Stephen Steinlight Interview II

Part One

Luke: "I’d like to toss a moral issue to you from out of left field just to hear the way you think a moral issue through. What interest, if any, does our society have in channeling the way people express themselves sexually and consensually? I’m only talking about adults."

Stephen: "In matters like gay marriage?"

Luke: "That would be one example."

Stephen: "I’m very torn about that. I don’t really have an answer for you. I have two dear friends of mine, women, who married a year ago. I’m enormously fond of both of them. They’ve been in a committed relationship for 30 years. In terms of fidelity and decency, they’ve shown at least as much as you would expect to find in the best marriages between men and women, probably a lot more than in most cases. I see no harm in that.

"I have wrestled with this. My father was pretty homophobic. I’m 60. I grew up in a country that was pretty homophobic. I was used to calling people faggots and all the rest of it. I had to be slowly educated out of my homegrown suburban homophobia.

"There’s a part of me that says that if there is a God, God creates people as they are. Obviously no one becomes a homosexual. People are born that way. Anyone who believes that you can be taught to be homosexual is an idiot. If that person is decent and upright, why should that person be denied the right to enter an institution like marriage?

"There’s a wonderful New Yorker cartoon of a husband and wife sitting on a couch. It goes gay marriage approved. He says to his wife, ‘You’d think those people had suffered enough.’

"I’m divorced. I was married for 22 years.

"Part of me has to say to you that there’s something lesser about it. There’s part of me that believes that creating children is one of the primary reasons people marry. When people marry and don’t have children, I’m always a little puzzled. I’ve always wanted to have children and I was delighted that both of my daughters are heterosexual. One is married. She’s 29. One is 23 and has been living with her boyfriend. All the signs are that there’s a shidduch there, and I will be very happy. In both cases the young men are Jewish. That matters to me.

"I was around when AIDS went through the ceiling. There was something I found dreadful about promiscuous male, particularly gay male, activity that was rife at that time. It struck me as a desecration of the basic dignity of the human being to let oneself be used in that way and to use other people in that way.

"I remember that the only time I really spoke to my daughters about sex was when they were around 13. I said to them, I am not going to give you an anti-sex lecture. That sex is a nice part of life. There’s no hurry to do it. It’s not something that should be rushed into. The longer you put it off, the better. The main thing is that you should never do anything that you feel degrades you. That nothing takes place that makes you feel like your humanity is in any way compromised, that your personhood is not offended. I didn’t know what else to say without sounding hypocritical."

Luke: "You would never say when coming to your position on immigration, I know these two lovely people who are illegal immigrants…"

Stephen: "I know a lot of lovely people…"

Luke: "I know. We both know a lot of lovely people who are here illegally. That would never influence your position on immigration for America."

"Where do you find the most reasoned discourse in your area of specialty?"

Stephen: "In my own thinking."

"The general coverage of this subject is appalling. I wrote a long essay analyzing coverage of immigration as a literary genre… The mainstream media is on the other side… There’s a monolithic mindset. Of all the aspects of the politically correct mindset, this seems to be the holy of holies. If you think of the crazy hysterical editorials that the New York Times runs. ‘Hazelton Against Humanity’. You’d think the town were engaged in the Final Solution. ‘The Nativists Are Restless.’ All the newspapers of record are vociferously our opponents — the Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times. Every news story is a stealth editorial. Every editorial is a crazed jeremiad.

"If comprehensive immigration reform were ever to pass, Heaven help us, it would have the most enduring and palpable impact on this country of any piece of legislation since the Emancipation proclamation. The heart of that legislation is not amnesty. That’s a weapon of mass distraction. The heart of that is doubling legal immigration. Given the way the system works, the engine of extended family reunification, chain immigration, it will mean 60 million to 100 million more Mexicans here in 20 years.

"The Census Bureau asked CIS to do a projection based on all the models we have now for population growth, mortality rates, where we would be given the current population in 2060. We came up with a 56% increase in population. We’d be half a billion. We’d be 167 million more people, 103 million of them immigrants, that’s the equivalent of 13 cities the size of New York.

"Not a single newspaper of record, not public radio, not PBS, has ever unpacked or written a story about what’s in the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The fact is they don’t want the American people to know. What the American people do know about the bill they hate. They hate amnesty. They reject it every single time. It was the American people who defeated comprehensive immigration reform on June 28, 2007.

