February 5, 2007, Feast of St. Agatha
Disclaimer: External links in support of individual points in this article are cited in support of the specific point under discussion only. They do not imply agreement with any other view held by the author.
Bob, you have been the target of a massive campaign by the Jewish establishment and their shabbat goys to destroy your apostolate and your reputation. Don't lose heart. I know it must be infuriating when some of your enemies were your former co-workers at CAI. Well, our Lord had Judas, and you had them. But be of good cheer. Your enemies will soon be snared by their own crookedness, and their Jewish handlers will throw them to the dogs. (Question 44, Q&A Jan 2007)
The "question" above was on CAI's Question and Answer board on or about Jan 23. Bob vigorously thanked the writer: "Steve, thank you for your support!" (By the way, Steve, my Jewish handlers suggested I let you know that it ought to be shabbat goyim, not goys.) When I saw this, I wrote to CAI's vice president, Ben Douglass, to see if this was really the sort of rhetoric that he thought should be prominently displayed on CAI's site. Apparently not. The question came down in a few days; if you click the link above you'll see that this Question 44 has been replaced by a different Question 44.
So once again we face this strange spectacle: a twenty-something university student has at least the modicum of common sense needed to rein in the fifty-something head of a Catholic apologetics organization, who just can't resist posting the most extreme conspiratorial and Jew-baiting verbiage on his Web site. And this, as we will see below, after the head of this organization has promised again and again (and again!) to tone down his rhetoric and check his sources.
And that's what Part 1 of this essay is about - Bob's repeated use of plagiarized, tainted, inaccurate, and extreme sources in his writings. But before I tackle that topic, I need to say a few words about what this essay is not. This is not about trying to silence any and all criticism of things Jewish, whether discussed in the Catholic Church or in the public sphere. The charge has been thrown out by Bob over and over, without any actual evidence but backed by invincible certitude nonetheless, that all his "critics" want to do is forestall any and all discussion on "Jewish issues" and to vindicate everything Jewish.
On the contrary, Michael Forrest and Jacob Michael have already said - and I add my voice to theirs - that I am not at all against responsible discussion and criticism of "Jewish issues". And for my part - not speaking for the others on this point - I am indeed concerned about the prudence and even the orthodoxy of some of the things that certain Jewish converts in the Church have reportedly said. As I have opportunity and feel called to do so, I will address these things in future essays. Rather, as with both Michael Forrest and Jacob Michael, I am against Bob Sungenis discussing and criticizing Jewish issues. Why? For these four reasons, so well stated and supported by Forrest in Sungenis and the Jews:
1) Bob Sungenis expresses views in regard to "Jewish issues" in such a way as to explicitly or implicitly convey a level of certainty and authentic scholarship that is materially exaggerated. He is not an authority or expert on these issues.
2) He has repeated verbatim or sometimes merely reformulated slightly writings he has obtained from others on Jewish issues. He has sometimes represented these as his own, without acknowledgment or attribution and has even defended these practices.
3) He continues to evidence a propensity to uncritically seek out and accept unsavory, dubious and/or negatively biased information in regard to Jews and has drawn others with similar proclivities to his website.
4) He maintains a vigorous commitment to expressing and propagating these views and an unwillingness to retract or genuinely apologize for any of them. (Michael Forrest, Sungenis and the Jews, Section 1, Introduction)
If anybody wanted proof of the last part of Forrest's third reason for posting "Robert Sungenis and the Jews" - that Bob's treatment of Jewish issues "has drawn others with similar proclivities to his website" - one need go no further than the citation that opened this essay. But in fact, Bob's behavior since the publication of Forrest's Web site has materially supported all four points. And this is true most notably in Bob's problem with sources - what he cites, how he cites it, and what he does not cite.
So Why Am I Writing This?
This present essay is written in response to a challenge Bob issued to me in an e-mail of 20 Jan 2007. This was in response to a question I had sent to CAI, asking where, exactly, Bob had gotten some quotations which he was attributing to Roy Schoeman and his book Salvation is From the Jews. Bob never did provide the quotes; as I suspected, his "quotations" from Schoeman were really his paraphrase of what he thinks Schoeman is saying. But with his reply came a challenge to me concerning Schoeman: "I'll thank you, Mr. Palm, for clarifying whether you accept Mr. Schoeman's assertion that the New Covenant did not replace the Old Covenant. Just tell me in a brief reply by email whether you accept or reject his assertion. I'll know what to do from there. If you don't reply, then I'll assume that you've decided not to condemn what is an obvious error in Mr. Schoeman's theology" (e-mail of 20 Jan 2007). Bob's challenge to me has been the catalyst for a significant amount of study, not only of his treatment of Roy Schoeman and his book, but also the larger issue of Bob's serious problems with plagiarism, accuracy, fairness, and extremism. The first part of this essay, then, will set the stage by examining the sources and sloppiness of Bob Sungenis.
Bob's problem with sources and accuracy burst onto the scene with his publication of the article "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary?? The Apocalyptic Ramifications of a Novel Teaching" in September of 2002. It has been well established that in support of his critique of Jews and Judaism, Bob plagiarized neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, and Holocaust denial sources (see William Cork, Antisemitism and the Catholic Right). That article touched off a controversy that has continued to this day. Since 2002 Bob has continued to write and post highly inflammatory material on Jewish issues. It was the posting of material from the white supremacist National Vanguard that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, that pushed Michael Forrest to go forward with www.sungenisandthejews.com in an effort to warn the Catholic community about the dubious nature of the Jewish material on CAI's web site.As part of damage control from the fallout of www.sungenisandthejews.com, Bob had to admit that his scholarship had been sloppy and seemed to indicate that some of his sources are questionable:
I seem to have a tendency to cite sources that are from what are believed to be extremist viewpoints. That I grant him. I've been informed of this a couple of times, even by my own vice president, Ben Douglass. If Forrest and the gang want to fault me here, they have every right to do so, and I can only say that I will be much more careful in the future. . . . Yes, that is sloppy scholarship, and the buck should stop with me. (Sungenis, Michael Forrest and the Jews, p. 10)
But note well that Bob does not actually admit that he has cited extremist sources; he admits only to citing those which "are believed to be extremist", which would include, presumably, the blatantly racist National Vanguard. Bob's reticence to explicitly distance himself from his sources justifiably raises concerns and suspicions with readers - especially if one holds him to his own standards. In January of 2005, Bob castigated Dave Armstrong for having citations of various neo-conservative commentators on Armstrong's site (my emphasis here and throughout unless otherwise noted):
If you have no political affiliation with these neo-cons, then I suggest you put a disclaimer on your site, otherwise people are going to get the wrong impression, and you can't blame them if they do. Any person with common sense who sees their names on your web site would assume that you support the political views of the aforementioned unless you say otherwise. (Sungenis, Q&A, January, 2005, Question 3)
So if anyone else puts references of a political nature on his Web site it's "common sense" that a reader "would assume that you support the political views of the aforementioned unless you say otherwise" and "you can't blame them if they do." But if Bob cites neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, and Holocaust deniers in his articles, we are never to assume anything with respect to what Bob himself thinks. On the contrary, the burden is entirely on his "critics" to disprove anything he says:
If I believe they have factual information, which is corroborated by other more credible sources, I will use it, and it is incumbent on my critics to either confirm or deny the information on the merit of the information itself, rather then [sic] dismiss it based on whether the group is "extreme" to their sensitivities. (Sungenis, Michael Forrest and the Jews, p. 10)
Bob's statement is full of absurdities. Are we really to believe that if the notorious anti-Catholic Jack Chick cited the equally notorious Bart Brewer in support of the claim that the Pope is selling sacred Hosts on the black market to make up for Vatican budgetary deficits, Bob would dutifully shoulder the burden of proof to "either confirm or deny the information"? Of course not. One has to ask, if the allegedly "factual information" is "corroborated by other more credible sources", then why doesn't Bob just cite the more credible sources? And on those occasions where Bob does seem to cite credible sources, we are left wondering whether Bob really found the credible source himself, or if he simply took the word of a dubious source that in turn purported to quote from that more credible source. After all, this is precisely what he admitted he did with the bogus quote from Albert Einstein, although in inimitable Sungenis style, he still insisted on defending his actions (see Michael Forrest and the Jews, p. 29).
