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Teaneck, NJ - Rabbi Threatens To Sue Jewish Daily Forward Newspaper

Published on: May 9, 2012 10:21 AM
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Teaneck, NJ - Republican congressional candidate Shmuley Boteach is threatening to sue a major Jewish newspaper for running a “libelous” and “utterly untrue” article that accused him of improperly using his internationally celebrated charity as a personal ATM.

Boteach, a well-known author and Orthodox spiritual leader, told the Free Beacon that a recent article in the Forward newspaper, which raised questions about disbursements made by his charity, amounted to “defamation.”

Lawyers representing the rabbi have sent the newspaper a letter decrying what they claim is its defamatory and false coverage, the Free Beacon has learned, marking the first signs of a possible lawsuit.

The Forward’s biased reporting on Boteach comports with a longstanding practice of antagonizing and mischaracterizing all those who do not toe the liberal line, media operatives and Jewish insiders allege.

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Read Comments (35)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 09, 2012 at 10:32 AM Boochie Says:

The Forward is known to libel good people and take small things and make big things out of it – for a change they went after someone who has the power to fight back

2

 May 09, 2012 at 10:33 AM GEULA Says:

I hope he sues them once and for all... The daily forward is not new to fabricating stories

3

 May 09, 2012 at 10:38 AM Anonymous Says:

I'm no fan of Boteach. But anyone who can sue the pants off the Forward, an anti-orthodox, anti-Torah schmatte gets my nod of support.

4

 May 09, 2012 at 10:41 AM cynic Says:

I guess Rabbi Boteach never heard of "Times vs. Sullivan". He's a public figure, so the bar for a libel suit against a newspaper is very, very, high. He can't just claim they were careless, but has to demonstrate "actual malice". That's just about impossible.
(Not intending here to take sides one way or another as to his candidacy or other points).

5

 May 09, 2012 at 11:04 AM esther Says:

i too am no fan of the forward. however sometimes celebrities,and boteach certainly courts a clebrity image,embrace controversy for the publicity it will bringonly to have the controversy come back to bite them.

6

 May 09, 2012 at 11:01 AM qazxc Says:

#1 #2 #3 - if all the seemingly anti-orrhodox articles they print aren't true, why hasn't anyone sued them previously?

7

 May 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM Mark Levin Says:

What do they think his name is..... Al not too Sharpton??

8

 May 09, 2012 at 11:31 AM Moshe Says:

There are legal standards for such suits.

9

 May 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Perhaps at a minimum tghis will case that libelous rag to lose its tax exempt status. (It is not clear to me why they even enjoy such a status, that is the real scandal they should be reporting about)

10

 May 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM Phineas Says:

When you sue for libel, the defendant can use truth as a defense. It's dangerous. He better be sure the charity is squeaky clean and that nothing can be misconstrued in his disbursements.

11

 May 09, 2012 at 11:34 AM Lawyer Says:

Reply to #4  
cynic Says:

I guess Rabbi Boteach never heard of "Times vs. Sullivan". He's a public figure, so the bar for a libel suit against a newspaper is very, very, high. He can't just claim they were careless, but has to demonstrate "actual malice". That's just about impossible.
(Not intending here to take sides one way or another as to his candidacy or other points).

Not impossible at all. In civil litigation, there is such a thing as pre-trial discovery. He will get to depose the reporters and editors. One thing the lawyers will ask is, what was the basis for the article. If the answer is little or nothing, then you have malice. (Remember, reckless disregard for the truth is enough to establish malice.)

12

 May 09, 2012 at 11:36 AM concerned_Jew Says:

You know what. He is no worse than any other Rabbi who uses his position for personal gain (if the charge is true). Rabbis that take money from rich people and buy themselves fancy houses, etc. It's all a money grab. So he has the right to sue if he feels he has been libeled but as the previous poster shared, the threshold is higher for public figures.

13

 May 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM Anonymous Says:

The pot calling the kettle black. What a g'lachter.

14

 May 09, 2012 at 12:11 PM deepthinker Says:

I am no fan of The Forward - a radically liberal biased anti orthodox newspaper, nor am I a fan of self proclaimed "Rabbi" Boteach - a self serving publicity crazed now suddenly politician, who continues to damage the Orthodox image for his selfish favor. So I guess the best would be if both sides spend a lot of money on this, then maybe we'll get a break from both, that's two birds in one shot!

15

 May 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #5  
esther Says:

i too am no fan of the forward. however sometimes celebrities,and boteach certainly courts a clebrity image,embrace controversy for the publicity it will bringonly to have the controversy come back to bite them.

IMHO, it's all about money. The Forward --who like to project an image of a crusader-- got ticked off by Rabbi Shmuely Boteach's not willing to pull out his wallet at the drop of a (proverbial) hat. The "Editor" then used her paper to attack and defame the rabbi. Kudos to Shmuely Boteach for standing up to that Holier-Than-Thou, hypocritical and --as it now turns out-- greedy, rag. It's about time to teach them a lesson.
As for the "Times vs. Sullivan" verdict (Poster #4) . The Forward has actually shown malice by altering a material fact in their reporting. Namely. That Rabbi Boteach nor any member of his family are on the board that approves disbursement of funds.

