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A Microcosm of the Jewish Self-Defense Problem

A brief look into the Jewish people's faulty immune system

Historical and Investigative Research - 1 September 2007
by Francisco Gil-White


A prominent Los Angeles rabbi physically assaulted a Jewish woman on the steps of Royce Hall, UCLA. This woman was then attacked again -- and the rabbi defended -- on the pages of Los Angeles Magazine. What is at stake? The survival of the Jewish people.


In journalism there is a wise old joke: the headline “DOG BITES MAN” is not news, but the headline “MAN BITES DOG” will get people to read your article. Why? Obviously, because we find interesting those things that violate our assumptions, whereas run-of-the-mill confirmations of our prejudices are less exciting.

If I were in the business of yellow journalism, I might have chosen the headline “RABBI KICKS WOMAN,” for the present piece. Because a rabbi indeed kicked a woman, a fellow Jew, and this violates the expectations that most people have for the behavior of rabbis. But I am not in the business of yellow journalism, and to me, in fact, that a rabbi kicked a Jewish woman is not in itself interesting. The point of Historical and Investigative Research is to explain the mechanisms of politics, geopolitics, and propaganda to ordinary people.

So why talk about a rabbi kicking a fellow Jewish woman?

If the case didn’t have larger ramifications, I would leave it alone. But sometimes striking details are embedded in large and complex sociological structures in ways that turn out to be terribly pedagogic. Such structures can sometimes be quite difficult to apprehend -- and even difficult to accept, once apprehended, if they are counterintuitive. But small details are easy to document and grasp. If by paying close attention to a detail’s surfaces we can discover points of attachment to the larger sociological structures that produce it, then we may apprehend the entire business in one dramatic instant. The well-chosen detail, in other words, can produce sudden Enlightenment.


1) The rabbi in question is prominent and wields considerable power; the woman he attacked is an ordinary woman (as far as power is concerned; she is unusual in other ways).

2) The rabbi has been quite accommodating with the terrorist enemies of Israel; the woman in question is a staunch defender of the Jewish State.

3) The rabbi attacked this woman (hitting, kicking, scratching, and pushing her, almost throwing her down a flight of concrete stairs) when she merely inquired, politely, as to why the rabbi had invited a violent antisemite to give a talk at his organization.

This is not just any altercation. It has an interesting structure. Let me now explain why this structure is important, and the altercation newsworthy.

There is much antisemitism in this world. Multitudes of people are out to kill Jews, or willing to stand idly by (or cheering) when it happens, so it is not exactly easy for the Jewish minority to defend itself. Historical and Investigative Research has documented in detail the operation of antisemitism in the modern political and geopolitical system, explaining it as the continuation of a long antisemitic tradition in the ruling classes of the Western and Muslim world, which direct incessant antisemitic propaganda towards ordinary Westerners and Muslims. But to understand why mass-killings of Jews repeatedly happen it is not enough to understand the forces that produce antisemitism. Employing a medical analogy, the death of a person is not explained merely in terms of a hostile organism, but also in terms of the body’s own weaknesses defending against said organism. HIR has also tried to explain, therefore, the problems with the 'immune system' of the Jewish people: the difficulties Jews have defending themselves, quite apart from the fact that many people want to kill them.

In a series on this topic, I have argued that the most important issue here is the Jewish leadership, because most prominent Jewish leaders do not ally with ordinary Jews but with their antisemitic enemies (and most ordinary Jews are oblivious to this). The claim is so astounding to those not familiar with Jewish history -- this includes the overwhelming majority of ordinary Jews -- that I have been careful to back myself up with copious documentation. I have written pieces showing: 1) the behavior of Diaspora Jewish leaders, and 2) (soon-to-be) Israeli leaders during the Holocaust; and also 3) the behavior of Diaspora Jewish leaders, and 4) Israeli leaders since the Holocaust. In addition, I have written 5) a piece narrating the reaction of the Jewish leadership to Hitler's rise, with a historical background to explain why the modern Jewish leadership has the ideology that it does. This is a lot of material to absorb, however. Hence the beauty of the detail. When powerful Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller publicly assaulted Rachel Neuwirth, an ordinary woman concerned about the safety of the Israeli Jews, he provided us with a dramatic event, which, embedded as it is in the larger sociological structures, makes these latter suddenly easy to apprehend.