Surely we're not bound to believe that Bob's personal conviction that certain information is factual suffices to shift the burden of proof to his readers. This is especially true in light of his history and previously stated views on plagiarism and disclosure of sources (such as here), this is completely untenable. And finally, insisting that his "critics" must "either confirm or deny the information on the merit of the information itself" begs the entire question. The merit of information - how seriously one ought to take a given claim - depends heavily on the credibility of the source or sources which convey it. It is standard practice to impeach witnesses by showing them to be unreliable in either character or consistency, after which their testimony is all but worthless.
I would argue instead that Bob ought to apply to himself his own dictum, laid out in his public apology to certain Protestant apologists (see item 10 below): "Without sufficient corroboration, any information, especially in these kinds of sensitive areas, is as good as false" (Sungenis, email of April 29, 2003, draft of public apology to King/Webster).
But as I have documented in numerous cases, it is a false hope to expect Bob to adhere to the same standards to which he holds others - for him it is one standard for me and another for thee (source). To return to Bob's defense (or perhaps it is more accurate to say, his defensiveness) of his sources, he offered this erstwhile apology in his "Open Letter to CAI Patrons":
[L]et me offer my sincerest apologies to all the people or groups that I have offended by the manner in which I have sometimes communicated my ideas in the past four years. Whether Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim or whatever, I know that some of the words I chose and some of the sources I used tended to incite offense. I can assure you that such will be the case no longer. Whenever we write about any group or individual it will be with much care and consideration." (Open Letter, 18 Sept 2006)
In the months that followed, we have several more assertions that he will be more careful:
Here's the scoop. David Palm picks one instance that I have a quote without a source and avoids the scores of quotes I have that contain all the sources. . . . I already told them that I would check and recheck my sources and speak charitably in my critiques, but that wasn't good enough for them, otherwise they would not have revived their diatribes against me. (Q&A, October, 2006, Question 60)
Note that I did not pick an instance in which Bob merely had a quote without quoting a source. Rather, Bob's reader was referring to an instance I documented in which Bob attributed an heretical, but bogus, quote to John Paul II. See the details in my article Sungenis and the Jews: David Palm's Defense of Michael Forrest. Bob's spin on this affair is interesting, to say the least.
Still more promises to be good have followed:
[W]e'll keep pointing out their errors to the world. Of course, we will do so in the most charitable way we can, and our sources and facts will be checked and rechecked, but it will be done as long as I have a breath to breathe. (Q&A, October 2006, Question 55, emphasis his)
Our critique of the Talmud is just the begining of a whole series of articles we will be posting on these and similar subjects. As I promised, we will write with charity and erudition. Our sources will be checked and rechecked, and if there is a questionable source, we will inform our reader so that he can judge the content and the source for himself. (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 16)
And now most recently, in Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL, the essay which prompted me to write this piece, Bob yet again insists that CAI is really, truly (I mean it this time!) going to clear up its source problem:
As we do so, CAI is going to make a concerted effort to clear up the so-called "source problem," as miniscule as it is. I've assigned my capable assistant, Mr. Benjamin Douglas (who is also known for his impeccable scholarship) to be the fact-checker and source-exonerator for CAI articles on Jewish issues. Ben has graciously accepted the job and I know he will do excellently. This means that we will continue to put up articles and essays critical (and even supportive) of things Jewish on the CAI website, and we might do so even more frequently than we've done in the past. Since Ben is so good at what he does, we plan to silence the "source critics" once and for all. (Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL, pp. 4-5)
Obviously, from the placing of "source problem" in quotes and dismissing it as "miniscule", Bob still doesn't really think he has a problem. But while he can minimize it all he wants, let me tell you, Bob Sungenis has a "miniscule" source problem only in the sense that Dean Martin had a "miniscule" drinking problem. The proof? Here is a partial list - starting back in 2002 and continuing right up to the present - containing examples of Bob's "miniscule problem with accuracy and sources.
And let's anticipate right now the objection from certain CAI supporters. This is not an exercise in muckraking. Bob wants to be taken seriously as a scholar. He wants to publicly represent and defend the Catholic Church. He wants to be able to say anything he wants about anyone, on any subject....and then just quietly pull things down with no real apologies, no retractions, and no admission of any wrongdoing when he's caught in a gaff. It seems that he believes his works should speak for themselves. Let's let them.
Bob Sungenis's Problem with Accuracy and Sources, A Sampler:
Hence, I ask you, my fellow Catholic, to keep an eye on me. If I cross the line . . . I want to know about it, and rest assured, I WILL correct it. (Michael Forrest and the Jews, p. 66, emphasis his)
1) In his 2002 article "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary??", Bob plagiarized a section from a Nazi pamphlet by Dr. Robert Ley, Nazi Labor Minister, which was translated by Prof. Bytwerk and part of the German Propaganda Archive at Calvin College (see Cork, Antisemitism and the Catholic Right). Cork sustains the specific charge of plagiarism by citing the definitions of plagiarism from the two institutes of higher learning from which Bob earned legitimate degrees. These definitions, ` with side-by-side comparisons of original vs. Sungenis-written texts, demonstrate conclusively that Bob has indeed been guilty numerous times of plagiarism (see here for an extended analysis of this.) He has never forthrightly admitted this, nor has he ceased this behavior (as we will see.) Therefore it is entirely legitimate to revisit these examples, to highlight the on-going pattern of plagiarism that has continued to this day
2) In the same "Conversion" article, Bob plagiarized a section from the writings of white supremacist Lt. Col. Jack Mohr (Cork, "Antisemitism"). One need only type "Jack Mohr" into Google to be treated with more than enough evidence of his extreme anti-Semitism. See, for example, here and here. In fact, after re-examining Bob's original work from 2002 we have found that Dr. Cork merely scratched the surface when examining the extent of Bob's plagiarism of Mohr. Bob not only plagiarized a few paragraphs here and there, the last 1500+ words were almost entirely plagiarized from Jack Mohr: see here for a side-by-side comparison.
3) Similarly, Bob gives two consecutive citations from two books by Arthur Nelson Field: Today's Greatest Problem: The Jews and The Truth About the Slump. Cork has demonstrated that, "These two statements appear in identical form, in this same order (separated by a quote from another source) on several racist webpages which give an identical list of quotes on Judaism: Jew Watch, Radio Islam, BibleBelievers.org.au and Stormfront. It would appear that Sungenis got the quotes from one of these sources (or one of the other places this same list appears), but he does not tell us which" (Cork, "Antisemitism").
4) Again in "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary??", Bob relied on supposed Talmudic "expert" I. B. Pranaitis and his book The Talmud Unmasked, which is a favorite of anti-Semitic individuals and groups, as a quick Google search will verify. Apparently Bob was unaware that Pranaitis's claim to be an expert on the Talmud was destroyed at a trial in which he was unable to answer basic questions on the Talmud (see Cork, "Antisemitism" and also here).
5) In the same article, Bob plagiarized from an article by John Vennari, which had appeared in The Remnant newspaper (Cork, "Antisemitism").
6) And in the same 2002 article he plagiarized a lengthy section from an article by Mark Weber in the Journal of Historical Review. Weber has been the editor of the blatantly racist National Vanguard and the JHR is a journal known for its Holocaust revisionism/denial and pseudo-scholarship (Cork, "Antisemitism"; see also here). See more below on what CAI vice president Ben Douglass has said about the National Vanguard.
