The Courage of Cowards

Approximately 15 years ago, I had a really sweet and cushy job. The job was easy. The hours very reasonable. The pay comfortable six figures. And, for people who did not know what the work environment was like, the job actually was quite prestigious. People begged me to help them get interviews there, to meet the power behind the throne, even just for phone access — just, please, the phone number.

The problem was that I had to get out of there. The environment of the workplace was amazingly hostile to women. I actually saw women there crying. Those among them who knew that I also am a rabbi spoke with me privately, women of varied backgrounds and faiths, asking me to do something. I did what I could. I pressed as far as I could press. And then, six months into a job that I had anticipated I would cherish for years, I decided that, since I was having no impact on the corporate culture, I just had to get the hell out of there.

I did. I left that job. I just walked out. On the way out, I counseled and advised one more time, and I encouraged others to keep my phone number and, meanwhile, to consider getting out, too. Some did. Some didn’t.

Five years later, I found myself employed in a significant role within a very different kind of corporate structure where, it came to my attention, one of the Board members, a singularly powerful figure in the body, had been harassing women. Two separate women came to me privately, each separate from the other, each telling me her respective account — and their accounts were verifiable. I went home and said to my wife: “I think I am in another one of these spots. If I report to the rest of the Board what I now know, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have no choice but to demand the guy’s immediate removal from all Board influence, and they never will be able to let him on that Board again. But I also have no doubt that, once that dust settles, they will come after me for blowing the whistle. So I have to make a decision.”

My wonderful wife looked at me with eyes that essentially said: “So what’s the question? You know what you have to do.”

And she was right. There was no question. I am no feminist — au contraire — but this was not about the politics of vagina hats and burning bras. This was a matter of human decency and the spiritual holiness that exists in every person. I knew what I had to do.

I blew the whistle internally. The Board appointed an internal committee to investigate independently. The committee came back affirming my report. The harasser’s role as an influential Board powerhouse ended. He never returned to that Board, and he was demoted and sanctioned severely beyond that.

Soon after, predictably, his friends’ backlash against me hit hard from within. I ended up leaving that place of employment.

Best thing that ever happened to me.

I have returned to thinking about those days amid the current Harvey Weinstein scandal. And my mind is struck — not by Weinstein but by the extraordinary cowardice that permeates and oozes through every pore of the slime that we call Hollywood. The revelation that Weinstein is a pig is no surprise. Just look at his donations to Democrats, to liberals, to feminists up-and-down the left. It is like listening to Bill Clinton preaching about treating women respectfully or Hillary Clinton, after getting a child rapist off the hook and giggling about it, rebounding to preach about how she deserves to run the country because she is a woman.

What hits home the sharpest amid this Harvey Weinstein scandal is the duality between the leftist feminist, on the one hand, publicly attacking Donald Trump — or George Bush (either) or Ronald Reagan or any decent conservative voice or judge or lawmaker — and, on the other hand, standing up to a true pig like Harvey Weinstein, albeit a liberal pig whose grease funds liberals and Democrats, first and foremost among them the Clintons.

There was Ashley Judd, less than a year ago, at a “Women’s March.” It was a “Women’s March” that barred and disenfranchised the whole huge swath of American women who do not share the radicals’ leftist agenda. Speaking to those attending, Ashley Judd ripped into President Donald Trump. She became profoundly obscene, reciting a “poem” that bore fantasized intimations of perversion and incest. Oh how brave she was — “speaking truth to power” — by regaling a leftist crowd, whining men and women and whatever pronouns now are persondated (not “mandated”) in California — with a hateful radicalized leftist attack on the Republican President.

That is not “courageous.” That is not “brave.” There is no downside for a Hollywood figure to attack conservatives, Republicans, Christians, the Catholic Church, or Orthodox Jews before one of their hooting echo audiences. Those audiences lap it up. They love it. They reward such attacks with adulation and iconization. It is the “courage” of late-night talk hosts lambasting the President or the Republicans to their self-selecting echo chambers of leftists, while knowing full well that the conservatives and the Republicans are not in the Stephen Colbert audience or viewing on television when they instead can be watching Fox News or reruns of Last Man Standing or Quick Pitch on MLB or the cooking or other food channel or a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or reading a book or even going to sleep at 11:30 p.m. because, as many conservatives do, those people have to get up in the morning the next day to go to work for a living.

There is no courage in attacking the President or the conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court or Republicans in Congress at Academy Awards night or Emmy night or Tony Awards night or Grammy night. There is no courage in mocking the traditionalists on Saturday Night Live. When a person arises amid an echo chamber of same-minded Eloi in a time machine that is stuck in an Obama era that has passed, and sneeringly feeds the clods who get their news from Comedy Central their liberal mantras, he or she simply is feeding fish to clapping seals. That is not courage. That is pandering.