16

 May 09, 2012 at 01:08 PM TheRealJoe123 Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

I'm no fan of Boteach. But anyone who can sue the pants off the Forward, an anti-orthodox, anti-Torah schmatte gets my nod of support.

Exactly my thoughts

17

 May 09, 2012 at 12:33 PM DACON9 Says:

he should be sued for impersonating a rabbi.

18

 May 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

I'm no fan of Boteach. But anyone who can sue the pants off the Forward, an anti-orthodox, anti-Torah schmatte gets my nod of support.

So the truth isn't important? The only thing that matters is whether they support your particular religious beliefs?

In that case I'm sure you support laws burning heretics who blaspheme the Holy Catholic Church or stoning infidels who insult the Prophet Mohammed.

19

 May 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #4  
cynic Says:

I guess Rabbi Boteach never heard of "Times vs. Sullivan". He's a public figure, so the bar for a libel suit against a newspaper is very, very, high. He can't just claim they were careless, but has to demonstrate "actual malice". That's just about impossible.
(Not intending here to take sides one way or another as to his candidacy or other points).

Even if he loses, he wins. Remember Ariel Sharon v. Time Inc, where the Israeli PM sued Time magazine for libel. The jury found that Time was negligent and careless in its reporting, but there was no actual malice. Even though that meant no award, still, it was quite a slap in the face to the magazine. Of course, no one remembers the Time case anymore, but then again, Time is in a better position to weather such a finding than the Forward is.

20

 May 09, 2012 at 01:32 PM Boochie Says:

Reply to #6  
qazxc Says:

#1 #2 #3 - if all the seemingly anti-orrhodox articles they print aren't true, why hasn't anyone sued them previously?

I said nothing about anti orthodox

21

 May 09, 2012 at 01:50 PM jewishcat Says:

Reply to #18  
Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

So the truth isn't important? The only thing that matters is whether they support your particular religious beliefs?

In that case I'm sure you support laws burning heretics who blaspheme the Holy Catholic Church or stoning infidels who insult the Prophet Mohammed.

Well said. The Jewish Daily Forward has a lot to offer. It's not a rag.

22

 May 09, 2012 at 02:18 PM ProminantLawyer Says:

Lives in Englewood, New Jersey? One of those homes costs a peckala. Maintining one of those homes, incluiding real estate taxes cost a peckala. Where is the funding from?...Oh Kosher this and Kosher that...Sell us down the road Schmuilka

23

 May 09, 2012 at 02:42 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #14  
deepthinker Says:

I am no fan of The Forward - a radically liberal biased anti orthodox newspaper, nor am I a fan of self proclaimed "Rabbi" Boteach - a self serving publicity crazed now suddenly politician, who continues to damage the Orthodox image for his selfish favor. So I guess the best would be if both sides spend a lot of money on this, then maybe we'll get a break from both, that's two birds in one shot!

My thought exactly. When the war between Iran and Iraq broke out in 1970s, Henry Kissinger, ever so diplomatic, remarked "It's a shame they can't both lose." Exactly how I feel about this story.

24

 May 09, 2012 at 02:22 PM Anonymous Says:

This whole thing makes me laugh. I mean, did anyone really think that Shmuley was our savior for tomorrow? I mean are we so keen that we enjoy straws instead of liquor or are we so dull that we like meat instead of poetry these days. Shmuley, you make me laugh and if you get elected, I am sure you wont do too much damage, but rest assured I have made my mind up on you eons ago when that kosher j-screwball book came out. Have fun rabbi and if they don't like you, give it a kiss and pray that you will come back as a baseball umpire or something in the next life.

25

 May 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM ChachoMoe Says:

Reply to #4  
cynic Says:

I guess Rabbi Boteach never heard of "Times vs. Sullivan". He's a public figure, so the bar for a libel suit against a newspaper is very, very, high. He can't just claim they were careless, but has to demonstrate "actual malice". That's just about impossible.
(Not intending here to take sides one way or another as to his candidacy or other points).

Although, you have a good point, all it reads "he is threatning". which means, either he will extract from them an official apology or/and a negotiation term. Whether he can actual win the case or not, is not the issue. I doubt the Foward is looking for all those lawyer fees and headaches... In any case, good luck, shmuly!

26

 May 09, 2012 at 03:04 PM sane Says:

He is getting loonier every day. He has gotten carried away with his celebrity. On Dr. Phil he actually said he would not be bothered if his daughters became models. He is too interested in pandering to the non-Jewish world.

27

 May 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM quod stultus Says:

Reply to #18  
Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

So the truth isn't important? The only thing that matters is whether they support your particular religious beliefs?

In that case I'm sure you support laws burning heretics who blaspheme the Holy Catholic Church or stoning infidels who insult the Prophet Mohammed.

