Here are two images you can find this morning on rightwing Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s “values network.” Above is a picture of himself with US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. The two have been regular associates in recent years. They flank Elie Wiesel at the center.
And here is a full-page ad published by Boteach today in the New York Times saying that Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice condones genocide against the Jews. Huh? Because she “attacks” and “scolds” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his concerns about the Iranian negotiations, thereby dismissing his desperate pleas for Israel’s existence in the face of the perceived threat from Iran.
You can see that Boteach uses Power against Rice in that ad; he states that Power once criticized Rice for her comments re the Rwanda genocide, thereby demonstrating Rice’s “callous disregard for genocide.”
Next picture from AIPAC, the Israel lobby group. Rice and Power are both scheduled to speak at the policy conference in D.C. that gets going this morning. AIPAC is proud of their appearances; they’re big names and AIPAC likes to insist that there is no daylight between Israel and the U.S. government. AIPAC has reportedly been horrified by the adversity growing between the Obama administration and Israel’s government, and it wants this chapter to end, in a hurry. AIPAC is no supporter of the Iran talks, but its priority is keeping all powerful officials behind Israel.
Boteach, and his funder Sheldon Adelson–who also “owns” Netanyahu (per Uri Avnery)– are doing all they can to demolish the U.S. policy of talking to Iran; and pitting Rice and Power is their latest tactic.
So far Power has had nothing to say on her twitter account about Boteach’s hysterical statements. That’s not a surprise: Power seems to need Boteach more than he needs her. The rabbi’s support for her a couple of years ago was seen as crucial to her getting the hecksher of the pro-Israel community, so that she could get her job in the first place.
Boteach is not some no-account. Yes he’s a nutty rightwing rabbi who pens books about lust in marriage and Jewish rights to the West Bank, but he is financially backed by Sheldon Adelson, the Republican boss who has said that Obama should nuke Iran as Boteach sat by. And Republicans are conducting their Adelson primary right now. Why do you think that Mike Huckabee, who foreswore dancing as a young man, is dancing the Hava Nagila in Israel right now?
Oh what a web we weave when we need the support of the Israel backers in U.S. politics…
Update. The National Jewish Democratic Council has condemned Boteach’s ad and says that many other Jewish groups have. It calls on the Republican Jewish Coalition to do so too. Notice the usual emphasis on lobby unanimity:
Last night, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was roundly criticized for an advertisement in the New York Times attacking U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, which the National Jewish Democratic Council denounced as being “disgusting and astonishingly beyond the pale.” Israeli leaders and Jewish organizations from across the spectrum, both politically and denominationally, joined in this criticism. However, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the self-described “unique bridge between the Jewish community and Republican decision-makers,” has yet to speak out against this offensive and over-the-top attack.
We at the NJDC firmly believe that for the sake of the safety of the Jewish state, Israel must not become a political wedge issue. Attacks such as Rabbi Boteach’s do nothing but endanger Israel’s security. It is beyond disappointing to see that the RJC has failed to condemn what virtually the entire Jewish community has spoken out against. We hope that our Republican friends have not become so blinded by the partisanship they have helped to create in regards to Israel that they can no longer exercise moral judgment about what goes too far.