"What you do get are sob stories about nativists being unkind or tragic stories about a family being separated as a result of a raid by ICE. I would make the moral argument that if it were not for those ICE raids at, for example, Agriprocessors or the one in New Bedford, Massachusetts, nobody would know of the hideous conditions of exploitation that this is all about. This is all about cheap labor."

"Now you get Nancy Pelosi saying that ICE raids are anti-American. Since when? I grew up watching Eliot Ness. I thought federal agents knocking a door in with an axe was really cool and coming in with tommy guns.

"You get the FOX attempt to answer it but most of those people are pretty stupid. The one person who is pretty good is Lou Dobbs. He’s probably the best we’ve got out there. Every once in a while, you get a pretty good piece in the Times. Paul Krugman has made the case that we can’t afford this immigration and in 20 years Social Security would be bankrupt. Nicholas Kristoff, the Times’ resident humanitarian, has made the same argument. This is compassion we can’t afford. Mickey Kaus on Slate. It’s hard to find people who will speak out on this. The taboo for being on the wrong side is that people won’t invite you to their next party."

Luke: "It seems to me that the primary reason for the near unanimity opinion on this issue is that elites are so conditioned that anything that has the slightest smack of racism is to be fled from and abjured."

Peter: "Yes. Also, they’re post-Americans. That is the great dividing line between people who take my side, we believe in the rule of law, we believe in legal immigration, in something like the Canadian point system, something more meritocratic, but a lot of folks in the elite…they tend to think of themselves as multilateralists, universalists. They regard the nation-state as old fashioned and done with. I don’t think they see themselves as American. One’s fundamental sense of civic identity, how one sees oneself in relation to the polity, is the driving force in this debate.

"I am an American. My first identity is as an American. My primary identity is as an American. My first concern is the well being of my fellow citizens. That is not to say that I don’t believe in human rights. I worked as the executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Group. I was involved in issues in Chad and the Sudan. It doesn’t mean I am not concerned about Israel. My moral sense doesn’t stop at the border but I believe that one’s ethics begin at home.

"I fail to understand why Gideon Aronoff at HIAS is so particularly concerned about the fate of illegal Mexicans who have crossed our border rather than the impoverished or or unemployed or working poor in this country whose jobs are being threatened by them.

"Immigration is a zero-sum game. You have to pick sides. For me, it is simple. I pick first my countrymen. I think that those on the other side don’t care. Or it goes much more the other way, that there is an animus against this country. Their over-sympathizing with Mexicans or Central Americans is an expression of their disdain for America even though that disdain is impacting the least among us."

Luke: "Where do you think happy Americans come out on the immigration issue?"

Stephen: "I think they’re with me."

"Even people who feel aggrievement because there is no group in this country more opposed to immigration than blacks, because it is killing them. Zogby did a poll for CIS that found that 77% of hispanics do not want the immigration of any more unskilled labor. That is to say, any more of their own. It threatens their own very tenuous hold on the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.

"Those people who fall over backwards to want to be loved by people of color, by Muslims, by anyone who’s skin tone is darker, who feel fundamentally ashamed to be Americans, who feel we need to apologize for who we are, whether it is because we’re white or because we belong to this culture, those people are all in favor of this because it is some kind of justifiable retribution.

"God spare us all from tikkun olam Jews. The rural white poor in this country, they despise. They no longer particularly like blacks because their self-loathing love was not requited. Right now they think they can patronize hispanics. I’ve got news for them — it ain’t going to be for long.

"I wish they’d stop and think for a minute. Their support of this particular group, someone else is paying the price. You’re not. You’re probably college educated and have a decent job, and if not, mommy and daddy is going to take care of you. But what about folks who work for a living and have no expectations of inherited wealth? Those people are being slaughtered.

"What they are always soliciting is the approval of the other, of the foreign. They see themselves as borderless humanists, the last group of people in the world I would trust to do anything. Why is it that their passion always increases in direct proportion to the distance between themselves and where the tragedy is taking place? If I were to fall down in the street and smash my head, they would walk over me. It’s the kind of Jews who can’t stand to be loyal to other Jews. They’ve got to be more supportive of Palestinians than anyone else, more understanding of Muslim grievance.

"How is Muslim grievance? They’re crazy because they’re Muslim. It’s not for any other reason. They’ve always been crazy.