Following Rabbi Seidler-Feller’s public apology to Neuwirth, where he took full responsibility for his actions and assumed all the blame for his wild, unprovoked attack, Los Angeles Magazine published an article by Jesse Katz defending Rabbi Seidler-Feller and attacking Rachel Neuwirth. Below, you will find a letter that I wrote to Los Angeles Magazine in reaction to their article.

Full disclosure: I am a UCLA alumnus (Ph.D. in biological and cultural anthropology, specializing in ethnic conflict), and Rachel Neuwirth is a friend of mine.


30 August, 2007

Dear Los Angeles Magazine,

I am writing in reaction to the article penned by Mr. Jesse Katz in the pages of your magazine (“An Unholy Act,” September 2007).

There are of course a myriad problems with the article written by Mr. Jesse Katz, and I look forward to reading Rachel Neuwirth’s reply. I would like to point out, however, how Mr. Jesse Katz betrays himself in his opening lines.

“Chaim Seidler-Feller is a dovish UCLA rabbi. Rachel Neuwirth is a relentless pro-Israel activist. When he assaulted her on the steps of Royce Hall, the shock waves roiled L.A.’s Jewish community -- and today, four years later, the drama has yet to end.”

The adjective “dovish,” according to Merriam Webster, refers to “one who takes a conciliatory attitude and advocates negotiations and compromise; especially: an opponent of war”; whereas the adjective “relentless” means “showing no signs of slackening or yielding in one’s purpose.” It is of course possible to be unyielding in the pursuit of a worthy purpose (e.g. justice), but when a “relentless” person is juxtaposed with a “dove,” in the context of narrating a violent dispute between them, the mind obviously jumps to the following conclusion: the “relentless” person wanted the fight. The “relentless” person must have pushed the “dove” to the point of violence. In which case, of course, she deserved it.

Mr. Katz’s very first sentence thereby frames the entire discussion. The reader has already been told what to conclude: Rachel Neuwirth is to blame.

Suppose we remove the prejudicial adjectives from the first sentence? Then Mr. Katz’s opening would read thus:

“Chaim Seidler-Feller is a UCLA rabbi. Rachel Neuwirth is a pro-Israel activist. When he assaulted her on the steps of Royce Hall, the shock waves roiled L.A.’s Jewish community -- and today, four years later, the drama has yet to end.”

Of course, should Mr. Katz write in this manner, the undisputed fact -- that Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller assaulted Rachel Neuwirth -- might speak for itself. Mr. Katz is careful never to allow this. Just a few words down, he assures us that Rabbi Seidler-Feller is a “paragon of... liberalism.” And then a voice of prestige, “Peace Now emissary Richard Dreyfuss,” a famous actor, after all (and who will come out against peace?), says about the rabbi that “Chaim is the best of us.” Immediately after this we are told that “Rachel Neuwirth is [Seidler-Feller’s] social and political inverse.” So, she is, what? The worst of us? And for War Now? Apparently. Neuwirth is, says Mr. Katz, “a hawkish, often bellicose online columnist who believes Jews everywhere are imperiled.” And since Jews have always been perfectly safe, never subjected to mass killings left and right, her supposed “concern” for Jews must be a convenient excuse, and nothing more, for Rachel Neuwirth to pick a fight.

Mr. Katz also says:

“Her writing... can be as unforgiving of her own people as of Islamic militants; jeremiads such as ‘Jewish Anti-Semitism’ and ‘Beyond Self-Hating’ condemn the Seidler-Fellers of the world as traitors, so concerned with making nice that they legitimize the forces that would do them harm. In progressive circles, Neuwirth is considered a zealot and a bully, obsessed with enforcing an extreme code of Jewish loyalty. To the pro-Israel lobby, she is nothing short of brave.”

So Neuwirth, the “bully,” is beloved by the “pro-Israel lobby.” This is clever writing. It not only tarnishes Neuwirth but the very defense of Israel -- in one fell swoop.

I think the adjective “relentless” fits Mr. Katz. He relentlessly pursues character assassination against Rachel Neuwirth, and relentlessly pursues character whitewashing in favor of Rabbi Seidler-Feller. This is hardly fair. But since he has done this, I will take him seriously.

