Shmuley Boteach is Samantha Power’s advocate on Israel. The religious fundamentalist Republican rabbi from New Jersey who regards the West Bank as the Jewish nation’s gift from God is vouching for Power to be ambassador to the U.N., even in the pages of the liberal Forward.
Well, here is Boteach explaining that Palestinians are defeated and deserve everything that has befallen them:
But for those interested in facts, the unfortunate suffering of the Palestinians is akin to the suffering of the Japanese or Germans during the Second World War. When you continually resort to violence, inflicting terror on your neighbors, you’re probably going to end up suffering yourself.
You’d think such disgraceful attitudes would merit distancing or even denunciation by the White House. You’d be wrong. During the last election season, a couple of days after Boteach wrote this piece criticizing Power and calling Jimmy Carter “one of those well-meaning ignoramuses whose view of morality is that whichever is the party without tanks and an air force must be the party who is just” and saying that Hamas was a “terrorist organization hell-bent on exterminating Israel,” Power called Boteach and gave him an audience in the White House:
Ms. Power got in touch with me and invited me to meet her in her White House office this past Thursday. The meeting was substantive and directly addressed the comments I quoted. She was personable, accessible, and exhibited a humility uncommon to those in positions of high authority and power. She seemed genuinely and deeply pained by the perception that she was not a friend of Israel.
In turn, Boteach introduced her to other experts on the conflict, with whom she deployed her considerable rhetorical powers:
About a month later Samantha arrived to address a closed-door meeting of about 40 American Jewish leaders who represented a wide spectrum of our communities most important organizations…. [S]he directly addressed the accusations that she harbored animus toward Israel. And in the presence of the leaders of our community, she suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her. Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was noone in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion…
Later that day I took Samantha to meet my friend and hero Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, only to discover they already had a long friendship and that Professor Wiesel was a strong admirer of Samantha’s work.
This is not about Samantha Power– Cory Booker loves Boteach too. It’s about the lobby. Power has no choice but to cozy up to this intolerant religious figure because the Israel lobby is so influential over policymaking in this realm. Imagine Obama’s nominee to be secretary of Health and Human Services having to gain support from a Republican evangelical minister who opposes abortion. That would never happen, the media would be all over it.
The Democratic Party has made a clean break between religion and state on such matters. It has utterly failed to make that division in the Israel situation because of religious influence.
Thanks to Scott Roth.