No Bob, I Didn't Say That (by David Palm, 06/28/11)

Some time ago, Bob Sungenis began publicly claiming that I called him in 2005 with “threats” that I was going to “create a major public campaign against” him.  At first I was inclined to ignore this false claim. But since Bob keeps publicly repeating it, it seems desirable at least to have a place to which I can direct people for the truth.

All such accusations from Bob need to be seen within the context of the large number of other such false accusations he's made.
 
As I have recently had opportunity to document yet again (see here), Bob has a long history of spinning out false narratives embellished with all sorts of bogus details when he gets angry with someone.  He also has a very long history of attributing to people things that they did not say.  A partial list of additional individuals to whom Bob has attributed inaccurate or fraudulent quotes include: Pope John Paul II, Gen. Tommy Franks, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Congressman John Rarick, mathematician Clifford Truesdell, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Ginsberg, Gen. Ariel Sharon, Carl Sagan, David Brooks, Jerry Falwell, Bill Cork, Michael Forrest, Roy Schoeman, Leon Suprenant and Mike Sullivan of CUF, Mark Shea, Christopher Blosser, Michael Lopez, and of course myself.  (For a fuller presentation of the evidence for this, see here.)  I hope the reader will consider those other examples when evaluating the evidence that I lay out below.

Turning to Bob's claims about our phone conversation, he’s publicly repeated the charge about this alleged "threat" five times so far:


Ask Your Question About the Jews:

“Mr. Forrest’s co-author on the blog, David Palm, called me one day in 2005 and said he was going to start a public campaign against me because of my ’writings on the Jews and geocentrism.’ Imagine that.” (p. 24)

 

Response to David Palm on the Galileo Issue:

“Perhaps this poisoning of the well is coming from the same well Mr. Palm dug about five years ago when he called me on the phone and told me he was going to start a public campaign against me because I dared to defend geocentrism. I’m sure that wasn’t Mr. Palm’s estrogen talking. But I’m not going to fall into the trap of making this a personal issue.” (p. 2)

 

“Yet five years ago Mr. Palm called me and said he was going to create a major public campaign against me because I dared to teach geocentrism. . . . He also said he didn’t want me teaching on Jewish issues. I persisted teaching in both of these areas and obviously did not retreat in the face of Mr. Palm’s threats, after which Mr. Palm did mount his campaign against me, and enlisted the help of his friends.” (p. 19 and fn 13).

 

[These two statements were subsequently removed by Bob, but without retraction or apology.]

 

“Torquemada:

“You and Palm have shown that you both know too little of the history and too little of the science not to be suspect of being somewhat conspiratorial on this subject. Five years ago Palm called me on the phone, and without knowing hardly anything about the geocentric issue, told me he was going to mount a public campaign against me. That’s what I call a conspiracy. “ (http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-geocentrists-argue-bob-sungenis-and.html?showComment=1293332761422#c8065790558403527430; this posting has been subsequently removed by the blog owner.)

 

The Catholic/Jewish Dialogue: Controversies and Corrections, p. 661

This page of Bob's new "book" contains a reproduction of the first citation above.

Bob’s statements above are falsehoods.  I never made “threats” against him, nor did I tell him that I was going to start a “major public campaign” against him or anything of the sort. And I have the evidence to prove it. But first, some background is important.

Bob’s first error is that the phone conversation to which he refers occurred on May 16, 2006, not in 2005. I called him that day to withdraw from a conference on Biblical inerrancy that he had organized and at which he had invited me to speak. The immediate catalyst for my call was material Bob had posted to his website from the overtly racist National Vanguard.  In light of the terrible scandal Bob had previously created by publishing his notorious 2002 “Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary?” essay, in which he quoted -- and often plagiarized from -- Nazi, neo-Nazi, and White Supremacist sources (see here and here), I decided that things weren't going to get better and that enough was enough (unfortunately, Bob has a habit of issuing tactical “apologies” for publishing such bigoted material only to later return to more of the same once the heat has died down – see here and here).

The following time-line of events leading up to my phone call is also revealing and pertinent. In March 2006, Bob began posting material from the white supremacists at National Vanguard. Then, on 10 April, Catholic author Matthew Anger wrote an article publicly exposing the racist nature of National Vanguard and Sungenis’ use of their material.  On 12 April, Sungenis wrote a nasty email to Matthew (with a copy to several other individuals), claiming that he didn't know anything about National Vanguard.  But this turned out to be a falsehood.  

