+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

The bigoted rants of Shmuley Boteach, 'America’s rabbi'

If any gentile in America wrote about Jews the way he just wrote about Presbyterians – for any reason – he or she would be ostracized from public life for good.

So many pro-Israel Jews are coming down on the Presbyterians as anti-Semites because of their divestment vote, which is a slander. But why aren’t any of them calling out Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s rabbi,” for the bigotry he has been spewing? From his Jerusalem Post column a few days ago:

The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church got another nail in its coffin with the vote on Friday …

Now the Church demonstrates that it has no moral compass …

The Presbyterians supposedly believe in the Bible. I say supposedly because I’m confused by their general approach to morality, which seems to follow a show of hands every year at their general conference.

I’m not surprised that the Presbyterians – once the Church of choice for American presidents – is on a steep downward decline and seeing its membership being slowly decimated. The first responsibility of a religion is to serve as a moral voice and teach people right from wrong.

If any gentile in America said that about any stream of Judaism for any reason, he or she would be ostracized from public life for good. But “America’s rabbi” gets away with it.

News flash: Jews aren’t weak anymore, they aren’t oppressed, not in Israel nor in America, and in Israel they are the oppressors, so Jews who defend that oppression with hate speech, like “America’s rabbi,” are entitled to no immunity whatsoever.

Shmuley Boteach is not my idea of a rabbi. He’s my idea of a right-wing religious hustler.

Related:
Is Presbyterian divestment a BDS victory? Who cares
How Israel’s settlement addiction led me to support BDS

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Dazed and Confused

      I assume this is intended as a joke.

      Like that article that you posted by that fascist about the racial purity of Jaffa. Like a parody? Very clever!

      The German Green Party funds this website to constantly insult the dati leumi stream of Judaism. In Mohammed’s name, the global Left constantly blows up Jewish institutions and ritually slaughters Jewish children as part of their ‘critique’ of the dati leumi stream of Judaism. Just this month the Haneen Zoabi’s people on the Left kidnapped three innocent Jewish children and are holding them hostage in Mohammed’s name.

      Heck, read what the Quranic god wrote about his Jewish enemy back in the 7th Century. Or what the worships of Mohammed say about “Zionists” on a daily basis.

      (And the idea that the global Left is somehow being oppressed by their Jewish enemy is so absurd, I don’t even know where to begin. The Ummah that merged with the German Left during WWII, the Russian Left during the Cold War, and which raises its children to worship a false god and suicide themselves for the KKKaliphate is not being “oppressed” by anyone. Google videos of “head chopping Islamic State of Iraq and Sha’am” to see how ‘victimized’ your “Palestinian” allies truly are, Larry.)

      #BringBackOurBoys

      Reply to Comment
      • david

        Using the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys attempts to equate 3 missing settler boys, who were part of the illegal occupation to the kidnapping of 200+ free, innocent citizens from their homes.

        Both events are terrible and should not have happened, but they are on a whole different scale.

        Reply to Comment
        • Dazed and Confused

          Right.

          One us a crime against humanity. For which every global Leftist and Mohammedan is fully responsible. And which started yet another pointless skirmish in the Jihadi war against the Yahood.

          The other is the consequence of Jihad. The only person to blame for the death of any “Palestinian” child soldier is the Caliph (and other Quranic leadership) that refuse to end the war.

          Do you blame Americans for the fact that 500,000+ Iraqis died in that allah-forsaken Jihad last decade? Of course not. If a society wants to be anti-imperialist, then that society bears sole responsibility for the suffering that results.

          Read up on Youchanan ben Zakkai and the Perushi stream of Judaism (the Pharisees, which Larry thinks can’t be insulted) and how truly monotheist and moral people deal with Empire.*

          * Spoiler alert! It’s not by killing thousands in the name of racial purity.

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            You keep using the word “Quranic.” To quote Inigo Montoya: “I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

            Reply to Comment
      • JG

        Scary that your doctor still didn’t mange to find the right pills for your German Green Party paranoia. You do see a doctor. don’t you?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      America’s rabbi? More like America’s representative of Kach. He’s a rabbi in about the same capacity as Baruch Marzel.

      Shmuckey (as I like to call him) and Jews like him are the reason why orthodox Judaism is on the decline in the U.S.

      Reply to Comment
      • Dazed and Confused

        More satire! Brilliant!

        Because you’ve identified a real issue in the United States where the Chassidim, Litvish, and modern Orthodox are a dying remnant with no future. But, shhhhhhh! Don’t tell the school boards of Lawrence, Lakewood or East Ramapo – where there are not enough non-yeshiva/bais yakov students to keep their schools open. Or the NYSED in Brooklyn, where a third to a half of all children are frum.