By way of telling us what a great guy Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller supposedly is, Mr. Jesse Katz tells us that,

“[Seidler-Feller] presides over a 25,000- square-foot stone-and-glass cultural center, built in part with million-dollar donations from Steven Spielberg, Lew Wasserman, and Edgar M. Bronfman. A founding member of Americans for Peace Now, the leading voice for nonviolence in the Middle East, he preaches dialogue with Israel’s enemies and self-reflection for its defenders.”

On the assumption that Steven Spielberg, Lew Wasserman, and Edgar M. Bronfman are great guys, then Seidler-Feller, the recipient of “million-dollar donations” from these benefactors, must be a great guy. This is the implied argument. However, it is entirely possible for the three named gentlemen to be great guys and for the rabbi to be a rotten person. It wouldn’t be the first time that good people were taken for by a bad one. And it is also possible that the three named gentlemen are not great guys, in which case, where does that leave Mr.Katz?

Let us consider for a minute Edgar M. Bronfman.

“Edgar Bronfman, President of the World Jewish Congress, ...suggested the [Jewish] settlements [in the West Bank and Gaza] were the key obstacle to peace and echoed [Hebrew University] professor [Ze’ev] Sternhell in advising the Palestinians that they would be wise to focus their terror attacks on settlers.”[1]

Edgar M. Bronfman, from his perch atop the World Jewish Congress -- which is to say, pretending to speak for the Jewish people -- advised the antisemitic terrorists which innocent Jews it would be smartest to murder. Is he a great guy? (And I have chosen only the most colorful example -- I could give many more.) Seeing as Bronfman takes such a keen interest in the violent death of certain innocent Jews, what Mr. Katz writes about his million-dollar recipient, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, takes on a different hue, doesn’t it? Mr. Katz writes: “he preaches dialogue with Israel’s enemies and self-reflection for its defenders.” How about this translation: “he preaches appeasement of antisemitic terrorists,” the very kind of preaching that got more than 5 million Jews killed in the 20th century. This translation of what Rabbi Seidler-Feller does would be perfectly consistent with him getting millions of dollars from the likes of Edgar M. Bronfman.

Or consider Spielberg. His recent movie Munich makes a moral equivalence between the innocent Israeli athletes who became victims of Fatah (PLO) terror in 1972, and the Mossad agents who meted to their murderers the punishment they deserved. And it portrays the Arab-Israeli conflict with a slant of near-total Israeli guilt. If anybody has a right to complain about this movie it is Rachel Neuwirth. She was friends with all of the murdered athletes because she trained with them, and she did not die in Munich only because, at the last minute, her sport, basketball, was not included as an Olympic event that year. Rachel Neuwirth points out that Munich was written by Tony Kushner, who also wrote “the vehemently anti-Israel volume Wrestling with Zion, and is infamous for his comment that ‘I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born.’”[1a]

And what about Seidler-Feller? Jesse Katz tells us that Rabbi Seidler-Feller is a “founding member of Americans for Peace Now.” I could also say many things about Americans For Peace Now, but I will limit myself to this colorful nugget:

“Leadership of both Americans for Peace Now and its predecessor organization overlapped with the leadership of such groups as the Jewish Peace Lobby and CONAME [Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East, founded by Noam Chomsky] (which had lobbied against US arms shipments to Israel during the Yom Kippur War).”[2]

Now, these are all interesting facts, aren’t they?

It is interesting that the people who give millions to Rabbi Seidler-Feller approve of murdering innocent Jews, and that the organization which Seidler-Feller founded disapproves of arms shipments to Israel when its enemies launch unprovoked, genocidal wars. For the reader in possession of these facts, what Mr. Katz calls Neuwirth’s “jeremiads” where she “condemn[s] the Seidler-Fellers of the world as traitors” does not appear objectionable in the least. Is she supposed to be applauding that Bronfman and Seidler-Feller -- and other prominent Jews like them -- call for the murder of innocent Jews, and call against the defense of innocent Jews from genocidal attacks?[3]

The events that prompted Mr. Jesse Katz to write his article, and which are not in dispute, are these:

