Dec 28, 2011 | Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place
For those who have a long memory here, one of my earliest prolonged blogging battles was with a far-right wing Islamophobic Australian-Israeli blogger who used the pseudonym, Aussie Dave and wrote an especially putrid blog, Israellycool. Originally, I went head to head with him over his Jewish blogging contest which he organized under the sponsorship of the Jerusalem Post. In taking him to task for the far right wing nature of the vast majority of the blogs nominated, I earned his eternal enmity. He’s now organizing a new version of the contest, the Pro-Israel Blog-Off, for only the farthest right of pro-Israel blogs. To ensure the Zionist ideological kashrut of the project, the judges include the CEO of the pro-Israel media advocacy group, Honest Reporting (“Honest” should be in square quotes) and “the Embassy of Israel in Dublin.” Don’t ask how an entire embassy can judge a blogging contest. The nominees are a very veritable hate-fest of the right-wing Anglo-Israeli blog world including CIF Watch, Elders of Ziyon, My Right Word, etc.
Ever since the days of his first contest, he’s taken every chance he could to attempt (invariably unsuccessfully) to shame, embarrass, humiliate or insult me. I won’t go into the specifics since they’re so puerile and sophomoric. Davey has threatened to sue me and warned me that he was a lawyer. But somehow, being the bully he is, he talked a good game never following through. I’ve always wondered why he refused to reveal his real identity, especially since he’d published my home address, phone number and my wife’s employer name and work phone at his blog. It seemed especially hypocritical under the circumstances.
David Loeb’s Facebook profile
David “Aussie” Loeb at the blackjack table
Now, due to a sloppy error on his part (thanks to an Israeli who finds him as repellant as I, who caught it), Aussie Dave has exposed his real identity. And since I believe that hypocrites deserve their comeuppance and that their dark secrets deserve to see the light, I’m exposing him for what and who he is: David Loeb, 23 Rashi Street Beit-Shemesh, Israel. In his Facebook profile he notes some sort of affiliation with Virgin Megastores, which may mean he works there. If anyone knows, I’d like to find out. Loeb’s FB photo indicates he likes to gamble as it shows him at what appears to be a casino blackjack table.
The last straw that determined my decision to expose him was his feeble attempt to link me to a couple from my home city sharing my last name, who were charged with welfare fraud. Loeb hoped at the very least that the cheat might be my brother or some other close relative. It’s bad enough when they implicate me personally in their scummy revenge fantasies. But when they attempt to ensnare innocent family members, that goes too far.
So Dave, I’m throwing you the coming out party you so richly deserve. Enjoy your moment the sun. Now that you’ve been outed you won’t have any more protection than the rest of us, who blog under our own name, have. I daren’t believe it will make you any more responsible or any less bilious. You and leopards, after all, cannot change your spots.
NOTE ABOUT CHANGES TO COMMENTING: I’ve been innundated by spam lately and disappointed that the Akismet anti-spam plugin, which had been doing a great job, began to perform so shoddily. I’ve implemented a new system that requires commenters to check boxes before their comment is sent to the queue. I didn’t want to implement a Captcha plugin because I thought that was too intrusive. I hope this is a reasonable compromise.
Dec 29, 2011 | Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place
The Sad Case of Aussie Dave
Yesterday, I reported in a post that I believed I had exposed the real identity of Aussie Dave, author of the Israellycool blog. It appears that he invented a fake identity in order to perpetrate a hoax on me. It boggles the mind that he went to the immense amount of trouble he did to perpetrate this hoax. It tells you how much free time he has on his hands to engage in all the subterfuge that was necessary to fool me. It tells you precious little about me, but quite a lot about him.
Dave thinks he’s a genius because I fooled me. What he doesn’t realize is that in his blog post, he proudly admits that he created a hoax Facebook account for a non-existent person using the photo of a real person, a clear violation of Facebook rules. Here’s how he bragged about it:
David Loeb is a fake name. The photo in the Facebook profile I set up is of basketballer Jordan Farmar…I used his photo deliberately…
I included in the profile my supposed address (Beit Shemesh)…as well as the URL of this blog to connect David Loeb to it.
I’ve reported him to Facebook for doing this. I hope there will be repercussions and that he doesn’t have a real Facebook account. If he does, perhaps Facebook will express its displeasure with idiots like him exploiting company for his own tomfoolish purposes.
Dave moans in his post that I not only violated his privacy by posting what he wanted me to believe was his home address, but that I potentially endangered him. Which is funny because he doesn’t mention that he not only published my home address and phone number, but my wife’s employer and her work phone.
He and his allies are trying to embarrass Jillian York, a staffer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who correctly warned me that his Facebook account appeared to be fake. They’re claiming that I exposed the private details of an individual in violation of EFF guidelines and that York is somehow guilty of violating her employer’s mission statement in protecting the privacy of bloggers. This is yet more nonsense since Aussie Dave created a publicly accessible Facebook account to which anyone had access and which displayed his alleged address for anyone to see. Not only that, but the account is fake as is virtually all the information in it.
Dave of course doesn’t mention the recent incident when he hoaxed himself, seeking to believe that my brother had been arrested for being a welfare cheat. The only truth to his fantasy was that someone with my extremely common last name had been arrested for such a crime. He created an entire post in which he gleefully and hopefully speculated that the perpetrator might be my brother. He even searched through my online photo galleries finding a photo of my brother-in-law and speculating that because he had the same first name as the welfare cheat that he might be the same person. He wasn’t. Not a word from Dave about this violation of the privacy of my brother-in-law, a totally innocent party in his charade.
There’s a larger point here as far as I’m concerned. It’s that doing what I do is complicated because I have to trust my sources and go with my gut about their credibility. Yes, I can do some elementary research to determine their credibility. But in the end, you have to decide whether or not to take a jump. Usually, the times when I’ve been hoaxed are when I decide to trust people I’ve never dealt with before and whose bona fides aren’t clear. That’s what happened in this case.
I’ve said before that I’ve made mistakes in trusting a few hoaxsters (luckily only two as far as I know). Luckily those mistakes have been few. Now we can add this one to the previous ones. When you report stories that I do, there is always the chance that you will make mistakes. Some will involve discrete points in an overall story. Others will be larger and more serious errors. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. In fact, I think conceding mistakes shows readers that you are human and have nothing to hide.
Dave wrote in his post that he believed I would take down my earlier post exposing him. I certainly won’t. Both because I want readers to know that I’m transparent; and because I want people to see what he has done and judge him for it. I want people to understand the pains that the pro-Israel Islamophobic blog world takes to smear its opponents. And the nastiness of their methods and outcomes.