Speaking Out for Integrity and Dr. Marc Gafni – Part III of IV

Speaking Out for Integrity and Dr. Marc Gafni – Part III of IV January 17, 2017

In the second section I wrote about the way in which this smear campaign against Marc Gafni started—who started it and why.

Andrew Harvey, The Goddess Weeps: A Failure of Integrity

“Oh yes,” you might say,“ but Andrew Harvey, among others, has talked to women who have suffered at Marc Gafni’s  hands and verified their accounts.” Yeah, I know, but so have I. I told you, I’ve checked my facts. Not everything is as it seems. But before I go into that, I’d like to ask a prior question, “Why were Andrew Harvey, and other colleagues, weighing in on this to begin with?” Answer: that’s the way a smear develops. Once you get an article into a reputable news source like the New York Times, (though I’ve got to tell you, after this I’ll never read the “paper of record” the same way again), then you get reputable teachers to support your attack. That was Dinan’s next move. Dinan organized a list of teachers to sign a letter condemning Marc Gafni. The fact that most of them do not know Marc and that none of them has crosschecked any claims, or evidence, with Marc was apparently beside the point. What do these teachers who signed Dinan’s letter against Marc, have in common? Answer: nearly all of them work for The Shift Network, Dinan’s Internet teaching platform. That’s right nearly all of the signatories to this petition have worked for the Shift Network at one time or another. Others are financially involved with the Shift Network through various marketing agreements. The remainder are professionally networked with Dinan or other signatories socially.

The Feud Between Marc Gafni, Steve Dinan, and The Shift Network

You can believe me or not on this, because I cannot divulge sources on this particular claim, but teachers, (plural), have told us that they signed onto the petition because they were afraid to cross Dinan. They need him to support their work on the Shift Network. A couple of well-known teachers told us that they were personally pressured to sign the petition by Steve Dinan himself.

Maybe it seems like that shouldn’t be such a big deal. After all, how much influence can the Shift Network have? Most people don’t know that popular teachers on the Shift Network earn six figures a year. I know that only because Dinan has fired two people in the wake of this smear campaign, and they’ve told me. Andrew Harvey has worked for Dinan and his Shift Network for a while now. It is not unreasonable to conjecture that a significant part of his income comes from there. Might that have some influence on him?

It is, after all, easy to go along. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the group dynamics involved in this kind of public situation, will tell you that once people start sharing a distorted story, the facts often get buried. In other words, even if several people tell you the same story, that does not mean it’s true. Before accepting the story, its important to ask some of these salient questions: How do these story tellers know each other? And for how long? Have their stories influenced one another? Are they in a field of “group think” which has been colored by a particular hermeneutic, one that dominates their social circle, one from which it is virtual heresy to deviate? Might they be closely associated with obsessed adversaries of the person they are accusing? Might collusion or social pressure, overt or subtle, be playing a role in the development of their narrative? But most of all, you need to ask yourself if you’ve checked the other side of the story. Did you speak to Marc Gafni, or other people of well-known integrity supporting Marc, people who are deeply familiar with the stories? Did you check other evidence that is plainly available on the web that might directly contradict the stories you have been told? I’m quite sure that Andrew Harvey, whom I single out because of his particularly damning audio post, early in the smear campaign, cannot answer any of these questions with an appropriate response.

Early in this story Barbara Marx Hubbard related to me that Andrew called her to “warn her” about Marc Gafni. He did this even though he didn’t know Marc. It became obvious later that Stephen Dinan had suggested he make the call. Barbara asked Andrew what the issue was. Andrew, stumbled and said, “I really do not know,” and added that he would check—with Stephen—and get back to her. He never called back. Understand, I’m not attributing heinous motives to Andrew Harvey here. I’m simply saying that he was taking dramatic action without having searched out the truth. I mean really, he called her and didn’t know what the issue was?

In any case, I have no doubt that Andrew Harvey spoke to women who have known or been involved with Marc. I have too. When I was the Board Chair of Center for World Spirituality, an earlier incarnation of Marc Gafni’s think tank, I was contacted by a friend who wanted me to know “the truth” about Marc Gafni. Understand, I took this role very seriously. I was clear that, if Marc had actually done the things they claimed, then I, as Board Chair, had an undeniable responsibility to do something about it. I’m not the sort of person who shirks such a responsibility, to the contrary, I embrace it.

I arrived at Starbucks near Boulder, CO for the meeting. The promise was that I was to hear all about what Marc had done. When I got there I found two women who had recently been involved with Marc, and one woman, Donna Zerner, a woman who was involved in the false complaints against Marc several years earlier. Two of the women brought male friends with them for support—no problem. I figured, in their shoes I might too. Donna did most of the talking. In retrospect, but also even in the moment, it was clear to me that she was stirring the other two women to action. At the time I was not clear on her role in Israel so I had not brought that bias with me. I listened; I listened carefully.

If you heard these women, as Andrew Harvey and I have, I mean to tell you, that at first, their story sounds convincing—very convincing. Like Andrew, I believed them. They were convincing enough that it was clear to me we needed to get the facts on the table. I sought to convene a meeting during which both sides could be heard. Why Andrew didn’t conclude that, why he didn’t connect with Marc Gafni to hear what he might have to say about all this, is a mystery to me. It was a missed opportunity.