7) In his Oct 2002 defense of "Conversion", Bob shows no awareness whatever of the highly controversial nature of the Journal of Historical Review: "the website I consulted had no reference to Weber or the Journal of Historical Review. If I had known that, you can depend upon it that I would have cited it as a source, since the Journal of Historical Review is a very credible source! . . . Mark Weber has written an article on the Jewish role in the Bolshevik revolution, an article that is included in a highly prestigious and credible magazine, The Journal of Historical Review! You can't get much more credible than that, as far as history goes" (Uncorking the Erroneous Teachings, False Allegations and Liberal Agenda of William Cork). In fact the scholarship of the JHR has been roundly denounced by more credible scholars (see here).
8) Again in this 2002 article, Bob alleges that, "all popes prior to the [sic] Vatican II have made very strong statements against fraternizing with the Jewish religion. For example, Pope Leo XIII in the 1900 encyclical Tametsi, and Pope Pius XI in the 1925 encyclical Quas Primas and the 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno are quite clear concerning these dangers."
First of all, it is a manifest falsehood and wild exaggeration to say that "all popes prior to . . . Vatican II have made very strong statements against fraternizing with the Jewish religion." A few certainly have and their teaching must be taken seriously. But when we turn to the specific examples Bob uses to try and demonstrate this we find, as Cork points out, that "none of these documents say a thing about such 'dangers.'" (Cork, "Antisemitism").
Bob's source for his assertion is the book The Kingship of Christ and Conversion of the Jews, by Fr. Denis Fahey. The section which Bob is drawing from in Fr. Fahey's work actually says this: "The combat against naturalism in general and, therefore, against the organised naturalism of the Jewish nation, is urged upon us, for example, by Pope Leo XIII (Tametsi, 1900) and Pope Pius XI (Quas Primas, 1925, and Quadragesimo Anno, 1931) ." (source; this on-line version of Fr. Fahey's text has this sentence all in italics and my citation reflects this.)
Note that the extension of "naturalism in general" to "the organised naturalism of the Jewish nation" is Fr. Fahey's and is not reflected in the papal texts. Much less do these documents contain "very strong statements against fraternizing with the Jewish religion" as Bob asserts. He has paraphrased Fr. Fahey in such a way to materially misrepresent these three papal documents.
In the last sentence of the same paragraph cited above, Bob plagiarized from Fr. Denis Fahey's book The Kingship of Christ and Conversion of the Jews. This sentence is presented without quotation marks and without a citation to Fahey: "The Dictionnaire Apologétique de la Foi Catholique, in the article Juifs et Chrétiens (cols. 1691-1694), gives a long list of Papal Decrees condemning the Talmud and the Talmudic formation, since the Talmud became known to Catholics about 1238-1240" (source).
What is all the more bizarre is that Bob's original version of "Conversion" did not contain this material from Fahey. He added it in a later revision prompted by Cork's criticism. So in a revision of a text for which he had faced the well documented charge of plagiarism what did Bob do? He plagiarized some more.
9) In his 15 October 2002 defense, Uncorking the Erroneous Teachings, False Allegations and Liberal Agenda of William Cork, Sungenis said, "Fr. Denis Fahey and Fr. Charles Coughlin were dedicated Catholic priests who lived impeccable lives and defended Holy Mother Church from every sort of satanic deception. They weren't just interested in exposing Zionists, but every person or group which assaulted the Catholic Church." But in fact, neither of these men engaged in responsible analysis of "Jewish issues". Fr. Coughlin was a constant purveyor of Jewish conspiracies, republished the totally discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his newspaper, blamed the Jewish victims of the Nazi atrocities committed on the notorious Kristallnacht, and refused to renounce his association with the organization Christian Front, even after "the Christian Front was shut down when the FBI discovered the group was arming itself and "planning to murder Jews, communists and 'a dozen Congressmen'" (source; cf. Cork, "Antisemitism").
And Fr. Fahey, although not as obviously extreme as Fr. Coughlin, also showed a lapse of scholarly judgment vis-a-vis the Jews when he argued for the authenticity of the Protocols in his foreword to the 1953 edition of the book Waters Flowing Eastward, The War Against the Kingship of Christ (online here). But as early as 1921 the Protocols had been conclusively shown to be a forgery by the London Times (Wikipedia contains a link to a facsimile of the actual Times article.)
10) During 2003, in what has come to be called the Mr. X affair, Bob allowed Jacob Michael to post material from a bogus source which accused certain Protestant apologists of unethical behavior. Bob was forced to admit publicly that he had been careless, for while it was Mr. Michael who posted the bogus information, ultimately it was Bob who approved the request and made the decision to bypass Michael Forrest's editorial approbation; at the time, Mr. Michael was only in his early 20s, while Bob was in his late 40s, and should have known better.
Not only did Bob admit his fault to Michael Forrest, he insisted that it was a lesson learned (incidentally, since that time, it is Bob who has continued to manifest this careless pattern of pulling the trigger before aiming, while Mr. Michael has not - who really learned their lesson?): "Hence, CAI cannot substantiate any of the additional claims made by Mr. [X], and thus I am forced to judge them as false, and am happy to do so. . . . Finally, we want all concerned to know that we do take these things very seriously. Without sufficient corroboration, any information, especially in these kinds of sensitive areas, is as good as false. We have all learned our lesson, . . . " (the CAI public apology is no longer available on-line, but is available on request from my files.)
11) One more example of Bob jumping the gun and issuing withering denunciations before he has checked his facts is in the Michael Lopez affair, narrated here by Lopez himself:
"Quickly touching on the issue Bob brought up of how there was somebody, shortly after leaving CAI, named Michael Lopez who wrote something derogatory about him. Then the one Michael Lopez that he knew denied criticizing him. The impression that Bob leaves is that I criticized him and then backed away after being caught. This is probably just Bob's faulty memory. To clarify, there was a Catholic message board where someone named 'Michael L' made a post that criticized him for his venture into Geocentrism…There are loads of people who have last names that begin with L. It could be Logan, Lake, Love, Lieber, Landon, Langley, Luganis, many other names besides Lopez.
But Bob immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was me, and wrote a very long attack on 'Michael Lopez', within a day or two that was posted on the CAI web site. He did not even give me the courtesy of notifying me about this. When I saw it on the CAI web site, I emailed him to let him know that I was not the Michael L that had posted on the message board. Fortunately he took down the piece that had attacked me soon afterward. However, I believe this illustrates Bob's propensity to attack without even verifying things from credible sources. In this case, of course, I would have been the credible source to ask first" (Michael Forrest, Sungenis and the Jews, footnote)
12) In his 2003 article When a Pope Errs, Bob attributed a scandalous action to Pope John Paul II, but did not supply any source for the allegation. He published the article after he was challenged by Michael Forrest to document the incident and admitted that he could not (details of Forrest's attempted-but-failed intervention are available in my essay). Since then, he has insisted that the event really did take place - but has still provided no documentation for it: "Wrong. I said I didn't remember, not that I didn't have more than one source for the comment. But, of course, Mr. Michael's object is to play the "damned if you do, damned it [sic] you don't" game. As it stands, the event certainly did take place" (Jacob Michael and the Jews, p. 68).
13) Bob claims that he has never gotten credit for backing away from his harsh criticism of the Pope: "I have made it clear that all discussion about John Paul II will stop at CAI, and we have taken down all our articles about him. We have also defended Benedict XVI against all his attackers. But do Palm and his boys credit us with any of this? Of course not, because this is all about silencing me with regards to Jewish issues, not about truth" (Q&A, October, 2006, Question 60).
