Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Rabbis Who Screw Israel

December 7, 2012 10:53 am 2 comments

Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.

The New York Times has now devoted two major articles, including a page one feature, to a mostly boring story about Bnei Jeshurun on the Upper West Side of Manhattan whose Rabbis, J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo R. Bronstein and Felicia L. Sol, sent out an email in the wake of the UN vote to upgrade the Palestinians to observer status. The email stated, “The vote at the U.N. yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world. This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition.”

Now, does anyone really care about a ridiculous email that was sent to a congregation? Does this merit national attention? How could a deeply misguided communal email like this have caused such a ruckus? After all, we all agree that Rabbis are entitled to their opinions, however wrong, and should not be silenced.

But, it turns out that when Rabbis criticize Israel or are seen to join the other side, guess what. It’s news. Big news.

For the record, I like Bnei Jeshurun and I did the U.S. launch for my book Kosher Sex there in 1999, while still living in Britain. It’s a successful congregation that has fostered an affiliation with Judaism among many who might have remained on the outside.

But I learned something in Oxford as Rabbi that I’ll never forget and even coined it as a phrase. Tolerating the intolerable is the liberalism of fools.

The Palestinian Authority remains a force deeply hostile to Israel as a Jewish state and Mahmoud Abbas has been adamant that he will not recognize Israel’s uniquely Jewish character. On 27 April 2009, he said, “A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly.” Worse, the Palestinian Authority is an entity that continues to glorify terrorists who murder Jews. As Palestinian Media Watch reports, Abd Al-Baset Udeh, the murderer of 30 innocent Jews at the Passover Seder massacre, had a soccer event for teenagers named for him. His brother distributed the trophies. And who can forget Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who led the bloodiest attack in Israel’s history in 1978, when she and other terrorists killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children. This monster has had summer camps, schools, graduation ceremonies and sporting events named for her.

Abbas himself seems to have a problem recognizing Jewish suffering. His 1982 thesis titled “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement” maintains that “less than one million” Jews died in the holocaust. Abbas also outrageously claimed that the Zionist leadership were collaborators with the Nazi regime to “facilitate the wide-spread destruction” of Jews.

But lest anyone say that all of this is in the past and Abbas is a new man, look at the speech that he gave at the UN for the observer status vote where he accused Israel of killing many Palestinians in the recent Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza and intentionally causing ferocious damage to Gaza infrastructure. Referring to the “Nakba-catastrophe” events of 1948, he said that Israel is a racist country committed modern ethnic cleansing. He added that Israel is guilty of colonizing Palestine and continuing its aggression.

Are these the pronouncements of a man who wants peace? Do they presage a Palestinian entity that will use its observer status to promote conciliation or one hell-bent on delegitimizing Israel?

So the question becomes, why would Rabbis endorse these words? Where is it a mitzvah to uphold the rights of one people when those rights are abused to defame, delegitimize, and destroy another?

Noone disputes that Palestinians are equal children of God to the Jews and are endowed with the same inalienable rights. What is at issue here is why the Palestinians do not have a state. And the clear answer is that every time Israel has been misguided enough to trade land for peace it has mostly led to the land being used as a launching pad for wars of annihilation against Israel. Land for peace has always resulted in dead Jews.

If there are fewer dead Jews today at the hands of murderers who infiltrate from the West Bank it is not because of any lessening of the commitment on the part of terrorists to murder them, but because Israel has built a wall to keep the killers out.

There are, thank God, more than a billion Muslims in the world. But there are only fourteen millions Jews in the world and probably not more than a few thousand Rabbis in all of America.

Surely Rabbis should be firmly on the side of Israel.

No doubt the day will one day come when Arabs will reach out to Jews truly as brothers and peace will break out across the globe, just as the prophet Isaiah foretold. But Rabbis forcing that day and pretending its already here when so many of our Palestinian brothers are sadly still committed to the Jewish state’s destruction is dangerous, naïve, and the liberalism of fools.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, an award-winning TV and radio host, and is currently writing a new book on relationships entitled Kosher Lust. Next month he will publish The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

2 Comments

  • When one speaks about the apartheid State of Israel together with the ethnic cleansing of of Arabs from Israel,this is one hell of a complete fabrication of the truth. The truth being that today is Israel 20% of the population are Israeli Arabs citizens, Muslim as well as Christians. There are Jews in Israel whom originated from Ethiopia, Black Jews, just as there are are Black Palestinian Muslims whom also originated from black Africa, they were once the slaves of Arabs. However where there was once one million Jews throughout the Arab world, the Middle-East and North-Africa, today there are only around 6,000 left at the most, mainly in Morocco and Tunisia, with a few hundred scattered throughout Syria,Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain, that is what you call ethnic cleansing at it’s pinnacle. The Arab world is extremely successful in orating their lying propaganda to the fools in the west who soak it all up, then turn their hatred towards Israel, whereby attacks on Jews today once again is open sport. I spit upon the Europe of today, because a leopard never changes his spots.

  • Independent states who constitutionally state their worshipful essence, Ireland, Spain, Italy would include the oligarchies of the Muslim world. Lionising scoundrels for propaganda-imitation purposes is proverbial and with time satirised justifiably.

    Holocaust denial, the “Nakba catastrophe”, allegations of racism, ethnic cleansing and colonisation are throw away terms usually dismissed by the averagely intelligent person. But here Rabbi Teach is on more factual ground, a great distance from mythology, ideology and superstition encouraged by powerful men if only to protect their control.

    Religious preoccupation with morality is selective. And Rabbi Teach is a recognised authority. What I believe he fails to address is “Palestine” and the Palestinians are an issue politicised beyond rational discussion. Favouring wholly the refugees in Gaza and the West Bank is folly, perhaps the liberalism of fools. Perhaps also is the opposite?

    The divided Jewish religious world is concerned with the dangerous, naive and the freedom of partiality. Today ancient Judaeophobia is the new antisemitism. That is the realpolitik of Jews for millennia. And they have survived.

    Israel and the Jews should not be two separate issues, one political, one religious. Possibly, omitting his self promotion of Kosher Sex, that is what the Rabbi is trying to say?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →