Hampton Kosher Hot Dogs at Qatar’s Bloody World Cup
The day after Christmas, Bloomberg News published an article titled, “New York Hot Dog Rabbi to Make Qatar Kosher for World Cup.”
A few questions immediately presented themselves.
First, who was this mysterious “Hot Dog Rabbi”? Second, why would any rabbi want to be known by that moniker? Third, hadn’t we had enough of Jewish leaders humiliating themselves by cozying up to Qatar, especially with the sordid stories of how much money has allegedly changed hands?
The story got even stranger. At the bottom, there was a disclaimer that “An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the rabbi’s given name.” I was then startled when I read that the rabbi in question was my good friend Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Hamptons Synagogue.
In the summer of 2014, I was present as a scholar-in-residence in the Hamptons, and witnessed Marc raise more than one million dollars for Israel as it battled Hamas terrorists in the third Gaza war, during which Hamas fired hundreds of rockets against Israeli cities and murdered 67 soldiers. And who is the biggest funder of Hamas? Qatar.
Why on earth would Rabbi Schneier be setting up kosher hot dog stands for Qatar during the World Cup?
It was bad enough when Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division, mysteriously traveled to Qatar without any explanation. We would later discover that his visit was arranged by Orthodox Jewish lobbyist Nick Muzin.
The kicker of the article was the prominent picture in the middle, featuring Rabbi Schneier presenting an award to the Qatari head of the World Cup. Another story on YNet reported that the same man, “Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy … met with US Rabbi Marc Schneier … and asked him to serve as an adviser with regards to matters relating to hosting Jewish sports fans who will attend the matches.”
Said Rabbi Schneier, “This is an exceptional development that attests to the sensitivity that the Qataris show toward Israelis and the Jewish world. … I responded to the request with joy.”
Now, it’s debatable whether funding Hamas — whose covenant calls for the annihilation of Israel and the murder of Jewish people wherever they may be found — constitutes any particular “sensitivity” toward Israelis and Jews, kosher hot dogs aside. Oddly, the Bloomberg story said that Al-Thawadi would not confirm anything that Rabbi Schneier said about Israelis being welcomed at the World Cup; at the moment, they are barred by Qatari law.
We know that Rabbi Schneier is a good man, very devoted to Israel, and has built an impressive and wonderful community in the Hamptons. But is he being used by Qatar just like other Jewish leaders have been?
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s Morton Klein traveled to Qatar last year, and said that he had persuaded the Emir to remove antisemitic books from the Qatari book fair. As the ZOA press release put it, “Klein’s meetings in Qatar also resulted, after a two-hour meeting with the Emir in his palace, in Qatar agreeing to remove anti-Semitic books from the Doha book fair.” But this past December 4, the ADL reported that “Blatantly anti-Semitic books are being promoted by the state-run book fair this week in Doha, Qatar, according to Anti-Defamation League’s experts in Arabic language. These anti-Semitic titles include ‘Lies Spread by the Jews’ and ‘The Myth of the Nazi Gas Chambers.’”
The ADL wrote to William Grant, the US Chief of Mission at the American embassy in Qatar, “asking that he leverage the embassy’s participation in the book fair to urge the Qatari government to stop promoting such hateful content.” The US embassy did not dispute the charge. Indeed, according to the ADL, Grant “indicated he and his advisers took immediate action in response to ADL’s letter of concern” and “visited booths at the book fair to identify the anti-Semitic materials flagged by ADL. … The Qatari government subsequently withdrew certain anti-Semitic titles from the book fair and issued a circular to participants indicating that intolerant books were not permitted.”
CruxNow.com, a leading publication covering the Catholic world, published a May 2018 article titled, “Pope scolds FIFA for slave labor in Qatar.” The article tells the tragic story of how nearly 2,000 migrant workers are alleged to have already died in near slave-like conditions building Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.
A papal charity called Pontifical Scholas Occurrentes presented the Pope with a devastating critique of Qatar’s abuse of the workers and the staggering number of dead. The Pope then wrote to FIFA — the world soccer body — calling on them to crack down on Qatar. To date, FIFA has not even responded to the Pope’s letter.
Now, just think about that. While the Pope is leveraging his moral standing to speak up for thousands of workers dying in the Qatari desert heat under near slave-like conditions to make it ready for the World Cup, New York rabbis — overlooking Qatar’s support of terror — are running to make sure that Jews can have sauerkraut and relish on their hot dogs at the World Cup.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.