Abuse Publicity Brings Out "Attention Seeking Phonies" According to Down Under Rabbi Yosef Feldman

Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
July 24, 2016

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Feldman attained notoriety when Australian Newspapers reported on his testimony about sex abuse in the Chabad community in Australia to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

According to ABC (Australia) in Feb 2015:

The director of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Yeshiva centre in Sydney has resigned after last week telling a royal commission hearing he did not know it was a crime for an adult to touch a child's genitals.

Since then, Feldman has gone on a spree of libel lawsuits. Manny Waks linked to a listing of those lawsuits in a post on FaceBook on 7/20/16. The targets of his eight lawsuits include The Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Australia, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and a number of media outlets.

Feldman never learns. In response to the post and some admittedly taunting comments by others, he doubles down in justifying himself. At one point he writes:

The context as you can clearly see was that in my strong opinion, publicity wasn't necessarily a good thing in the Jewish community and neither would it help victims. It obviously could encourage attention-seeking phonies to come forward.

I believe that in his own clumsy way, Feldman is telling the truth. He, and others like him don't like victims going public either through the courts or the media. But that is because the example of one victim/survivor can help another also summon the courage.

Multiple victims of an offender are very awkward for those engaged in cover-ups. Their usual tactic is to discredit reports by doubting the credibility of the survivor. It gets harder to pull that off as more survivors come forward.

It takes ignorance or malice to think it is easy for a survivor to come forward publicly.

It might be funny to say that Feldman just scored another citation for foot-in-the-mouth disease. But he has also kicked abuse survivors, yet again, while they are down.

In my opinion this man this not fit for the rabbinate, any other form of leadership, or even the company of decent, compassionate folk.

See other Frum Follies posts about the Royal Commission (and here), and specifically about Manny Waks.