Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A few posts about the VIN Ban (#1)

Those of you who read Failed Messiah are aware that several bloggers, including yours truly, have agreed to directly challenge the self-appointed enforcer of the ban on V.I.N. He calls himself "Rabbi Brown". Writing from a Gmail account, and representing himself as a member of a larger group of Rabbis, this Rabbi Brown has strongly encouraged at least one person to stop advertising with VIN.

According to VIN, many others have received similar letters. I have seen some of these emails, and so have several other bloggers. They were in our possession on Sunday, but instead of posting about them immediately, we decided to craft a unified message. An early draft of this message was published last night by Failed Messiah, who had no way of knowing that what he had in his possession was not the final copy.

This morning, I plan to post a series of posts about the ban on V.I.N, the efforts of Rabbi Brown to enforce it, and the blogger response. This is the first one. See it after the jump

Why the ban is unjust, and what it reveals about the Rabbis who signed it.
To date, only V.I.N has been subject to the ban, despite the fact that several Yiddish newspapers are similarly slanderous; also V.I.N's direct competitors Matzav and YWN are just as bad, and play in the same space. All three trade on the work of other writers and other news sources, in what appears to be a violation of U.S copright law; all three post articles that are unkind to other Jews; and all three allow comments that second and third these attacks.

The difference, if there is one, is that V.I.N tends to reprint articles that target Heredim who have been accused or convicted of criminal acts. Matzav and Y.W.N shy away from such subjects, preferring instead to reprint articles and to post original articles that slanderously attack people like Rabbi Moshe Tendler, and Rabbi Harry Maryles. The difference in agenda is obvious, but the result is the same: Jews are attacked, and reader comments that make things worse are permitted.

The fact that only V.I.N is deemed bad enough to ban suggests two unfortunate facts about the Rabbis who signed the Kol Koreh: (1) that they share the sectarianism bias present at Matzav and YWN and consider it acceptable to attack non-Haredi Jews, and (2) that they harbor some desire to protect the criminals written about on V.I.N.

If neither of the points are true, a possibility I readily concede, we're left to conclude (again) that the Rabbis sign bans without first  performing proper investigations. This, of course, is not a new conclusion. The Slifkin ban, and the Making of a Godol ban is when most of us first began to realize exactly how corrupt and unreliable the whole system of bans has become. The question is why haven't the Rabbis realized this? Why do they continue to expose themselves to mockery and disregard by participating in a system no one trusts?

To be continued.

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