"Jews are disproportionately involved in every kind of insanity."

"Certainly the foundation culture has encouraged this kind of multi-cultural disdain for the dominant culture… It’s no surprise that virtually every organization in the National Immigration Forum, including the Forum itself, is a creature of the Ford Foundation, an elitist left-oriented foundation."

Luke: "What, if anything, has surprised you in this attempt to silence you?"

Stephen: "A lot of things have surprised me and been extraordinarily painful and disappointing. It reveals something deplorable in the heart of the Jewish establishment. That someone could come out and conduct a surreptitious poison-pen campaign based on lies supplied by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a whole tapestry woven together of quarter-truths and happenstance, to describe me as a white supremacist. Where was David Harris of the American Jewish Committee where I worked for eight years? Why didn’t he stand up and say, ‘That’s outrageous! I’ve known this man. This guy has stood against bias and bigotry and racism all of his life.’ Where were the voices of outrage in the Jewish community? They’ve run along like sheep.

"Hadassah cut off a speaking engagement. Now my guess is that I will never be allowed to go there or if I do go, it will only be to debate some idiot from the JCRC and I’ll make fools of them.

"There are hundreds of Jewish newspapers in this country but almost none of them reacted. If I were an editor and I got a letter telling me who I could publish and who I couldn’t publish, I would tell the person to go f— themselves.

"I had about four or five editors get in touch with me. This wonderful guy named Seth Mandel who publishes two papers in Jersey got in touch with me. He was by far the best. He’s also Orthodox and conservative. He turns out to be a relative. His grandmother and my mother are first cousins.

"I was tremendously disappointed that nobody in the establishment who matters stood up and said, ‘In the Jewish community, we do not indulge in this kind of character assassination, this kind of McCarthyism. If you want to debate ideas, go out and debate them.’

"Gideon Aronoff can’t debate an idea because he can’t write a sentence and he can’t speak a sentence. He’s hopeless. He’s an idiot. I’ve made mincemeat of him before congressional committees on one occasion and I’ve made mincemeat of him on other occasions. He’s a horse’s ass. I’m sure he dislikes me intensely. But you don’t do what he did.

"I only now understand why bearing false witness against one’s neighbor belongs in the Ten Commandments and how important it is and how ugly and horrendous it is when one is victimized by false witness.

"That no one spoke out is a source of enormous pain and anger on my part.

"I made an appointment with the number one apparatchik in the Jewish world who knows me quite well, Malcolm Hoenlein. He’s the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the most important sounding organization in the world.

"One thing that happens when you work in American Jewish organizations is that it really destroys your language. After working at the American Jewish Committee for a few years, I realized that I couldn’t describe anything that I was doing or planning if there was a noun in it without the adjective ‘major’ in front of it. I realized that my English started improving after I left.

"I’m going to say, ‘Malcolm, I want you to say something. This is bearing false witness and this has no place in our community.’

"This happens. Ten days go by and now we have the Department of Homeland Security using the Southern Poverty Law Center again to start identifying conservatives by belief as potential terrorists. I see what is going on at Homeland Security as a tremendous threat to liberty in our country. Hold your breath waiting for any Jewish organization to speak out against it. They have lost any sense of right and wrong. It’s just what is politically correct. If some left-wing organization’s ox was gored, they’d all be bellowing, but they’re not going to go to bat for people over federalism or Second Amendment rights or immigration or people who are opponents of abortion.

"The notion about single issue people [are potential terrorists]. It’s such horses—. People may have a strong set of convictions about an issue, but I’m interested in lots of issues. I know people who are Second Amendment people who are interested in lots of issues. I don’t know anyone who only spends his time thinking about abortion.

"What’s happened here is that the entire conservative side of the cultural divide has been demonized as potential extremist terrorists, leaving aside the atrocious insult to veterans coming back., while you can’t find euphenisms soft enough to describe Islamic terrorism. Man-made disasters? I agree that Islam is a man-made disaster. They can’t come up with euphemisms preposterous enough to describe the real danger but these chimerical dangers that are really all about politics…

"It’s interesting that this is happening at the time that Obama has said he is going to bring back comprehensive immigration reform. It’s all about stigmatizing opponents as bigots, racists and potential terrorists. This is really dangerous stuff.

