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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Adelson ‘Bomb Iran’ Comment Exposes Double Standard (Full Video)

The reaction to his statement has been illuminating as to the double standards that are often employed on matters relating to Israel.
The discussion featured (R-L) Sheldon Adelson, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Bret Stephens, and Richard Joel.

The discussion featured (R-L) Sheldon Adelson, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Bret Stephens, and Richard Joel.
Photo Credit: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

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Last Tuesday I organized an event in New York City at Yeshiva University that addressed the two existential threats confronting the Jewish people worldwide: a nuclear Iran in the Middle East and assimilation in the West. The event, the full video of which is available here, was organized in response to President Obama’s recent overtures to Iran and the Pew Research study that painted a devastating portrait of the declining state of American Jewry.



The discussion, featuring the world’s leading Jewish philanthropist, Sheldon Adelson, Pulitzer-prize winning Wall Street Journal Foreign Affairs columnist Bret Stephens, and Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, was widely reported on and attracted scores of press. But one comment in particular made global headlines and lit up the blogosphere.

In response to my question as to what the United States should do to show Iran that we are serious about preventing them from getting a nuclear device, Sheldon said that an atomic bomb should be detonated in an empty Iranian desert as a warning to the regime of the lengths to which we will go to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons. The nuclear demonstration in a desert wasteland should “not hurt a soul, except for a few rattlesnakes,” but should serve as a shot across their bow.

Asked the next day how earnest Sheldon had been, Ron Reese, his spokesman, said, “As one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, Mr. Adelson was using hyperbole to make a point that — based on his nearly seven decade-long experience negotiating business deals — actions speak louder than words.”

But whether media commentators saw Sheldon as being serious or purposefully using exaggeration in order to make the larger point that the United States must go to extremes to ensure that Iran never gets a nuke, I found the reaction to his statement illuminating as to the double standards that are often employed on matters relating to Israel.

In 2005 when former Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, suggested that Israel must be wiped off the map, with the murder of the six million Jews who live there being the precondition of such erasure, he somehow managed to get invited to speak at Columbia University and, repeatedly, from the rostrum of the United Nations where he reiterated his genocidal intent against the Jewish state. And yes, Ahmadinejad’s comments of course provoked outrage. But his stated intention of perpetrating a second holocaust still did not get him barred from receiving prestigious invitations from the likes of the Council on Foreign relations.

Sheldon’s glib comments about nuking rattle snakes seemed to rattle many of the bloggers who were at our event even more than Ahmadinejad’s threats.

And let’s not fool ourselves about Iran’s genocidal posture toward Israel even post-Ahmadinejad. As recently as this March, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the true power in Iran, threatened to “destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa.” Last August he said that “the fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography,” adding that the “cancerous tumor” Israel had to be removed, expressing the hope that the Arab spring would inspire an Islamic “awakening” that would ultimately fulfill Iran’s goal of annihilating Israel.

Indeed, when I sat with Sheldon on the podium and heard him make his remark, my initial thought was that his purpose was to goad his more liberal critics into attacking the policy so that their double standards on nuclear threats against Israel could be exposed. Would they show outrage at Sheldon’s comments about a nuke in an empty Iranian desert, but not be at least as enraged by Iran’s continued threats of annihilation of the Jewish state?”

Why is the government of President Rouhani of Iran being treated as moderate when it has yet to repudiate the genocidal aspirations of both Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei? Why is President Obama calling Rouhani on the phone and trying to shake his hand at the UN while he is still enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb? Should there not first be the demand that Iran at least stop?

When I read of the holocaust I often ask myself how Hitler was allowed to rise to prominence in the first place. After all, the world bore continuous witness to the hatred and venom that spewed from his speeches and writings against the Jews. So why didn’t they stop him?

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About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


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5 Responses to “Adelson ‘Bomb Iran’ Comment Exposes Double Standard (Full Video)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    No one in Iran ever said kill everyone in Israel. They asked for regime change in Israel. Israel has been asking for regime change in IRan for decades.
    They are not the same. Get a new Farsi-English dictionary

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    I didn't know starting an unprovoked nuclear war is a "Jewish value."

  3. Anonymous says:

    Iran is controlled by a radical Islamic dictatorship. It's a theocratic tyranny. Elections are staged mainly for propaganda purposes. The results are rigged. The office of "president" is merely ceremonial. The Ayatollahs give the orders. Rouhani, who is a radical Islamist and not a moderate, is mainly a spokesman for the Ayatollahs. But no matter who was installed as "president," the regime will continue to violently oppress the Persian people, to be the major sponsor of terrorism around the Middle East and other parts of the world, and will race to acquire nuclear weapons in order to intimidate and possibly incinerate other nations. The good people and decent nations must work together to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapon and perpetrating their genocidal ambitions.

  4. the fault lies with YU
    New appeal of Adelson – he's money they can no longer get from Madoff
    Why a right-wing collection of nutjobs including Brett Stephens – Apologist for the NeoCons, Adelson – Newt Gingrich's moneyman, and Shmuley – failed Republican candidate for House

    Is YU so desperate for political relevance that all it can come up with is a 3rd rate cast of wall street journal characters

    Does anyone expect Adelson to say anything other than that which would sound moronic

  5. Subject: I DO NOT THINK ADELSON IS CRAZY, ONLY CRAZY AS A FOX

    I believe this to be true. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG . I DO NOT THINK ADELSON IS CRAZY, ONLY CRAZY AS A FOX

    Israel urged the United States to pass a new round of sanctions against Tehran, and warned that Iran could potentially have enough fissile material for a bomb within weeks.

    An Israeli official issued comments on Iran’s nuclear program in response to reports from Washington that the White House wanted Congress to hold off on passing a new round of sanctions against Iran as a gesture in the midst of the ongoing six-party talks to diplomatically disarm Iran’s nuclear program

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