Adelson doubles down on TV’s most famous Republican sex-advice rabbi

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 34 Comments
Two leaders of daytime television, Dr. Phil and Shalom in the Home‘s Rabbi Boteach, a Republican congressional candidate who is backed by billionaire pro-Israel advocate Sheldon Adelson.

Sheldon Adelson and wife Dr. Miriam Adelson have made their second $500,000 pledge to back Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, host of The Learning Channel’s Shalom in the Home, in his New Jersey standoff with Democrat incumbent Bill Pascrell.

Author of 23 books including the New York Times bestselling The Kosher Sutra and a frequent guest on the daytime programming circuit, Rabbi Boteach is best known for counseling relationships, often focusing on marriage life inside of the bedroom. Appearing on Dr. Phil in 2009 Rabbi Boteach recommends couples, “probe the erotic mind of their spouse. I wish that husbands would give their wives erotic interrogations. Ask them about their fantasies.”

Rabbi shmuley
          Rabbi Shmuley with family in Hebron, in 2010. (Photo: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach)

About a month ago when Adelson dropped his first $500,000 payment into Rabbi Boteach’s SuperPAC, Phil Weiss caught onto the noticeable absence of Israel in the news coverage on the two political figures. But Rabbi Boteach is a staunch supporter of Israel’s settler movement, and Boteach himself has participated in Jewish festivities in the occupied Palestinian territories. In 2010 Rabbi Boteach attended in a settler Sukkot celebration in the West Bank city of Hebron. Recounting his experience in the Huffington Post, the religious leader and erotic advisor endorsed the unbridled expansion of Israel’s West Bank outposts and even used Nazi terminology in making his political point:

Abraham, at whose tomb I prayed with my children tonight, is the father of all peoples, Jew and Arab alike. The Arabs are my brothers, equal children of G-d in every respect. And Arabs and Jews must learn to live peacefully together in the land. Neither group should be asked to abide by a moratorium that stifles the natural expansion of either population. It is not the spiritual-seeking settlers who threaten the peace, but rather the murderous groups of Hezbollah and Hamas, who wish to make all of Israel judenrein.

The subtext of Rabbi Boteach one “spiritual night in Hebron” article is that the Republican candidate supports a “greater Israel,” or full Israeli sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. His extremist position barks of ethnic cleansing because, in practice, the expansion of Jewish localities in occupied Palestinian land has always accompanied and expulsion of the Palestinian population. Take Hebron where the Rabbi celebrated the Jewish festival of the harvest. The streets where he danced with his children and “felt alive and utterly free of fear,” are effectively Palestinian-rein, with large portions of the city closed off to its non-Jewish inhabitants.

However last week Israel jumped from a dim backroom issue to the spotlight in a debate between Rabbi Boteach and Pascrell, New Jersey’s 9th district congressman. Boteach lambasted Pascrell for condemning Israel’s 2009 blockade of Gaza, which has pushed the coastal strip into a precious state of near humanitarian disaster. From New Jersey Online:

Boteach criticized Pascrell for signing a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to call for Israel to end a blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The letter said the blockade had prevented humanitarian aid from reaching Palestinians, which Boteach called ‘slander.’

‘Israel is a nation of the highest humanitarian principles,’ Boteach said.

Pascrell said his record on Israel was ‘very clear. In fact, some have called it perfect.’

During the debate Boteach also brought up the mid-Atlantic state’s partisan litmus test on Islamophobia, advocating to deport the Imam of New Jersey’s largest mosque based on dubious evidence that he was a member of Hamas, a case which is now being appealed in the state’s immigration court. Imam Mohammad Qatanani was arrested without charge in 1993 by Israeli authorities and placed under administrative detention for three months. However Israeli officials now contend Qatanani was charged with recruiting students into Jordanian chapters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Additionally, immigration officials also penalized Qatanani for being related through marraige to a member of Hamas who was killed by Israeli forces in 2001.

According to the New York Times Qatanani was active in the student branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a legal political party in Jordan and was never a member of Hamas. But the immigration judge who granted Qatanani his initial green card status contends the Israeli evidence is “too unreliable to prove that Mr. Qatanani has engaged in terrorist activities,” reported North Jersey in 2009.

Pascrell closed the debate on Imam Qatanani, stating “You don’t have any proof that what you say is correct.” He continued, “And I am not going to renounce anyone on hearsay.”

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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34 Responses

  1. W.Jones
    October 20, 2012, 12:40 pm

    There are also over a dozen clips and videos of R.Boteach debating Dr. Michael Brown on Christianity:

  2. Krauss
    October 20, 2012, 1:00 pm

    He’s going to lose, all the polls point in that direction.