On 13 April his then-vice president, Ben Douglass, corrected him in front of the group:


“I have to criticise this statement:  'I don't know anything about National Vanguard, and I could care less.' Remember, I sent you an e-mail about them after you posted the Falwell Article from their site at CAI. They advocate anti-miscegenation laws to protect our precious white blood and our unique combination of beauty, creativity, and intelligence."

(see more comments about this and other incidents during Douglass’ tenure at CAI here).

Only then did Sungenis finally agree to take down the material, a full month after Ben Douglass had first warned him about the racist nature of National Vanguard (for a fuller treatment of this incident, please see “Sungenis Dishonesty and Hypocrisy Over Racist National Vanguard Continues”).

This incident was the Rubicon which convinced me and others that there was something seriously wrong with the man at the helm of CAI/BTF.  For my part, I didn’t want to be publicly associated with such an individual or such an organization.  The matter of geocentrism was a secondary factor.  I considered (and consider) it quirky at best, but Sungenis was not yet peddling it as a core part of Catholic doctrine and denouncing fellow Catholics over that issue, as he is now.  So the matter of his anti-Jewish crusade was my primary concern.

I phoned Bob on 16 May 2006.  Our conversation was very brief. I told him that I was bowing out of the inerrancy conference.  I told him that it was because the matters of Jews and geocentrism had come more and more to define him and his organization and that I didn’t want to be publicly associated with his treatment of those issues.  Bob thanked me for my candor and that was the end of the conversation -- quite different from his new characterization, claiming that I issued “threats” of a “major public campaign” against him.

The proof that my version is correct and that Bob’s story is false?  I e-mailed Michael Forrest on the same day I called Bob (Michael confirms this fact) and summarized my conversation with Bob as follows:

 

I spoke to Bob on the phone and bowed out of the conference.  Very quick conversation; he basically just said ‘okay, thanks for your candor’ and it was over.

 

Now, here is Bob’s own summary of our conversation, sent that same day to me and the other conference participants:

 

Gentlemen,

 

Dave Palm just called me and said he is bowing out of the Inerrancy conference.

 

His reasons are that CAI is is associated with issues on "Geocentrism" and "Judaism," and he prefers not to be associated with us over these issues or have to answer questions dealing with either topic. Those were his words as precisely as I remember them. I politely thanked him for his candor and the conversation was over (e-mail of 16 May 2006).

That’s it.  No mention of “threats”.  No mention of a “major public campaign” against him.  Notice that my characterization and Bob’s characterization of our conversation - written that very day - match.

It is also worth noting that Bob wrote a follow-up email to all the conference speakers on the same day in order to defend what he described as his "avantgarde apologetics" and to deny that geocentrism and Jewish issues were a central focus for his organization (something I doubt even he could deny any longer). He then went on to falsely characterize his interaction with Matt Anger by making it appear as though Matt had retracted his criticisms of Bob's treatment of Jewish issues (including Bob's use of the white supremacists at National Vanguard):


What you don't know, David, is that Mr. Anger has more or less withdrawn his criticisms...we 'dissuaded' Mr. Anger from his present course of action against CAI. Once he saw the facts and how prejudicial and uniformed [sic] he really was, he dropped it (email of 16 May 2006).

As it turned out, this was another falsehood.  On the contrary, as a direct result of this particular false characterization put out by Bob, Matt Anger decided to contribute a statement to the foreword of the Sungenis and the Jews website in order to correct the record. His statement can still be found there:  http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/

Returning to my phone conversation with Bob, even as long as 8 months later, he mentioned it in another e-mail and characterized it simply as follows:


Remember David, you placed a phone call to me several months ago and stated that you were taking yourself off the biblical inerrancy project because of two issues I continued to pursue: (a) geocentrism and (b) the Jews (e-mail of 30 Mar 2007).

Again, no mention of “threats”.  No mention of a “major public campaign” against him.

The record is clear:  I didn’t threaten Bob in any way.  His new characterization, which he has publicly repeated five times now, is a falsehood.

There is considerable irony in the fact that Bob’s response to me on geocentrism, containing this overt falsehood was posted right next to his complaint about someone he characterized as a “compulsive liar” spreading falsehoods about him.  As I have said many times before, with Sungenis it always seems to be one standard for me and another for thee.  

And unfortunately, his falsehoods about me are far from an isolated incident.  With each passing day, Bob only confirms the wisdom and prudence of my decision to cease all public association with him and his organization.