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More Anti-Semitism From “Pro-Family” Activists?

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2008

UPDATE: I make mistakes from time to time. And I’ll even admit to it when I do. :)I misread Gary Glenn’s poorly written article about David Benkof’s (inaccurate) reporting of comments made by Sean Kosofsky. I thought that Glenn was noting that Kosofsky was Jewish when upon closer inspection it appears as though the comment was about Benkof being Jewish.

Frankly, I find it odd that there is a need to note that ANYONE in this story is Jewish. And I think that including this irrelevant fact in Glenn’s opinion piece is peculiar.

But, as commenter Truthteller noted, Glenn did not present a Jew=bad dynamic in his piece as I had earlier thought and reported.

Gary Glenn, President of AFA-Michigan, started off a bitch and moan articleon Peter LaBarbera’s website thusly

Michigan’s largest homosexual activist group says once marriage is legally redefined to include homosexual couples, business owners and even news media outlets who refuse to recognize such marriages should be jailed or sued and “publicly slapped,” a Jewish and openly bisexual columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News reported Monday.

Hmmm. Something seems out of place there. I’ll get back to that.

Glenn goes on at quite some length quoting from an opinion piece by David Benkof, an opponent of gay marriage. Benkof, who writes in GaysDefendMarriage.com, attributes outlandish quotes to a number of people. And Glenn repeats them as fact.

Now, having had interaction with Benkof in the past, I was not at all surprised to find his version of the truth to be disputed. Jeremy at Good-As-You reports,

By the way, we have dialogued with someone who is quoted in the article. He confirms our suspicions that Mr. Benkoff has completely misrepresented/discontextualized his words.

Benkof is an interesting guy. As David Bianco, he built up a gay news source only to have a spiritual epiphany, denounce sex, and adopt a new “sexual identity”. (Benkof seems to have a bit of a fluid identity and, as best I can tell, uses whatever gives him the most credibility at the moment). Since then he’s taken it upon himself to oppose gay marriage whenever he can.

He’s also, in my opinion, arrogant, abrasive, and obnoxious.

So it’s not at all odd that a pro-family leader would leap right up and delight in quoting Benkof and repeating his claims. An anti-gay activist that presents as LGBT is a dream to anti-gays.

But that’s not what I found interesting in Glenn’s article. What is more fascinating than Glenn’s reliance on Benkof is what he leaves out of his article. Glenn never mentions that Bekhof’s religious conversion was not to Christianity, but rather to Orthodox Judaism.Glenn denounces the “Jewish and openly bisexual columnist” but never mentions the religious/ethnic affiliation of Benkof, the one he wants to present as credible. Bad guy: Jew; good guy: well, let’s not talk about it.

Now from my point of view, this is either blatant anti-Semitism or at least an appeal to those who are. Considering LaBarbara’s affilitations with Ted Pike, it doesn’t surprise me to see anti-Semitism on his website. But you’d think that the head of a state wide pro-family organization would be more careful not to reveal his bigotry.

Comments

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Zeke
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

If you want an up close and personal look into David Benkof, check out these discussions between he and John Corvino. And don’t miss the comment section that follows the discussion at Independent Gay Forum. His comments in the comment sections REALLY give him away. He has a lot of nerve calling himself “gay” and presenting himself, without disclosures, as the average gay man in the street.

http://www.marriagedebate.com/2008/04/whats-morally-wrong-with-whats-morally.htm

http://www.indegayforum.org/blog/show/31510.html

http://www.independentgayforum.com/blog/show/31514.html

I think it is criminal that his anti-gay marriage commentary has been carried in papers across the country identifying him as a gay activist who writes for many gay publications. The parsing of words in those statements to mislead readers is shameful.

Why do these people always have to be so sneaky? If their argument is so valid and true and if they are so religious and righteous then why do they always seem to resort to such underhanded tactics.