    Also, on a sidenote:

    See the section on Israel. More than 2.5 democratic voters think the U.S. supports Israel too much rather than too little.

    We’re increasingly seeing a story which is held up by Republican fervor(the wannabe crusaders).

  3. Mooser
    October 20, 2012, 1:12 pm

    “probe the erotic mind of their spouse. I wish that husbands would give their wives erotic interrogations. Ask them about their fantasies.”

    After which, of course, you scourge them for the uncontrolled salaciousness peculiar to their sex, and harbor suspicions of harlotry and infidelity.

    • Mooser
      October 20, 2012, 2:17 pm

      “probe the erotic mind of their spouse. I wish that husbands would give their wives erotic interrogations. Ask them about their fantasies.”

      Women! I ran right upstairs and followed his prescription. Asked about fantasies. Got a two-word answer:
      “Not you”

      I wonder if Boteach has much to say about Jewish divorce? Nah, he’s a Rabbi, not a lawyer.

      • Allison Deger
        October 21, 2012, 7:58 am

        You must have followed the directions incorrectly. I mean, come on, these guys really look like they know what they are talking about. And Boteach is a rabbi on TV, that’s like being a master navigator in taboo exploration.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2012, 1:30 pm

        “a master navigator in taboo exploration.”

        I don’t care what he calls ’em, they’re sideburns, and they’re nasty. Where are the splinter Amish groups when you need them? They would know what to do.

    • Don
      October 20, 2012, 4:59 pm

      This would certainly be my approach.

    • tear-stained uzi
      October 20, 2012, 6:46 pm

      I’m pretty sure one of Jeffrey Goldberg’s duties as an IDF prison guard in Lebanon was “erotic interrogater.” Well, he was in charge of probing, anyway.

      Rabbi Boteach was some kind of “spiritual adviser/guru” to Michael Jackson, I recall. I wonder if he counselled MJ to ask his little sleepover guests about their fantasies?

  4. Sin Nombre
    October 20, 2012, 1:39 pm

    If you want to see just about the most obvious, blatant lying and misdirection you’ve ever seen in your life from a person go look up Rabbi Shmuley’s recent appearance on Dr. Phil about a month or two ago only where Phil’s main guest was a young woman (mid-20’s or so) who had grown up in one of those very orthodox communities in New York or New Jersey (like Kiryas Joel or etc., though they didn’t name it specifically here), and then tried divorcing the husband she had been set up to marry. His other guest then, confirming this young lady’s story was a young man who had also fled one of same. Of course Phil and his audience were very naive about these communities, so much of what they were aghast at was the most banal and well-known even: That (gasp!) there are some arranged marriages going on in these communities! But even here watch and listen to Boteach: A guy who is from and very active in the jewish world in that very area, far more familiar than any of us possible with the every such community, at the very outset trying to derail the rest of the show by first suggesting it was “the most antisemitic thing” he’d ever heard on television, and then just outright claiming that arranged marriages within same are rare rare rare and etc. and so forth. And then, as to all the other stuff these ex-orthodox said, when Boteach wasn’t just obviously trying to deprive them of air-time by going on extended Kumbaya speeches it was just the absolute height of obvious covering up for even the most well-known kind of stuff that goes on in those communities. Just as blatant as can be, all under the guise of trying to “help” this young woman and as if her experience was just a freakish rare thing he’d never heard of before.

    Even though this woman had never heard of Boteach before and was so innocent you could see she couldn’t have imagined anyone at all trying to play such games with what she was saying you could see even just a few minutes in to the program that she was catching on to him trying to monopolize the time so she couldn’t speak, or otherwise trying to simply deny the reality she was revealing. And poor stupid Dr. Phil even started to get what was going on after awhile with this interference with his guests.

    It’s probably on Youtube or something, and it’s really a spectacle. Like I said, I at least don’t know that I’ve ever seen more a more blatant display than Boteach put on. I just sat there shaking my head thinking “and this guy’s a *rabbi*?”

    • Sin Nombre
      October 20, 2012, 1:47 pm

      Ah, I looked it up on YouTube. There seems to be 3 parts to it, with Part One leading you onto the link to part 2 and then 3 I guess. I hope all three cover the whole thing.

      So here’s the link to Part I:

      • MLE
        October 20, 2012, 4:43 pm

        Great video…

        Obviously he knows that they’re telling the truth, he’s like the others in the communities in that he does not want the specifics getting out. “It’s a do what you want but don’t air our dirty laundry in public” reaction.