Instead, courage is when an Ashley Judd is pawed by a Harvey Weinstein who has power over her career — and she decides that, whatever may be the price to be paid, she will stop this pig here and now by blowing the whistle. And that is the kind of courage that a coward like Ashley Judd lacks. Courage is not when Meryl Streep at a Hollywood Awards ceremony mocks President Trump’s perceived approach to women, based on the brash person he was decades earlier, while she extols Roman Polanski as an artist who has suffered far too long, even as she calls Harvey Weinstein “God.” Rather, courage is when the same Meryl Streep wins the confidence of women in her field who can go to her, as women came to me in my less famous role, to tell their horrific reports of sexual assault and violation, knowing that she will leverage her voice in Hollywood to extirpate the pig from the public arena. And the coward Meryl Streep does not have that courage — not unless it is printed out for her in dummy cards for her to read emotively into a camera.

In all these cases — the phony cowards like the Ashley Judds, the Meryl Streeps, the Hillary Clintons whose political races and foundations have been greased by pigs like Harvey Weinstein whose identification with Bill Clinton is all-too-comprehensible — the cowardice is overwhelming. Shivering, sniveling, gutless cowards who actually have been positioned for years and years to take down this pig. Had they done so, they could have spared dozens more women the shame and trauma of subsequent Weinstein assaults and outrages. But they were too cowardly to endanger their stations in Hollywood. Dared not speak out against a mogul, a “God.” Shivered, kept silent, perhaps endured silent nightmares and cold sweats. But nary a word. Because, while safely “speaking truth to power” from safe distances, they never would risk their own tuxedoes and glittering dinner gowns, their jewels and diamonds, and their access to invitations to the next Hollywood gala. Too dangerous. Too risky. Better to tweet a dismembered bloody head depicting the duly, lawfully, and democratically elected President of the United States.

And then at the Awards ceremonies and the “Women’s marches” they congratulate themselves for their courage to wear vagina hats and obscene tee-shirts, to recite filthy “poems” and to speak of blowing up the White House.

That is not “speaking truth to power.” It is the courage of cowards. And it is the sniveling, shriveling, shivering cowardice that even the Wizard of Oz could not heal.

Dov Fischer
Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. Through the years, he has practiced both in the United States federal courts and in the state courts on a broad range of case matters, gaining expertise in virtually every subject area of complex civil litigation including labor and employment law, securities litigation, federal government contracts litigation, bankruptcy law, ERISA law, Hague Service Convention and Hague Evidence Convention practice, professional malpractice law, entertainment litigation, federal and state fair-credit-reporting requirements, the filed-rate doctrine as it affects carriers on land and rails, insurance bad faith, cybersquatting, commercial lessors’ rights, international contracts, fair-housing litigation, the law of computer role-playing games, federal and state antitrust matters, director and officer liability, defamation and false-light litigation, unfair-business-practices law, and the fuller gamut of advanced torts and classic breach-of-contract case matters. He also has practiced appellate law successfully, authoring the winning brief in Bierbower v. FHP, Inc., 70 Cal. App. 4th 1, 82 Cal. Rptr. 2d 393 (1999). His UCLA Law Review analysis of director-and-officer liability issues in depository institutions has been cited in a broad range of federal district court and appellate circuit opinions. Among his major complex litigation representations, Rabbi Fischer represented Philip Morris during the California tobacco litigation, overseeing their massive document production effort; and the accounting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick during the Orange County bankruptcy litigation. In addition to representing such other major corporate clients as Samsung, Hughes Aircraft, Experian, KPMG Peat Marwick, Albertson’s Stores, Embassy Suites, Spencer Gifts, Cardinal Health, BOC Gases, IHI Danmark, Wet Seal, Bioware (“Baldur’s Gate”), and Occidental Petroleum, Rabbi Fischer also has devoted substantial pro bono efforts unique to his background, working to prevent unwarranted autopsies, inducing recalcitrant spouses to grant Gett-based Jewish divorces, representing communal rabbinic leaders sued for advocating unpopular but courageous positions, and participating in representing the successful plaintiffs’ class in the nationwide class-action lawsuit brought against European insurance companies by surviving families of Holocaust victims. He also disappointed his then-young son when he successfully represented a client named Stan Lee in a cybersquatting defense against an eponymous plaintiff whose colorful literary output his son admired. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served three terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on boards of Jewish Federations in New Jersey and in Los Angeles, on boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. Earlier in his career, he was national director of American Friends of Likud / Herut Zionists of America, and he participated with 35 other once-young families in founding, building, and living a year in a then-new American community in Ginot Shomron, Israel (referred to by Israel’s opponents as a “West Bank settlement”). His writings on contemporary political issues have been appearing nationally for forty years, dating back to his undergraduate years at Columbia University, where he amazingly was elected to represent the college student body in the University Senate. Those writings have appeared over the years in publications including but not limited to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, American Thinker, The Weekly Standard, Frontpage Magazine, American Thinker, Jewish World Review, Israel National News / Arutz Sheva, and in other Jewish newsmedia in American and in Israel. He also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit. Among his proudest honors, Brooklyn-born Rabbi Fischer has been named an “Honorary Kentucky Colonel” by four different Governors of that Commonwealth recognizing his service to and passionate love of that state, has been honored by law students for faculty recognition, has received national awards and recognition for his academic and scholarly writings, and is a winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics.
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