Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raphael, you did right

Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote 190 years ago, "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men."

Raphael, just to let you know that I am with you and your family all the way. Schiffman, Cargill, West, Gibson and company are vandals and cowards.

You did right to defend your father's views which are largely mine also.  Given the opposition, you took the only route to bring this matter to a head.  The issues you raised are vital to the origins of Judaism and Christianity.  They were in danger of being swept under the carpet, for who knows how long.

Scott Greenfield, Simple Justice - A New York Criminal Defence Blog, wrote here:
"Much like the Lori Drew prosecution, ultimately tossed for lack of a crime, this was a case that should never have been prosecuted. NYU professor Lawrence Schiffman, the putative victim of Golb's impersonation, claimed that he didn't want Gold prosecuted. Yet after the verdict, he has this to say:

He said in a statement Thursday that he was appreciative of the work on the case.  "Let us hope that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business — interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity," he said.

He's disgraced himself amongst the dead sea scroll scholars by using a criminal prosecution to shut down his most vocal critic. He's now disgraced himself again within the academic community by ignoring that the issue arose from his having shut out Norman Golb from the scholarly dialogue, even denying Golb access to the scrolls lest he find something that undercuts Schiffman's claims.

For those of us less concerned with the dead sea scrolls per se (though who isn't, really), the implications of this conviction are broad and disastrous. If playing with a sockpuppet on the internet, no harm done beyond some hurt feelings, is enough to land you in prison, we've got a lot of potential felons out there taking some major risks for a few laughs or to get the upperhand on an argument. The rough and tumble of the internet is no longer an issue of free speech, but hurt feelings. Read it and weep. We are all in some serious trouble now."

When Schiffman said "let us hope" who did he mean by "us"?  Schiffman, Cargill, Gibson and West and the pro-Qumran clique just want the Scrolls for themselves.  Its the old story all over again, and its also full of hypocrisy.  It sounds as though Norman Golb won't get a look-in.


  1. Raphael will be so grateful to you Geoff and Madeline and Rachel. He seems to be holding up okay after a long two weeks, resolved to go on with his life one way or another. Here's another blog:


  2. West wrote here:


    "Silence him? Hardly. N. Golb teaches at the University of Chicago and has a wide readership and lofty perch from which to share his ideas. They are widely rejected because idiosyncratic and unsustainable."

    What I see is a man who doesn't appear at the forefront of Google promoting himself as you and Cargill do with many computer links. You both create a lot of noise on the internet. Where is your evidence for his theory being unsustainable? It is the only theory that is sustainable. You, and others like you, are wrong. And Raphael has spoken-up for his father.

    I can't wait for the transcript of the trial to pick over what Cargill, Schiffman and Gibson said.

  3. Yes, everyone seems to be burning one another around here. The Golbs seem to have been burnt very badly. Certain men involved in this trial wanting to continually destroy one another… It’s gone too far.

    This does not seem like a fair trial for Raphael Golb. If I were a member of the jury, I would pay greater attention to those who were calm and composed, presenting the facts. If the judge allows such a highly educated and upstanding citizen to exercise his freedom of speech to the fullest extent, well that means others may very well follow suit. Somehow it seems that she may have her own interests in this matter.
    Raphael has done an excellent job and so has his attorneys. After hearing Schiffman’s testimony, there are people that may not deal with him now. He has a big name and a following, but he lied on the stand, and then after admitting that there was truth to the allegations, he says that it was not a crime and that he hadn’t done anything wrong. Watching how he handles himself, Schiffman is quite a character I must say.

  4. The problem is that the general public is not hearing the entire story from the media. I really hope that the jury is sympathetic in regards to what this terrible man did to the Golbs, and how Raphael sincerely tried to help his father. I would have done the same thing as he did to protect his family. In my opinion, some of the recent newspaper headlines are quite sensationalistic. Raphael lied under an extreme circumstance and it wasn’t even on the stand under oath, unlike Schiffman, who said on the witness stand he never had been accused of stealing someones work – yelling in fact. Unbelievable because it’s clearly a lie, and Raphael’s attorneys agreed. There are many people who would have skirted around a few questions, considering the circumstances and his family’s history with that man.