        I sort of feel like there’s a level of Jewish complicity with conservative and reform circles- we find the ultra orthodox people’s lifestyles unsavory, but we don’t really want to break them up because they’re supposed to carry on the traditions for us. We feel better knowing that they exist, because it lessens our guilt for pushing traditions aside. “I don’t keep a kosher home, but the people in Brooklyn don’t use electricity on the sabbath, so Judaism isn’t totally going away”

        I got that feeling with some Muslim and Christian groups too. They didn’t like the hard liners, but they secretly respected them because they didn’t “give in to the temptation” that everyone else did and lived a more “pure life” My boyfriend in Egypt fasted for nifsu Shabaan through Ramadan (basically a month and a half instead of a month). He wouldn’t engage in any sexual activity during the time, and during the day he wouldn’t even hold my hand or touch me. I was really mad about it and I insisted it was an optional fast, he could break it if he wanted as long as he fasted for Ramadan, god probably wouldn’t be too mad at him, but he insisted. I was sulking about it to another friend of mine, who wasnt fond of my boyfriend to begin with and when I told him about it, he was actually very impressed with my boyfriend for following through with it. “If its such a good thing, then why don’t you do it?” I asked him. My friend told me its because he’s a bad Muslim already so what’s with breaking another tradition (he considered hashish permissible during Ramadan as long as it was after sunset) but I shouldn’t push the issue with my boyfriend because he’s being a good Muslim.

        It’s amusing to see how freaked shmuely is about making sure the kids are raised Jewish. “Yes, you should be free to go out and express yourself and have a relationship with your children- you’re still raising them Jewish right? Good, oh Judaism respects women so much blah blah blah, moms should have relationships with their children, you’re not going to raise them in a non-Jewish household so it’s great…”

    • Annie Robbins
      October 20, 2012, 2:07 pm

      yes yes i saw that sin nombre, i was completely flabberghasted. in fact,i was just remindedof it when i clickedon the recent youtube link in the video on the post (getting lots of delay action thinking it might work better @ youtube) and i noticed it was in the line up of available videos on the right side of the page. i highly recommend it. thanks for mentioning.

      • Sin Nombre
        October 20, 2012, 5:18 pm

        “i was completely flabberghasted”

        Yeah. I mean … we’ve all seen all kinds of “public” religious figures; the stupid, the defensive, the aggressive, the blind and etc., etc. And even those fudging facts to some degree. But I’d never ever seen one anything like Boteach. Ever. It wasn’t uneven, or just that this or that statement momentarily spiking him into blurting out something defensive or on the edge of conscious falsehood even; it was just simply like seeing a fully conscious and utterly unscrupulous propagandist out lying his ass off and doing whatever he could to obfuscate and dilute what those two others were saying. And not only wasn’t there even a molecule of reserve or hesitation (much less shame) to it, you could see how proud this rabbi guy was of what he was doing. It was as fascinating as it was repellent, and that’s saying something.

      • W.Jones
        October 21, 2012, 2:24 am

        Sin Nombre,

        One of the “Related Videos” is an interview by Oprah of four Hasidic women. In the movie, the women say they are not subservient in their relationships with their husbands, and that sometimes they are better educated than their husbands. They said that the home is the center of Judaism instead of the synagogue, and that in the home, the woman has the “starring role.”

        What do you think about this interview?

      • Sin Nombre
        October 21, 2012, 1:08 pm

        @ W.Jones:

        I’m afraid I didn’t see that related video and am not really interested as it’s not really related at all to what I found interesting in the one I noted. Unlike Dr. Phil and his audience I just wasn’t all that interested or aghast at the substance of what his guest the time was talking about: I know about arranged marriages and know they go on all round the globe all the time, and all the other incidences of the kind of orthodox lifestyle she was describing. And while they ain’t my cup of tea in the least I don’t find myself clutching my heart and falling down when I hear about them. As you note, some women apparently like it, just like you find some not minding polygamy. Not to say that I don’t feel for the women who grow up in it and find themselves somewhat trapped in those circumstances *not* liking it—because I do—but I’m just against it, not aghast at it.

        Thus my whole interest in the thing was just the non-substantive performance of the Rabbi there. Like I say I couldn’t and still can’t wrap my mind around the idea of a *religious* figure having *any* understanding whatsoever of right/wrong, or good/bad, or etc. believing in behaving like that in such a clearly conscious, deliberate, blatant and sustained way.

        From first to last, from beginning to end, it was just as consciously devious and deceitful as can be imagined. First the lying in denying knowledge of what this girl was saying, and then the lying saying it was rare, and then the strained, repetitive soliloquizing manifestly doing nothing but attempting to deny her any time to speak, and then the misrepresenting of what she had said, and then the grandiose expressions at the polar opposite of what he was so clearly covering up for … it was disgraceful for any human being.