        Also don’t tell the Yeshiva system in Jerusalem, where thousands come post-high school and the numbers are growing so fast that there’s no where to fit the frum Americans.

        Dying.

        (Besides, according to Larry, you can’t insult American Orthodoxy. So this MUST be satire!)

        Reply to Comment
        • Y-Man

          In America, Orthodox Jews are decidedly outside of the mainstream. Outside of these extremely insular communities in New York/New Jersey, they are an extremely marginal group of people with practically no influence on American politics outside of local issues.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Richard

      If your worldview bifurcates humanity into the oppressors and the oppressed, and only allows the oppressed to complain about the oppressors, that doesn’t leave much room for anyone who’s not currently being oppressed to take measures against becoming oppressed. In short, you’ve constructed a moral universe where Jews don’t have a right to complain about bigots until the cossacks and Nazis return. Doesn’t make any moral sense. And anyway, didn’t a neo-Nazi just shoot up two Jewish institutions in AMERICA without the President even acknowledging it as a hate crime? How many JCC massacres have to happen before American Jews can complain about anti-semites? What’s your quota Larry?

      Reply to Comment
    4. What Shmuley Boteach said about the P. Church was rude, unkind and insulting but protected by American law of free speech.

      Larry you are wrong about if any gentile said anything similar about any stream of Judaism for any reason he would be ostracized from public life for good.

      For instance Pastor Fred Phelps said in 1996 at a protest at the Holocaust Museum in Washington:

      “The Jews now wander the earth despised, smitten with moral and spiritual blindness by a divine judicial stroke … And God has smitten Jews with a certain unique madness … Jews, thus perverted, out of all proportion to their numbers energize the militant sodomite agenda… Jews are the real Nazis.”

      Pastor Mark Downey wrote:

      “If a gang of career criminals codified their criminal practices and fine-tuned their code book over time for better crimes, could they then proclaim it a religion? That’s exactly what the Talmud is to judaism.”

      This raw anti-semitism is evinced every day on anti-Israel websites such as Mondoweiss or Electronicintifada , which goes mostly unchallenged. In Mondoweiss nazi, Soviet, and, Arab anti-Semitic caricatures and comments often portray Jews as spiders, cockroaches, and octopuses (with an Israeli flag on their heads with the star of David replaced with a Nazi symbol – dehumanizing Jews by turning them into animals that are destructive, inhuman and evil – and as fascists and nazis – collectively turning Jews into goosestepping, gestapo men and women. Philip Weiss and Ali Alibumah are anything but ostracized by society but are regularly celebrated by polite society.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        Fred Phelps was known as a complete nutcase and all but a few similar nutcases knew this while this Pastor Mark Downey certainly is an unknown and not in the same league as Boteach.

        Smuley Boteach wants to be known as America’s rabbi. On his web site he calls himself America’s Rabbi. What chutzpah! He is a featured speaker at meetings in New York and has become a best buddy of New York mayor Bill DeBlasio.

        Unfortunately Boteach will not be ostracized as he should be.

        Reply to Comment
    5. I am talking about mainstream public life, not Fred Phelphs, for God’s sake. And while I can’t vouch for every comment on their websites, I can tell you with 100% certainty that neither Philip Weiss nor Ali Abunimah have a shred of anti-Semitism in them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Dazed and Confused

        Ali Abunimah, one of Obama’s best friend in Chicago, and Naziweiss, which has a piece up now about how awesome David Duke is – certainly hate Dati Leumi Judaism.

        Reply to Comment
        • un2here

          “Naziweiss” you say? Very well, let’s do the thought experiment: Which actor in Hollywood do you believe could say “Nazinyahoo” (about a politician) or “Nazilson” (about a billionaire) – in public, and get away with it?

          Reply to Comment
      • “Not one shred” you said. Quotes from Ali Abunimah.

        “Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit”

        “That is something Zionism shares with anti-Semitism, a disdain for actual Jewish culture and life as it existed.”

        M.J. Rosenberg:

        “But, for some reason, I still read @aliabunimah although, to me, it is clear that he cannot stand Jews.

        He gets worse and worse. Right now, his feed is one hateful tweet after another. Yeah, yeah, I know he is careful to scream about Israelis or Zionists and not Jews, but he doesn’t fool me. Or any Jew who doesn’t want to be fooled.

        But there is one good thing about Ali Abunimah. There is a tendency among Jews on the left, including myself, to argue so vehemently that being anti-Israel does not make one an anti-Semite that we don’t notice when being anti-Israel coexists with anti-Semitism, that one just feeds the other. We should.