  5. Schiffman had absolutely no excuse to lie for all those years! I still feel that the judge has her own interest in this matter. The general public never even got to see the entire video. Of course they would cut out and edit certain parts that perhaps even explained his fear of Schiffman. From I was told from an undisclosed source – one of Raphael’s attorneys intently directed the jurors to take a look a mere two pages from Norman Golbs book, which illuminates Schiffman’s “borrowings.” He was then interrupted by the judge when he attempted to suggest that Schiffman was a plagiarist. She did not consider those excerpts from his book usable in that respect. (and then a reaction from a juror.) Today the prosecutors will have their final say. We shall see if they can swing the jury in his direction.
    It seems that Schiffman is a big man in Manhattan, in his field. When he speaks, people most likely jump. Schiffman lied on the witness stand and also supposedly to his loyal followers at a Bible event. I would believe some people would even resent his lecturing at the Jewish Museum.. It seems that having Raphael arrested was the only way that that he could deal with this dilmena he was confronted with last August. The video is the prosecutors final attempt in hopes to close this case in their favor, and to perhaps discredit any evidence that proves Raphaels innocence. Personally, I would have been so nervous that I would have not remembered what I was saying at all. Whichever way that jury leans, there has still been irreparable damage done to the Golb Family and it’s time for it to end.

  6. I do not know the people in this case, and have limited knowledge of the nature of the disagreement of scholarly views, but the notion of using the criminal justice system to deal with what can, at worst, be described as tendentious or mendacious speech, makes me very uncomfortable, indeed. Wouldn't this be better resolved through civil action or, better still, by writing a few strongly worded journal articles? This is why I have on my own initiative started a Facebook group for supporters of Raphael Golb in his effort to overturn his conviction. You can access this group by linking to: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=118451298211647&ref=ts

  7. I find it very hard to believe that Schiffman had no prior knowledge about the information in Google regarding the blogs discussing his plagiarism. It may have been easy to have them removed - just a simple phone call to Google (they a removal team.) Some people feel that Schiffman needed to be called out. How is it that politics are at their best in the courtroom for Golb’s trial? A New York Lawyer is convicted of crime for bringing a NYU Professor’s plagiarism to the attention of the administration. The DA had spent a lot of time and money in this case, and also seemed to have wanted Raphael convicted for his actions no matter what.

    Honestly, I do not believe what Raphael did was for malice or harm. It was done to expose Lawrence Schiffman’s plagiarism spanning around two decades, which he had been confronted on and never corrected his errors. It would make anyone angry that was affected by this. Raphael's father was not obtaining proper recognition at the museum and science exhibits and it made him angry. He tried to bring this to the attention of the media. I truly believe he was trying to help his father. He would never even harm a fly! These are my personal opinions and I am entitled to them, as such. Raphael helps strangers across the street, returns things that are borrowed (which is something that many people do not do), thanks people that do favors for him, and has shown respect to people in authority.

  8. Also, I don’t believe that he obtained any “benefit” that the prosecutors are trying to say that he did. Raphael was obviously trying to benefit society and the scholarly community by bringing Schiffman and the Dead Sea Scroll monopoly to light (because he did say during the trial he was trying to "produce" a benefit for society and the scholarly community.) He had his own way of doing this. It’s unfortunate that Schiffman seemed to feel that he was a victim of a crime. I believe that this was not Raphael’s intent, in all honesty. His family was disgraced with the way that Schiffman handled himself and his attitude about fixing the errors that he made. One possible interpretation of his negligence: “Who cares. It’s not a big deal to me, therefore, I’m not going to bother to fix it.” He had a moral and ethical obligation to the scholarly community to do so!

    This reminds me of a big cat fight, like two wild animals viciously attacking each other in the woods. It could have been resolved quietly outside of the courtroom. Why Schiffman never had cease and desist letter sent to Raphael by his attorney first? We will never know the answer to this. I suppose that they just wanted to have him arrested to punish Raphael. He will have to go on with his life now, say (not a perfect example) as if Martha Stuart did, but her case was different in that it was for financial benefit or for fear of losing money. In my eyes, he is a decent person who lives life according to the rules.

  9. How all this came about is just a mystery to me. Why did they want to put him in jail? Is it true that they were at odds with his father and he got caught in the middle? Maybe Lawrence Schiffman can get a good night’s rest now, never having to think about coming to work again to read a bunch of emails stating that he didn't bring justice to his errors from decades ago. This, however, is absolutely not full-proof. He has a reputation to uphold. I supposed he thought that this was the only way, being overwhelmed with his job and duties. It was too much to handle on his own perhaps. However, I do somehow feel that this could have either been resolved through the school, a letter sent from an attorney, or even filing an “order of protection”, if indeed he felt so threatened.

