What Happened to Cory Booker?
Last week, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), one of the most radical organizations promoting the antisemitic BDS movement, posted a widely-shared photo of aspiring presidential candidate Cory Booker beside the group’s government affairs associate. Booker is smiling while holding a sign that says, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
In an apparent attempt to win over the left wing of the Democratic Party — and perhaps prove that he can criticize Israel on a par with Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren — Cory is increasingly alienating himself from the American Jewish community, which once loved him.
That same Jewish community played an outsized role in Cory’s political success. Based on his public promises to defend Israel, Cory became one of the largest recipients of pro-Israel campaign contributions.
But then came his choice to put political expedience over principle by supporting the Iran nuclear deal. He chose supporting his party leader rather than opposing a genocidal regime that hates both the US and Israel. Despite all evidence to the contrary, which has been compounded since the agreement was signed, Cory bought the snake oil that the deal was good for the US and the world.
Then this past April the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — of which Cory is a member — held a vote to halt US taxpayer funding to the Palestinian Authority because of its despicable “pay-to-slay” policy, which pays salaries to terrorist murderers and their families.
Unbelievably, Cory voted “No” in committee.
Then came the photo this past Friday.
Cory’s excuse for appearing in the photo was that he was posing for pictures and was passed a sign to hold. He only glanced at it and thought it was just referring to Mexico. Many have rejected this explanation, saying that no experienced politician poses with a sign that he does not read.
I disagree. I take Cory at his word. But why was he even posing with leaders of the BDS movement, whose raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel?
Much more important, if Cory is correct that he was bamboozled into holding an anti-Israel sign by BDS leaders, then he should not just disown the picture, but denounce the message of those who set him up. He should finally condemn the BDS movement, which he has thus far refused to do.
Israel’s security barrier was erected after more than 1,000 Israeli civilians were murdered in a five-year campaign of Palestinian terror. The wall was built to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating into Israel.
The sign that Senator Booker held up is part of the antisemitic campaign to conflate the Israeli-Palestinian situation with the human rights concerns of unrelated groups, such as Black Lives Matter. This notion of intersectionality is nothing more than a transparent effort by anti-Israel activists to attach themselves like barnacles to whatever cause is popular with students and progressives. The term is new, but the strategy goes back to the 1960s, when Israel’s detractors also tried to attach their propaganda to anti-war protests and the agenda of other radicals.
Cory should also point out the hypocrisy of the Orwellian t-shirt worn by the USCPR activist, which typifies the outrageousness of the group’s propaganda. Let’s briefly dissect the slogan on her t-shirt: “Palestine is a Feminist / Queer / Refugee / Racial Justice Issue.”
First and foremost, “Palestine” is a land that two people claim ownership of. Despite Israel’s historic connection to the land, the Jewish state still recognizes that Palestinians also claim a connection to it. Going back as far as 1937, the Jews in the Holy Land have expressed a willingness to share this land, though they have no obligation to do so. The Palestinians, however, have repeatedly rejected offers of statehood from the British, the UN, and Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, Barak, and Olmert. For the last nine years, they have refused to even talk with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Instead, they are trying to convince the international community to somehow force Israel to capitulate to their demands while simultaneously pursuing a global campaign to delegitimize Israel. They have no interest in living beside Israel; their goal is to replace Israel. Just look at their maps, their symbols, and their speeches.
The principal obstacle to peace was and remains the Palestinians’ unwillingness to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and agree to live in peace beside it.
The t-shirt’s slogan is also offensive to the audiences it addresses. Palestine is Feminist and Queer? The Palestinian Authority does not recognize women’s rights. It is a place where women can be killed in so-called “honor killings” if their male relatives or lovers believe they have acted immorally. In Gaza, where radical Islamic terrorists rule, women are expected to be subservient and accept the most restrictive interpretations of Islam on female behavior.
And Palestinian “queers”? They flee to Israel for safety. Gay rights do not exist and anyone who is openly gay may be jailed, tortured, or murdered. By contrast, the 1.5 million Arab and Islamic citizens of Israel enjoy the best conditions of Arab citizens anywhere in the Middle East.
As for “racial justice,” what does that mean? What race are they referring to? In Gaza, where the Palestinians are controlled by Hamas, or in in the West Bank, where they live under Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians are denied freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and most other rights. Roughly 98% of the Palestinians live in territories that are under the direct control of their own leaders, not Israel.
These are the responses that Cory should have given after the picture was published, and it should have come from his lips, not a spokesperson.
Cory can continue to charm Jewish audiences with his discussion of passages from the Torah and Hebrew phrases. But it will in no way compensate for his waning support for the Jewish state.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 32 books, including Lust for Love, co-authored with Pamela Anderson. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.