        But coming from a *religious* figure? One apparently recognized and accepted if not celebrated within his religion? (I see the J-Post publishes his articles even.)

        I remember thinking “if that’s the jewish religion, man, right down to its very core it must regard all the rest of us as moronic inferiors to be played when necessary by any sort of game imaginable.”

        Thus in addition to being as deceitful and devious as imaginable it was also as insulting as is imaginable given that it was clearly aimed at gentiles, since you know that jewish folks in general are at least somewhat more familiar with their orthodox and ultra-orthodox and haredim co-religionists and etc. and their lifestyles.

        A literally unbelievable performance. That this guy could get to be one of our elected representatives blows my mind.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2012, 12:47 pm

        “It was as fascinating as it was repellent, and that’s saying something.”

        Obviously, you have a real appreciation for the work of a professional. Not all of us can rise to that kind of nadir, but we can acknowledge those who do.

      • seafoid
        October 20, 2012, 5:38 pm

        Really interesting. It must be the same in Israel. Those Meir Panim stories about Orthodox women who don’t have enough money for a wedding dress.. I don’t imagine they have any way to escape from bad marriages ..

    • Mooser
      October 20, 2012, 2:12 pm

      “I just sat there shaking my head thinking “and this guy’s a *rabbi*?””

      Well, maybe he’s a “biorabbi”. You know, the natural kind.

    • Mooser
      October 20, 2012, 2:20 pm

      It’s always a spectacle when a couple of amateurs go up against a professional.

    • tear-stained uzi
      October 20, 2012, 7:36 pm

      Someone should ask this ziofraud if he approves of mohelim who perform metzitzah b’peh?

  5. pabelmont
    October 20, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Well, of course Boteach had to prevent airing of much (more) of detail about this orthodox stuff. what do you suppose would be his reaction if someone described the orthodox settlers’ terroristic behavior in West Bank? There are secrets to be kept from the gentiles, and a lot of orthodox belief about Jewish duties toward non-Jews would naturally be kept quiet. (Not disowned, just kept quiet.) (Clean linen that might appear dirty if shown in public.)

  6. Abdul-Rahman
    October 20, 2012, 4:53 pm

    The fact that Sheldon Adelson is both personally vile and a dangerous force attempting to subvert and control the American political arena (just calculate his “gifts” to Romney) is plain for any thinking person to see.

    As for Boteach nobody should be fooled by his pretend “friendly” exterior, he has been shown to be very close to holding the same extreme, racist, and entirely repugnant fascist doctrine that the illegal settlers themselves hold of the “goyim” in general and Palestinians in particular. And it is especially ridiculous to see Boteach trying to claim the illegal Jewish settlers in Al-Khalil are supposedly “spiritual seekers” when anyone who knows anything about them is fully aware that these illegal Jewish settlers in Al-Khalil (IN PARTICULAR) are among the most fanatic, racist, hateful, and openly fascist along with being of course armed and dangerous (with American M16s, etc in most cases). A large bulk of these illegal settlers also happen to be Americans in particular, and often come from the same backgrounds as say Baruch Goldstein came from; i.e. backgrounds that led to such disgusting displays as, after Goldstein’s slaughter of 29 unarmed Palestinian worshipers, one of Goldstein’s mentor “Rabbis” saying he felt “sorry” for the 29 murdered Palestinian civilians with the same level of sorrow he would feel for “29 dead flies”. Just look up that disgusting, horrific quote.

    But what else can one expect from people (illegal settlers) who often have OPENLY and EXPLICITLY genocidal ideologies such as claiming that the Palestinian Arabs are somehow supposedly the mysterious “Amalek” of the “Jewish Bible” who are to be “exterminated” (look up some of these fascist illegal settlers own “theology” on this topic), putting aside that the “Tanakh” itself (while providing zero backing whatsoever to the claim that the Palestinians are supposedly “Amalek”) can’t seem to get straight whether “Amalek” was already destroyed or not (i.e. the contradictions that flow from the apparent “failures” of 1 Samuel 15:1-3, and other contradicting Biblical verses, etc etc).