    As for Robert Cargill, I’m not really sure on the history between him and Golb. It’s hard to make a statement here. I couldn’t figure out for the longest time why he made those websites, but I do feel that allowing someone’s credit card information on a web page that one made – that is hard to understand. Is it even legal? There is a Google removal team. I’m not saying that they would have removed any information that Cargill had posted on the website, but the only way to find out that answer would have been to inquire. This is a very complex case. It would have taken the jury weeks, months, or an entire year to fully understand it, as Raphael’s lawyers had to do. The jury was forced into a quick decision, without being able to give it extensive thought, in my opinion. I don’t think Raphael is deserving of losing his law license over this matter. I‘ve known attorneys that have done much worse and nothing had happened to them. Other people in society have committed worse crimes and were not convicted. What about OJ Simps., who supposedly committed murder and got off?

  10. To sum everything up, this certainly could have been resolved more quietly - again, either through filing an order, civil lawsuit, or face to face. I personally would never have a cordial fellow Scholar’s son arrested and tried in criminal court. I would fear that it may come back to haunt my conscience. Raphael’s offense was not a murder or a burglary, yet they treated it as such. I’m sorry to take Raphael’s side, but these are my opinions. I know that he is an upstanding citizen. I still equate this matter to a big cat fight. It went too far. People started behaving in ways that they normally do not. If Lawrence Schiffman corrected those errors years ago, like he was asked to, it would have never happened. It was a disgrace to Norman Golb that he was excluded from scholarly events, considering his credentials.

    Was Schiffman ever mean to the Golbs? When someone is mean to you, some people may even react back in the same way…mean. Raphael verses Schiffman. He had to have Raphael followed and arrested. I suppose he felt that he had no choice. Again, Schiffman simply could not wake up in the am and have piece of mind, until Raphael was convicted for his actions. Taking this to civil court or asking him to stop – wouldn’t that have been enough? What about Norman Golb having closure in his mind about someone stealing his words and not being able to do a single thing about it after numerous attempts.

    Some people are questioning Schiffman as to why he didn’t take care of this problem. It looks like perhaps the Golbs did something to him, then he decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. Who knows - maybe we’re not getting the entire story here and perhaps never will. “Using fictitious identities to impersonate victims is not what open academic debate seeks to foster.” Well, it happens from time to time, but Raphael gets convicted and was honest on the witness stand! (unlike, say OJ Simp.). Schiffman supposedly lied under oath - and nothing happened? Seems a bit unfair.

  11. Raphael gained nothing when he had Schiffman called out, but he lost his time, his career, and his personal pursuits. It was all for the sake of the Scrolls! It’s quite a big mission that he had to accomplish. I think that it was wrong for his opponents and the others to start attacking him. The Golbs apparently have supporters and don’t feel that Raphael should be convicted of these charges. Yes, it was a little unconventional what he did, but then they all should be punished - those who plagiarized, and committed some type of academic fraud, or dishonesty, etc.

    Such was the case here. There were fierce politics in this case. It began with the politics of the Scrolls themselves and now has moved onto the politics of the courtroom.

    A quote from the media: after the verdict, Golb, who is a lawyer himself, newspapers reported that he was not surprised by the jury’s decision, but he blamed the judge, saying that the jurors were forced to rely on insufficient instruction about the meaning of the charges against Raphael. Did Raphael Golb actually blame the Judge? This seems to be an interpretation of his words rather than a direct quote (which was conveyed by journalists, and has been a problem this entire case - sensationalism used, and misquoted information.) Why did the newspapers interpret as such? Hard to say. We will never know the real answer a to why Schiffman never fixed those errors. They are trying to say that Raphael’s actions were premeditated, malicious and crafted, not meant to inform or cast light on something, and it was the manner in which it was conducted. Again, I think Dr. Schiffman can get his rest at night by feeling that the only way that he could get Golb to stop. He was scared. This could have been handled an alternate way. If he chose to not make a crime out of this, once it go into the hands of the D.A.’s office it was all over. I don’t see how Dr. Schiffman cannot feel anything for what happened. Why did this have to be taken to criminal court? The media did report that Schiffman was appreciative of the results and now the field of the Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to it’s real business. About Norman Golb being a cordial scholar – I believe this is highly unlikely. Raphael did not harass and he did not obtain personal gain.

  12. The words definitely fall within the constitution. He did use unconventional techniques, but I am shocked that they are saying what Raphael did was illegal and compared to stealing someone's credit cards and charging them? The forgery part I don’t know about. The aliases were okay and the tone of the letters to Schiffman were o.k. too. I guess the parody aspect was fine. The speech that was used was protected, not threatening and it was to have someone publicly exposed for what they had done wrong. If everyone whom received those mails at NYU felt so darn threatened, then why didn’t the others go to court? Schiffman was a very busy man. Perhaps law was the only was he could deal with the problem. He may have been too busy to fix it on his own. Raphael didn’t have to be taken to court, but I ended up that way.

    Quote from Attorney Greenfield: “this matter has turned to be a mockery of the justice system itself.”