`273 Akiva Tatz, Master Manipulator Part One
Chananya Weissman

June 19, 2023


Two years ago Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz took it upon himself (or was commissioned) to address the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the covid shots. This included two similar presentations that Tatz delivered to Yeshivas Ohr Avraham in Ramat Beit Shemesh and Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem (here and here, respectively). This article will focus on the latter, which packed many more outrageous comments into a much shorter amount of time.

Not surprisingly, his presentations didn't age well. (If he has since issued a retraction or apology, I have not been able to find it.)

By now we are well used to the appeals to authority, the condescension, the moral preening, the psychological and emotional manipulation, and various other rhetorical devices used by the media and their “influencers” on the ground to marginalize voices of opposition and keep the fearful masses in line. Tatz employs all of these but takes it to another level. With his smooth delivery, South African charm, and confident disposition, Tatz sounds like he really believes what he is saying (I doubt it). The other establishment Erev Rav should take acting lessons from him.

He begins with an immediate swipe at “the unscientific...conspiracy theory type of response” to covid, quipping that “covid has led to the loss of three things: taste, smell, and common sense”.

Right off the bat, Tatz paints anyone who challenges the approved narrative as ignorant, crazy, and foolish. He presents this as an established fact, thereby sidestepping the need to substantiate such a controversial claim (which was the supposed purpose of his speech in the first place), and he uses humor to minimize the discomfort many in the audience might otherwise feel. If you can immediately scoff at those with a differing viewpoint, if you can immediately reduce them to imbeciles, you do not have to seriously examine anything they say, now or in the future.

Akiva Tatz, as an authority figure with both rabbinic and medical credentials, is not so much educating his audience, making them smarter and more informed, but modeling behavior for them to follow. Akiva Tatz is laughing at anyone who challenges the covid narrative, and he sounds great doing it. That's good enough for me, and I can do it, too.

Tatz then offers a couple of examples of the “extreme theories” that are going around, such as “you'll be loaded with microchips that will tell Bill Gates what you're thinking if you get vaccinated”, and “the latest theory this week if you get vaccinated” — here Tatz breaks into a broad grin — “you'll be, ha ha ha ha, you'll be Bluetooth enabled, heh heh heh heh heh.” It's a truly creepy laugh, and it's worth listening for one minute here to experience the full creepiness of it.

Tatz artfully puts everyone who rejects the official narrative that the covid shots are “safe and effective” in the same box. There are indeed numerous theories regarding the shots, some more outlandish than others. As the transhumanist agenda has become more widely known, neither of the examples Tatz chose to mock are all that funny anymore, but that's not the most important takeaway. It's that Tatz purposely selected two “conspiracy theories” that stretch the limits of the average person's belief, instead of concerns about myocarditis and menstrual irregularities.

Tatz purposely focused on theories that would come across as especially far-fetched to portray all theories against the narrative as absurd. The next time someone would express a well-founded concern about myocarditis to someone in the audience, he could sarcastically retort, “Sure, and the microchips are reading his mind with Bluetooth,” and that would be the end of it.

Akiva Tatz made it okay. He made it the smart response, the scientific response.

Tatz then deployed a manipulative tactic we haven't seen from most of his colleagues, which truly elevates his approach. I don't know if there is an official term for it, but essentially he throws a bone to the other side and acknowledges some degree of credibility to their claims, in an attempt to appear magnanimous and a voice of reason. All of sudden, mere seconds after disparaging his opposition as senseless, he concedes that they aren't completely wrong all the time.

“And then there's the theories about malicious intentions on the part of the vaccine manufacturers and the medical establishment, the political establishment, some with more credibility and some with less.”

Were the listener not under a spell, no longer able to think critically or courageous enough to challenge an authority figure, he would immediately insist that Tatz elaborate on this stunning admission.

“Hold on! You admit that some claims of malicious intentions by the government, the drug companies, and the medical establishment are credible? Can you please elaborate? Can you provide some examples? And if you admit that the powers-that-be have a history of deliberately plotting evil against the public, how can you mock those who doubt them as “senseless”? Why should we ever trust these entities and the injections they are forcing upon us? How can we trust them?”

But Tatz glides right past this elephant in the room as if merely chatting about the weather. Instead of probing the at least occasional malicious intentions of the establishment for whom he works, Tatz probes the psyche of those who question the establishment. Rather than analyzing the people who are foisting experimental injections on the entire public with a feverish urgency unlike anything we've seen before, Tatz chooses to analyze those who raise red flags.