"I believe that what has happened with CIS and HIAS and the SPLC, is that we were the miner’s canary. What’s happening with the DHS is this story writ large in a much more dangerous way. I’ve had people get in touch with me and say, ‘Purge your emails. Watch what you email people.’

"My sister sent me an email: ‘Steve, we really think you should be careful.’ I emailed back: ‘Of course. Don’t worry. I’m always careful.’ Then at the bottom in gigantic gothic letters, I wrote, ‘Heil Hitler!’ I’ve been sending letters to myself, ‘To Osama Bin Laden from Adolph Hitler.’

"I just like pushing their buttons.

"I’m thinking that one day a group of FBI agents will come to CIS and want to go through our files.

"When I talk about illegal immigration and say this is a wholesale violation of the rule of law, Jews ought to understand that societies that become lawless are not good places for Jews. When civil society crumbles and anarchy results, we end up on the receiving end."

"I’ve called JTA ‘Pravda for the Jewish establishment,’ but they wrote a fair story."

"Are you familiar with George Borjas? He’s of Cuban origin. He’s at the Kennedy school at Harvard. He has a chair in economics. Even the Wall Street Journal, which doesn’t agree with us about anything, calls him the number one immigration economist in the country. He’s done a lot of stuff on the impact of immigration on African-Americans. He has a blog. He talks about the CIS smear.

"The vice-president of HIAS is this woman Roberta Elliott Wantman. She’s on the board of JTA. That was one of the things that got me nervous. Having acknowledged that these accusations were false, she repeated, we feel that people have a right to know where people are coming from and what their organizations represent. The implication is that I represent racism.

"Sorry mam. I represent the belief that we need secure borders. That we need the rule of law. That immigration should be legal. I want to protect working Americans from unfair competition. I don’t believe in racism or any of the s— you attribute to me. You can’t argue any of these points with me and win, so instead you smear me.

"I don’t think there’s anything more to it than that. Gideon Aronoff? Have you read anything he’s written? He’s hopeless. Just for your own amusement, you might want to read a piece he wrote called ‘Postville, A Clarion Call.’"

Stephen Steinlight wrote September 9, 2008:

Published early in the unfolding scandal – presumably to be an authoritative and reassuring expression of Jewish ethics – was Gideon Aronoff’s “Postville: a clarion call.” The op-ed is so far from “clarion” that it would charitable to title it “Uncertain Trumpet.” It more closely approximates a cacophony of unrelated and frequently contradictory points: characterizing them as comprising anything resembling argumentation would be an act of generosity, and the equivocating Aronoff doesn’t deserve any. He piles up clichés and tosses in snippets of potted “history,” hoping against hope they add up to something. No such luck. He derived no benefit from getting his licks in first – au contraire. As revelations have unfolded, his piece appears even more disconnected from reality, if not simply ludicrous. With the indictments of September 9, he looks like an imbecile.

To be fair, not all his sins are merely personal. He’s an apparatchik in the American-Jewish Establishment whose wall-to-wall position on immigration policy is thoroughly dishonest. Jewish agencies pretend to believe immigration should be legal (such language remains in their official policy statements) but in fact they support open borders, amnesty and, “comprehensive immigration reform.” This shift occurred within the last decade. Establishment agencies once distinguished between support for “generous legal immigration” as opposed to “illegal immigration.” They made this case to deaf ears in the National Immigration Forum, the leading national lobby for higher immigration. When the National Immigration Forum, a bastion of Balkanizing identity politics and Post-Americanism, erased that line, Jewish member organizations abjectly surrendered. They should have shown principle and quit the coalition, but they practiced casuistry upon themselves and remained. But even by the ethically challenged standards of this monolithic, transparently self-deluded position, Aronoff’s piece is shocking.

Stephen: "It was word salad. He ended up endorsing Rubashkin’s pay scale. The guy got so turned around in his argument… If I was still teaching English, I’d use it as an example of really bad argument.

"I wrote a blog post about his piece and I am sure he has hated me from that day forward.

"HIAS — the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society — is Jewish in name only. Basically it is involved in immigration and supporting illegal immigrants. It has no particular Jewish focus.

