Two incendiary Likudist media provocations today: the first is yet another in a series of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s New York Times ads touting Sheldon Adelson’s anti-Muslim agenda. Previous ads in the series have attacked Iran, Hamas and the UN with equal vitriol. I’ve written about a few of them before here. But today’s ad is truly extraordinary. It essentially accuses Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, and by extension the President himself, of being willing collaborators in a future genocide against not just Israel, but the entire Jewish people.
As I’ve noted before in posts on these ads, the ad copy makes no pretence of truth or accuracy. It is shameless, hucksterism for Likudist values. In case anyone needs to read Boteach’s accusations against Rice in long-form, he’s elaborated on his diatribe here.
Note, in the ad the attempt at drawing a parallel between Rwandan and Jewish genocide. This is no accident: Paul Kagame is a “good friend” of both Israel’s and Shmuley’s. He’s appeared at pro-Israelfests along with Elie Wiesel and Adelson. Kagame’s Rwanda is a major customer of Israel’s military defense industry, buying millions in advanced weaponry. As I’ve written here, Israel likes its African clients to be hungry for weapons, corrupt and tyrannical. Kagame, co-author of Congolese genocide which has murdered over 4-million, fits the bill perfectly.
Now let’s explain why this is Boteach’s Night of the Long Knives for Susan Rice. Though the OBama administration has made perfectly clear its boiling anger at Netanyahu for bringing his anti-Iran road show to Congress, it has been careful about the tenor of public statements on the matter. Officials have argued that the speech is ill-advised and politely expressed their displeasure. Off the record statements have been more strongly negative.
But Rice was the first official to take out after Bibi publicly. The Washington Post reported her interview with Charley Rose, in which she accused Netanyahu of :
“inject[ing] a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate. I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship. It’s always been bipartisan. We need to keep it that way. We want it that way. I think Israel wants it that way. The American people want it that way. And when it becomes injected or infused with politics, that’s a problem,” Rice said Tuesday, using the strongest language yet from an Obama administration official regarding a visit that has rankled both sides and strained ties between the countries.
Bibi is not one to take such “impertinence” from a mere Obama underling lying down. His reply took the form of this disgusting ad. How disgusting is it? It’s so bad almost the entire Jewish communal world released statements denouncing it as soon as Shabbat had ended. That is quick work. Usually when some outrageously offensive pro-Israel statement like this comes out, it will take the ADL at least days to respond, if it ever does.
While these criticisms of Boteach are welcome, they’re hypocritical. Most of these organizations, including Aipac, support Bibi’s views of Iran. They may not believe Iran contemplates genocide against the Jews, as the loony tunes brigade does. But they believe Iran is evil and probably support a military attack against it if either Israel or the U.S. were willing. So the Jewish communal leadership is only marginally saner and more pragmatic on Iran than Bibi.
Further, none of these groups attacked any of Boteach’s previous disgusting Islamophobic ads. As long as Boteach smears Muslims it’s fine with the Jewish elites. But when he smears a U.S. president and high administration official, then it goes too far. I’ve got news for them all. Boteach and Adelson are a menace to American Jewry. If they don’t take a stronger stance against them, pretty soon they’ll have bought there way into positions of even greater power and influence here in America. You think the last election cycle, when Adelson pumped over $100-million into the presidential campaign, was bad? Try $200-or even $300-million in 2016. And Adelson the gambling magnate will put it all down on one number: Israel. Adelson’s next president, if his money has any say in the matter, will turn the adminsitration into an annex of the Likud party. All administration personnel having anything to do with the Middle East will be vetted by Adelson and Bibi and their political minions.
There is another thinly concealed factor in the attack on Rice: race. It’s no secret that the majority of those Congress members refusing to attend Netanyahu’s Congressional speech are members of the Black Caucus. The Israel Lobby, which heavily finances some House races in minority districts, doubtless sees this as a betrayal. Further, Boteach and Adelson can’t attack Obama head-on since he’s the President, so they attack the second most senior African-American in the administration, Susan Rice. Make no mistake, this is politics as ugly as it gets. And the only reason it won’t get a lot uglier in the next election is the likely Democratic candidate will be white.
More must be done to inoculate the American people against the hate and lies spewed by the Adelson-Boteach cabal.
About that Iran sunset clause… // Headlines from the future: March 2025 pic.twitter.com/OEsBO3JDR6
— Embassy of Israel (@IsraelinUSA) February 26, 2015
A junior member of this cabal is Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer. He’s a former operative in the Frank Luntz political consulting machine and Bibi’s brain according to some Israeli media portrayals. Dermer was the “mastermind” behind Bibi’s Congressional speech, having organized it with John Boehner. Not to be outdone by that feat of political malpractice, Dermer has tweeted a memorable fake New York TImes front page from 2025. The headlines scream about a dystopian world in which gas prices have pentupled, Iran has ICBMs capable of striking New York, and Pres. Rouhani boasts about the lies he told to hoodwink President Obama into a terrible nuclear deal.
To say the tweet is shameless and moronic is an understatement. In fact, I’d say there are lies, damn lies, and Ron Dermer.
There will be a nuclear agreement with Iran. I hope Pres. Obama will sell it well to the American people. I hope his enemies will not carry the day in portraying it as a betrayal of American interests. I very much doubt that will happen. Bibi Netanyahu will scream bloody murder about it. He will travel the world telling anyone who will listen about American betrayal and nuclear apocalypse.
More than anything else what must happen is that the world must tune this static out. It must send Bibi and his world view packing. The Middle East deserves better. It deserves a chance to see Iran and the U.S. engaged in building a constructive relationship, even if this takes years or more to accomplish. The region deserves stability and development. Not endless rancor and blood-letting: the nostrum Bibi offers.
There another important reason why this agreement must succeed. Islamism is on the rise around the world. There is only one way to combat it successfully: by showing an alternative. Iran can exert a positive, stabilizing force in regional affairs including serving as an anchor against Islamist terrorists like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Today’s Israel, ruled by megalomaniacs like Bibi and disciples like Bennett and Lieberman, leads only a dead end. The U.S. must not follow these ultra-nationalists into that Alley to Nowhere.
Sign the petition: we’re up to 328 signers of the Change.org petition asking Congress to skip Bibi’s speech. There are now five senators and over 20 House members who are doing so. Keep the momentum going. Please sign.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.