Lubavitcher Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, bestselling author of The kosher sutra and father of nine, has a bee in his kippah.
One Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, with the collusion of the US Department of State and the Englewood, New Jersey cops, ‘stealthily moved in and took up residence as my immediate next-door neighbor’. His gripe against his new neighbour? ‘Every time my kids hit a baseball a bit too far’, it goes ‘onto the lawn of a man who last week disgraced the U.N. Security Council by showing a gruesome slide show featuring images of mutilated Palestinians with Israeli soldiers as the culprits’.
Imagine the chutzpah of suggesting that Israeli soldiers could possibly be implicated in the mutilation of Palestinians. Sure, they may have rained tons of ordinance all over the densely packed Gaza Strip for over three weeks, but they never intended to do anyone any harm any more than they did when they shelled the beach at Beit Lahia in June 2006, killing eight.
And if that weren’t enough to make any innocent neighbour see red, ‘His condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza made no mention of the thousands of Hamas rockets that have been fired without provocation at Israeli children’.
At the risk of repeating myself, everyone knows about ‘the thousands of Hamas rockets’. Each one is lovingly documented – here, for instance, is a list of those launched in 2007, and Wikipedia has an entry for attacks each year. Now a Qassam rocket has no guidance system. You can point it in a general direction, but you can’t really aim it. So when Rabbi Shmuley claims they have been fired at children, it is at best hyperbole. Furthermore, it’s not entirely obvious that there was no provocation. As far as I can tell, nobody has enumerated the missiles, shells, and other destructive projectiles Israel has lobbed into Gaza since 2001, the period over which armed Palestinian groups have launched some 8600 rockets, or for any part of that period. Suffice it to say that whatever the number, it almost certainly dwarfs those fired back, and more importantly, has killed many more than 28 Palestinians. And if that weren’t provocation enough, Israel has destroyed Gaza’s air and seaports, electric generation plants, water and sewerage treatment facilities, even the Rafah Zoo. And then there’s the little matter of the siege.
So to assert that the rockets were ‘fired without provocation’ is just a baldfaced lie. But it’s not just any old fabrication. There’s a reason he, like so many others, can say it, and even believe it themselves. Palestinians provoke, Israel retaliates. They can’t tolerate Jews, so they attack ‘us’. And ‘we’, Israel, have no option but to reluctantly go crazy, destroying everything in sight, lest they get the idea they can perpetrate another Holocaust. There is never any context for a Palestinian attack, that’s just the way they are. In short, it’s an unabashed racist conceit.
Disgracing the UN Security Council was not Mr Shalgham’s only crime. He is the Ambassador to the UN of Libya and nobody could be expected ‘to borrow a cup of sugar from a man whose government murdered American servicemen while they danced at a disco’. Now I once saw a documentary that asserted that the best British and Israeli intelligence blamed Syria and Iran for the April 1986 bombing of Berlin’s La Belle Discotheque, which killed two US servicemen, and there are other theories. For the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that Colonel Gaddafi really did order the bombing. After all President Reagan assured us that the evidence that justified the retaliatory bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi was ‘direct’, ‘precise’, and ‘irrefutable’, and he wouldn’t lie. You just can’t help but wonder how Rabbi Shmuley would react if the diplomats who moved in next door represented a government that murdered 34 US servicemen.
To add insult to injury, ‘they are the same Libyans who have shown our city undisguised contempt by refusing for over a quarter of a century to pay even a single dollar in taxes’. Apparently the good Rebbe is unaware of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provision that
The sending State and the head of the mission shall be exempt from all national, regional or municipal dues and taxes in respect of the premises of the mission, whether owned or leased...The nature of the State Dept’s collusion is complying with Article 23(1)
In accordance with the VCDR, foreign governments are entitled to exemption from real estate taxes on residences that are owned by such governments and used for the purpose of housing the head of its diplomatic mission.Again, you’re compelled speculate about Rabbi Shmuley’s views on the undisguised contempt shown by some other diplomatic missions that refuse to pay taxes.
The reason the rabbi is suffering this deplorable antisemitic attack is that, ‘Without sounding paranoid...Across the globe it’s open season on Israel and the Jews’. But all is not lost.
We are a powerful global economic market and we must seriously consider boycotting the products of countries whose shameful behavior mistreats Jews. For example, the situation in Britain is out of control: There have been attempts to ban Israeli professors from academic conferences; a magistrate issued an arrest warrant against Israel’s former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and the government issued an advisory allowing retailers to label products originating from the West Bank as being produced in Israeli settlements or by Palestinians. A serious conversation about whether or not to vacation in Britain or buy its products should now occur.I won’t go over the arguments for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel or boycotting Israeli products or for universal jurisdiction. What’s interesting, however, is that he goes on to castigate the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government.
Here in the United States we have had to contend with the Obama administration’s canard that Israeli settlements are a major obstacle to Middle East peace. And it’s more than a little disappointing that the Netanyahu government has endorsed this fraud by instituting a 10-month freeze on settlements, thereby unjustly identifying some of Israel’s most patriotic citizens as its most intransigent.But curiously, he doesn’t recommend a serious conversation about whether or not to vacation in Israel or buy US products.