Wednesday, June 14, 2006

As usual, it depends on the ox being gored

Suddenly, Yaakov Menken believes that Jews are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. For the better part of a week, the man who has published viscous, poorly-reasoned screeds against ireligious Jews, has used his blog to defend Yisroel Valis, the Jerusalemite on trial for "beating his three-month-old son to death" and "repeatedly biting, beating, pinching and punching the infant since he was born."

Is Valis guilty? No idea. I'll wait for the court to reach its verdict, and I'll respect it, whatever that verdict might be. Meantime, I encourage Mr. Valis to put forward a vigirous defense, and those who support him are welcome to do the same. Valis, like anyone else standing trial, is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

What I can not abide, however, is the attempt by some, Yaakov Menken included, to undermine the credibility of the police. The authorities have no reason to lie. Only Al Sharpton-types see bias under every badge. The responsible way to defend someone who is facing a mountain of evidence like the one assembled against Valis is to suggest that the evidence has been interpreted incorrectly, not to argue, (based on hearsay, lies and paranoia) that the police manufactured the evidence, and lied on official reports.

Does Yisroel Valis deserve the benefit of the doubt? Certainly. But so do the police (also Jews, after all) and so do the Jews of Hollywood. Yaakov, and his endless drone about judging people favorably, would be much easier to take if Yaakov had ever once applied that principle to Jews less religious than he.

(Kishka: Don't try to throw this back in my face. Unlike Cross Currents, I've never criticized anyone using themes borrowed from Mein Kampf, and in this post I've written that I agree that Yisroel Valis, a haredi, should be granted the presumption of innocence.)

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