Once again Tatz pretends to be magnanimous. “First of all...I think it's good that the establishment is questioned. I think that's healthy and that's Jewish. We began with a man, Abraham, Avraham Avinu, who questioned the establishment, not only part of the establishment, but the entire world.” Tatz then encourages us to follow this example (especially for teens to “go through a questioning of their Judaism, too, and to explore it in depth, and not just swallow things whole without examination and without thought”).

This would seem to support every individual's right and duty to question the official narrative about the covid shots and so much more, even if he is part of an extreme minority, even if he is a lone voice in the wind. This would be especially true when the official narrative was full of holes and red flags from the very beginning, when the narrative was propped up and could only be propped up by relentless propaganda and censorship the likes of which we have never seen, and when claims of safety and efficacy – especially in the long term – could only be speculative.

Again the listener might have asked Akiva Tatz why he started his lecture by mocking such individuals and regarding them as unscientific imbeciles, when mere minutes later he admits they were behaving in a most healthy and Jewish way.

Tatz was surely aware of this problem, and he would cleverly deflect it. But not yet. He was still pretending to be magnanimous, and would now use another rhetorical tactic: inverting reality.

“Even in the wildest of conspiracy theories, there's almost some grain of truth, as our Talmud tells us that lies without some foundation of truth do not survive.”

We might say the same thing about the endless lies from the establishment. But it is not the minds, actions, and assertions of those in power that Tatz would be analyzing – despite conceding a vague history of malicious intentions – but those who would doubt the establishment.

And here comes the main chiddush that would form the title and underpinning of Tatz's lecture.

“Why do we live in an era of wild conspiracy theories?...It's my impression that one of the reasons is that the culture we live in favors the Lone Ranger. In other words, the individual who heroically goes against the establishment...and turns out to be right. And the more dramatic the story, the better.”

According to Akiva Tatz, the main impetus behind those who harbored doubts about the covid shots and those foisting them on the public was not an informed opinion or reasonable considerations, but a psychological need to view themselves as heroic underdogs bucking the establishment.

According to Akiva Tatz, highly accomplished medical professionals like Peter McCullough, Pierre Kory, and countless others threw away their careers and jeopardized everything to be Lone Rangers. Millions of ordinary and exceptional people in every country across the world – with little to no prior history of aberrant behavior or heroism – did the same, because bucking the establishment suddenly became more important to them than everything else. It's all about the drama.

“I think we've got to a point where the default assumption now is that the Lone Ranger going against society must be right.”


Tatz substantiates this absurd remark with another straw man swipe at those who doubt the medical establishment, calling them “self-contradictory”. He relates that some people have been sending him material for years showing that “any manufactured medication is evil, wicked, money-making, and likely to harm you. The only valid treatments are naturopathic and holistic and plant-based...”

Tatz gets excited as he prepares to play his winning card: “The same people are now sending me videos telling me that hydroxychloroquine is essential to use in [a] covid situation. Just one moment. That's manufactured by the drug industry, it's a drug that people are making money out of, like, why are you saying this? I think the reason is that since it's the minority view, railing against the majority – that's the primary value.”

According to Tatz, that's the most important thing, taking the minority view no matter what. He simply cannot allow for the possibility that highly intelligent and thoughtful people, who developed their viewpoints only after great study and deliberation, would adopt a minority viewpoint based on merit – only because it's a cultural and psychological thing. The best theory Akiva Tatz has for why so many people across the world, across every demographic group, are skeptical of the covid narrative is that they simply must take a contrarian position, even if it kills them and everyone they love.

And he's the one making fun of wild theories.

The fact is that even those who favor natural and holistic treatments (for good reason) will generally acknowledge that some pharmaceutical products are advised some of the time. It is hard to find a fundamentalist who believes all pharmaceutical products are harmful and “evil” all of the time, yet mysteriously believes in hydroxychloroquine as “essential”. I don't know of any such people, but even if they do exist, and have a strange gravitational pull to Akiva Tatz, they should hardly be considered the norm.

Furthermore, if one generally favors natural treatments – or always favors them – but makes an exception for hydroxychloroquine in a specific situation, why must we immediately conclude that this person is a fool and a hypocrite? Is it not plausible that they actually researched this matter – or personally experienced the benefits of a particular drug – and that their departure from their usual way of thinking actually demonstrates great maturity and reasonableness? Is this not something to be admired instead of mocked?

