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‘About 60,000 Americans were murdered’ by Palestinians in Israel, says Shmuley Boteach

on 37 Comments
Boteach, at his nephew's bar mitzvah

Boteach, at his nephew’s bar mitzvah

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” has written a piece in the New York Observer, titled, “By Condemning Israel, Presbyterians Condemn Themselves” that includes this factoid/howler:

When I was a student in Israel in the mid 1980s there were almost no checkpoints. That’s because suicide bombings had yet to come into vogue. Young Muslims were not being encouraged by the PLO and Hamas to detonate themselves to strike a blow for their religion.

Things have changed. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.

I love the modifier “about.” Seems he is slightly off:

Update: The piece has been updated to read:

Things have changed. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, the equivalent of about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.

Boteach begins that piece by running down the Presbyterian Church vote on divestment:

The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church suffered another nail in the coffin with its general convention vote on Friday to divest from companies doing business with Israel. 

Scott McConnell comments, at The American Conservative:

One suspects that if a prominent Presbyterian cleric used comparable language about a branch of Judaism, it would attract some negative attention.

McConnell’s piece about the nobility of the Presbyterians is excellent. Two quick excerpts.

Protestantism, or to be more precise, liberal establishment Protestantism, used to be something of a state religion in America. Protestant clerics were widely quoted, featured on the covers of news magazines. Time magazine (itself widely read) ran a weekly “religion” feature, which more often than not circulated Protestant ideas and covered the comings and goings of mainline church luminaries. Presidents sought their advice, or at least claimed to.

That day is past: since then America has elected a Catholic president, and a substantial part of its financial and cultural establishment is Jewish. Multiculturalism has triumphed.

And this:

Presbyterian leaders in America have a richly textured history of political cooperation with Jews; they made common cause in opposition to Vietnam, over civil rights, over issues of church-state relations. They are fewer than 2,000,000 now, but they are generally well educated, and have both activist skills and a strong penchant to combat injustice. They are a smaller group than two generations ago, but the Israel lobby obviously cared enough about them to make a major effort to defeat the divestment vote. The Israel lobby failed, suffering a significant public defeat. Presbyterians made themselves more visible and relevant than they’ve been in decades.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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37 Responses

  1. ahadhaadam on June 25, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Did he miss the words “the equivalent of”? That’s obviously what he meant. It’s been a common Hasbara ploy to translate to mathematically challenged Americans the numbers in “American equivalent” like some sort of currency conversion. The fact that Israel killed “the equivalent of” well over a million Americans since its founding is never mentioned.

    • Woody Tanaka on June 25, 2014, 5:35 pm

      “Did he miss the words “the equivalent of”?”

      Yes. Mr. Boteach is a patent moron.

      And even to that, I’d say, yeah, but only because the equivalent of 120 million Americans have been held under military law with no freedoms, random killings, no human rights or liberty for three generations. I would then say, “Wow, that’s pretty good. The Palestians have really been acting with kid gloves, because if someone held 120 million Americans hostage for 70 years, you can be damned sure that more than 60,000 would have been killed in that fight. Hell, you’d have 60,000 dead out of Texas alone.”

    • just on June 25, 2014, 6:03 pm

      If he did, it just goes to show that “writing” while drunk is never good.

      (often funny; never good!)

    • Citizen on June 25, 2014, 6:24 pm


    • DaveS on June 25, 2014, 6:25 pm

      Yes he did and those magic 3 words were added to the piece after this post was published. No indication of the correction of course nor even what he means by equivalent. Of course your point about a million americans is quite valid. An exhaustive criticism of the rest of Boteach’s piece would be exhausting

      • just on June 25, 2014, 6:59 pm

        Don’t worry about it, David. Nobody has to take on the herculean task alone to expose the cretin or his “editors”.

        I think they really believe the lies they allow to go into the internets, just as they did into print before. Game is so up for them. (funny though, because I read somewhere that they invented everything!)

        Their spew will be vanquished, as happens to all plagues– eventually. Sooner rather than later.

        There is a ‘chip’ and ‘network’ dedicated to justice. I call it by many names– one of my favorites is Mondoweiss.

      • Nullifidian on June 26, 2014, 11:07 am

        Since it’s obvious that not even 60,000 Israelis have been killed in Israel since Oslo, the obvious inference about the meaning of “equivalent” here is that Israeli lives count for more than American lives by a factor of 60,000 divided by whatever figure it is for Israelis killed in the past two decades.

        I make no representations for the accuracy of figures from this Jewish Virtual Library site, but even if they’re a biased presentation, that still gives us at most 1,443 deaths (although this list also includes deaths of foreign citizens, so the true figure is sure to be even lower), meaning that Israeli lives are quantifiably 41.6 times as valuable as their American counterparts.

