For those unfamiliar with Richard Silverstein, he’s a commentator and blogger who claims to be a Zionist, and promoter of “social justice”, yet has expressed support for a one-state solution, repeatedly defended Hamas, has described the behavior of IDF soldiers as “bestial” and “subhuman“, and has even likened Israel to Nazi Germany.
And, while the work of this blog exposing his hateful rhetoric may have been partially responsible for his absence, since Dec. 2009, as a contributor at ‘Comment is Free’ (a possibility he openly acknowledged on his blog), his notoriety strangely hasn’t prevented him from being taken seriously as a “journalist” by other media outlets.
He has carved out a niche for himself as the blogger willing to expose evidence regarding even the most sensitive American and Israeli state secrets, without regard the national security costs to either state.
More concerning however has been Silverstein’s tendency to publish such information without adequately corroborating the story.
Yossi Melman, a well-connected security and intelligence reporter for Haaretz, said of Silverstein:
“He spreads rumors without checking them. He is an ideologue, not a journalist.”
Per a profile of Silverstein in the Jewish Forward:
In December 2010, he identified an unknown person who died in an Israeli prison, where he was referred to as “prisoner X,” as Ali Reza Asgari, Iran’s former deputy defense minister who disappeared a few years earlier and was presumed to have defected to the West. “Through a confidential Israeli source, I have exposed his identity,” Silverstein told his readers, adding that his information “would seem to give the lie to the claim of defection.” The publication led to an Iranian demand that the United Nations investigate Asgari’s alleged abduction by Israel. Despite the time that has passed, no information substantiating Silverstein’s claim has surfaced.
“He created a mini-crisis between Israel and Iran, which is a totally irresponsible thing to do,” said Melman, the Haaretz intelligence reporter. Melman said that he told Silverstein that the information regarding Asgari was wrong, but this did not prevent the blogger from running the story.
Further, Silverstein even believed, and posted about, an obvious faux-story published on the Jewish Holiday of Purim – when Israeli news sites often post nonsensical stories in line with the jovial nature of the day – from Ha’aretz, in which it was “reported” that the Israeli government was set to approve sponsorship adverts on the Western Wall.
The Ha’aretz satirical story included this:
The cabinet is set to approve a plan that would allow for sponsorship messages to be beamed onto the Western Wall, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told Haaretz Saturday.
If the law is passed by the Knesset, any company will be able to project the image, logo or slogan of its choice on the ancient stones, for a price.
The proposal, drawn up by MK Mordechai Hidud, will take advantage of technology being developed by Kfar Sava-based start-up Kotelad. The company – the brainchild of U.S.-born Joe King – has come up with an innovative laser projector capable of beaming high-quality images onto walls, domes, minarets and steeples.
“After thousands of years of just being there, the Western Wall will finally be able to fulfill its commercial potential,” King said. “The religious and spiritual center of the Jewish people should reflect Jewish heritage – and thus be dedicated to bringing in a healthy profit.”
The Western Wall Heritage Center plans to open an ad sales division, and sell wall space on a per-stone basis. Prices are expected to be upward of NIS 1,000 per stone per day. When no advertising is running, the wall will have the message “What are you waiting for? The Third Temple? Advertise now!” [emphasis mine]
The Ha’aretz parody even concluded with “Happy Purim from Haaretz!”
Undeterred, Silverstein reported it as fact, contextualizing the story as further evidence of a corrupt, greedy Israeli society.
After finding out about his mistake, Silverstein took down the post, but not without offering a bizarre excuse that he understood it was a Purim joke halfway through writing his post, but “accidentally” hit the “publish” button instead “delete”.
More recently, our friend Aussie Dave, of the blog Israellycool, published the following:
Wednesday evening [Dec. 28] Seattle time…Richard Silverstein went to bed a content man, having just revealed my real name and identity to the world.
On Thursday morning Seattle time…Richard Silverstein woke up, perhaps brushed his teeth, and learned after going online that he was a laughing-stock. The blogger, who is regularly cited by mainstream publications as a source of secret information about Israel, had been taken in by a couple of mails from an “anonymous source”, an obviously fake Facebook profile, and his desire to do me harm.
In his post…Richard Silverstein [purported to] expose my real identity, including my address, potentially placing my entire family at risk.
Continues Aussie Dave:
Silverstein’s post is the result of a trap I set to expose him as the unreliable, nasty amateur that he is.
For years, I have been posting about his hatred for Israel and nastiness, which makes a mockery of his blog’s name Tikkun Olam (“Repairing the World”). Recently, he was cited by the mainstream media, due to his posts blaming Israel and the Mossad for explosions in Iran and Lebanon, as well as for leaking online some FBI surveillance transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Although I have demonstrated on numerous occasions the inaccuracies in his posts, I knew I had to step things up a notch to really show how unreliable and careless with the facts he is.
So I set a trap. I asked a friend of the blog to approach Silverstein with “proof” of my real identity, knowing how much he wanted to reveal it to the world.
Aussie Dave continues:
David Loeb is a fake name. The photo in the Facebook profile I set up is of basketball [player] Jordan Farmar, who was in the news in Israel for playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv. I used his photo deliberately since anyone who claims to be knowledgable on the goings on in Israel would know this, yet using it would not necessarily expose the account as being fake. I knew if Silverstein thought the photo was really of me, it would expose the level of his ignorance.
I included in the profile my supposed address (Beit Shemesh was a great choice given how much it has been in the news), as well as the URL of this blog to connect David Loeb to it.
With the trap set, I asked a friend of this blog to send a mail to Silverstein with “proof” of my identity.
Despite never having met [my friend] before, Silverstein eagerly took the bait, although promising to do “more research” (something he clearly never did).
[Silverstein] went right ahead and supposedly exposed me:
Aussie Dave concludes:
So to summarize what we have here:
- Despite claiming to want to “repair the world”, Silverstein reveals what he thinks is my name and address, potentially placing my safety and the safety of my family at risk
- Silverstein posts this on the basis of an anonymous source he knows nothing about, and a Facebook Profile with my URL and one friend!
I hope this post serves as a warning to all of those who rely on Richard Silverstein as a valid source of information, and place trust in his theories and “anonymous sources.” I hope it also demonstrates to you how he has no compunctions about potentially endangering the life of a fellow Jew, despite his claims of wanting to serve mankind.
This post is ultimately about a blogger who is regularly cited by mainstream publications as a source of secret information about Israel, yet is so gullible and unscrupulous that he got taken in by a couple of emails and an obviously fake Facebook profile. With this in mind, here are some examples of MSM outlets and noteworthy publications that have either relied on Silverstein or otherwise quoted him.
- Will radical anti-Zionist Richard Silverstein be charged with espionage? (cifwatch.com)
- Geary Theory: A Goy contemplates “As-A-Jews” (cifwatch.com)