This was left as a comment to an earlier post. Can any of you confirm this information? Did Rabbi Cohen speak at Beth Abraham this past Shabbat? What did he say? Did Rabbi Schachter tell people not to pray in Rabbi Cohen's synagogue? What are the facts here?
The following is a summary of the events relating to Rav Dovid Cohen's ("RDC") speeches at Beth Abraham this Shabbos and my subsequent conversation with him. I should have listened to Rav Schachter when he said publicly in shiur a few years ago not to daven in his shul because of RDC's disgraceful approach to business ethics in building his shul with stolen money.
RDC publicly said that there is no problem with cheating on taxes or lying on a tax return. He also said that all goyim hate Jews and we should not be fooled by American goyim who hide it better. He said that he would deny having said this if anyone from the press (or someone that he suspects might be from the press) asks him about it.
I called him yesterday to ask how he can say that it is permissible to cheat on taxes when the Shulchan Aruch, Tur, Rambam, and many others all say that cheating on taxes from a non-Jewish government is a violation of lo sigzol. His answer was similar to a conservative rabbi. He said that he does not feel bound by the psak of the shulchan aruch. In any case, he said that he believes that all of the statements in the shulchan aruch, rambam etc. that tax evasion is forbidden was put in there because of fear of anti-Semitism if they said the truth which is that you can cheat on your taxes. He therefore said that he ignores all of these statements in the sifrei halacha. In fact, he said that he paskens that you can outright steal from a gentile (even one that keeps the seven mitzvos and is not an idolater) as long as you think that you will not get caught and cause a chillul hashem. I then pointed out to him that every posek in the past two thousand years has paskened that gezel akum is forbidden under lo sigzol. He once again said that he does not believe that they meant that and they were only saying it for fear of the goyim. This sounds like Strauss's view of the Rambam (I can explain that if you are not familiar with it).
In addition, I heard him many years ago say that Baruch Goldstein did not violate lo tirzach and that the only reason he should not have killed the Arabs was because his actions were likely to create more violence against Jews.
As to other crazy things he said, he said on Friday night that you are obligated to vote for the candidate that your rabbi tells you to vote for based on daas torah. He also told me during my call on Sunday that it is an issur doraisa to say anything complimentary about any gentile. His example was that a person who says that Beethoven was a good composer is violating an issur doraisa.
He caused a great chillul hashem as many people told me after he spoke that they were sickened by what he said. I have a call in to Rav Schachter to let him know what happened as he will certainly hit the wall when he hears this. He used to tell us in shiur on many occasions that the basics of Judaism relate to honesty and integrity and people who cheat on taxes or steal are a disgrace to Judaism. When I got married, he told me that the main thing to ask the witnesses is whether they ever cheated on their taxes. I also plan to speak to Rabbi Neuberger about this. I kind of feel responsible that I did not tell Rabbi Neuberger what I know about David Cohen before he came. I had always heard in Flatbush that he has no problem with cheating and stealing in business as long as Jews are not hurt. I also plan on sending letters to Ohel (where he is the posek) and to Avi Shafran at the Agudah. This man must be stopped although I am not sure what is the best way to do it. There were hundreds of people in the audience who, if they believe him, will think that Judaism allows them to cheat and steal. One baal teshuva told me that he could not sleep that night because he had always been told that Judaism preached honesty and integrity and he now sees that a very well known and respected posek can get up and advocate stealing and cheating. He is questioning everything he has been taught. The sad thing is that he infiltrated the YU community because he is articulate and worldly.