But Michael Forrest did just this in his online project, Sungenis and the Jews: "In early March 2005, (Sungenis and I) had two or three very long, heated and difficult conversations. We first discussed the issue of Papal criticism and eventually came to a hard-fought agreement. And to his credit, unlike a few Traditionalist or Traditionalist-leaning publications and apostolates, he has thus far refused to publicly condemn or treat Pope Benedict XVI disrespectfully." (source)
So why didn't Bob see this and give Forrest proper credit? Because, in his own words, "I don't have the time to read their tomes, and I really don't care what they have to say, since everytime I do read somethng [sic] from them it is always distorted and twisted" (Q&A, December, 2006, Question 37). Recently he wrote to me that, "You haven't 'established' squat, Mr. Palm" (private e-mail of 20 January 2007). But again, how would he know, if he doesn't read what we've written?
14) In his 2002 "Conversion" article as well as in his 2006 revised article Neo-cons and the Jewish Connection, Bob cites holocaust "revisionist" Michael Hoffman (cf. also Forrest in Sungenis and the Jews, Section 2). CAI VP Ben Douglass has stated his agreement that Hoffman is a "dubious source":
"I grant that the ban should be permanent on articles that entertain Jewish conspiracy theories, use dubious sources, or are written by dubious sources (Hoffman, Pike, Raimondo, IHR, etc.)." (Negotiations with Michael Forrest, Douglass email of 10/02/2006)
It is worth reading more about Hoffman here. So at least in the opinion of CAI's vice president and "source exonerator", Michael Forrest was right all along - Bob should never have been citing from Michael Hoffman in the first place.
15) Early in 2005, in his article Politics, Religion, Israel and the Seduction of the Catholic Voter: The Neo-Con Connection, Bob quoted Gen. Tommy Franks as follows: "The U.S. attacked Iraq for the sake of Israel."
Note that he indicates this as a verbatim citation. He cites no source, but unless I am mistaken, this "quote" comes from the Dec 2004 issue of the New Oxford Review, where Dale Vree said: "Curiously, General Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. forces to victory in Iraq . . . said the very same thing as Sen. Hollings, namely, that the U.S. attacked Iraq for the sake of Israel (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Aug. 10 2004)." Notice that this contains the exact words used by Bob, but is not presented as a quotation. A letter to the editor a few months later makes clear that this "quotation" from Bob is not contained anywhere in the article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
"Here's what the article cited by the Editor about Tommy Franks actually said: 'The threat of a missile attack on Israel was one reason justifying a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks said. Franks, who retired from the U.S. military last year after leading the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said he supported the Bush administration policy of pre-emption. "The reason we could not afford to give up time is because we wanted the water infrastructure to remain in place," Franks said Monday at the National Press Club. "We wanted the oil infrastructure in Iraq to remain in place. We did not want to subject ourselves and Israel to the potential consequence of a long-range missile being fired into Tel Aviv or Jerusalem." Franks also said Israel's conflict with the Palestinians fuels anti-U.S. resentment in the Middle East' (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Aug. 10, 2004). That's the whole article. It's one thing to find friends for an argument; it's another thing to make them up. Far from being the reason for the war, Gen. Franks very clearly states that the threat of a missile strike against Israel was one reason." (source)
16) In the same article Bob states, "Needless to say, the Talmud was thoroughly anti-Christian, . . . Gentiles were considered "non-human" and "animals" (Sanhedrin 74b, Yebamoth 98a), and "the best of them should be killed" (Abhodah Zarah 26b). (See Michael A. Hoffman II's Judaism's Strange Gods)" (Sungenis, "Politics", p. 38).
Note that Bob's citation is again to Michael Hoffman, whom CAI's "source exonerator" now holds to be too extreme. Note too that there is not even a page number given to Hoffman's book. Did Bob actually read this book, or did he just plagiarize this from a secondary source? Given his track record, it's fair to ask. But notice the citations he gives for the Talmudic references allegedly showing that Jews consider Gentiles to be "non-human" and "animals" and that "the best of them should be killed". Here are links to these Talmudic passages:
There is nothing in those passages about Gentiles being animals, much less "non-human," and nothing about "the best of them should be killed." So once again we have Bob citing (plagiarizing?) a secondary source without doing the basic work to verify whether that source is accurate.
(N.B.: A typical Sungenis response to this will be to distract the reader from his own shoddy scholarship by pointing out that the rest of his quote above, left out in the ellipses, notes that the Talmud says blasphemous things about our Lord and our Lady. That it does is not under dispute and never has been. But this study is about Bob's shoddy scholarship and plagiarism - the reader should hold Bob accountable for that and not be distracted by rhetorical sleight-of-hand.)
17) Again, in this same article, Bob says of Attorney General John Ashcroft: "Attorney General John Ashcroft, a member of the Pentecostal religion who harbors a fear of calico cats because they are 'tools of the devil,' is also involved in promoting the Zionist eschatology." A quick Google search on "Ashcroft calico cat" brings up a link to an article on www.snopes.com which totally debunks this urban legend. Indeed, the detailed explanation of how this myth originated leads off with, "This has to be one of the most bizarre items we've had to tackle in recent memory. . . ." (source). But that didn't stop Bob from simply assuming that it was true. He would not take the 30 seconds required to preserve another man's reputation from public denigration.
18) In his 2005 article Vatican II's Death Warrant on the Modern Church, Bob falsely attributed an heretical, but bogus, quote to John Paul II. When he was called on this, he then claimed that the quote came from Cardinal Ratzinger. When called upon to validate that, he produced a perfectly orthodox text which did not contain the quote at all. (see the details in my essay.)
19) In his "dissertation" for his so-called "Ph.D" (on this bogus degree see Sungenis and the Jews: Doctoring the Record), Bob quoted a scientist as follows: "C. Truesdell says the same from a different angle: 'The heliocentric theory would have been rejected if people of the 17th century had computers.'" An individual in an on-line forum took the time to look up the actual quote and here is what the source really says: "Had modern machines been available then, Kepler himself might have formulated his laws nevertheless, but astronomers would not have accepted them" (Jacob Michael, Sungenis and the Jews: Doctoring the Record). It seems clear that, yet again, Bob plagiarized this quote from some secondary source - which he does not cite, hence the accuracy of the charge of plagiarism - and cited it in his "dissertation" without checking the primary source.
20) On or around March 2006, Bob posted as "News Alerts" two articles from the National Vanguard Web site, without attribution. One of them accused Jerry Falwell of claiming that Jews do not have to convert to Christ (the link appears on this archived version of CAI's home page). Strangely, in the body of the article Falwell himself denied the charge; this has me wondering whether Bob even read the article before posting it. That being said, the National Vanguard is truly a nefarious source, which even a few minutes spent on their Web site would have verified.
CAI's vice president Ben Douglass says of the National Vanguard that, they advocate "anti-miscegenation laws to protect the purity of our precious white blood, comparing the relative strengths of white supremacism and white separatism, advocating the expulsion of all non-whites from America, stating that blacks are deficient in intellectual and moral faculties, disparaging inter-racial social interaction, advocating speeding up evolution through eugenics, and even turning eugenics into a religion, clamoring for a neo-pagan, secular apotheosis produced by the manipulation of DNA" (op. cit.). Again it seems quite reasonable to recall Bob's own standard, presented to Dave Armstrong:
If you have no political affiliation with these neo-cons, then I suggest you put a disclaimer on your site, otherwise people are going to get the wrong impression, and you can't blame them if they do. Any person with common sense who sees their names on your web site would assume that you support the political views of the aforementioned unless you say otherwise. (Sungenis, Q&A, January, 2005, Question 3)
No disclaimer has ever appeared on CAI's site concerning any of the sources Bob has cited, including the National Vanguard. On the contrary, when Matthew Anger brought the troublesome nature of the National Vanguard to Bob's attention, he shot back that "I don't know anything about National Vanguard, and I could [sic] care less." His own vice-president intervened to point out that he himself had already alerted Bob to the nefarious nature of this source. But it was only when the information went public that Bob pulled the material off his own Web site.