        Bottom line: I believe that Ali Abunimah would be ecstatic if Israel was destroyed, blown off the face of the earth, along with every one of its people because, after all, the Jews in Palestine are, by definition, Zionists, even the kids. Settlers, colonialists, baby killers, torturers, invaders and all the other labels he uses that exempt no Jew in any part of Israel or Palestine.

        So, thanks, Ali. As long as there are people around like you, I will never lull myself into believing that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. It isn’t.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Scootalol

          You do realize that “Jew” and “Zionist” are not synonyms? And that no matter how often and how loudly Zionists try to force that equation, the two will never be one and the same?

          Unless you want to tell me that John Hagee is a Jew, now?

          Reply to Comment
      • GilGamesh

        I don’t know if Philip Weiss is anti-Semitic but he does seem to be obsessed with Jewish control of the US gov’t media he publishes lists of Jews with gov’t positions in Washington and Jewish journalists to make his points about Jewish power. Sounds very much like classic anti-Semitic rant to me.

        Reply to Comment
        • GilGamesh

          sorry, it should read: “Jewish control of the US gov’t and media”.

          Reply to Comment
    6. Jan

      It is to be hoped that Boteach is the rotting corpse of those who believe that Israel has the right to do what ever it wants, the right to keep a people under occupation for over 47 years, the right to take their land, the right to oppress them.

      Larry Derfner is right. If any non-Jew called any branch of Judaism a “rotting corpse” the screams of anti-Semitism would reverberate unto the high heavens. Why is it that this Boteach character can get away with what he said and not be called out for his vile remarks?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Bar

      What is this, Larry? An attempt to make some immoral Presbyterians feel better about themselves? You trying to strengthen their resolve in the face of a serious moral offense?

      Why would we even imagine that somebody is being immoral just because they target Jews? After all, in this day and age we should assume that a church would make Jews the target of their focus. Right?

      And we shouldn’t come to any hasty conclusions just because a church decides to target two states in the entire world for divestment on the basis of human rights: Sudan and Israel. After all, if they were targeting Jews, the way antisemites would, they wouldn’t have also gone after some genocidal African state.

      If anything, Boteach was too gentle.

      As for Weiss and Abunimah, perhaps you can guarantee they’re not antisemitic – although you seem to believe this resolution against Israel wasn’t either, which leaves your opinion on this subject suspect – but they feed antisemitism.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Sure, it’s the Presbyterians who are immoral, and not a state that has been meting out cruel and unusual punishment on an entire people going on half a century. Makes perfect sense – if you’re a zio-putz like Schmucky Boreach.

        Never mind that tens of thousands of Jews the world over support and applaud the PCUSA and their courageous stand for justice. Never mind that the PCUSA has given Israel opportunity after opportunity to actually make peace with the Palestinians and have been sadly disappointed every single time. Never mind that “America’s rabbi” is a paid mouthpiece of one Sheldon Adelson, whose extreme right-wing views and positions are infamous for their racist undertones towards Palestinians and Arabs.

        Sure, the PCUSA is immoral, but only in the twisted mind of a zio-putz like you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          The fact that you don’t see it, even when half of the Presbyterians voting on this sanction did only shows how blind you are.

          Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        I suspect that at the time that some churches and synagogues were calling for a boycott of apartheid South Africa you were calling those churches and synagogues immoral for targeting whites.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          I suspect that when the Palestinians with their other Arab handlers were determining which tactic to use against Israel, if they had chosen “genocide” instead of “apartheid,” you’d be using that comparison presently.

          Cut the BS.

          Reply to Comment
          • Jan

            I guess that i was right about you Bar. You didn’t deny what I wrote but had to change the subject.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            I don’t respond to moronic comments seriously. I mock them.

            Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “I suspect that at the time that some churches and synagogues were calling for a boycott of apartheid South Africa you were calling those churches and synagogues immoral for targeting whites.”

          Oh no, not that self righteous righteous little prig again, Jan, she is the only racist around here for comparing us to what happened in South Africa.

          Here, swallow the following facts and choke on it, you little hater Jan:

          1. Linda Machola Miss Israel Universe 2012. Half Arab half Russian Christian.

          2. Dr Aziz Darawashe, Director of Emergency Medicine, Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem, Arab Muslim.

