Jews Without Tongues

As a Jewish boy raised in a Jewish neighborhood the initial lesson learned was how to argue and debate with anyone about anything. We took pride in our ability to confront issues with our mouths and minds. Apparently, this Jewish skill is not one welcome at the Simon Wisenthal Center in Los Angeles. In December, 2012 the Center published its  list of prominent anti-Semites and the name of prominent German  journalist, Jakob Augstein appeared. He has his own weekly newspaper but also writes for Der Spiegel. Many German periodicals were baffled because Augstein has no record of being against Jews.

Der Spiegel decided to  organize a debate between the Wisenthal Center and Augstein in order to have their charges discussed in the arena of ideas. They contacted Rabbi Abraham Cooper who heads the Center seeking to learn about specific comments made that led to the charge of being anti-Jewish. Mr. Cooper agreed to discuss with  Augstein but only after he publicly apologized for his anti-Semitism. “I will not participate in   any face-to-face, simultaneous discussion live in the same room or digitally with Mr. Augstein unless he has apologized.”

Apologize about what is the question. I guess Rabbi Cooper would not last a day in a neighborhood of Jewish kids who enjoy  intellectual discussions!

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