So given Bob's refusal to issue any sort of disclaimers concerning the sources that he utilizes, what, according to his own standards, should be our "common sense" conclusion about his views on the Jews?
21) Over the years, CAI has posted several "News Alerts" and articles from a "Rev." Ted Pike. Pike is a Protestant pastor who has written numerous inflammatory articles about Jews and Judaism that are invariably snapped up by such venues as the National Vanguard, www.davidduke.com, and other such sites. Bob has heaped accolades on Pike:
Sungenis: "As it stands, we will be posting articles by qualified journalists on the Zionist issue, and one of them is Ted Pike. Mr. Pike has done more work in one year investigating these issues than both Forrest and Michael have done their whole lifetime." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 16)
Sungenis: "(Ted) Pike is an ardent Christian, as is his wife. There are no immoralities in his life. He loves Jesus Christ and teaches people about Him. Yet Forrest calls Pike a biased and undesirable source simply because Pike points out the Zionist agenda in America." (Michael Forrest and the Jews, p. 29)
But now, after some further investigation on the part of the CAI staff, Ted Pike is considered too extreme for CAI:
"I grant that the ban should be permanent on articles that entertain Jewish conspiracy theories, use dubious sources, or are written by dubious sources (Hoffman, Pike, Raimondo, IHR, etc.)." (Negotiations with Michael Forrest, Douglass email of 10/02/2006)
"Jacob, I just sent Robert an e-mail criticising the Shamir article for blasphemy, racism, and the use of Schmitt. It's coming down (apparently Robert posted it on recommendation, without reading the whole thing himself). Also, CAI will no longer run any articles by Ted Pike. . . . (source)
We have this further explanation of why Pike is no longer considered acceptable at CAI:
The story on Ted Pike is that I sent him an e-mail with a series of quotations from the National Vanguard website . . . I then asked him how, in Christian conscience, he could associate with such a perverse organization. Pike never responded to me, so Robert agreed that we shouldn't use him anymore. . . .
Left by: Ben Douglass on 1/13/2007 12:24:11 AM [EST] (source)
Again, Forrest was right to insist that Pike was a tainted source and that Bob should never have been citing from Pike. My guess, however, is that we're not likely to see an admission by Bob worded quite that way.
22) In his article Genesis and the Jewish Connection, Part I, Bob attributed a quote to Albert Einstein which, he claimed, showed that the charge of anti-Semitism is "nothing but a clever ploy" concocted by Jews. But by actually looking up the primary source cited by Bob, Michael Forrest found that this quote is bogus, cobbled together from words widely separated in the original article, mingled with totally fabricated material. It is clear that once again Bob has simply plagiarized from a secondary source.
What's more, he has never admitted that the quote is bogus; in fact, he essentially defended it in "Michael Forrest and the Jews" (p. 29ff.). He also has not divulged where he got it - inquiries of where Bob got his most unsavory material are routinely met with a Clintonesque "I don't remember" - but a Google search of the quote brings up a passel of neo-Nazi and White Supremacist Web sites. And despite all Bob's claims of accuracy and fairness, the quote remains on his Web site in more than one location at the time of this writing (see here, here, and here for example), more than four months after it was brought to his direct attention that it was bogus.
So much for his promise that, "I ask you, my fellow Catholic, to keep an eye on me. If I cross the line . . . I want to know about it, and rest assured, I WILL correct it."
23) In two articles, Politics, Religion, Israel and the Seduction of the Catholic Voter and Neo-Cons and the Jewish Connection Bob attributes a quote to Ariel Sharon which has been called into question and never verified. He provided no source for the quote, but the original source for the quote is the pro-Hamas group Islamic Association for Palestine. (see here and here).
24) In correspondence with and rebuttal to Forrest and Jacob Michael, Bob asserted over and over again (a total of 36 times) that a musical "gig" was the real reason that Forrest left CAI - with the strong implication that there was a financial interest at stake. We have demonstrated that there was no music gig and no money other than basic travel expenses (here and here).
Then, when it began to dawn on him that he had erred on these significant details, Bob switched to the accusation that Forrest deliberately did not divulge the details of the speaking engagement - the only problem being that Forrest most certainly did divulge them, in his original piece "Robert Sungenis and the Jews" (here).
Then Bob said that the "only thing" he forgot in his "recollection of that event" was that the topic was abortion and Forrest would instead be "merely playing his guitar". Except that the topic of the talk was traditional marriage, not abortion, there was no music at all at this presentation, and Forrest plays the piano, not the guitar. All the supporting evidence for each of these points has been gathered by me in this essay. But in the next month's Q & A section, Bob admitted that his memory of the event in question is faulty: "I have forgotten many of the details of the events that transpired. . ." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 50). This hasn't stopped him from continuing to insist that Forrest is lying (most recently in a private email to me of January 20, 2007: "As the record stands, not only was Mr. Forrest going to play music at this speaking engagement, he was in the process of trying to get even more opportunities to speak and play his music. That's what he told me on the phone ... Ask him. If he denies it, he's a liar."). In the same Q & A in which he admits his own lapse of memory he brings his wife into the fray: "my wife was also a witness to these events, and she has a memory like an elephant" (ibid.).
I considered it highly unlikely that Mrs. Sungenis actually heard the phone conversation of on or around 1 March 2005; at the very least, if she had, one would have expected her to use her elephantine memory to help Bob avoid making repeated mistakes of established fact during this controversy: No Bob, there was no music gig. No Bob, there was no concert promoter. No Bob, Michael doesn't play the guitar. No Bob, Michael never said anything about his promoter being worried about CAI. Etc.
I asked for clarification of this point. Bob answered that, "My conversations on the phone are often held on speaker-phone, and my wife, since she works for CAI as a secretary and bookkeeper, is often listening to my conversations, whether by happenstance or deliberately" (private e-mail of January 20, 2007). But Bob sidesteps the crucial question: did his wife hear the specific conversation in question, in which Forrest presented to Bob his reasons for leaving CAI? Forrest, well acquainted with speaker-phones in his line of business, is quite certain that this conversation was not held on a speaker-phone and anybody who has carried on such a conversation knows that one can tell if the other party is using such a device.
But even if Mrs. Sungenis was privy to this conversation between Michael and Bob, she gave Forrest no indication that she was listening in, which is clearly an ethical breach of privacy and not at all praiseworthy. For my part, I do not believe that she was eavesdropping and thus she is in no position to be an independent witness to these matters.
As such, it seems more likely that Bob's wife parroted back to him the same distorted characterization of events he undoubtedly shared with her after his conversation with Forrest in the first place. If this counts as an "eye witness" then Mr. Michael would certainly be a credible "eye witness," since he too was in conversation with Michael Forrest both before and during Forrest's departure from CAI, and has seen both sides of the email correspondence. The obvious difference in terms of objectivity is that neither I nor Jacob Michael are married to Forrest.