      • Peter in SF on June 26, 2014, 1:05 pm

        meaning that Israeli lives are quantifiably 41.6 times as valuable as their American counterparts.

        Yes, even the most charitable reading suggests that when he says “the equivalent of 60,000 Americans”, he is assuming that one Israeli is “the equivalent of” 41.6 Americans.

        One way that this math makes sense is that Israel is 80% Jewish and the United States is 2% Jewish, so a random sample of Americans has to be about 40 times larger than a random sample of Israelis in order for the lives in the two samples to have equivalent moral value. You can apply this calculation to other countries to work out similar equivalences.

  2. LuLu on June 25, 2014, 4:34 pm

    How can ANYONE call themselves a Rabbi and be a notorious liar constantly? I hope not many people are led astray from their faith if they take religious teachings from this guy.

    • just on June 25, 2014, 6:12 pm

      Lots of folks are led astray everyday by the powerful.

      People often forget the essential element of being a good human– that old, plain, and simple “golden rule”. Nobody needs a rabbi, imam, pastor, priestress, or priest in order to practice goodness. Ah well, that’s only my opinion.

      • Elisabeth on June 26, 2014, 9:18 am

        Count me in, Just.

  3. amigo on June 25, 2014, 4:37 pm

    Hey–zeuss , they are coming out of every nook and cranny.

    Must be crunch time in hasbara central and zio hq.

    If this was not such a serious subject , this would all seem almost too funny for words.

    Poor zio=misseds.It has all gone so wrong.

    • Ellen on June 25, 2014, 5:19 pm

      The transparency of the coordinated and desperate talking points is too obvious to all. And the usual cast of shills and operatives driving the clown car– Goldberg, Shmuley, Dershowitz — helps drive their message of the cliff where it is headed.

      • amigo on June 26, 2014, 5:38 am

        “And the usual cast of shills and operatives driving the clown car– Goldberg, Shmuley, Dershowitz — helps drive their message of the cliff where it is headed.”Ellen

        We can only live and hope that cliff is just around the next corner.

  4. Egbert on June 25, 2014, 5:02 pm

    What about the attempt by Israel to murder the crew of the USS Liberty? The casualties were 34 killed and 171 wounded. What about Rachel Corrie? What about the Americans killed for Israel’s benefit when the US was suckered into following the PNAC plan to make the Middle East ‘safe’ for Israel?

  5. Kay24 on June 25, 2014, 5:17 pm

    This Rabbi is a disgrace to his religion. How easily he lies, exaggerates, and causes trouble. It is also disgraceful that he takes ugly shots at the Presbyterian Church, and that he is totally taking the side of an occupier, and that almost on a daily basis, innocent lives are lost because of their brutality. It seems the zionists are sore losers and can turn nasty when they lose.
    Someone should teach Boteach all about humanity, compassion, and telling the truth.

  6. seafoid on June 25, 2014, 5:40 pm

    “The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church”

    Wonderful interfaith co-operation from America’s windbag.

  7. surewin on June 25, 2014, 5:49 pm

    “The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church suffered another nail in the coffin with its general convention vote on Friday to divest from companies doing business with Israel.”

    That’s not what the church did. He can’t seem to nail anything down correctly.

  8. seafoid on June 25, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Boteach surely departs from Orthodoxy by admitting that there are Palestinians in Israel. WTF. There is no such thing as a Palestinian, Shmuley.

  9. a blah chick on June 25, 2014, 5:59 pm

    “…about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.”

    Looks like Israel is a pretty dangerous place for Americans…stay home people!

    “When I was a student in Israel in the mid 1980s there were almost no checkpoints.”

    As if he would ever have to go through checkpoints.

  10. The JillyBeans on June 25, 2014, 6:07 pm

    No wonder he’s a rabbi and not a Nobel prize winning mathematician.

    This guy can’t count!

  11. Daniel Rich on June 25, 2014, 6:07 pm

    The dead of the GTR5 salute you, Rebbe…

  12. ritzl on June 25, 2014, 6:32 pm

    RE: “Rotting corpse,” more petards, Mr. Boteach.

  13. Sycamores on June 25, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Philip Weiss,

    am i correct in thinking the piece has since been edited to include the equivalent of

    Things have changed. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, the equivalent of about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.

    • traintosiberia on June 25, 2014, 7:40 pm

      Equivalent of millions of Americans jailed,killed,and denied basic rights and done with US help by Israel.

      • Sycamores on June 26, 2014, 12:58 am

        boteach equivalent ratio is approx 1000 to 1
        if we were to use the same ratio on the Palestinians that include refugees, jailed, killed and denied basic rights the equivalent would be the worlds population.

