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March 2, 2020 7:25 am

AIPAC Rewards Cory Booker for Abandoning Israel

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

Opinion

US Senator Cory Booker. Photo: Reuters / Rebecca Cook.

In the fall of 2008, I traveled with Senator Cory Booker to Chicago and presented him to the prestigious AIPAC summit. He then delivered a speech on the Torah portion of the week, Genesis. This speech, and many others that he delivered before AIPAC and pro-Israel audiences throughout the United States, would lead to Cory becoming one of the foremost recipients of pro-Israel donations in America.

But then came the Iran nuclear deal and Cory’s utter betrayal of his convictions for political gain. Cory voted to give the murderous mullahs of Iran $150 billion, facilitating their murder of innocent people worldwide and their wholesale slaughter of political dissidents at home. Even as Iran threatened to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews and bring about a second Holocaust, Cory refused to condemn their genocidal promises.

From there, he also voted against the Taylor Force Act that sought to forbid American funds from being used in pay-for-slay salaries to Palestinian terrorists; condemned the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem; deleted any mention of Jewish influences or mentorship in his autobiography; voted against the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, which provided legal cover to state governments that seek to stymie the BDS movement; and infamously took a smiling photograph with Israel-hating BDS leaders, where a text read, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls must go.” Of course, the wall in Israel has saved thousands of lives from terrorist attacks.

I was shocked to read that at AIPAC’s most prestigious plenary session, taking place Monday morning, Cory Booker will follow Vice President Mike Pence as a keynote speaker.

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But what has Cory done to deserve such a high honor, unless abandoning Israel’s security, funding its genocidal enemies, condemning the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, and taking selfies with BDS haters counts?

I am a well-known supporter and advocate for AIPAC. But they become their own worst enemy when they undermine their core pro-Israel advocacy with stunts like this. What message does it send to elected officials when those who abandon Israel’s security become AIPAC standard-bearers? The people who should be speaking at AIPAC are Democratic heroes like Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Cory’s senior senator, who voted against a president of his own party to oppose the Iran deal. Nancy Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., was a Democratic congressman who likewise challenged a president from his own party, Franklin Roosevelt, for not doing enough to save Europe’s Jews. Heroes like these should be honored by AIPAC.

There is a way back for Cory. He can apologize for having broken his promises to the pro-Israel community. He can acknowledge that being silent in the face of genocide, especially toward a community that loved him like a son, is indecent.

His votes in the Senate must reflect a renewed commitment to Israel’s permanence. He should say he regrets condemning America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and condemn Iran instead for its vile commitment to eradicating the Middle East of all Jews.

Only then, when he has earned it, should Cory be rewarded with the high honor of an AIPAC policy speech.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 33 books, including the upcoming Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.

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