"We were testifying to a Congressional panel bringing faith perspectives. It was one of those typically unbalanced (nine witnesses on their side and only two on ours, Jim Edwards and me)…under John Conyers, who’s basically senile, and Zoe Lofgren, who’s got an IQ of 60, and Luis Gutierrez, who’s absolutely monstrous. One of the worst things you can ever do is testify before Congress. Afterwards, John Keeley, my best friend at CIS at the time, and I went to Dubliners and I immediately had four Guinesses. He said, ‘I know how you are feeling, Steve. You think monarchy would be better. You think anarchy would be better.’

"Aronoff ended up quoting Leviticus 19:33: ‘You shall love the stranger.’ I did some rabbinics. What’s really being said here? What’s the translation? What else does the Torah say? That wasn’t a charter of independence for people dwelling among them. One law for everybody. You better conform to our laws. If you put up idols, we will stone you. If you want to become one of us, you have to undergo circumsicion. It’s saying that if you dwell among us, you have to obey our laws.

"What could be more difficult than what you are proposing? We will allow you to remain even though you entered illegally, even though you’ve committed no end of crimes to remain here and we will reward you for it. That is not in the spirit of Leviticus."

"There was a really disgusting moment at the end when we watched a cardinal and a member of the National Council of La Raza and someone from a meat packing company go out the door together for lunch."

Luke: "All the mainstream religion elites seem completely on board."

Stephen: "Big religion is completely on the other side. For the Catholics, it is very clear where they are coming from. This is their big chance. They will become a majority religion in this country essentially overnight. American Catholics have become obstreperous. They don’t like priests fondling their children. They believe in married priests. They’re not very good about a lot of the dogma. They’re very independent and very American and a lot of them have voted with their feet and left. And now those pews will be filled, with women admittedly. The divide in observancy among hispanics is gender based. The men don’t go to church, the women do, but there are gazillions of them. For the church, this is quite simply a power grab."

"If we were to identify four or five of the most politically correct groups in this country who are celebrating diversity all of the time… Why are they always celebrating it? Why don’t they do something else with it? Wanting to be loved by the Third World and feeling that the Palestinians have suffered the most in immigrant history… That’s the group. Clergy. They’re among the worst. These are a bunch of ignorant, narcissistic, self-righteous people who feel like they are answering a higher calling.

"I’ve had some very dark moments over the past couple of weeks. I’ve held up pretty well because I’ve got good friends, but it’s been tough. It’s not nice being called a racist, a bigot, and a white supremacist, particularly finding nobody who’s willing to risk anything to show any kind of civic courage to stand up and say this is horrible."

"Do you know Roy Beck? He’s head of Numbers USA. He is a fantastic human being. You know how it is when you meet certain people and they have light coming off them? He’s an enormously decent, ethical, kind, good guy. He wrote me an email at 3 am and he talked about growing up in the Ozarks. His great wish was to have some cause he really believed in and to do something. He said, I should have also prayed for good publicity.

"One of the most painful things for me, he said, is that I am a religious man and in the Methodist church, I am held up as an example of a Methodist gone bad. It’s excruciating for me.

"Roy said in his letter that there is a reason why bearing false witness is in the Ten Commandments. He made a point of buying houses in mixed neighborhoods and sending his kids to bussed schools to show his genuine commitment to integration and to commity between the races.

"He said, don’t descend to their level. We’re on the right side of the issue. We should keep our own ethics clean. Right now you are in the pit being beaten and it will last for a certain amount of time. Eventually our movement will get bigger and their ability to do this as long as they do this will be lessened."

Luke: "How did we get to the point where the slightest hint of a consideration of race ends all discussion? That seems to me to be the crux of why all elite opinion is against you."

Stephen: "It’s been good business…for people who’ve played this card."

"When people are hollow to the core, it is easier to get to them. There are a lot of hollow people. If they are hollow, then they are easily guilt-tripped. This stuff does pay off beautifully for the ones who are able to work it. You can work the system when you have enough hollow men out there. We’re full of hollow men, people who will not stand up and say anything.

"I’m not like that. If someone shoves me, I shove back. If I am on the subway and a 6′ black man shoves me, I shove him back and say, ‘F— you, buddy. I will not put up with it.’ I don’t give people of color a pass, anymore than I would give any other rude person a pass… I have a belligerent nature. I don’t put up with s—. I don’t care where it is coming from. I am an equal opportunity belligerent guy."