This man is clearly screwed up in the head and getting a real boner with all the attention he’s getting.

Timothy Kincaid
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

Why do these people always have to be so sneaky? If their argument is so valid and true and if they are so religious and righteous then why do they always seem to resort to such underhanded tactics.

I quite agree. I just want to ask the anti-gays: If God is on your side and if God is all powerful, why does he have to have you lie for him?

NG
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

That photo of you is that of Sean Kosofsky from the Triangle Foundation.
http://www.blogoqueer.com/
http://www.tri.org/about/kosofsky.html

Timothy Kincaid
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

OH jeez I am screwing up today. Yes, I’ll pull it down.

NG
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

A photo of David Benkof/Bianco can be found here:

http://www.sovo.com/2003/12-19/news/national/giveup.cfm

http://gaytoday.com/penpoints/010504pp.asp

Emily K
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

I think he might be the only gay on GaysDefendMarriage.com. At least, he’s the only listed author. I don’t get why it’s so important to him. This reminds me of those right wingers who use rabbi Daniel Lapin to back their conservative Christian causes when they need a Jew to say “see? they’re not so bad! I’m a Jew and I support this Christian guy!” But that situation usually amounts to theocratic prostitution.

Truthteller
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

Please clarify. In what way does Glenn “denounce” Benkof? Surely not by simply mentioning that he’s Jewish.

werdna
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Truthteller: you’re misreading what Timothy wrote. Glenn is denouncing Sean Kosofsky, not Benkof. Timothy is pointing out Glenn’s odd reference to Kosofsky as a “Jewish” columnist, when Benkof (who Glenn cites approvingly) is also Jewish. It would’ve been clearer if Timothy had mentioned Kosofsky by name.

I think it’s also worth noting the way Glenn transforms Kosofsky’s statement about being “slapped publicly” (he’s referring to the symbolic significance of damages in a libel suit) into “slapped around publicly.” He’s not just repeating Benkof’s quote, he’s embellishing it! It’s just another sad attempt to make pro-gay advocates seem threatening and violent, and another measure of the depths to which some self-righteous blowhards will stoop.

Jason D
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

“Why do these people always have to be so sneaky? If their argument is so valid and true and if they are so religious and righteous then why do they always seem to resort to such underhanded tactics.

I quite agree. I just want to ask the anti-gays: If God is on your side and if God is all powerful, why does he have to have you lie for him?”

Timothy, I couldn’t agree more! That’s why I know I’m on the right side. The opposition has to resort to lies, distortions, stereotypes, and misrepresentations.

Truthteller
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Werdna, you’re the one who’s misreading. The paragraph says that the columnist who “reported” Kosofsky’s comments is Jewish. Doesn’t say anything about Kosofsky being Jewish. In fact, it says “Jewish and openly bisexual.” Sean’s not bi.

Timothy Kincaid
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Truthteller,

You may be right.

The Story So Far… » Blog Archive » The Face Of The Hated…It Is Everyone’s
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

[…] Good catch by Timothy Kincaid over at Box Turtle Bulletin.  Gary Glenn, President of Michigan kavern of the American Family Association, waves the Homosexual Menace scarecrow over at Peter LaBarbra’s Americans For Truth.  Beware the gays!  Beware the Gays!  Beware the Gays!  Glenn is warning us about the Homosexual Menace.  Can you spot the problem with this passage about the Homosexual Menace…? […]

Bruce Garrett
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

The paragraph says that the columnist who “reported” Kosofsky’s comments is Jewish.

Why is the fact that either one of them is Jewish relevant? I mean…besides their being bisexual?

Bruce Garrett
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

…I think that including this irrelevant fact in Glenn’s opinion piece is peculiar.