I have no problem with the truth. The Forward does. That's why they choose their stories and coverage to blaspheme the Torah world. That's why they have no problem saying negative things about anyone who subscribes to orthodoxy. It's not about religious beliefs. It's about their never ending, blind hatred of anything remotely frum. That's why anything that brings about the demise of this rag should be welcomed and celebrated by any Yid that tries to live as a Torah Jew.

We, as observant Jews, need to sign petitions that we will never purchase or subscribe to this rag, nor will we ever open their website. If their traffic slows down, it will affect their advertising, and hopefully their bottom line. My bottom line is that I hate those who hate me. I wish them bankruptcy and replacement by something that does not thrive on anti-Torah hatred.

28

 May 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

I'm no fan of Boteach. But anyone who can sue the pants off the Forward, an anti-orthodox, anti-Torah schmatte gets my nod of support.

to bad, they and other papers, web sites, blogs, that you and other label anti-orthodox, have broken and reported crimes in the frum communities.


Te stories and reports where true, just unpleasant. Something some in the frum community would rather the public be left in the dark

I am not commenting on this particular story

29

 May 09, 2012 at 03:31 PM Anonymous Says:

He says he was Michael Jackson's Rabbi and Rabbi to the Stars. Do we want him representing us? Surely I don't!

30

 May 09, 2012 at 03:39 PM YonahLevi Says:

Reply to #14  
deepthinker Says:

I am no fan of The Forward - a radically liberal biased anti orthodox newspaper, nor am I a fan of self proclaimed "Rabbi" Boteach - a self serving publicity crazed now suddenly politician, who continues to damage the Orthodox image for his selfish favor. So I guess the best would be if both sides spend a lot of money on this, then maybe we'll get a break from both, that's two birds in one shot!

Amen!

31

 May 09, 2012 at 05:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
shredready Says:

to bad, they and other papers, web sites, blogs, that you and other label anti-orthodox, have broken and reported crimes in the frum communities.


Te stories and reports where true, just unpleasant. Something some in the frum community would rather the public be left in the dark

I am not commenting on this particular story

I think you should get a job at the Forward. Your impressive writing skills and logic will certainly raise the level of reporting there.

I am sure frequent readers of your comments would agree.

32

 May 09, 2012 at 07:44 PM jewishcat Says:

Reply to #26  
sane Says:

He is getting loonier every day. He has gotten carried away with his celebrity. On Dr. Phil he actually said he would not be bothered if his daughters became models. He is too interested in pandering to the non-Jewish world.

Your criticisms of the Rabbi are in his favor!!!

33

 May 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM qazxc Says:

The Forwards has out lived its usefulness. Today the internet bloggers expose all that is rotten in our communities (not that our communities have more rot than any others, and probably less than most) so washing our dirty laundry is done in public now anyway.

If the exposure our scandals now regularly receive hasn't caused some people to change their ways it is doubtful a little more exposure thru the has been print media will do any good either.

34

 May 09, 2012 at 11:06 PM Rocky Says:

Does this rabbi support the Republican budget proposal to cut food stamps and Medicaid benefits for the poor? He sounds like a 1% er to me. From the New York Post: "What the Post article omitted is that in 2009, the last year publicly-available IRS form 990's were available for his charity This World: Jewish Values Network, he received $651K in donations, of which $70K went to actual charitable recipients. That's a ratio of 11%. Eighty percent is considered good.

According to the same Form 990, Boteach paid himself $229K that year. Another $53K went to another employee, and an additional $58K to a "consultant." Thus just over half of his "charities" revenues went for salaries and wages. Those are "Jewish values?" NY Post reader comment April 30, 2012.

35

 Jun 11, 2012 at 09:09 PM Dan Says:

Reply to #11  
Lawyer Says:

Not impossible at all. In civil litigation, there is such a thing as pre-trial discovery. He will get to depose the reporters and editors. One thing the lawyers will ask is, what was the basis for the article. If the answer is little or nothing, then you have malice. (Remember, reckless disregard for the truth is enough to establish malice.)

I checked the 2009 Form 990 for this so-called "charity." It distributed about 11% of the money it took in to its intended recipients. The rest went for salaries, wages, "consulting fees" and expenses, which included paying Boteach "rent" as the charity was located in his house on Prospect Avenue in Engelwood, NJ.

Yes, he has a board of directors, which he calls a "Board of Governors." It says in the form 990 that none of its members, which include Michael Steinhardt's daughter Sara, get paid, nor do they perform any duties. Yet Boteach claims that it's this board, which doesn't have any duties, determines his salary each year. If they do that, they have a duty. So somebody's not telling the truth here, and guess who that "somebody" is?

This would be a very minor issue except that Boteach is now the official Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, and if elected, must swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which includes freedom of speech. Boteach is trying to intimidate a newspaper with false allegations of defamation, which is reason enough not to vote for him, even if you're a Republican.

36

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