"The one time I spoke at a Reconstructionist synagogue was in Maryland. Of course there was a woman lesbian rabbi. She obviously didn’t like me because I’m sort of a guy’s guy. She was interrupting me all the time. I finally said, ‘Will you please shut up? If you want to say something, say it afterward.’"

"Then we were sitting outside. She just looked daggers at me. If she could’ve killed me, she would’ve done it.

[Stephen emails me after the interview: “Luke:

I need to make a correction. The woman rabbi that showed very considerable hostility to me and was more extreme in her political correctness than any other I’ve encountered turns out to be a Conservative Rabbi and also a married one with a child.

I don’t wish to use a name.”]

"I don’t know how we got into this discussion of the Founding Fathers. I said something like, they were all children of their time. Some owned slaves. I don’t think there’s any country blessed by a more spectacular group of people, guided by 18th Century principles, some of which are a bit thin, as a set of beliefs that guided people in the right direction, they were very good.

"Then the rabbi turned on me with fury and this young woman 14 years old sitting next to me began to cry and I was told how horrible I was because she was a Native American. And these people had annihilated her people and how dare I speak in defense of George Washington?

"This was Monty Python material. This was Family Man material. If I wrote this as a skit, if I did this as stand-up, no one would believe it.

"When I said, I’m really really sorry. I’m really bummed out about what happened to the Native Americans, I’m sorry that you are so upset, but I am not going to back away from saying that George Washington was a great man, the rabbi walked away, the girl burst into tears again and she and her friends all ran away.

"I was left waiting for two hours until the car service came and took me out of there."

"If the rabbi could’ve gotten away with it, if she had a Saturday Night Special with tape on, she would’ve blown my brains out. She really really hated me. She saw me as the most loathsome enemy she could’ve ever imagined."

Luke: "How much do you blame the Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative seminaries for the idiot rabbis you encounter?"

Stephen: "They have to be responsible. I was a professor. I believe that good teaching makes a difference. That you can take a student and do some marvellous things with that student. You can expose people to different ways of knowing and thinking and debate. You make them literate. I’ve changed peoples lives as a professor. I know how much good it can do, so I don’t doubt for a minute how much bad teaching can do. My guess is, and this is pure conjecture, I know nothing about the seminaries, my conjecture has to be that they must be doing a tremendous disservice to their students if they are turning out crop after crop after crop of people who unbelievable arrogance and who are this narcissistic and this sure of themselves and have a decided left-wing, multiculturalist, politically correct orientation. It seems to me that it is the job of universities to break people free out of dogmas and challenge them so that they don’t emerge thinking that they know everything.

"My guess is that [those in the Reform and Reconstructionist seminaries] are taught similar orientations and given unending courses on Jewish teachings on social justice, which is basically about being a liberal Democrat.

"A lot of the time when I go to speak to a congregation, I’ll wear an old Adlai Stevenson button. Someone will say, why are you wearing that button? I say, when I was growing up, that’s who all the Jews around me thought that’s who God was — a celestial version of Adlai Stevenson. That’s who they were worshipping. It’s like the Democratic party at prayer. It is a set of beliefs that are never to be challenged and to even raise a question about them is to show oneself to be monstrous. These institutions must be reinforcing this in a severe way or there is no other way to account for it. They all go to them and they all seem to emerge with views that are identical so the institutions are failing to turn out people who can think for themselves and who are willing to entertain opposing ideas and learn from them."

"When I was called by JTA journalist Eric Fingerhut, this was when I first found out about this horrible stuff, and he says, ‘Are you aware of the charges raised against you by Gideon Aronoff of HIAS and do you have anything to say in your defense?’

"I said, what’s your name? Fingerhut? Back up, buddy. Start again. I am not on trial. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Aronoff are not the prosecuting attorneys. I haven’t committed any crime. You’re not the judge. So now start again. What’s their beef? I’ll respond, but don’t put me in the docket.

"The problem with dealing with Jewish organizations and the Jewish press is that they are all on the other side."

Luke: "What are the chances Gideon Aronoff wins this battle with you?"

Stephen: "No. He’s picked the wrong person. I am not going to go away. I’ve gotten speaking invitations as a result of this."

"I’d love to start speaking to some Orthodox groups."

"You don’t want to be thinking about your bubbe and zede’s immigration. You want to be thinking about how immigration is going to affect your grandchildren."

"I like going to places that are hostile and I end up converting people. That’s why Aronoff wants to shut me up."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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