Boteach Off Base On Obama Speech


I’m really appalled that anyone would take a view written by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach seriously (“Obama At AIPAC: Let The Fun Begin,” Opinion, Jewish Week website).

Let’s start to clarify a couple of points. President Barack Obama did not say anything different than our former president. President George W. Bush sent a letter in 2004 to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon based on this premise [that Israel would keep the large settlement blocs in return for land swaps]. For obvious reasons he did not make it public.

Obama did not say in his speech that we should return to the 1967lines — he said the 1967 lines with “mutually agreed land swaps” should be the basis for negotiations. This has been the policy with every U.S. president and Israeli prime minister since 2000.

It would be crude to say that Rabbi Boteach has an agenda living in the “settlement” of Englewood, N.J. He along with many Jewish Americans who think they know best by sitting in their comfy homes, with their children safe from war, can feel free to do so — without any repercussions. Those of us who have no intention of ever moving to Israel, least of all to a settlement — or having our kids in the Israeli army as opposed to the “yeshiva” year — have plenty to say when it comes to issues about Israel, especially when it involves our president. We should stop fooling ourselves that we really care what happens in Israel just because we go on a mission or hang out in the lobby of the Inbal [Hotel]. Israel has one friend in the world — and everybody here and there should be careful not to damage [the relationship].