[b-hebrew] Goodbye

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jul 20 19:57:04 EDT 2010

Dear All,

Speaking only for myself, I am very sorry to see Yitzhak go. He has been a
valued member of this list for a long time. However, I decided not to even
try to convince him not to, because, while I think that he is over-reacting
and taking things personally where no personal offence is meant, I can
sympathize with his feelings. And even more that I am sorry to see him go, I
am sorry that the atmosphere on this list has become so charged that members
are uncomfortable with it. I, together with my co-moderators, have been
trying to walk the fine line between over-moderation and total freedom of
expression, leaning, when in doubt, towards freedom of expression. The fact
that some members have abused this freedom saddens me more than anything

Yigal Levin

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Yitzhak Sapir
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 7:10 PM
To: B-Hebrew
Subject: [b-hebrew] Goodbye

Dear All,

A few days ago a list member identified viewpoints with which I agree
as mythology.  This offensive remark and caricature of my viewpoints
met no rebuke from the moderators even when he repeated it and
even when he admitted it was deliberate.  Indeed, his message
could have remained just as clear without the word "mythology" or
even without a discussion of opposing viewpoints.  It even seems
to me he went out of his way to discuss the opposing viewpoints
simply so he could have a chance to label them "mythology."  The
moderators did choose to respond when I objected.  According to the
moderators' logic, by claiming he was creating a hostile environment
when calling opposing viewpoints "mythology", I was guilty of an
uncalled for personal attack.

The hostile environment to "liberal" viewpoints is so strong that just
over a week or so ago, I received an off-list response to the
"Jerusalem" thread because as the author himself said, he did not
want this same list member (and others) to divert the discussion
(his message contained a discussion of controversial topics like
standard linguistics and phonology).  I have been careful not to label
any list members' viewpoints as myth, even in such a thread as
"ANE Myth and Torah."  I feel such depictions are not only offensive
to the people who hold them but they have the potential to inhibit
and "censor" responses by those who feel their viewpoints are not

I don't know why I am expected to take such depictions of my
viewpoints quietly, or why the moderators feel that I'm not allowed
to object and that objecting is a personal attack. I have given myself
time to rethink it over, to consider the alternatives.  But I truly feel so
unwelcome in this situation, so this is goodbye.

In spite of it all, let us remember.
על זה היה דוה לבנו, על אלה חשכו עינינו על הר ציון ששמם, שועלים הלכו בו
"For it is this that our heart weeps, of these our eyes are dark, For
the Mount of Zion that is desolate, Of the foxes that walk upon it."

Yitzhak Sapir
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