25) In his essay "Michael Forrest and the Jews", Bob concocts his own view of the reasons for Forrest's departure from CAI:
"What was the cause? Apparently, it had a lot to do with the promotion of Michael's musical career. One day Michael's concert promoter told Michael that he would not hire him to play in the concert because of his association with CAI and because of some of the 'Jewish' articles on our website. To rectify this situation, Michael rearranged our website, without telling me, so that the 'offending' material no longer appeared, since he knew that his concert promoter was going to be checking our website. Obviously, Michael didn't have any problem with the articles on Jewish issues prior to the investigation by the promoter, but now that a music gig was on the line, Michael didn't want him to see certain articles (and previously, whatever went up on our site, Michael and I would first agree that the articles would be put up. In fact, Michael edited my articles, at my request, before they were put up, so that it would be clear that CAI gave no semblance of 'anti-semitism.' This system worked wonderfully for three years, and I really appreciated Michael's input)" ("Michael Forrest and the Jews", p. 8)
First, was it not Bob Sungenis who just castigated Jacob Michael for using equivocal words like "apparently" because such words convey uncertainty? (Sungenis, My Ph.D. from Calamus International University, p. 13) "Apparently", Bob is not certain of his charges, yet he forges on nonetheless. Additionally, we have demonstrated here, here, and here that:
1) Michael was not pursuing a musical career
2) Michael never had a concert promoter
3) Nobody told Michael that he would not hire him to play in a concert because of his association with CAI
4) Michael never "rearranged" the Web site and was, in fact, incapable of doing so
5) No "concert promoter" was going to be checking the Web site
6) Michael did have problems with articles on Jewish issues prior to his departure and we have the e-mails to prove it
7) There was no "music gig" on the line, and
8) The system of Michael editing Bob's works did not work "wonderfully for three years" but broke down in a few months when Bob unilaterally circumvented his own policy.
So for a total word count of 184 we have 8 errors, one falsehood for every 23 words. How's that for fairness and accuracy?
26) On a more personal note, Bob has claimed several times that "you [David Palm] couldn't possibly know the truth about these issues because you simply weren't there to witness them" (private e-mail of 19 October 2006) and "You weren't a witness to ANY OF THIS" (private e-mail of 20 January 2007; his emphasis). In fact, however, I was closely involved with Michael Forrest as he was contemplating and then enacting his departure from CAI. Michael and I discussed his ultimate decision to leave CAI if Bob would not alter his course a couple of weeks before the crucial phone conversation between Bob and Michael (on or about March 1, 2005). So I knew Michael was leaving (barring a change of course by Bob) before Bob had any idea. I also viewed and discussed with Michael all of the subsequent e-mails in which he gave Bob all of his reasons for leaving. These reasons were repeated in Robert Sungenis and the Jews here. We even discussed his misgivings about continuing his public association with Bob (not his private association, as Bob continues to misunderstand) a few weeks prior to that. So in fact I most certainly am an independent witness to key events that even Bob himself was not privy to. Finally, I saw the e-mails that were exchanged between the two of them and that represents both sides of the story.
Bob, for his part, has already admitted that his memory is faulty concerning the details: "I have forgotten many of the details of the events that transpired. . ." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 50). The simple fact is that we have established from Bob's own words, using his own correspondence with Forrest, that his version of what transpired is widely divergent from the truth in numerous areas. He would know that, except that, as he says, "I don't have the time to read their tomes, and I really don't care what they have to say, since everytime I do read somethng [sic] from them it is always distorted and twisted" (Q&A, December, 2006, Question 37).
27) Here's a good question for Bob. Is Jacob Michael's book worthy of rebuttal or not? Well, it depends on what day you talk to Bob. In Nov 2006 a reader asked what were the prospects of getting Bob's take on Jacob Michael's book: "Dear Robert, Do you intend to read and write a review of Jacob Michael's new book "Never Revoked By God: The Place of Israel in the Future of the Church"?" Bob answered with a categorical, No:
"Thomas, no, I don't intend to write a review. I had considered it at one time, but changed my mind. Let me say that I don't consider Mr. Michael either an honorable Catholic or a voice to be answered in the ongoing debate about the future of Israel. . . . In short, I don't think Mr. Michael is qualified to address this issue. . . ." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 11)
Despite his promise and denigration of Jacob, here's the "review":
On his Q & A board back in November of 2006, Bob insisted that, "The only thing I will not do is post rebuttals to either Mr. Forrest or Mr. Michael." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 16). The reader can go back and search the Q&A's from November of 2006 through January of 2007 to see how many of them are directed at Jacob Michael and Michael Forrest (at least a dozen, and counting!). At the time of this writing, there are seven items in CAI's "Book and Article Reviews" category, four of which (i.e., more than 50%) are either directed at Jacob Michael exclusively, or at least mention him in passing.
28) Bob has also flip-flopped rather precipitously concerning the real focus and mission of CAI, as well as where his true talents lie. For example, he made it quite clear in his Open Letter of September 2006 that he was going to get back to what are ostensibly his core competencies and stay away from "more controversial areas":
1) Sungenis: "We began to focus on politics, culture and other peripheral issues that were not the frame and substance of our former work, which started in 1993. Although those areas certainly have their merit, they have detracted from the expertise we offered to the public in the area of biblical studies. Hence, we are retreating from those more controversial areas for the foreseeable future so that we can concentrate on our areas of strength."
2) Sungenis: "Presently, our goal is to write and publish a volume of the CASB every six months. . . . We will hardly have time for anything else."
3) Sungenis: "Lastly, let me offer my sincerest apologies to all the people or groups that I have offended by the manner in which I have sometimes communicated my ideas in the past four years. Whether Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim or whatever, I know that some of the words I chose and some of the sources I used tended to incite offense. I can assure you that such will be the case no longer. Whenever we write about any group or individual it will be with much care and consideration." (source)
So then it seems one is entitled to ask whether Bob was sincere in his open letter, given that he wrote to me on 19 October 2006: "And I will continue to teach on the very topics that you don't want me to teach: Geocentrism and the Jews, and I will do so with even more vigor" (private e-mail of 19 October 2006).
He has repeated his intention to focus even more on "Jewish issues" several times since:
1) Question 41, Nov 2006: "I am even more determined to write about these [Jewish] issues, as you can tell from reading our website in recent weeks."
2) Question 44, Jan 2007: "Mr. Schoeman's book, Salvation is from the Jews, is little more than a special pleading of divine favoritism toward the Jews, and I will be writing another major critique of his book in the coming weeks." (As if two essays on CAI's site, one critique sent to Culture Wars, and one critique sent to Latin Mass wasn't enough, he promises to write yet another one. That's four critiques of Schoeman's book, plus numerous passing references to it in other articles and Q&As, in the last two years)
3) Question 49, Jan 2007: "Thank you for your support, Timothy. I will be covering (Jewish issues) more in depth in the coming weeks. Let's hope and pray that Catholics will wake up to the truth about these issues."
4) In his article Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL Bob states that "we will continue to put up articles and essays critical (and even supportive) of things Jewish on the CAI website, and we might do so even more frequently than we've done in the past."
5) There have been dozens of new "News Alerts", Q&A's and Articles at CAI targeting Jews since October 2006 (four Q&As in January, 2007; seven Q&As in December, 2006; eleven Q&As in November, 2006; at the time of this writing, there are five "News Alerts", two book recommendations, and all seven "Book and Article Reviews" that are directed at Jews or Jewish issues).
Closely related to this is Sungenis's claim that he has decided to reject his Open Letter (and the promises to move away from controversy) because it was dependent upon Forrest and Michael "refraining from reposting their diatribes." The problem? Sungenis wrote his "Open Letter" before engaging in negotiations with Forrest or Michael, and presented this change of course as his own idea, a unilateral decision on his part (source). So, Sungenis is engaging in a little historical revisionism of his own in an effort to rationalize his decision to renew his obsession with Jews.
29) In Question 33 of his Dec 2006 Q & A, Bob said of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), "At least I know where CUF stands now. They are in the same Neocon/Zionist camp as Mr. Forrest and his colleagues. They are all for the Iraq war, even though John Paul II and Benedict XVI condemned it as 'unjust.'" (Question 33, Q&A Dec 2006; this has now been removed from CAI's site, albeit without an apology to either CUF or Michael Forrest for the public libel) But when asked in another Q&A whether he had any evidence for this accusation, Bob had to admit that he did not, that he had simply written out of anger, another recurring problem at CAI (Question 37, Q&A Dec 2006; Question 26, Q&A Sept 2006)
30) In Question 34 of his Dec 2006 Q&A, Bob posted the claim that Christopher Blosser had said of CAI that, "Deep down it would seem that CAI, which openly applauds attacks on Israel, is just as utopian and apocolyptic [sic] as the 9/11 deniers in the Middle East." (Question 34, Q&A Dec 2006 has now been removed from CAI's site.) Bob did not question whether Blosser had, in fact, made such a statement. He simply assumed that it was so and replied,
"To even suggest that CAI 'openly applauds attacks on Israel' is the most slanderous, not to mention ludicrous statement I've seen since I've been here at CAI for the last 13 years. Since Mr. Blosser used the word 'openly,' ask him if he has a quote where CAI has said such a thing, and hold him to it. If he doesn't produce it, then call him a liar. And I can already tell you he is one, and a malicious one at that." (Question 34 has been removed.)
