By cooperating with anti-Semite Kevin Barrett, Tikkun magazine editor Rabbi Michael Lerner provides tacit approval of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories he otherwise claims to reject.
Most recently, Lerner contributed a chapter to Barrett’s 2015 book We Are Not Charlie Hebdo! Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11, which features essays by Barrett and twenty-one others, most of which claim that the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters and at a kosher market in Paris were a “false flag operation” perpetrated by any number of culprits including the Israeli government, the United States government, and/or the French government.
In Barrett’s chapter, he claims that these attacks were just one in a long history of events – such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax poisonings – perpetrated by Israel in order to “incite hatred of Muslims and solidarity with Israel.” He also alleges that the West does not comprehend Israel’s duplicity because of “the extent of clandestine Zionist power; and the fact that the Holocaust story has become the most sacred narrative of the West, despite the questionable factual basis of some of its most important details.”
Lerner’s chapter, titled “Mourning the Parisian ‘Humorists’ Yet Challenging the Hypocrisy of Western Media,” does not make any such anti-Semitic claims, but rather criticizes the Western media’s “media-circus surrounding this particular outrage [the Charlie Hebdo attack] while the Western media quickly forgets the equally despicable acts of systematic murder and torture that Western countries have been involved in.” Lerner asks “…did you ever wonder why there wasn’t an equal outrage at the tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed by the American intervention in Iraq or the over a million civilians killed by the U.S. in Vietnam…?”
Lerner reportedly told the Jewish Chronicle he was “absolutely misled” when Barrett asked him to submit a chapter to this book.
However, in a May 21 article by Barrett in the anti-Semitic Veterans Today, Barrett quotes Lerner as amended this statement: “However, in the final analysis, it was my mistake, not his misleading me, that was the problem–so I apologize to him for saying I was misled and I apologize to my community for seeming to help give credibility to a conspiracy theory I utterly reject.”
While in his apology to Barrett, Lerner distances himself from the book’s content, Lerner appears to preserve his ties to Barrett despite Barrett’s long record of anti-Semitism.
In a June 27 interview on Barrett’s Truth Jihad online radio show, Lerner appears as the guest and the two seem to have a positive relationship with each other, agreeing on a number of topics including that the killing of Muslims during the War on Terror is somehow similar to the Holocaust.
Notably, this is not the first time Lerner has collaborated with Barrett. In 2007, Lerner contributed to Barrett’s book 9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out.
In Lerner’s chapter titled, “What next? Will it make a difference if we succeed in exposing 9/11 as a fraud?” Lerner writes, “I am an agnostic on the question of what happened on 9/11.” Lerner makes no anti-Semitic claims while arguing that “I would not be surprised to learn that some branch of our government conspired either actively to promote or passively to allow the attack on 9/11.” Barrett’s chapter in the same book discusses what “the US empire, and especially its Israeli outpost” had to gain as “the architects of 9/11.”
Despite contributing to Barrett’s 2007 book and agreeing with Barrett that 9/11 is a “fraud,” in an interview that year in The Forward, Lerner distanced himself from the anti-Semitic aspect of Barrett’s message stating, “Anything about Israel and the relationship to 9/11 I think is total baloney.”
And yet despite all his disclaimers, Lerner continues to provide a degree of support to an anti-Semite who amplifies anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in the U.S. and internationally through platforms such as Press TV, Iran’s English-language propaganda network, where Barrett recently claimed that Jews and/or Israel were behind all that is wrong with the world.