“On October 21, 2003, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the longtime director of Hillel at UCLA, emerged from a talk on campus by Alan Dershowitz and grew so enraged by a political discussion that he physically attacked Israeli-born Rachel Neuwirth, 57. He scratched her arm, then brutally grabbed it, hit her, tried to punch her face while screaming, ‘You liar!,’ kicked her and dragged her to the edge of a flight of concrete stairs. Student David Hakimfar, who witnessed the assault, wrote in an on-line article in Jewsweek, ‘This was no brief moment of insanity. It was a long and deliberate attack. He was aware of his surroundings. Seidler-Feller was belligerently trying to find any means to strike Neuwirth.’ According to an article that collected testimony from a number of eyewitnesses, Dr. Roberta Seid says she saw Rabbi Seidler-Feller's face contorted in rage as he dragged Ms. Neuwirth towards the stairs and tried to push her down. It took three students to pull off the rabbi from his victim, but as soon they separated him from her, he lurched at her again. If not for the fact that Ms. Neuwirth is an athlete with enough physical strength to resist his pushing, Rabbi Seidler-Feller could well have succeeded in shoving her down a flight of concrete stairs, possibly breaking her neck.

His violent rage not yet sated, the Orthodox rabbi then raced down the stairs in search of his next female victim. ‘I was fiddling with my video camera trying to figure out how to get it to work, when I looked up and saw Rabbi Seidler-Feller coming right at me,’ says pro-Israel activist Allyson Rowen Taylor. ‘He spit right in my face, started screaming and lunged right at me. Somebody pulled him off me or I could have been really hurt.’ ”[4]

Why are these facts not in dispute? Because Rabbi Seidler-Feller does not dispute them. This is what he wrote in a published apology to Rachel Neuwirth:

“I am deeply sorry that I hit, kicked and scratched you and called you a liar on October 21, 2003. By taking these unprovoked actions, I have contradicted the pluralism, peace and tolerance about which I so often preach. I also have violated the humanitarian teaching of Judaism regarding kindness and respect for others that I am bound to uphold.”  And Rabbi Seidler Feller also stated: “ I am accepting 100% responsibility for my actions on October 21, 2003. I had no right to do what I did.”[5]

Rabbi Seidler-Feller violently attacked Rachel Neuwirth (in fact, endangering her life) when she had merely asked the rabbi the following question: Was the rabbi aware that a Palestinian Arab who was scheduled to speak on campus the next evening, as a guest of Hillel, the organization that the rabbi presides, had worked as a spy for Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military during the Gulf War of 1991? Was he aware that this Palestinian Arab, Sari Nusseibeh, had contacted the Iraqi military suggesting targets in Israel for Saddam Hussein’s missile batteries to attack?[5]

Equipped with this important context, anybody who wishes may now draw their own conclusions as to who is the bad guy here. Mr. Katz’s characterizations will be quite superfluous.

Mr. Katz seems to be writing English, but English is a different language. He writes in George Orwell’s Newspeak, where everything means the opposite of what you literally write. Despite the fact that Rabbi Seidler-Feller publicly admitted what he did, and publicly apologized (when he realized Rachel Neuwirth’s lawsuit would otherwise cost him dearly), Mr. Jesse Katz works hard, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, to make us think that Ms. Neuwirth is to blame. War is peace, freedom is slavery, and grown men who launch sudden, unprovoked, violent attacks on women (on the steps of UCLA!) are men of peace.

This kind of reasoning attacks those who defend Jews, and defends those who attack them. There is a word for this.

Shame on Los Angeles Magazine.


Francisco Gil-White
Editor, Historical and Investigative Research


Footnotes and Further Reading

[1] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.493)

[1a] "Spielberg's Munich and me"; American Thinker; January 03, 2006; By Rachel Neuwirth.

[2] The Oslo syndrome  (p.450)

On CONAME’s founding:

“…the Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East (CONAME), among whose founders, in 1970, were anti-Zionists such as Noam Chomsky. During the 1973 war, CONAME lobbied against U.S. resupply of Israel. The following year, the same year Yasser Arafat promulgated his Plan of Phases for Israel’s annihilation, the organization distributed an article by one of its financial backers praising Arafat for his ‘moderation and pragmatism’ and offering justifications for the PLO’s recent massacre of more than twenty Israeli schoolchildren at Ma’a lot.” -- The Oslo syndrome (p.450)

[3] “How mainstream Diaspora Jewish leaders are failing the Jewish people today”; from THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 22 March 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[4] “UCLA Hillel Rabbi Beats Up Women, Wins Lavish Praise”; By Anonymous; Apr 30, 2007; www.MichNews.com

[5] “MY NOT-SO-PEACEFUL ENCOUNTER WITH THE ‘PEACE CAMP’”; By Rachel Neuwirth; Apr 7, 2007.












































































































































































































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