But then in December of 2006, Bob had to retract this assumption, admitting that he had no evidence for it but had merely spoken out of anger:
"I ask again, did you have evidence when you accused CUF of being pro-war and pro-zionist? I don't know whether they are or not. What I'm asking you to answer, straight up as a man, is whether you had evidence one way or another before you wrote question 33.
R. Sungenis: No, I did not have any direct evidence that Mr. Suprenant was pro-war. I made the assumption he was, and that was probably said in anger, since Mr. Suprenant was not cooperating with me. I then told Mr. Suprenant in a subsequent email that I did not know whether he was pro-war or not, but that my only concern was his accusation that I had anti-semitic material on the CAI website, and he refused to answer that question.
And did you have evidence when you suggested that Chris Blosser of being the pay of zionists? Or did you just throw that out there like a zinger? Just tell me straight up.
R. Sungenis: No. I did not have any evidence, only a suspicion I got from evidence Dale Vree had from personal experience that Catholic apostolates were being paid large sums of money by the Neocons to write things favorable to the Neocons. We took it down because we found out that it wasn't Chris Blosser who wrote the piece." (Q&A, December, 2006, Question 37)
So in his angry reply in Question 34 of Dec 2006 Bob knew already that Blosser is a liar, "and a malicious one at that". Except that it was Bob who botched and opened fire on Blosser without first checking if the source was accurate.
31) On or about 11 Jan 2007, Bob posted an article by Israel Shamir entitled "The Tyranny of Liberalism/Judaism". Shamir himself is a questionable source, but this article clinched it by relying heavily on the conclusions of one Carl Schmitt, a German professor of philosophy with strong ties to the Nazi party. In his reply to Christopher Blosser, Bob minimized the difficulties presented by the article. But his vice president Ben Douglass acknowledges that the article contains "blasphemy, racism" and a tainted source: "Jacob, I just sent Robert an e-mail criticising the Shamir article for blasphemy, racism, and the use of Schmitt. It's coming down (apparently Robert posted it on recommendation, without reading the whole thing himself). Also, CAI will no longer run any articles by Ted Pike. Finally, Robert is giving me review, editorial, and veto powers over everything CAI posts about Judaism. . . ." (source)
Once again, Bob is found posting material that he has not read. Ben Douglass admitted that the excuse is rather flimsy: "I realize that Robert not reading the whole Shamir article is not a flattering excuse" (source).
32) Bob sometimes truncates his opponents' correspondence in a way that materially misrepresents their thought. In the interest of space I give here just two examples - others could be cited:
Example 1: In December of 2006, Bob posted what he purported to be the substance of an e-mail exchange he had with Leon Suprenant. After giving his own answer to Suprenant in full, Bob says:
Now, here is Mr. Suprenant's response to me on Nov. 15:
"I am not going to respond to this type of email..."
And what "type of email" would that be? I guess emails that ask Mr. Suprenant for proof of his accusations against a fellow Christian are the ones he refuses to answer. (Q&A, December, 2006, Question 18, emphasis his.)
Bob's citation gives the impression that he is giving the substance of the reply, implying that Suprenant refused to engage the issue at all. But here is the whole e-mail that was sent to Bob by Leon Suprenant.
I am not going to respond to this type of email. We think Michael Forrest's website provides a fair and extensive critique of your website as it pertains to the Jews.
Just recently, you distorted what occurred between us in order to give the appearance that CUF was with you. You even praised CUF as "fair and caring" when it suited your purpose. Now you're accusing us of being pro-war Zionists on your website, I suppose in retaliation for our linking to Michael Forrest's website.
You can continue to distort the facts and defame our apostolate and honorable men like Mike Sullivan, but this sort of thing is not of God and I want no part of it.
Sincerely in Christ,
Leon Suprenant (link)
One can see why Bob might not have wanted to post the entire e-mail, but his radically truncated version was clearly misleading. He makes it appear as though Mr. Suprenant had no answer to Bob's challenge for "proof of accusations", when in fact, Suprenant 1) directed Bob to Michael Forrest's site for the requisite proof, and 2) gave Bob at least two examples wherein Bob had misrepresented CUF in public. While Bob presents it as though Mr. Suprenant had no answer, in fact, Suprenant had several answers, none of which were addressed by Bob - he simply dodged the answers and misled his readers about Mr. Suprenant's response (when Jacob Michael posted the entirety of Suprenant's email for the public to see for themselves, Bob answered with a Q&A calling this merely "Jacob Michael's rendition of Mr. Suprenant's email"; how the full disclosure of an email's content can be called a "rendition" is a real mystery).
Example 2: Similarly, in his article "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL" Bob cites a reply from Christopher Blosser in such a way as to imply that Blosser turned tail when challenged to debate:
"When I was alerted to Mr. Blosser's website, I told Chris Campbell (our CAI promotional director) to ask Mr. Blosser if he would like to debate this and other Jewish issues in a public forum. Mr. Blosser returned the email stating: "debating is not my forte." So now we see the game rules with which Mr. Blosser is playing. It's ok for Mr. Blosser to post reputation-damaging material on his website about a prominent Catholic apologist, but when he is called on to defend himself in public he suddenly remembers he has no such talent." (Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL, p. 1)
Bob's citation of Blosser's reply gives the distinct impression that Blosser flatly refused to engage Bob on Jewish issues. But here is what Blosser actually said in reply to Bob's challenge: "Public speaking is not my forte. However, I may be persuaded to respond in writing to a particular article he has written on Zionism, Judaism, etc. (as time permits)." (source) So it appears that not only has Bob truncated Blosser's reply to his own advantage, but it is he who has declined to debate Blosser.
33) We have already seen that Bob frequently contradicts himself. Here is just one more recent example from many that could be cited. In January 2007, Bob posted an answer to someone named Thaddeus, who wanted to kneel at a Novus Ordo Mass but wasn't sure if that was the right thing to do. Bob replied:
"Thaddeus, in brief, I think in this case it is better for you to stand up. Although some of us, including me, may prefer to kneel, we can receive the Eucharist in any common posture. It is not the posture we assume that is the important thing, but the heart of the individual receiving the host [sic]. If standing shows solidarity with the Church at that particular time, it is better to stand. (And logically, if the whole Church were kneeling, it would not be proper for us to stand). We are a community of believers, not isolated islands. . . . We have two masses [sic] and we have two ways of receiving the Eucharist. We can do whichever one is appropriate at the time. If we choose to go to the Novus Ordo, however, we should be prepared to obey the rules of the Novus Ordo" (Q&A, January, 2007, Question 21).
