 19, 2009 5:17 PM

Rabbi Hirschfield,

You assume the role of the neutral sage who sends everybody to their room without regard to partisanship, but you don’t play that role too well and your biases quickly ooze through.

On the one hand you scurry to offer homage to the Weisenthal Center as a “large and influential” organization, But then you turn around and strip CAIR from the same – though it also be a “large and influential” organization. In fact, you explicitly cast your own aspersions on CAIR by entertaining the cynical and preposterous fantasy that CAIR may possibly accept that the Elders of Protocols of Zion is partially true.

This is neither fair nor honest on your part. CAIR has never said anything to lead you to believe that, indeed it has explicitly stated the very opposite. So your brand of humor, probing, or whatever that was completely backfired and only displayed your double standard in showing respect to established Jewish organizations while working to undermine respect for established Muslim organizations.

This sort of antagonism and display of contempt and disdain for Muslim enfranchisement that you – hopefully inadvertently – infuse in your piece, is in turn carried out explicitly in this film. A film whose hypocritical and deceptive nature you apologize for by pointing out that it has “elements of truth” in it. What are those elements of truth? That Muslims have a radical minority? Is that a revelation missed upon us? Do we need a new film for that? CAIR is the first to acknowledge and condemn violent and radicalized tendencies among Muslims.

Oh but that’s not even it.

You see the film is not so much concerned with “that” minority, the radical minority, the real threat. You, like the film, befuddle the tiny fact that the minority targeted in 3rd Jihad is a whole other minority, it’s the religious minority of American Muslims in the US – a minority vis-a-vis Christians, but mainstream American nonetheless – living and working through honor, hard work, and fair opportunity to represent the underrepresented.

The Third Jihad is about casting suspicion on the mainstream American Muslim establishment as some sort of fifth column conspiratorial, massively deceptive insurgency that is out to take over America. There is zero truth in this claim. That precisely invites a comparison to the Elders of Zion, and missing that on your part does not say much for your actual familiarity with the film.

Here are snapshots showing Hirschfield’s blog including the comment as it originally appeared and then after it was removed:

Motamer's Comment Showing up as Hirschfield's first comment

Motamer's Comment Showing up as Hirschfield's first comment

Click here for full screen shot.

The full comment showing up on Hirschfield's blog

The full comment showing up on Hirschfield's blog

Click here for full screen shot.

Motamer's comment removed and Robert R's comment now showing up first

Motamer's comment removed and Robert R's comment now showing up first with Clarion's PR following it

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  • Isa

    This revelation saddens me. I have watched a bunch of his discussions with Christian and Muslim leaders on Bridges TV, and he always seemed to be the most tolerant and open-minded of them all. But to be informed of this, it makes me sad.

  • Rogain

    He needs to apologize!

  • Ibn Mikdad

    Great reporting and investigative work; you’ve collected all the evidence, and made an argument that cannot be defeated.

  • menorcawoman

    He could have argued that screening the film was not promoting it. Rather, that the viewing was for educational purposes.

  • Amazing article!!!

    I have linked the column by Mr. Brad (except this one is on WPost) above. You should post the URL of this pageo on to that site. I have also responded to his suppostions.

    Once again, an amazing refutation!!!

  • mallorcaman

    looks like Hirschfield put the comment back up as of this afternoon. good call Rabbi. what a piece of garbage this film is, shame on wiesenthal, ‘tolerance’ my tuschkus

  • James Karr


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