Alan Lake Defends Rabbi Nachum Shifren

Alan Lake’s mysterious sidekick Kinana has stopped by with a comment urging us to visit Lake’s “4 Freedoms” site, where there is supposedly a corrective to one of my blog posts:

a fuller rebuttal to this mis-transcription and twisting of words has been written by Alan Lake and can be found here:
http://4freedoms.ning.com/group/argumentation/forum/topics/ufc-rabbi-shifren-v-mansour-at?commentId=3766518:Comment:32475&groupId=3766518:Group:1677

Lake – the businessman who advises the English Defence League and who has links with European anti-Islam activists – takes issue with my account of California Rabbi Nachum Shifren‘s visit to London in October, where he addressed an EDL rally outside the Israeli Embassy. Shifren went on to have an argument with a Muslim interlocutor at Speakers’ Corner, in which he expressed anti-gay views and his belief that the only reason that “fags” should not be executed is because the court in Jerusalem which is supposed to pass sentence no longer exists.

It seemed to me that this might not reflect very well either on him or on the EDL, but Lake has now presented a series of counter-arguments. These are along the lines that: (a) the questioner is a Muslim, and he also thinks that homosexuals should be killed (what that has to do with the Rabbi’s views is not explained, although Lake warns us not to “plead Argumentum ad Hominem, because it doesn’t work in this case”); (b) my transcription included ellipses, which means that it is “not accurate” (in what way he does not specify); and (c) that Shifren only said what he did because he had been “trapped by an argumentation trick”. This leads into some particularly contorted and pompous pseudo-analysis to show that Shifren didn’t mean his words:

The viewer must distinguish between a person’s cause and their tactics.  I could perform the same trick on a Muslim that hasn’t been taught it, at Speakers Corner.  This exchange shows a property of the person, who is on his first visit to HPC, not a reflection of his underlying arguments.  What matters is not petty point scoring of individual contests, but the strength or not of the principal arguments.

Lake further complains:

Finally we have this comment: “It’s not clear with which strand of Jewish fundamentalism Shifren identifies – he may think that nothing can be done to restore the law court until God intervenes to do so, or he may take the view that humans should work actively to create the kind of society he outlines above.” This is purely mischievous speculation. The damage, as far as RB is concerned, will have already been done, and the dunderheads of the left will march off into the sunset chanting that the Rabbi is a gay killer. All one can do is sigh.

However, Lake doesn’t have an actual new information that would put my “purely mischievous speculation” to bed; but the fact is that a strand of the Israeli far-right does indeed believe that a theocratic society – with a restored Jerusalem court – could be brought into existence.

Predictably, there’s also the claim that I must be one of the “Islamic sympathisers and appeasers”, but Lake also seeks to beat me off with a new accusation:

RB implies that RS [Rabbi Shifren] was taken away because his “handlers” were worried about his unprepared comments.  I wish RB would not masturbate in public, like that.  The protector of RS was worried that he was getting surrounded by a large and hostile crowd, and one bigger than he could handle.

And thus, with a flick of the wrist:

A dialogue which shows that the Jewish protagonist will never hurt any gays is spun on its head to show the opposite, to keep the leftists pre-conceptions in place…

Lake also tells us that he is a “secularist”; one wonders, therefore, why he previously posted approvingly a Christian fundamentalist attack on the theory of evolution.

Incidentally, Lake is also friendly with the cyber-thug Charlie Flowers; Flowers affects to believe that I’m part of a Communist conspiracy because I’ve criticised him for engaging in on-line harassment.

Here’s the video again, so people can judge for themselves:

7 Responses

  1. I think it’s more instructive to focus on what people do than what they say. Even if I were convinced that Nachum Shefrin was foaming at the mouth, his remarks do not seem very severe alongside actual practices in various Muslim countries. In Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan homosexuality can land you in prison for many years, and in Iraq death squads are out killing gays.

  2. […] This is the first time I’ve seen Shifren complain that he was supposedly “banned” from Speaker’s Corner; a video of his appearance there merely shows him arguing with a Muslim about how “fags” can’t be executed in Judaism because there is no religious court in Jerusalem where they can be put on trial. The only people who seemed to be keen for him not to continue in this vein were his EDL handlers (I blogged on the incident here, and on Alan Lake’s response to my post here). […]

  3. […] This is the first time I’ve seen Shifren complain that he was supposedly “banned” from Speaker’s Corner; a video of his appearance there merely shows him arguing with a Muslim about how “fags” can’t be executed in Judaism because there is no religious court in Jerusalem where they can be put on trial. The only people who seemed to be keen for him not to continue in this vein were his EDL handlers (I blogged on the incident here, and on Alan Lake’s response to my post here). […]

  4. […] Schrifen’s association with the EDL here and here, noting his anti-gay views; my posts drew critical comment from Lake […]

  5. […] he attended a rally in London last October, and the EDL’s financial backer Alan Lake has attacked me for examining Shifren’s anti-gay views (somewhat strangely, Lake claimed that my original […]

  6. […] become notorious provocative protests. I don’t care for Lake (and Lake doesn’t care for me), but quotes ought to be handled […]

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