          3. Dr Masad Barhoum, Director General of Western Galilee hospital, Arab.

          4. Linda Makhoul, chosen by Israeli viewers as 2013 winner of the voice, Arab.

          5. Naim Aradi, Israel’s ambassador to Norway, Druze.

          6. Yiytish Aynow, Miss Israel 2013, Israeli of African descent.

          7. IDF Major General, Yusef Mishleb, Druze.

          8. Professor Ashrab Brik, of Ben Gurion University, winner of Israel’s 2011 outstanding young chemist award, Arab.

          9. Jamal Zahalka, received his BA MA and PHD from Hebrew University. Three term member of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament). Leader of Balad political party. Has described himself as victim of Israeli Apartheid. He has no sense of irony …

          10. Waylaid Badir, Israeli football star. Captain of Hapoel Tel Aviv, Arab.

          11. Mira Awad, actress singer songwriter, represented Israel at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Arab.

          12. Rana Raslan former Miss Israel, Arab.

          13. Majali Wahabi, former deputy speaker of Knesset. Acting president of Israel in 2007. Druze

          14. Reda Mansour, Israeli historian, poet, and one time ambassador to Ecuador, Druze.

          15. Salmi Joubran, Israeli Supreme Court Justice. Arab.

          You want me to go on Jan? Have you choked on your apartheid comparison of us yet? you parrot? Polly want a cracker …. ?

          Reply to Comment
          • JG

            Tzutzik, the uber-rascist again, vomiting verbal bullshit all over the place. get a real job, dude.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “Tzutzik, the uber-rascist again, vomiting verbal bullshit all over the place. get a real job, dude.”

            What, JG? Haven’t you fucked yourself yet?

            Go do it man.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Johnboy

      There is no question that the Presbyterian Church based this decision upon a MORAL calculus:
      a) The oppression of a people is wrong
      b) This Israeli occupation oppresses the Palestinians
      therefore
      c) The Church has a moral duty not to profit from this oppression

      Now I don’t have any problem with anyone arguing that the Church got its facts wrong i.e. this endless Israeli occupation of the West Bank doesn’t constitute an oppression of the Palestinians.

      Feel free. Argue away, and good luck (coz’ yer’ gonna’ need it).

      But that’s NOT what Boteach did. Not in the slightest.

      What Boteach argued was that this is a Church that HAS NO IDEA OF WHAT CONSTITUTES MORALITY.

      Larry is quite correct to point out that such an accusation against *any* church amounts to slander.

      And he is also perfectly correct to claim that if anyone dared to slandered any form of Judaism in this manner they would instantly find themselves to be declared persona non grata.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “Feel free. Argue away, and good luck (coz’ yer’ gonna’ need it).”

        Yer’ gonna’ need it? Why JB? Because your shit does not stink?

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “Now I don’t have any problem with anyone arguing that the Church got its facts wrong i.e. this endless Israeli occupation of the West Bank doesn’t constitute an oppression of the Palestinians.”

          It does cause oppression of the Palestinians. But the more pertinent question is why?

          First: Because the occupation occurred as a result of an aggressive war by the Arabs against Israel.

          Second: Because the Palestinian Arabs did not even make an iota of an effort to end this conflict.

          Third: Because unless the Arabs are kept fenced in and curbed by our military, they tend to commit random acts of violence against Israeli civilians.

          Now let’s compare all that to how the great democracies treated their vanquished enemies after WW1 and WW2. Israel’s behavior is exemplary compared to them.

          I won’t say much about WW1, the facts speak for themselves. The treatment was so bad that within a couple of decades, the German people had no other choice but to follow a homocidal maniac who triggered WW2.

          What about the aftermath of WW2? The allies rounded up the leaders of their vanquished enemies. They executed many of them and imposed long prison terms on others. Hey, I have no arguments with that. They deserved it. But so do the monsters who are the leaders of Hamas and their ilk.

          And it does not end there. For several years after the end of the war, the German people were starving. Women prostituted themselves for food. And those paragons of virtue, the Soviet soldiers systematically rapid thousands of German women. Yet unlike, the Arabs, the Germans surrendered unconditionally. They accepted all the terms that were imposed on them by the allies and there was no resistance.

          So tell me JB deary? Where was the Presbytarian church then with it’s morality? And where are they with their morality when it comes to places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the Arab world where they persecute Christians, jail journalists for years and commit murder and mayhem in general. Where oh where is the moral outrage of the good leaders of the Presbytarian church against those people and places? I’ll tell you where, JB, their morals are on holidays.

          You know what one calls such morals, JB? It is called biased, selective morality whereby they single out one side blindly, ignore history and context, puff themselves up and pretend to be moral against an easy target while they continuously ignore much greater evil right under their noses.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Oops I meant to say “raped thousands of women”.
            Not “rapid thousands of women”

            Reply to Comment
    9. Piotr Berman

      “Shmuley Boteach is not my idea of a rabbi. He’s my idea of a right-wing religious hustler.”