Bob's reasoning here is identical to that laid out by the USCCB when it issued its directive for Catholics to stand when receiving Holy Communion: it's the heart that matters, it signifies solidarity with the whole Church, etc. (source). Earlier in January 2007 this is no big deal for Bob; just live and let live, when in the Novus Ordo do as the Novus Ordians do. But a little bit later in January 2007, Bob had this to say with respect to EWTN responding to the USCCB's directive by changing the norm from kneeling to standing:
"Whereas Mother Angelica would have raised a conniption fit if her followers were told they couldn't kneel at the Eucharist, the present guard at EWTN has simply lost its nerve, or perhaps never had it. The main difference, then, between the Mother Angelica era and the post-Mother Angelica era is that the latter has resigned itself to follow the primrose path of America's hapless bishops rather than fight to preserve the few traditions that remain at EWTN. Although kneeling before the Eucharist could be considered a small issue in the vast scope of things, nevertheless, it is a good example of the larger modernistic mentality and lack of courage that seems to be settling into the thinking of EWTN's present leadership" (Sungenis, Review, EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong, pp. 7-8)
So now the norms about standing for Holy Communion are issued by "hapless bishops" who should be resisted. And if you don't, you're cowardly and exhibit a modernistic mentality. So should you kneel or not when receiving Holy Communion at the Novus Ordo Mass? It depends on which day you talk to Bob. Could this have had anything to do with the fact that EWTN had previously fired Bob for mistreatment of Pope John Paul II and his public obsession with Jewish conspiracy theories?
34) In his review of Jacob Michael's book Never Revoked by God (which, as we have seen above, he insisted he wasn't going to write) Bob says this about the alleged contents of the State Department's Report on Global Anti-Semitism:
"In introducing Mr. Rickman to the job, the State Department gave him the Report on Global Anti-Semitism soon after his installation. It contains 12 descriptions of "anti-semitism." Number 4 on the list says the following: "Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic." Number 7 says: "Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic." . . . In fact, one of the categories of "anti-Semitism" in the State Department's list is #5: "Criticism of the U.S. government and Congress for being under the undue influence by the Jewish-Zionist community (including AIPAC) is anti-Semitic." (Jacob Michael's "Never Revoked by God", pp. 3-4)
And in his first missive to Christopher Blosser, the very one in which he dismissed his source problem as "miniscule" but promises that they are (this time, for real) going to address it at CAI, he repeats this claim:
"Lastly, to all my 'Jewish' critics out there, it's time for you to face reality. On October 16, 2004, President George Bush signed into law the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act under the U.S. State Department. The head of this new post is Gregg Rickman, as of May 22, 2006. In introducing Mr. Rickman to the job, the State Department gave him the Report on Global Anti-Semitism soon after his installation. It contains 12 descriptions of 'anti-semitism.' Number 4 on the list says the following: 'Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic.' Number 7 says: 'Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic'" (Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL, p.5)
Note well that Bob presents this list of "12 descriptions" and the text he cites for points 4, 5, and 7 in quotation marks as the verbatim content of the document. In response, Blosser pointed out that the document referenced by Bob does not contain any such list, nor any such words:
"Perhaps Douglas should have taken a look at Sungenis' response to me before it went to press. I am open to correction, if Sungenis can in fact provide a link to the U.S. Report on Global Anti-Semitism which indicates what he says they mean. My own hunch is that Sungenis simply read Ted Pike's own 'news alert' and -- in typical fashion -- conveyed it verbatim" (source).
In response to this challenge, Bob admitted that he did not get his verbiage from the document in question:
"Ted Pike made a summary of the document based on the history of cases prosecuted recently for anti-semitism. Culture Wars picked up the summary and mentioned it in an article several months ago, which is my source." (Another Look at Blosser's Website, p. 3)
So Blosser was correct - Bob plagiarized Pike's "summary" and handed this "summary" off to his own audience as the verbatim contents of the Report on Global Anti-Semitism.
35) Just as this article was "going to press," so to speak, Bob posted yet another "news alert" on CAI's home page. This time the subject is how hotel key cards retain private customer information (street address, credit card number, etc.) and can be used by rogue hotel employees for evil purposes: "An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense." The advice is to hold on to your hotel key cards and/or destroy them, instead of returning them to the front desk. The information here is allegedly taken from the "Pasadena Police Department". More subterfuge, more conspiracy, more hidden evil - right up Bob's alley. What Bob didn't bother to find out is that the Pasadena Police Department has specifically debunked this information as a hoax, as have a number of other web sites (see here and here, for example). What's next at CAI? A "news alert" about the $250-dollar Neiman Marcus cookie recipe? A "news alert" about the dangers of drinking Coke while eating Pop Rocks?
So there you have a partial list of Bob's "miniscule" source problem. I emphasize again that this list is by no means comprehensive - I have purposely held back quite a number of additional examples, just to be able to make that point. Please note that the last example brings us to January of 2007. Almost four and a half years and more than half a dozen assurances later, Bob is still doing exactly the same things: plagiarizing, attacking before checking his sources, citing extremists in support of his Jewish conspiracy theories, and contradicting himself. One thing has stayed the same, however. Those who point out Bob's source problem are told in no uncertain terms that they are the ones with the problem.
There is just so much material spouting from Bob's keyboard that it is truly difficult to keep up with it. Bob boasted to Jacob Michael: "Let me just say for the record that while you are performing at your day job (whatever it is that you do), I'm busy writing about 10,000 words per day for the Catholic faith, and I don't mind employing the services of a man who has a college education and shown himself adept at source-checking to check sources" (private e-mail of 20 January 2007). And elsewhere Bob notes that, "Posting CAI News articles is no hard work for me. I just copy and paste." (Q&A, November, 2006, Question 16) Yes, we know Bob, and that is a big part of the problem. Again, I find it absolutely remarkable that after over four years of boiling controversies over Bob's "miniscule" source problem, he still just doesn't get it.
Bob's Obssession with Roy Schoeman and Salvation is From the Jews
One final example will introduce the second part of this essay, which deals with Bob Sungenis's treatment of Roy Schoeman and his book Salvation is From the Jews. This is actually the example that prompted this whole study. I hope that the reader is now thoroughly convinced that Bob Sungenis is simply not to be trusted as a source for reliable information. This is especially true in his treatment of "Jewish issues".
Bob has claimed that Roy Schoeman is the purveyor of "one of the most pernicious and nefarious heresies the Church has ever faced" (Q&A, March, 2006, Question 18). That is just about the most serious charge that any Catholic has ever leveled against another Catholic and one would expect him to have some pretty solid evidence. In Bob's essay "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL" he took the opportunity to take yet another shot at this favorite target of his and ostensibly backed it up with some citations from Schoeman:
It's quite ironic to see these men get so fixated on me when, in fact, they give people like Roy Schoeman a free pass to say just about any heretical thing he wants, including such things as "the New Covenant didn't replace the Old Covenant," and the "Catholic Church has erred for 2000 years" and many other ridiculous things about Catholicism and the Jews (Sungenis, Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL, p. 3).
Notice that Bob has two phrases in quotation marks, indicating that these are the ipsissima verba of Roy Schoeman. Pretty serious stuff, if he actually said that. But we have seen enough of Bob's "miniscule" source problem to know that quotation marks around something that Bob has written do not guarantee that the words have any connection with what the person actually said. So I wrote to CAI to get clarification. Where, exactly, can I find these exact words of Roy Schoeman?
The reply was entirely predictable. As expected, Bob confirmed that those are not Mr. Schoeman's words. Rather, they are Bob's paraphrases of Mr. Schoeman, saying what Bob wants Roy to be saying. Bob's reply also came with a challenge and that too is to be expected:
I'll thank you, Mr. Palm, for clarifying whether you accept Mr. Schoeman's assertion that the New Covenant did not replace the Old Covenant. Just tell me in a brief reply by email whether you accept or reject his assertion. I'll know what to do from there. If you don't reply, then I'll assume that you've decided not to condemn what is an obvious error in Mr. Schoeman's theology (private e-mail of 20 January 2007).
I will accept that challenge and will meet it in Part 2 of this essay. But Bob Sungenis will not thank me for it. Rather, I will demonstrate there that with regard to Roy Schoeman's book Salvation is From the Jews, Bob Sungenis is guilty of more of the shoddy scholarship and reckless disregard for the truth that has been so amply documented in this present work.