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GOOD FOR HIM! Yesterday it was announced that casino magnate and major Republican donor, Sheldon Adelson is suing the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) for defamation. 

Two months ago the NJDC and the DCCC each accused Adelson of condoning prostitution at his properties in China (the charge was first made in lawsuit file by a former Adelson employee, Steven Jacobs, who had managed the properties until being fired in 2010-and has since been discredited ). Adleson’s lawyers threatened a lawsuit and the DCCC apologized, but the NJDC is standing firm.

This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we
retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and
his family for any injury we have caused.

NJDC removed an online petition calling on Republicans to stop accepting
money from Adelson, but refused to apologize for its contents in an
online statement. Adelson filed the lawsuit yesterday and the NJDC released this statement:

We will not be bullied into submission, and we will not be silenced by power. This is not Putin’s Russia, and in America, political speech regarding one of the most well-known public figures in our country is a fundamental right. One would think the person making greatest use of the Citizens United ruling would understand this. To be sure, referencing mainstream press accounts examining the conduct of a public figure and his business ventures—as we did—is wholly appropriate. Indeed, it is both an American and a Jewish obligation to ask hard questions of powerful individuals like Mr. Adelson, just as it is incumbent upon us to praise his wonderful philanthropic endeavors.

We know that we were well within our rights, and we will defend ourselves against this SLAPP suit as far and as long as necessary. We simply will not be bullied, and we will not be silenced.

There are a few problems with the NJDC’s arrogant response. Not the least of which is it breaks Jewish law. There is that little list of  Ten Commandments in the Torah.  The 9th commandment says Do not bear false witness.   I don’t know if anyone at the NJDC ever read those ten important rules, but I assume they had, after all at time it was in all the papers.

The Jewish sages went even further with the concept of Lashon Hara (evil tongue). They said one is not to repeat rumors about people. Even if the rumors are true, if they are just being made for the purpose of defamation then it is Lashon Hara. The Torah tells of Moses sister Miriam getting leprosy because she committed Lashon Hara.

This is an election year, and no one is perfect.  There will be some false rumors told and others corrected. At some point during the next 90 days everyone will accidentally or purposely stoop to passing along information that simply is not true. Once it is pointed out to the offender, the “Jewish” thing to do is admit ones mistake and apologize.

The NJDC is correct when it says asking tough questions and debate is an obligation and an integral part of Jewish heritage.  Most of the Talmud (the Jewish book of law) is a bunch a smart Rabbis and Rabbinical students arguing about one legal point or another.  The NJDC loses it’s argument about “Jewish Obligation” because it isn’t asking tough questions, it is simply bearing false witness. Besides, saying I messed up and I’m sorry is also a Jewish obligation.

Perhaps the group would be much better served if it concentrated a bit more on the “Jewish” part of its name and a bit less on the Democratic party part of its name.

To be Jewish is more than culture or a word in a group’s name its about following a set of rules and laws. If the NJDC wishes to keep the Jewish part of its title, perhaps it should bone up on Jewish laws, or at least avoid using Jewish tradition as an excuse to breaking Jewish law. It would certainly help them avoid $60,000,000 lawsuits.

The NJDC broke a cardinal rule as my friend DaTechGuy explains.

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