  14. Bumblebye on June 25, 2014, 7:43 pm

    So in over 20 years (since Oslo) of continuous belligerent occupation of another people’s country, the loss of life to (presumably) dual passport holders (US/Israel) is the grand total of 53 – equivalent to far less than 0.001% of Israel’s population. But Shmuley’s mathematical genius of 60,000 comes out at a little less than 0.02% of the US population. Perhaps the amendment to the article means that somewhere around 1400 Israelis (whether or not dual or sole passport holders) have been killed over the past 20 years, rather than dual nationals? But heck, in the last 13yrs and 9 months, a conservative figure of at least 6,876 Palestinians have been killed.

  15. piotr on June 25, 2014, 11:00 pm

    I think Harold Bloom observed that numbers have much more profound uses in the Bible than mere counting. It usually goes like that: you translate “Shmuel Boteach is a chubby idiot” into Hebrew and that give each letter a numeric value according to Lurianic kabbalistic principles, add them up and presto! 60,000.

  16. piotr on June 25, 2014, 11:19 pm

    After providing a kabbalistic proof that Shmuel Boteach is a chubby idiot I would like to provide some arguments for those who are not mystically inclined. Recently he embark on a tour of Europe and the he penned the digest of his unhappy experiences in Times of Israel

    Once there, he managed to explain to his audiences that Jews do not use sheets with holes while engaging in “kosher sex”. He also tried to explain why we should all admire and support Israel, and that was not as successful. So he came to the only European country that voted against the admission of Palestine to UN General Assembly. In his words “The Czech Republic is considered friendly to Israel, given their history of being the object of appeasement to Hitler’s insatiable appetite. But that did not stop a government official telling me, respectfully, that Israel’s stealing Palestinian land had alienated most of Europe. When I reminded him that Israel had actually conquered the West Bank in a defensive war launched by Jordan, had offered to create a Palestinian state there more times than one could count, and the Palestinians had responded with a terror wave that killed thousands of Israelis, he told me that none of that mattered. He had negative feelings toward Israel.”

    So Jordan launched a defensive war? In any case, Boteach has the ability of exasperating even a polite diplomat from a very friendly country.

  17. Kay24 on June 26, 2014, 8:07 am

    Really, what’s with these Israeli leaders, whether it is their PM (called a liar by another world leader), the IDF, the settlers, and even a so called Rabbi, they seem to lie or act like thugs pushing for a fight (and they wonder why the world dislikes them).
    Here is the latest name calling thug in Israel:

    “Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a “mega-terrorist” for transferring Palestinian Authority funds to Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons.

    “A person who lines the pockets of murderers with tens of millions of shekels each month is a mega-terrorist, who has not changed his ways,” Bennett, who is also the chairman of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, told Israel Radio.

    Bennett also condemned on the program a statement by President-elect Reuven Rivlin to build trusting relations with Abbas in the wake of the Palestinian president’s call to release the three Israeli teens kidnapped earlier this month. Bennett said Abbas should be measured by his deeds, not his declarations.” Haaretz

    The picture in this article is priceless, it shows Bennett looking like a terrorist himself.

    This entire article makes Abbas look more of a statesman than Bennett.

    • wondering jew on June 26, 2014, 8:30 am

      Kay- Shmuely Boteach is not an Israeli leader. You may call him a Zionist leader or a Jewish leader, but he is not an Israeli leader.

      • Kay24 on June 26, 2014, 8:48 am

        Okay I stand corrected. :))

    • a blah chick on June 26, 2014, 8:34 am

      Even Beinart is saying that Mr Sara is losing the pr war.

      I don’t know how prisons over there work but here in the States inmates can be sent money to buy things they need. It would not surprise me if Israel denied their “security” prisoners the basics and charged them high prices to get them. I’m pretty sure none of these people will be using these funds to buy expensive outdoor furniture or ice cream.

  18. Kay24 on June 26, 2014, 8:57 am

    Mr. Sara seems to be losing the PR war indeed. All that money wasted on hasbara seminars and training, and as much as they control the American media, the rest of the world sees their human rights violations, and endless crimes against innocent civilians, and all that propaganda is lost. Actions speak louder than Bibi’s words, and that ridiculous image of Bibi holding up that cartoon bomb at the UN, is symbolic of how the world looks at him, and the Israel he represents. A troublesome warmonger, who is trying HARD to make the world think Israel should be judged for how it is portrayed by Bibi and his band of zionists, and not believe what they keep seeing almost on a daily basis, thanks to social media, and video cameras. That is asking for too much.

  19. Basilio on June 26, 2014, 9:50 pm

    He probably thinks that the lives of 1 American or Jew (non-Muslims) are worth much more than that of the Arab Muslims or Christians. Like a ration of 1 to 1,000. People like that don’t see the Palestinians as human beings. Rather, they’re just a demographic threat.

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