Ami Magazine is being boycotted because of its aggressive and obnoxious defense of convicted child rapist, Rabbi Nechemya Weberman.
The trial shocked the world. It exposed a Satmar vaad hatzniyus (modesty committee) that colluded with its school system to extort parents into spending enormous amounts of money for “Torah therapy” with Nechemya Weberman. It was neither Torah nor therapy. He had no professional training and skills. He started out by violating din yichud and locking the door of his office (with a bed!). From there, the “therapy” of a twelve-year-old girl escalated to touching, undressing, oral sex, reenactment of porn videos and marking her with a burn on her stomach. This nightmare continued until she was fifteen. None of this seems to bother Ami, not even after a jury trial where Weberman had a legal defense estimated to cost a half a million dollars which culminated in a unanimous jury verdict of guilty on fifty-nine counts.
Nor is Ami bothered by an ugly campaign mounted by Satmar leadership and its operatives to stop justice in its tracks. The girl was slandered as a liar as part of a massive campaign to raise funds for Weberman’s defense, the business of her husband-to-be was destroyed by withdrawing its kosher certification, Satmar operatives offered a half million dollar bribe to get her to withdraw charges and move to Israel, her nieces and nephews were kicked out of schools, and she was photographed in court while testifying. They then circulated her picture online, violating the law which protects the privacy of sex abuse victims..
Weberman’s tactics were fully endorsed by Satmar which raised funds for his defense, sent witnesses to his trial who lied to deny the existence of a vaad hatznius, and harassed the victim’s parents. The overheated climate following the guilty verdict probably contributed to an attempt to blind Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg with bleach.
Satmar is responsible for our generation’s all-time, greatest, chillul hashem (desecration of G-d’s name by misconduct of a Jew). Massive media coverage has brought us to the point where Googling Satmar puts the Weberman trial in 6 of the top 10 hits. Satmar and Weberman generate 23,400 hits. Ordinary Jews are embarrassed, but Satmar carries out its propaganda campaign in the pages of Ami Magazine claiming the trial wasn’t fair, the jury was prejudiced, and the media are out to get Hasidim.
Orthodox Jews could have been spared this embarrassment if Satmar had dissociated itself from Weberman and urged him to plead guilty. It would have become a one-time, back page story. Instead, Yitzhcok Frankfurther exacerbates this problem by defending Weberman, insulting the intelligence of most of the world, and causing untold anguish to the many victims of Weberman and other orthodox abusers.
Shame on Yitzchok Frankfurter! But shame is an alien concept to his man. He claims to believe, like all orthodox Jews, that on his day of judgment, his good and evil deeds will be weighed against each other. But I don’t see how he can reconcile that view with his cynical opportunistic campaign. Perhaps this greedy man who sold his conscience and editorial voice will at least listen to the voices of our withheld dollars when they show up as losses on his business ledger.
I support boycotting his magazine in every way possible. If you subscribe I urge you to cancel your subscription and to let him know why. If you buy it on a newsstand, please stop buying it and ask your vendor to stop selling it.
His advertisers are listed on the FaceBook page of the Boycott (scroll down to the entry for December 27,2012). Please contact them and let them know why you will not patronize them until they stop advertising in Ami Magazines. Perhaps these actions will bring Frankfurter to his senses. Perhaps, if he is incorrigible, these actions will bring his hateful propaganda to an end by forcing the closure of his magazine. However, even if we fail to change him, we can at least know we did the right thing, and victims of abuse can know that they have our support.
P. S. Remember, the advertisers are not necessarily our enemies, at least not yet. They may have advertised in good faith for all the usual reasons. Approach them with the message that you assume the best about them and hope they will reconsider their advertising placement decision. If they withdraw their advertising let them know you appreciate their decision. However, if they persist in patronizing Ami, then they have to be lumped together with Ami. But give them a few weeks grace period to disentangle themselves from prior commitments.
If you have written messages or stories about your encounters with Ami, newstand vendors, or advertisers, please share them here or on the Boycott’s FaceBook page.
If you tweet, use the hashtag, #BoycottAmi when writing tweets or searching for them. (I tweet as @frumfollies).