I would not want to be in Rabbi Michael Lerner's shoes right now. In yesterday's Times, he wrote a faintly ludicrous piece about Gaza.
In response, the estimable Oliver Kamm has honed in on one of Lerner's more bizarre columns:
In Tikkun, a journal that he founded, Lerner wrote in 2007: "I am an agnostic on the question of what happened on 9/11. I’m convinced that there are huge holes in the official story and contradictions that suggest that we do not know the whole story. I would not be surprised to learn that some branch of our government conspired either actively to promote or passively to allow the attack on 9/11."
Given the importance of the issue, it's odd that Lerner omitted to disclose to Times readers that he regards it as a plausible hypothesis (if not one he personally subscribes to) that the 9/11 attacks involved a conspiracy by the US government. It presumably can't be that he thought the matter irrelevant to US diplomacy for the Middle East. If the US government plotted to murder thousands of American civilians, or at least had foreknowledge of such an attack and resolved not to prevent it, then exposing this crime surely takes precedence over any other measure that the Obama administration might take.
I shall drop Rabbi Lerner a note asking him to explain his reticence about 9/11 conspiracies, and I hope he'll write back with an explanation that he'll allow me to publish. In the meantime, I'm glad to bring to a wider audience what Rabbi Lerner thinks about the threats to America's homeland security.
Oliver, a friend of mine, is a walking Google. He has, it usually seems, read every book and newspaper ever published, and can recall chapter and verse at will. With his forensic mind, he has almost single-handedly detroyed Noam Chomsky, exposing his methods, and now that he turned his attention to Rabbi Lerner, I would duck for cover if I was Rabbi Lerner.
Here's Lerner's response - and Oliver's.