Rabbi Elliot Dorff, ethicist and rector of the American Jewish University, reminds us that under Jewish law, “We certainly may dislike particular people and/or what they say or do, but that does not give us warrant to malign them. Jewish law prohibits defaming them, even when one’s negative comments are based on what the person actually said or did. This is called motzi shem ra, spreading a negative reputation about someone” (Shabbat Tazria- Metzora, April 21, 2018).
Catching up on my reading, I learned that Frank Luntz has been scheduled to speak in Baltimore on May 8 (“Maryland Goes Big for Israel’s 70th,” April 13), on no less than the occasion of Israel’s 70th birthday.
Luntz has made a lucrative career of weaponizing language for divisive and wholly partisan political purposes. Hands down, his hatchet-job professional work is the epitome of motzi shem ra. His appearance, under the illustrious auspices of The Associated and the Baltimore Jewish Council, proves that ours has become a culture of vulgar and degraded standards.