Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kolech and the נקיי הדעת שבירושלים

I am gratified that Kolech has officially posted the following demurrer to the information posted below, and rejects any connection with Mosswa:

To all, Kolech-Religious Women's Forum has no connection with Mossawa, no cooperation with anything concerning the constitution or any other activity. Kolech is currently checking it's standpoint concerning the constitution in the context of women in general and observant women in particular. This is clearly a defamation approach and certainly gossip. This is Kolech's formal response.

However, Ben Chorin writes in his comment:
Last week I forwarded to Kolech the letter being circulated by Mossawa clearly stating that Kolech is a partner to this initiative. I asked them if they wished to clarify their relationship with Mossawa and this initiative. The "rakezet" said Kolech would respond "at the beginning of next (= this) week". I waited until Tuesday and again inquired if they had a response. I published only after they ignored this inquiry.
So, yes, they knew about the purported connection and they didn't deny it, despite having ample opportunity to do so.

In light of the hard evidence produced by Ben Chorin, I have the following reactions:

a) People who support an organization and its ideals have every right to know what it signs on to. If said organization allies itself, even for specific causes, with forces that contradict the deepest beliefs of those supporters, the latter are fully entitled to exert pressure to obtain clarfications or a change of policy. In the absence of these, support can (and should) be withheld in the interest of the integrity of the supporter. (Personally, that's why I cut all ties with Meimad in 1996).

b) Informing people of a public organizations affiliations is not לשון הרע by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, following the Hafetz Hayyim, preventing harm by exposing information is a mitzvah. [N.B. This is the same rule allowing for pressure to be placed upon recalcitrant husbands. I assume the Kolech people know the citation.]

c) Affiliation for specific projects is still an implicit endorsement with the affiliate (at least to the outside world). Affiliation for a subsection of an overall project, assumes endorsement of the broader project. Hence, for Kolech to have allowed its name to appear as part of Mossawa's initiative is at best misleading. It also damages Kolech's good name and standing in terms of the important work it does, especially in terms of the rights of contemporary agunot. [ And let me remind my readers that I played a central role in the development and publication of the first, widely accepted pre-nuptial agreement formulated by the Orthodox Caucus.]

If Kolech has absolutely nothing to do with Mossawa and its project, let them publically announce it and denounce Mossawa for illegitimately using (and besmirching) its good name. According to the Talmud, maintaining one's good name is a personal obligation based upon the verse (Num. 32, 22): והייתם נקיים מה' ומישראל. A fortiori, this is true of an organization representing a large, varied population and an important series of causes.

If we are already discussing לשון הרע, let it be recorded that one is not allowed to say or cause לשון הרע about oneself. As The Talmud records (Sanhedrin 23a):

The fair minded of the people in Jerusalem used to act thus: They would not sign a deed without knowing who would sign with them; they would not sit in judgment unless they knew who was to sit with them; and they would not sit at table without knowing their fellow diners.

המבין יבין ויקח לקח.

1 comment:

Ben Bayit said...

I congratulate you for posting on it - and for leaving up the post.

It took you until 1996!?!?