I would say it’s telling. Can you imagine yourself pointing out the fact of someone’s ethnicity or race or gender in an article where there is no obvious relevance? But it was important to Glenn, and important in that offhanded kind of way that just says it all.

werdna
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Doh! As Timothy has already noted, Truthteller, you’re quite right that Benkof is the “Jewish and openly bisexual columnist” to whom Glenn is referring (but not denouncing) in his opening paragraph. I read Timothy’s quote and the original AFT press release but still didn’t notice that it wasn’t saying what I thought it was saying. The power of suggestion…

Truthteller
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Sean’s not Jewish, ethnically or religiously. Calls himself a “recovering” Catholic.

Truthteller
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

In his original post, Timothy provides a link to Jeremy at Good-As-You.com, where Jeremy thought it relevant, Bruce, to describe Benkof as follows:

“He’s not a clever satirist; he’s a conservative gay and Orthodox Jew who truly feels that marriage should remain one man, one woman.”

Obviously, it was important to Jeremy to mention that Benkof’s Jewish.

And important in that “telling” and offhanded kind of way that just says it all, right, Bruce?

Truthteller
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

And at the end of Jeremy’s post over at Good-As-You:

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2008/05/some-gays-are-d.html

Jeremy provides a link to a story about Benkof published by the LGBT newspaper Southern Voice in Atlanta, titled:

“Gay Jewish writer gives up sex with men”

Hmmm…you know how all those southerners are. If just mentioning that Benkof is Jewish is “telling” or “peculiar” or “says it all”…

Then maybe the folks at Good-As-You and SO VO are anti-Semitic too, ya think, Bruce?

Maybe you’d be more effective at smacking Glenn for what he did say if you weren’t distracted by being so anxious to smack him for something he didn’t say.

Bruce Garrett
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Then maybe the folks at Good-As-You and SO VO are anti-Semitic too, ya think, Bruce?

Ya know…the problem with including links in an accusation is that people might actually click on them. The post at Good As You brings up Benkof’s religion in the context of his being an orthodox Jew, which, I dunno, might somehow have some Bearing on his belief in marriage being restricted to opposite sex couples. Here’s how Good As You Put It:

he’s a conservative gay (and Orthodox Jew) who truly feels that marriage should remain one man, one woman.

But the fun part was the headline you cited was actually a link to a Southern Voice article, not something any of the folks at Good As You wrote. Pay attention much? I clicked on that link and…low and behold…the sub headline under the “Gay Jewish writer gives up sex with men” heading reads…

Benkof claims faith won’t allow same-sex relationships

…which, hey, call me an anti-semitic apologist but it Sure Looks To Me like the guy’s religion was relevant to the article in question. Maybe I’m missing some hidden meanings here. Maybe I wasn’t actually supposed to look at that link and see if you were right that someone was waving Benkof’s ethnicity around the way Glenn was waving it around. I’ve read Glenn’s article and I still don’t see the point in noting Benkof’s ethnicity, other then that’s just how Glenn’s kind naturally relate to people: by their labels. As opposed to…you know…the content of their character. He was using Benkof as a spring board to attack Sean Kosofsky and Michigan’s Triangle Foundation, not open up a discussion about how someone of an orthodox Jewish faith understands marriage.

And…in third person. It is very…weird…reading someone quoting themselves as though they’d interviewed themselves. But I suppose babbling fringe hatemongers don’t get interviewed all that much by anyone other then…well…other babbling fringe hatemongers, so you have make do with what you have.

“The Triangle Foundation openly admits homosexual activists’ intentions, once they gain sufficient political power, to impose their radical social agenda on America by brute force, trampling cherished American values such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, academic freedom, and even freedom of the press if it stands in their way,” Glenn said.

Well I reckon he got the quote right…

Bruce Garrett
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Right…sorry…Truthteller actually did say that “Gay Jewish writer gives up sex with men” headline was a Southern Voice headline not a Good As You One. So I’m not paying attention either I reckon. But given that he’s quoting that passage about Benkof being “a conservative gay (and Orthodox Jew) who truly feels that marriage should remain one man, one woman”, why not also include the sub headline in the SOVO article too, since it’s saying basically the same thing and makes the relevance plain?

