Shmuley Boteach “America’s Rabbi” recently fell into a spat with New Zealand pop-star, Lorde (Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor) who refused to play a gig in Israel but went on to play in Russia. According to Boteach this meant that Lorde was a bigot (he clarified that he didn’t think she was “anti-semitic,” just bigoted. He felt so strongly about this affair that he put out a crowdfunded hit piece on Lorde where stated in big, bold letters that, “Let’s boycott the boycotters and tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew-hatred has no place in the twenty-first century.”
Boteach felt so strongly about the whole affair that he took out a full page advert for the sole purpose of attacking Lorde through the press. The ad was fundraised on the rabbi’s gofundmepage which has amassed $26,964 as of 1/10/18 with a total overall goal of $100,000.
Boteach’s fundraising bio says: PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLD VALUES NETWORK BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR.
During the past year you’ve followed our non-stop activity championing Israel and defending the Jewish people. You’ve seen the breadth of our reach in promoting universal Jewish values and spreading Jewish influence.
And thousands of you have attended our live programming with global leaders promoting a message about Israel, family, and values-based leadership.
Now, we need your help!
Before 31 December, please make a generous end-of-year tax deductible contribution to The World Values Network that we may continue to speak out on your behalf. Help us continue to do our work. Any amount is appreciated and all you have to do is click below.
Next year we will join together to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary as a great nation and light to the world. Let’s all be part of strengthening Israel abroad and protecting its image as the Middle East’s only democracy.
We hope you will make to shine a light on behalf of Jewish values which are universal.
With every blessing,
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Executive Director, The World Values Network
What Boteach is effectively doing is crying out as he strikes Lorde, crying out both in pain and in desperation for funding, of all things. Clear cut, grievance industry tactics which Israel, and its defenders, have a long history of rigorously applying.
In 2014, the singer-songwriter, Peter Gabriel, a critic of Israel and proponent of the two state solution, put out a album 2 Unite All (featuring The Cure’s Porl Thompson and Def Leppard’s Rick Allen), the proceeds of which were to be donated to Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. Gabriel wrote of his position,
“I am not, and never was, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, but I oppose the policy of the Israeli government, oppose injustice and oppose the occupation… I am proud to be one of the voices asking the Israeli government: ‘Where is the two-state solution that you wanted so much?’ and clearly say that enough is enough.”
Many, predictably called him and his supporters “bigots” and “anti-Semites” the problem there is that, 1. that appears to be factually untrue and 2. that wouldn’t inherently even mean Gabriel’s arguments were wrong. This is the same problem Boteach faces with his statements about “jew hatred” – they completely leap over the question, “Is there any reasonable justification for Israeli boycott?” The answer is a obvious, “Yes.” Boteach, however, is not even amenable to the possibility of a “yes” to that question. To him and those like him the question must not ever even be asked.
The Lorde situation then underlies a much large ideological trajectory within the Jewish state which will only become more and more of a problem for Israel the longer it persists. There is no long term upside for a country as a whole to shouting out hysterical epithets at its critics as the first, and sometimes only, course of action. It would be immeasurably more preferable, in the interests of fostering sanguine discourse, for people critical of the state of Israel and Israelis and their defenders abroad themselves, to simply sit down have conversations; such conversations are made impossible by grievance industry tactics of shouting about “bigotry,” “the holocaust,” the “6 million!” and all the other hand-wringing and violin playing cop-outs people like Boteach fancy because all that amounts to is declaring your political opponent a bad person and that doesn’t mean their wrong in their criticisms even if you are right about their moral character or lack thereof.