      I am sorry to say but to many, a right-wing religious hustler is exactly their idea of a rabbi. Personally, I do not like sweeping generalizations, but it would help to hear some positive examples who do not have very marginal status within Judaism.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        Smuley Boteach was on national TV in the US and is widely respected by many circles, Jewish and non-Jewish. Just because he said something truthful about Presbyterians who have acted immorally doesn’t mean that he’s now a “right wingers” rabbi.

        Reply to Comment
        • Reza Lustig

          Sure. Jerry Falwell was “respected in many circles,” and was even a supporter of Israel (in the vein of John Hagee, granted).

          I suppose “moral” means one backs Team Israel in all matters?

          Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            How is Boteach like Falwell? I understand your desperate need to oppose anything I say, but could you at least make an attempt to make sense?

            And “moral” isn’t about backing “team Israel” in all matters, but “immoral” means focusing only on Israel and ignoring others, particularly serious and egregious offenders. It’s amazing how we keep coming back to the same point for which you and the others have no real answer, isn’t it?

            I know, why don’t you tell me about some fallacy you’ve read about on Wikipedia that somehow allows you and others to ignore the Tibetan cultural genocide under Chinese occupation while claiming that it’s fine and normal to target Israel for a legal occupation which permits the Palestinians to develop their own culture (including its insane hatred of Jewish Israelis), govern themselves, and get asked repeatedly by Israel to make peace so they could have their own state for the first time in history.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            He’s like Falwell in that he uses his religion to serve as a bully pulpit to attack people who are critical of the conduct of a country/culture/race he has chosen to identify with.

            As for Tibet, thanks, but we’ve already got Richard Gere and the rest of the liberal Hollywood set on that.

            “Legal occupation.”

            “Legal” doesn’t always mean “moral.”

            Why don’t you ask your government to give the Palestinians some personal space for five friggin’ minutes, so they can sort out their new government? Better yet, ask them why they turned their noses up at Abbas’ offer to make RoR dependent on whether or not the Israeli government actually wanted refugees back, and to demilitarize Palestine?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            He’s not like Falwell in any respect. He is using his public reputation, not his religion, to attack the Presbyterians. The fact that he’s a rabbi is beside the point. He has no less right to speak than Alan Dershowitz.

            Your response about Tibet is laughable and makes my point for me.

            My government is the US government and it has given the PA the 5 minutes it needed…so that Israel could get rocket attacks and a teenage kidnapping.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Nice of you to compare him to Alan Dershowitz, a certified bully who prefers to intimidate or threaten the careers of those who disagree with him rather than discuss with them.

            I’m going to explain this once, and then I expect you to stop using this tired argument technique: there is no “hierarchy of injustice.” You don’t ignore a guy who whips his kids with a belt because, somewhere else, another guy is doing it with a chain. We all, for whatever reason (and not anti-semitism), attach ourselves to a specific injustice that we see as being “special.”

            As for myself and most pro-Palestinian activists I know, it’s the fact that, while EVERYBODY feels comfortable getting behind being against the injustices you regularly mention, they see people who should know better making excuses and exceptions for Israel, or being “neutral.” Either because they don’t want to mess with our country’s “friend,” or because they’re afraid of being given the “anti-semite” treatment, and all that comes with it (like the kids at Irvine whose Jewish professor threatened to flunk them for being vocal in their disgust towards Michael Oren).

            Basically, we don’t like seeing a bully getting away with his antics because of the negligence or indulgence of others. It’s more infuriating than a “bigger” bully who everyone already hates.

            And yeah I know, I’ll say it for you. “Blah, blah, blah.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            blah blah blah

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Erudite as always.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “I suppose “moral” means one backs Team Israel in all matters?”

            Lets turn that around. To you guys moral is being critical of Israel in all matters?

            Reply to Comment
    10. Bar

      By the way, Larry Derfner, although you did publish a noxious headline, you did not prove your point in this article.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Piotr Berman

      Derfner did not prove that a person writing or saying “The rotting corpse of the Modern National Judaism got another nail in its coffin with the vote on Friday …” would be ostracized in USA to the point of making it hard to find any gainful employment. That is because very few would even dare to try. But one can compile an impressive list of people hounded down or forced to humiliating recantations “I am sorry, I am Gary Oldman and I am an asshole. I am abjectly sorry!”

      Reply to Comment
    12. Click here to load previous comments