Steven I. Weiss has posted exerpts from an interview he did today with Rabbi Avraham Shemtov of Agudas Chasidei Chabad, the "anit-messianist" "main" Chabad organization. Shemtov claims no shluchim are messianists, and paints messianism as a small faction within a faction. Here is the comment I left to that post:
[Rabbi J.I.} Schochet did not write his essay against Berger in a vacuum. He wrote it with the approval of Agudas Chasidei Chabad – meaning he wrote it with the approval of Rabbi Avraham Shemtov.
The average Chabadnik is a messianist – but he may not be a yellow flag waving overt messianist. The shluchim are quiet messianists, with exceptions – especially in France, Russia and Israel, where overt messianism is dominant.
This war Shemtov may fight is against a fringe element of the overt messianists, the Sfasniks that occupy 770. This group is the most overt of the overt messianists. They believe the Rebbe is alive and standing in front of them.
The problem here is that journalists and outside rabbis do not understand the politics and groupings, and they over simplify the situation. Most overt messianists want the Sfasniks thrown out of 770. And, very quietly, Shemtov himself hints at what is to come:
So, what will 770 look like six months or two years down the line? “770 will look as it should, reflecting the beliefs and the direction of Lubavitch which is all-inclusive, a place for everybody to feel at home and to feel inspired to conduct themselves as a Jew and a Yid should…I think that we are concerned about the prevailing atmosphere and spirit which would be in accordance with the Rebbe’s teaching, and if [the messianist signs are] an impediment, of course” they’d be removed.”
I had posted on my old website (the one Chabad hacked and destroyed) an entire archive of overt messianism from shluchim all over the world. That Shemtov claims not to know what Berger is referring to is an open lie. That he can utter it in relative safety speaks volumes for how the media has, until now, covered this truly sad story.
So, if messianist signs keep more people away from Chabad than draw people to Chabad, the signs come down. If not they stay. Some fighter of messianism.