Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

The Unfolding Story of the Death of Dan Kliman, z”l

Posted by Oyster on December 5, 2008

dan_klimanThe news keeps trickling in about Dan Kliman’s mysterious death. On one one hand, nothing about the circumstances of his death are beyond the plausible. The elevator was broken. He was taking classes in the building. But the mundane generalities of this tragic event end there. He was arguably the Bay Area’s preeminent pro-Israel activist, often going toe-to-toe on the streets of San Francisco with rabid Anti-Israel protesters who had no compunctions with slipping into unabashed Antisemitism. The classes that he was taking at the building where he died was Arabic language. He dated one of the instructors. He was a gay, vegetarian, Orthodox Jew who was a bicycling activist. No one seemed to notice him missing, even though it was Thanksgiving weekend and he was supposed to be on an ORGANIZED trip to Israel. [UPDATE 12/09/2008] A friend of Dan’s wrote to inform me that indeed people noticed him being incommunicado even a few days before his death.

I can only give you my gut feeling on this one, my kind readers, since I have no special insider knowledge. All that I can do is tell you my personal feeling on this one, and that something stinks here. There’s just way too many unknowns and unusual circumstances here. This is no Israel-loving haven, and he had no short list of people who wouldn’t mind him dropping dead. I’m really glad that the SFPD decided that this warrants them opening up a multi-group Task Force to conduct a thorough investigation (see link below). Dan’s senseless death cries out for the truth, and sunlight is the best remedy.

Aside from my meaningless drivel, I can aggregate what is known.

Here are some blog-posts:

  • Zombie, the Bay Area’s ardent Zionist shutter-bug, gives a personal testament to his friend Dan.
  • AtTheBackOfTheHill remembers his friend Dan, and takes their anti-Israel antagonists to task for fostering an environment of hate.
  • SF Voice for Israel has suffered the loss of Dan and another key activist in the recent past. Both are commemorated on their website. Also, they have released a statement regarding Dan’s death, that was posted courtesy of AtTheBackOfTheHill.
  • CFSWarrior recalls a very disturbing event that happened to Dan outside of the Israeli Consulate in SF shortly before his death.
  • heeb’n’vegan recalls this quote from Dan: “People do indeed define down Judaism and often use the ‘buffet method’ for their mitzvot. … On Yom Kippur, my Rabbi talked of how it is nearly impossibly for anyone, even a great tzadik (righteous person), to fulfill all the commandments; therefore, we should think in terms of bettering ourselves rather than achieving perfection.”
  • The Bicycle Blog commemorates Dan’s passing, and has a photo of Dan’s bike still outside the building where he died on the day that his body was discovered.
  • Critical Mass St. Louis mourns the death of their founder.
  • One of Dan’s many e-friends leaves him an e-testament over at Zionism-Israel.com .

Here are some articles:

  • Hands down, the best coverage has been from the SF Weekly, that gives it the local attention that this story deserves, and Joe Eshkenazi, formerly a reporter for the J Weekly, is intimately aware of Kliman’s background in the Jewish community. Here, Joe gets the police on the record saying that they “have evidence” that Kliman walked into the elevator shaft.
  • Then, Inspector Krimsky claims that his “words have been twisted around“, and that they have hard physical evidence putting Kliman inside the elevator car shortly before his death. They say that they will be able to release more information regarding the physical evidence after December 15th. That date seems to coincide with the most likely end-date of his family ending the Shiva.
  • Latest from SFW is that in order to make sure there’s no mistake, a Task Force is being formed to check all possible hate crime and homicide leads surrounding the case.
  • KCBS buys the police’s story
  • KPIX story gives more of an emphasis to Dan’s “pro-Israeli” activism.
  • The J’s late-breaking (with an emphasis on late) article. Also syndicated to the JTA, that was one of the first outlets to break the news. [UPDATE 12/09/2008] Also syndicated at The Cutting Edge.
  • Debbie Schlussel claims that his death was at the hands of Muslim extremists. Then, she gets the smack down from the East Bay Express, that calls her an Ann Coulter wannabe.

I’ll try to post more information as it becomes available.


4 Responses to “The Unfolding Story of the Death of Dan Kliman, z”l”

  1. […] 5, 1:10am: The Oy Bay! blog has now posted “The Unfolding Story of the Death of Dan Kliman,” with an extensive list of links related to Dan’s case, and noting some details that […]

  2. Oyster said

    I don’t know about other people, but if someone was missing from an organized trip to Israel, there would be non-stop phone calls to try to figure out where the person is. They just don’t say, “Huh, too bad.”

  3. B”H

    I also have a blog post about his mysterious death. It seems that pro-Israel activists are strangely prone to falling from great heights to their deaths despite the long-odds of doing so. Irv Rubin also, supposedly–the day before an important appeal, while handcuffed and accompanied by guards moving from cell to cell in prison–cut his own throat and jumped over a four foot wall to fall several stories. He survived, initially, but succumbed to his wounds without regaining consciousness. Of course, it was never investigated.

  4. Thank you for your praise and my sympathies to everyone for this loss.

    I should point out that, at no time, did SF Weekly print the “fell down an elevator shaft” story. Our first story quoted an anonymous family member of Dan’s who told us the police told him Dan died climbing from the elevator.

    In our second story, Inspector Krimsky told us about that theory directly, saying the “shaft” story was a “twisting” of his words. So far as I know, the police have not changed their story on this.



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