You have got to be kidding meRabbi Shmuley Boteach brings sycophancy to a new low

So Rabbi Boteach wrote a column that I read on Jewsweek called The U.S. of J: Is America the new chosen people? stating that Americans were the new Jews. Let me just quote a passage from his column:

In truth, the causes of anti-Americanism are much more profound than simple envy. In short, America is hated principally because under George W. Bush it has come to embrace a moral foreign policy aimed at fighting despots and deposing dictators, and these gallant efforts have made the rest of the world look selfish, self-absorbed, morally blind, and cowardly. We Americans are not hated because of our strength, but rather for the good purposes to which we have devoted that strength. Ironic, isn’t it? To be hated because you’re good. But welcome to the club. The Jews have been members for a long time.

Look, let’s put aside politics for a moment ok? Surely, regardless of whether you are right wing or left wing you do realize that American foreign policy, like that of any other country in the world, is based solely on self-interest? Moral Foreign policy? Please. It was always about the oil and finishing up what Daddy started. We all know that. And I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that. If you feel that it’s in your county’s best interest, do whatever you feel is right – and doing what was “right” in this context has more often resulted in dancing with dictators (Saudi Arabia, China, pre-911 Iraq, Noriega, Pinochet, I could go on and on…) than it has in deposing them.

Boteach should stick with what he knows best, Kosher Sex and that sweet sweet heter on oral sex and leave political analysis to those less prone to sycophantcy. I also don’t appreciate his unfounded cracks against canucks.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • What???!!! Heter on oral sex???!!!! Come again! I need details…

  • Heh. I think it’s only if you’re married. If you’re not married then it’s half a sin if you do it on shabbat…. ok I better stop. This kinda talk so close to Yom Kippur is like… a bad idea. Go find the good Rabbi’s book – Kosher Sex – available at your local Judaica shop or online at

  • You would probably be right if Iraq was attacked by Bush pre the terrorist attack on the US. But since we were attacked, and the worlds intel on WMD said Iraq still had some, Bush made the decision to play it safe and be sure none fell into the hands of terrorists.

    We didn’t need their oil.

  • Oh. As for oral sex, I’m in favor of it. I hear it’s ‘all the rage’.

  • Look, I am actually in favor of the war on Iraq. But Shmuley makes it sound like the war was some grand humanitarian campaign to free the people of Iraq from tyranny. It totally wasn’t. Whether it was about oil or pre-emptive self defense is irrelevant. It clearly was not an act of pure altruism.

  • urrrrggghhhh, boteach makes me want to scream, constantly, or gnaw my own arm off. how are we letting this man speak for the jewish people??? he’s a walking chilul Hashem!!

  • I think anything thinking individual would see that the war on Iraq was clearly not about oil.

    Saddam Hussein offered to the United States a number of times all the oil they wanted if they simply laid off. It seems like that would be easier than war. Also note, zero oil has gone from Iraq to the USA since the war.

    Also, the United States provides 40% of the worlds food aid and a massive chunk of all AIDS funds. How much oil is gained from that?

    Clearly the United States had it’s own reasons for going after Iraq, but if that were the only requirement, France would be “liberated” right now. (No doubt that would be an easier task than Iraq!)

  • Hear hear.

    I remember talking to a man from Cameroon who told me why he had left his country to work in South Africa. “Cameroon is very poor now,” he said. “The Americans came and bought all our timber for very little money and then sold it to the UK and the EU for a lot of money. When we tried to sell to the UK and the EU instead of to America we were threated with sanctions by America. What could we do? We are just a poor African country…”

    There’s a long list of countries raped by America and they all want to “call a couple of bad-ass niggers to come over with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch to get medieval on her ass!”

  • Of course it was oil. It was also revenge for the attempted assassination of Daddy. And it was about finishing off what was, obviously to the regret of the Bushes, never completed in 1991.

    As Saudi becomes a liability and their government becomes threatened by elements within the state, it makes perfect sense to attempt to create a new proxy in the area. Iraq is central, has oil, had a secular gov’t. and only has 17 million people and a decimated military (as opposed to 60 million and a healthy military in Iran).

    Oil, oil, oil!

  • Was the majority of congress (including many democracts, such as Kerry & Edwards) also taking revenge for the assassination attempt of “daddy” when
    they voted for war?

    You’re using very simplistic thinking to attempt to find childish reasons for this war. Us thinking individuals realize that this is more complex than failed assassination attempts. Your logic is faulty and you do not refute my point other than to say “of course it was about oil.”

    Your mention of Saudi internal struggles is circular reasoning, given that the rise in terror attacks there have happened post-Iraq-war, and likely as a result of Saudi Arabia’s assistance to the USA on many issues related to the war on terror.

    Your post is so full of incorrect assertions it’s quite frankly hilarious. George Bush Sr ended the first Iraq war, while Thatcher wanted to push on and finish the job. Clearly, it may have been a regret of Britain, but not “of the Bushes.”

