The following short piece, authored by Claire Molinard, is an update to her two articles on Wikipedia distortion and particularly the distortions on Marc Gafni’s Wikipedia page.
Here are the links to the two important original articles.
Read “How Wikipedia is used for Internet Abuse – Part 1” on Patheos.
Read “How Wikipedia is used for Internet Abuse – Part 2” on Patheos.
The first article cites the extensive literature documenting how personal wiki-pages are often hijacked and become platforms for some of the most vicious expressions of misinformation, slander and distortion. The second article turns to Dr. Marc Gafni’s Wikipedia page to illustrate some of these issues. This third article will briefly list just a fraction of the false facts, distortions and misinformation on the current Marc Gafni wiki-page.
How Wikipedia is used for Internet Abuse – Part 3
May 20, 2021 by Claire Molinard
- Dr. Gafni has never been associated with the New Age Movement, as Wiki suggests. Marc Gafni is not a New Age Spiritual teacher, he is the co-president and senior scholar, together with Dr. Zachary Stein, in a leading Think Tank, which he co-founded with Sally Kempton, Mariana Caplan and Ken Wilber, called the Center for Integral Wisdom. He similarly serves as the executive Director and senior scholar at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. He took this position at the request of Barbara Marx Hubbard, the original founder of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. Dr. Gafni also serves as the co-founder, together with Barbara Marx Hubbard, and current Director of the Office for the Future.
- The first paragraph of Wiki suggests that Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the leader of the Jewish Renewal Movement, revoked Dr. Gafni’s ordination in 2006. In that Gafni was banned from teaching at Jewish Renewal events. Here is the more accurate information: the false claims of sexual harassment made against Dr. Gafni in 2006, were organized and later supported by key figures within, and closely associated with, the Jewish Renewal Movement. Those figures include David Ingber, the only student that Dr. Gafni had expelled from his circle. David was originally ordained by Dr. Gafni. Dr. Gafni revoked that ordination, based on grossly, unethical conduct on David’s part.
- Dr. Gafni’s was never a student of Zalman’s, he never studied with him, rather he was a peer and for a short time a colleague. Given that Zalman’s theatrical statement that he was revoking Gafni’s ordination, was just that: political theatrics with no substance.
- Zalman’s personal funding was directly connected with sources directly involved, or close friends with those directly involved, in supporting the false claims in 2006.
- When the false claims were made in 2006, Zalman never contacted Gafni to ascertain the facts. Gafni attempted to contact Zalman multiple times. Zalman however was politically constrained and fearful and afraid to do the right thing by actually checking facts in a fair and appropriate way. Days before Zalman died he expressed remorse to a close confidante of this for how he had handled all of this.
- Similarly the Jewish Renewal Movement, a small group of Zalman’s students never contacted Gafni or ascertained facts in any way.
- It’s also well known and documented in any number of sources that Gafni was a highly beloved teacher in Zalman’s Jewish Renewal Movement, and second only to Zalman in the amount of students and the depth of their commitment. This caused enormous tension between Zalman and Gafni, particularly as Gafni was not Zalman’s student and would have taken the Jewish Renewal Movement in different directions.
- In terms of the statements on Wikipedia suggesting that Rabbi Riskin revoked Gafni’s ordination 1994, the following information is relevant.
1. Gafni held three rabbinic ordinations of which the ordination from Rabbi Riskin was only one. Rabbi Gafni is presently fully ordained even though he does not actively function in a formal rabbinic capacity but instead leads the activist think tank, Center for Integral Wisdom which he co-founded with Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton, and Marianna Kaplan.
2. In 2004 Gafni wrote Riskin and suggested that their paths on a number of levels had split so significantly, that he felt it was inappropriate for him to retain Riskin’s ordination, which he respectfully returned. Gafni is unaware, nor has he ever been informed of any fair process in which his ordination from Riskin was revoked. Gafni has not had any contact with Riskin for decades and certainly no fact-checking conversations have ever happened, which would allow for the evidentiary refutation of the false claims made on the internet and other media forums, which themselves did no fact-checking whatsoever.
- The second part of Wiki’s opening paragraph talks about the story of Sara Kabakov. Sara’s false claims have been extensively refuted on multiple occasions by Dr.Gafni over the last two decades. The following two articles, one by Gafni and two by third parties, detail those evidentiary refutations.
My earlier articles address two issues. The first one addresses the many serious problems with Wikipedia, which causes its pages dealing with living public figures to be notorious forums for slander and misinformation. The second article dealt with many of the distortions on the Wiki page, as they appeared in 2016. In this short writing, I just want to add a couple of particularly glaring distortions, wrong facts and omissions that have been added since that time.
- First it’s worth noting that all of the persons involved in the “sexual harassment”, are socially linked to each other quite closely, they are all in regular contact and act as one voice in a kind of communally enforced group think. For more information on how this dynamic came about, please see Dr. Clint Fuhs article “Anatomy of a Smear: the internet trial of Marc Gafni” in this regard.
- There are so many false statements in the allegation section that it is easier to read Fuhs’ article, or any of the articles above which substantially refute both the individual claims and the entire picture painted by the biased “volunteer Wiki editors”.
- This is but one small example of the distortions that are rife on the page. Dr. Gafni appeared in the Dr. Phil show, in order to refute false claims that have been made on the internet and in other online forums. No one else appeared on the show other than Gafni. There was a video clip of Judy Mitzner speaking, to which Gafni responded by saying that her claims were categorically false. On Wikipedia however it would appear that Dr. Phil did a show with Judy in which Gafni “also appeared.” But this did not happen.
- I will cite one more example. The page claims that in 2011 there were “new allegations of sexual misconduct”. One would infer from that, some sort of repeated harassment pattern on Gafni’s part. But this is not at all the case. Two women who Gafni went out with were both contacted and significantly influenced, and even manipulated by the organizers of the false claims of 2006. In one case the organizers contacted the woman’s employer and, as the woman herself said to Gafni, she felt her job was in danger if she did not align with his detractors. In fact no sexual misconduct claims were lodged anywhere. Gafni said then that he would be glad to meet with the two women and refute, via extant email records between himself and them, any claim that there was anything other than standard, appropriate, mutual relationship exchanges. It should be noted that both women were in their forties at the time and each affirmed the absolute mutuality of the relationship. That confirmation is supported by extensive email records. None of this information appears on the Wiki page, or in the source article that the Wiki page cites to claim that there were “new sexual misconduct allegations in 2011.” The writer of the source article, did not bother to do any fact-checking. Instead he relied on unverified internet posts.