    And as for Boteach’s use of the phrase “judenrein” (while he of course was “celebrating” in a temporarily Palestinian-rein Al-Khalil), it reminded me very much of Norman Finkelstein’s old work “The Holocaust Industry” and in this case you often do see right wing Zionist propagandists stating that removal of the illegal/racist Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (see ALL international law, even official American governmental positions on the illegal settlements!) is supposedly trying to make the land “judenrein”; rather than just following international law and removing colonizing settlements that are AGAIN an open breach and violation of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories. You also see some of the same ridiculous and disgusting tactics used by Zionists trying to subvert the BDS movement, by trying to absurdly compare divesting from companies and boycotting products that support human rights abuses against Palestinians to the Nazis actions against Jewish stores in Germany in the 1930s. Again Norman Finkelstein’s “The Holocaust Industry” comes to mind very quickly here.

    • Mooser
      October 22, 2012, 12:53 pm

      Look, you gotta look at it from the other perspective. I don’t like it, but I’m sure the settlements do a great deal to keep the number of incarcerated American Jews, or the number involved in organised crime, artificially low. It’s like a
      Inward Bound” camp for offenders. Probably keeps a lot more American Jews sitting beside the couch instead of on it, or in restraints.

  7. Palmyra
    October 20, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Remember when this guy’s 21 yr old “arms trader” nephew somehow ripped off the Pentagon for 300 Million smackeroos from the comfort of his basement? Totally normal “grassroots” family, this one.

    • Ellen
      October 21, 2012, 11:43 am

      Congress would like to forget that. Waxman refuses to answer how he got the contract. We’ve had congressional hearings on baseball, but nothing on the Pentagon getting ripped off for almost 300 million.

      This is really bigger than Fast and Furious, but we hear nothing about it. Wonder why?

      The nephew — who is a particularly loathsome character who got sick thrills shooting animals with a glock hand pistol.

      “Mr. Diveroli was barely old enough to legally drink in 2007 when the Pentagon entered a huge contract with him to buy munitions from former Eastern Bloc depots and ship them to Kabul, Afghanistan. ”

      Lots of us have family members who we would rather not be related to, but weapons trading runs in the the Boteach family.

      The Botach family of Los Angeles is among the more unusual of the very rich. Yoav Botach is a wealthy landlord. He founded, and his son now owns, an arms dealership in an unsettling locale for one: South Central. And his grandson was convicted of conspiracy for peddling to the U.S. Army decomposing ammunition — so old that it was traced to the factories of Mao Tse-tung — as part of a $300 million contract to arm the Afghan government.

      But what is also startling in the weird saga of this prominent L.A. family is the silence of Congressman Henry Waxman of Beverly Hills, who led a congressional investigation into the ammo fraud and vowed to get to the bottom of it.

      As Waxman said, his inquiry in 2008 aimed to answer a fundamental question: How did Botach’s inexperienced 21-year-old grandson Efraim Diveroli “get a sensitive, $300 million contract to supply ammunition to Afghan forces?”

      As for the Rabbi? Something always seemed really unhinged about him. Just sayin’

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2012, 12:56 pm

        Wow, TPM was all over this when it happened, but I don’t remember this particular aspect of the fraud being reported on. Sorta sheds some light on the how-on-earth-did-that-kid-get-the-contract question, donnit?

  8. seafoid
    October 20, 2012, 6:04 pm

    “The Arabs are my brothers, equal children of G-d in every respect. And Arabs and Jews must learn to live peacefully together in the land. Neither group should be asked to abide by a moratorium that stifles the natural expansion of either population”

    So he supports the right of return then !

    And Judenrein should always be written with a capital.

    • Allison Deger
      October 20, 2012, 7:14 pm

      [sic] his spelling, not mine.

    • LeaNder
      October 21, 2012, 9:34 am

      no seafroid, judenrein is an adjective. We don’t capitalize them, only nouns. Do you think it would make it look more German?

      • seafoid
        October 21, 2012, 11:49 am

        I thought it was a German word, LeaNder. It is an adjective alright but most places I have seen it is with a capital J.

      • Allison Deger
        October 21, 2012, 2:36 pm

        The correct form in most English style guides is Judenrein, capital “J”.

  9. tombishop
    October 20, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Here is another member of The Lobby showing her willful ignorance.
    The remarkable, unfathomable ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz
    The Chair of the Democratic National Committee is completely unaware of one of the biggest stories of the Obama years
    from Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian

    Is she lying or is she really that ignorant!

    • Ellen
      October 21, 2012, 11:49 am

      She is lying. That is why she turned it around to try and make the reporter look like a wack job. It is the tactic.

  10. manfromatlan
    October 21, 2012, 9:48 pm

    Was there anything more funny than the good rebbe’s attempt to expropriate the Libyan Embassy’s property that abutted his in NJ so he could expand his ‘center’ a few years back?

    He must have thought he still was in Hebron.

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