But Tatz mocks them, even while he pretends to support challenging the majority. He sums it up as follows:

“It's very healthy to be brave enough to have a minority view against the majority, but it should rest on evidence.”

Clearly implied is that those who challenge the establishment in this case have no evidence, though Tatz does nothing to substantiate his fealty to the occasionally malicious establishment or his condescending posture toward those engaging in healthy and brave questioning. He does not provide clear guidelines for when it is healthy and brave, and when it is senseless and silly, save for a vague comment about resting on evidence.

Instead of probing whether the “Lone Rangers” with their conspiracy theories actually have evidence, and if this might indeed be another example of the political and medical establishment betraying the public, Tatz blithely dismisses them without any evidence of his own. One might expect the burden of proof to be squarely on those with a history of malfeasance and outright malice before the world rolls up their sleeves, but Tatz believes they have already proven their case beyond any shadow of doubt, to the point of mocking the minority into oblivion.

Those listening will walk away confused, which will strongly deter them against ever bucking the majority, particularly when it comes to covid. And that's the point. Tatz manages to come across as both reasonable toward people with minority views – he praises them and notes that they are often right! – while managing to discourage anyone but the greatest of experts armed with incontrovertible evidence from ever bucking the establishment.

Tatz proceeds to distract and entertain his audience with stories about medical Lone Rangers who were proven to be both right and wrong, as if that is really the issue at hand. He shares the case of Dr. Semmelweis, who discovered that the mysterious cause of infant mortality in hospitals was the simple matter of doctors not washing their hands. Dr. Semmelweis was a fine example of a Lone Ranger ultimately turning out to be right.

Tatz relates that the establishment rewarded Dr. Semmelweis for loudly proclaiming his minority viewpoint by “hounding him mercilessly” and committing him to an insane asylum, where he was severely beaten by guards, and died shortly thereafter. Tatz conveniently ignores any parallels to the treatment of “covid deniers”, let alone recommend a more humble and humane approach from the smug majority today in light of historical lessons.

Instead, Tatz balances this vignette with tales of Lone Rangers being wrong. This serves to numb the listener into taking the most responsible approach – just follow the majority, for they will usually be right. That's the end game here. Don't think too much, don't think you're going to be the next Lone Ranger who gets it right – really, who do you think you are, anyway? – and just follow the majority of experts.

Ironically, Tatz related how a former patient of his – described as a halachic and scientific genius – gave his family very high doses of a certain natural supplement, claiming that it was essential for good health. Tatz warned him that this was dangerous, and that there were known instances of women who took this supplement giving birth to children with a particular abnormality. The patient didn't listen, and when his wife became pregnant he continued to give her this supplement in excessive doses. The child was born with the very abnormality that Tatz had warned him about.

Tatz later discussed this with his patient, who said, “Can you imagine how much worse it would have been had I not given her those supplements?”

The point is that even highly intelligent people can be unable to think objectively when they are fixated on a position, even when reality is staring them in the face. This is a most valid point – yet Tatz seems oblivious to the fact that this is exactly the way covid cultists were behaving.

Brave doctors and scientists all over the world risked everything to warn them that not only would the shots fail to protect them from any presumed epidemic, but they would cause illness, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, paralysis, immune deficiency, reproductive harm, and sudden death. This had already begun to occur in undeniable numbers by the time Tatz gave this lecture – yet many of those who experienced adverse reactions laughed off any plausible link to the shots, and insisted that the unlikely bout of “covid” (or multiple bouts) following the shots would surely have been much worse without them.

Instead of drawing the most obvious parallel between the lessons of the past and the present situation, Tatz deceitfully accuses those who didn't take the shots – a control group whose collective health far surpasses that of the guinea pigs – of being blind to reality. It's the Lone Rangers who aren't objective.

How does Tatz explain this phenomenon?

“One word. Evidence. Evidence! You go where the evidence leads.”

If we are being objective and following the evidence, it appears that Akiva Tatz, noted rabbi and medical professional, is a deceitful man and an Erev Rav.

All this covers the first seventeen minutes of his presentation. It is damning enough, but Tatz is just getting started. At this point he puts on his rabbinic hat and seals his fate with distorted Torah arguments. We will address these in part two.



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