And…actually I’m smacking Glenn for something he did And didn’t say. He said Benkof is Jewish. He didn’t say why that mattered. I think it’s telling. Well…maybe not as telling as his rant about how gay activists want to “…impose their radical social agenda on America by brute force, trampling cherished American values such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, academic freedom, and even freedom of the press if it stands in their way.” But as I averred, it’s those little off the cuff things that say the most about people.

Truthteller
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Bruce, given that you’re a mind reader, explain exactly how you know Glenn was referring to Benkof’s “ethnicity” and not his religion when he described him as “Jewish.”

Further, it appears the thing on LaBarbera’s website was lifted from a news release, in which — whoever wrote in Glenn’s shop wrote it — you write ‘em in third person, even if you’re quoting yourself.

Here’s a link to the original, and yes, when I post a link, I actually intend for you and anybody else who’s interested to click it:

http://www.afamichigan.org/2008/05/21/news-triangle-foundation-newspapers-should-get-sued-and-slapped-business-owners-go-to-jail/

David Benkof
May 23rd, 2008 | LINK

I fail to see any evidence that I am lying, for G-d or anyone else. I use both “gay” and “bisexual” as labels because I don’t think either one is a perfect descriptor of my sexuality. I’d use “queer” if I didn’t know it would cause people who don’t know me to think I was using an antigay epithet.

Emily K says I’m the only gay on the site. Well, the site is less than a week old and so far there are two LGBT people defending marriage: me and “Mark” – a partnered gay Christian who opposes redefining marriage. Mark is actually considerably more conservative than I am. The “other voices” page lists dozens of LGBT people who oppose the prioritzation of same-sex marriage over other measures to help gays and lesbians. Among them are some very prominent LGBT names like Armistead Maupin, Chai Feldblum, Kerry Lobel, and Nadine Smith.

Emily K
May 23rd, 2008 | LINK

They all oppose same sex marriage? Or they just want other things to come before it, but want same-sex marriage to eventually be legal? I want my benefits, as a gay person, to be equal. But at least I’m not being forced to wear a black patch or being threatened with decapitation.

David Benkof
May 28th, 2008 | LINK

Emily-

They all oppose the same-sex marriage push by LGBT leaders. They all think, as I do, that it makes no sense to extend rights to same-sex couples in conjugal relationships that the government denies to same-sex pairs in non-conjugal relationships. They would like to see more laws, as would I, like the benefits law in Salt Lake City that allow people to designate any one person to get certain rights and benefits, whethery they’re in an erotic relationship with that person or not. They think that privileging the marriage relationship over the many, many kinds of families present in the LGBT community and the wider society is wrong.

Timothy Kincaid
May 28th, 2008 | LINK

David,

Your site claims to be “A website for LGBT folks who support marriage as the union of husband and wife—and getting the gay leadership to return to more pressing LGBT issues for our community.”

While some individuals have questioned the priorities of our community and some have challenged the idea that marriage be the gold standard of relationships, I find it very unlikely that ANY of the well known persons whom you claim support your cause actually do “support marriage as the union of husband and wife”.

Jason D
May 29th, 2008 | LINK

“They all think, as I do, that it makes no sense to extend rights to same-sex couples in conjugal relationships that the government denies to same-sex pairs in non-conjugal relationships.”

That makes no sense. The government doesn’t check up on couples to see whether or not they are “conjugal” or not. Any opposite sex couple can get married and never have conjugal relations. An extension of rights to any couple, regardless of sex, wouldn’t be predicated on who’s having sex and who isn’t.

I fail to see why same sex pairs in non-conjugal relationships (neighbors? racquetball buddies?) would even be interested in having their partnership recognized…but regardless, there’s nothing in anything that any gay rights group is working towards that mandates the relationship be conjugal.

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