  • Yow. I didn’t really want this to devolve into a political thing. This post is not about Bush – it’s about Rabbi Botteach and his implication that American foreign policy under Bush was driven by the desire to pursue an objective good as opposed to the simple promotion of national self-interest. Regardless of what your politics are, surely this is a ridiculous assertion, no?

  • No. I mean yes. Oh hell, you know what I mean, it’s ridiculous.

  • Well let’s see…

    Is it conceivable that Bush and his Administration’s goals are different than their public positions? Yes.

    Is it conceivable that they presented a public face different than their internal discussions? Yes. For example, Wolfowitz stated (after we were already in Vietnam-style muck over there) that they were talking up WMDs before the war because they believed they could get consensus around that issue.

    So the Administration goes around plugging intelligence telling us all that they have WMDs, they go to the UN and talk about chemical warfare and nuclear bombs, and you want to tell us that because a majority of Congress listened and voted accordingly, that this had nothing to do with oil and an early termination in ’91. Right, I’ll buy that…and I’m sure we’re still going to find WMDs in Iraq and links to 9/11…one day…sometime in the distant future…

    Your comments about Saudi are also false. There were attacks in Saudi Arabia before 9/11, on Saudi installations and American installations as well. Saudi Arabia has been preparing for some problems for years, as their population increases and their ability to maintain the standard of living of the average Saudi decreases.

    Finally, with respect to the Bush family regrets, I’ll simply point you to the reasons for this war as stated by Bush: WMDs, Hussein’s tyranny, and Hussein’s support of terror. If Bush pere had done his job, then Saddam’s tyranny, weapon development and terror ties would never have happened. So if we go by a “neo-con’s” reasoning and believe Bush, this war completes what his father didn’t.

    If you reject that assessment as well, then I’m not sure what you believe. Either they did this in good faith, in which case this war is a repudiation of the father’s. If they didn’t do it in good faith and it is about oil, then the father’s non-removal of Saddam also reveals failure because had he taken steps to finish the fight in ’91, we might not have such fragile standing in the ME today.

    If we take the line that I’m taking, which is that this war is about oil and probably some neocon ideological fantasy about creating a utopian free market experiment in the center of the Middle East, everything falls into place far more logically.

    After all, who would send men to die because some despot tried to have his father killed? Nobody in their right mind.

    Who would do it because they want to free Iraqis from tyranny when 11 years earlier that didn’t seem too important? Nobody in their right mind.

    Who would send men to die in order to facilitate control over significant oil supplies, gain a strategic (and defensive foothold if one considers the weakness of the House of Saud) foothold in a geographic area of vital importance because of its oil reserves? Anybody in their right mind.

    So either he’s nuts or he’s not. Your call.

  • R. Boteach makes a good point about the varying and complex reasons that America is hated. Anyone that traveled outside our country pre-9-11 will be able to confirm that we were not liked as a country then. That clearly takes the blame for this hatred away from the current administration and its foreign policy. Also, his concept of a “moral foreign policy” is thought provoking. Can we, as a nation, be performing a mitzvah through our foreign policy efforts? Is it essential that our motivations be pure before any good thing we do is considered a mitzvah? I was unaware of any such restriction on motivation. I was taught that even a good deed done for personal gain is still a mitzvah. If humans only did good deeds for purely altruistic reasons then I fear that not much good would be done. An example, many people give to charities in America, this is a good deed. Did you know that over half of Americans that give to charities only give as much as they are allowed to deduct on their income tax returns? Also, people give to gain public recognition, or even just because it makes them feel good. Putting all other issues aside, we can, as a nation, feel good about the Iraqi peoples new-gained freedom. Regardless of motivation, we are responsible for their release from tyranny. That, my friends, is a good thing. R. Boteach is clearly following this same path of logic in his column.

  • Um… no doubt, the world political stage is a better place with Sadam gone. But here’s the scoop – Judaism teaches us that there are different levels of charity – it’s all good of course, but the best kind is when the recipient doesn’t know who the donor is and when the donor does not know who the recipient is. The lowest form of charity is when both the recipient and the donor know each other’s roles. Clearly Judaism places greater value on the more altruistic form of charity. In any case, what the Rabbi is implying is that Iraq was an altruistic act when it clearly wasn’t. No nation acts altruistically – that would be insane. And to suggest that the US did that is just, you know, dumb. And like I said, this is coming from a guy who is pro-war in Iraq. Just so you know….

  • Sorry Rina. That last one you commented on was a comment spammer. The comment is randomly generated and is not actually someone defending Rabbi Boteach or disagreeing with me. I deleted the site they are linking to but I’ll keep it visible cuz its kinda funny. 😉

  • the war in Iraq is not about oil at all. The only way you can solve the middle east problem, is to allow ten million displaced Palestinians back to their homeland. This will not happen without water, therefore it is my opinion that water will eventually be piped from the largest deepest fresh water lake in the world lake Baikal in southern Siberia to a Dam construction most likely in some mountainous region, perhaps Jordan. The other surrounding countries will give up desert territories. Saudi Arabia Northern tip and south western Iraq, thus allowing Palestine and Isreal to expand. Where and how this is to happen is open for debate. However, the common sense premise of this thought is undeniable.