I was looking for some way to have these women tell their story in a safe and supportive environment, one where Marc could tell his side as well, in an equally safe and supportive environment. My hope was that it could be a healing environment, but then my faith in God’s ability to redeem an impossible situation is legendary. I’m a fool in this regard and proud of it. The three women and I agreed that, if Marc were willing, we would meet with Marc and a therapist we had agreed on, Marc’s therapist, who would be present to guide the discussion and use whatever was said the way he thought proper. They agreed to the idea in the hopes it would promote healing in Marc. Donna in particular said that she did not want to hurt Marc Gafni any more than she already had, she insisted she was seeking his healing. I wonder if you can imagine what an extraordinarily intense time this was for me. I was in the unenviable position of telling my close friend, Marc, that I was taking these women very seriously and that he needed to meet with them in his therapist’s office.

What do you suppose he said? I’ll tell you. He didn’t skip a beat. “Yes,” was his immediate response. In fact he was happy about it. He really wanted to meet with them. That said, he was also pretty sure they would bail out. Can you imagine? He told me not to be too disappointed if, when the time came, they refused to meet. At that moment he was worried about me! He said that while he prayed he would be proven wrong, he was all but certain that once they had gotten involved with Donna, the two women would not be willing to engage in serious clarification of facts and so would refuse to meet. I assured him this was not the case and set about the business of arranging the meeting.

When I called the women to set this up, each of them, in turn, bailed out. They claimed that they were convinced that Marc was too smart, that he had so much sinister power, that they wouldn’t be able to speak their truth, so there was no point. This was the claim, I found out later, that Donna had used for years to avoid being challenged. There is no other way to put this: what a load of horseshit. At that point, the fog cleared from my eyes and I understood what was going on. Here Donna Zerner, still wanting to complete the vengeful work begun in Israel, had sought out these women and stirred them to action. They had tried to co-opt me into their effort to destroy Marc Gafni, my close friend. I felt used. I was disgusted.

So all I have to say Andrew, is that not everything is as it appears. I dearly wish you had taken the time to talk to Marc. It seems to me that you got drawn in. I know I did. Their story is told in a way that makes you feel you have to rush to judgment. That’s how this works. That is why Internet hysteria is sucking the life out of civil society.

Why did this happen anyway? Why did Stephen Dinan go to all this trouble? We have an answer to that question and it is disturbing indeed. It is not the fig leaf motivation to take care of the injustice done to women.

Dinan had been working closely with Barbara Marx Hubbard for several years. They had some success together in a global event called Birth 2012. It came time to plan a similar event in the year 2020. However, in 2015, Barbara decided that she did not want to work exclusively with Dinan, but wanted to work with Marc Gafni as well. Here’s what, Barbara reports, that Dinan said in response: “No, . . . I HAVE THE STRUCTURE. YOU WILL FAIL. YOU MUST DO IT UNDER ME.” He then wrote Barbara a series of virulently disrespectful emails. Barbara pleaded with him to check facts and meet Marc. He refused. (Have you noticed? It is a bit of a pattern.) Instead, he asked Barbara to keep the fact he was badmouthing Marc, a secret from Marc himself.

Barbara did what you would imagine a strong thought-leader would do. She stood up to Dinan. So he fired her and with that she lost most of her income. His prerogative I suppose. But really now, don’t tell me you are trying to work for justice for women and leave Barbara Marx Hubbard in this position so late in her life. That’s just horseshit. (Maybe you can tell that this is the word my editors let through.) But Stephen wasn’t done there. He contacted her daughter and tried to get her to hire a cult buster. He told Barbara’s daughter that he was going to “save the world from Marc Gafni.” And he thinks Marc is a sociopath? All of this is supported by e-mails from Stephen Dinan’s accounts.

As I’ve said, the e-mail threads are clear. Dinan was arranging a NYT article that would be part of a larger public attack intended (in Dinan’s own words quoted in the email thread), to “stop [Marc] in his tracks.” We know why Ingber, Donna, and Chaya signed on. They were shown up for having arranged false complaints; they want to be rid of him. We know at least part of Dinan’s motivation as well.

Continued in Part IV – The Tell Tale Sign of a Smear Campaign: Intense Demonization

Complete article in pdf

For more on Marc Gafni and his story you can visit  WhoIsMarcGafni.com.  The site is a compendium of articles, videos, interviews and the like, which offer a very different narrative from that of the smear campaign. It has the “ring of truth” and I encourage the reader to use the site.

Links to the other parts of this essay:

In the first section I’ve written about what draws me to Marc—why Marc is my friend and why the smear campaign against him hurts me personally.

In the second section I’ve written about the way in which this smear campaign started—who started it and why.

In the third section I’ve written about how important it is for good people to seek truth, for not everything is what it appears.

In the fourth section I’ve written, comparing what’s been said of Marc’s mental health on the web to a public statement made by Marc’s therapist on the subject.

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