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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Congressman Pascrell, Repudiate the Gaza 54 Letter

Rabbi Shmuley

It is also an inhuman regime that brutalizes its Palestinian citizens, and is regularly censured by human rights groups worldwide. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned Hamas for “serious violations of international law,” and cited Judge Richard Goldstone for the assessment that its attacks on Israeli civilains constitued “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.” HRW has also described the blatant use of torture by Hamas to extract confessions from 22 individuals who were then prosecuted under Hamas’s corrupt judicial system. Just recently, in April of this year, Hamas executed three men for various supposed crimes. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned these killings, pleading that such actions by Hamas must stop and requesting that all further executions be commuted. It described the killings as a “grave and unjustified violation of the right to life and a form of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment.” It added that “the persistence of unfair trials made the executions particularly egregious.” Amnesty International charged that the men “were executed after sentences issued and ratified by military and criminal courts in Gaza which fail to meet international fair trial standards.”

I need not add how gays and women fare under Hamas rule, including widespread allegations that Hamas aids and abets honor killings of females. It also indoctrinates children in vicious anti-Semitism while regularly threatening with death those who are not Muslim.

Now, given these facts, I am mystified as why you broke with close to 90 percent of Congress, voting to condemn Israel for imposing a blockade on Gaza. Surely you do not want to see Israeli children with their limbs blown off. Surely you do not want to see Hamas possessing the military capability to execute suspected Palestinian “collaborators” without trial. But without Israel stopping war materials from entering Gaza, more innocent Israelis and Palestinians will be murdered in the most gruesome way. That’s the purpose of a blockade – to stop terrorists from getting guns and bombs.

And why would you have compounded this error, Bill, by blaming Israel for collective punishment against the Palestinians? Is Israel responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians, or Hamas, which has chosen to use all of Gaza as a launching pad for a war of annihilation against Jews?

Would you really blame the victim, Bill?

Surely the Germans and Japanese suffered mightily for the American naval blockades imposed during the Second World War. But was it the Americans who were responsible, or the Hitler and Tojo governments? The Afghan people are suffering terribly due to the decade-old war on their soil. But is it the American military that has visited this suffering upon them? Or should the blame be placed at the feet of the monsters of the Taliban?

The new ninth district, of which you seek to represent, is different from your old tenth district. There you had a large Arab population, which continues in Paterson. No doubt you feel obligated to represent their interests, which I can completely understand. Arabs are my brothers, equal children under the one God. As a rabbi, I salute your constituents’ commitment to their Islamic faith. But how does supporting Hamas and condemning Israel help Arabs? On the contrary, Hamas is poison to the Palestinian cause. Palestinians need a government that will utilize the vast foreign aid flowing in to Gaza to build hospitals, roads, and universities to benefit the citizenry, not to buy rockets to kill Israelis. It is not helpful to any Arab to live under a terrorist regime that suppresses its rights. But in addition to your Arab constituents, your new district also contains very large neighborhoods of committed Jews who are deeply puzzled by your being one of the Gaza 54. You owe it to them to either explain your signature or repudiate it.

Israel is not the reason Arabs are suffering the Middle East. Rather, it is the Mubaraks, Kaddafis, Assads, and woman-hating House of Saud that are the scourge of the Arab world, as the Arab Spring has finally made clear.

I respectfully request of you, Bill, to either explain your signature on the Gaza 54 Letter, or, if it was a mistake to sign it, as I suspect you now believe, to please repudiate it. Likewise, I believe you when you tell me that Imam Qatanani is a man of peace. But that claim must be backed up by the public action of his repudiation of any ties to Hamas and his denunciation of Hamas as a terrorist group whose murderous actions are inimical to a peace-loving Islam.

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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One Response to “Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Congressman Pascrell, Repudiate the Gaza 54 Letter”

  1. Dan Silagi says:

    What a pile of unctuous BS. Boteach, you're the Uriah Heep of the Garden State.

    This has nothing to do with whether I personally support a naval blockade of Gaza or not (I generally do), but with Boteach's trying to make an anti-Semite out of Pascrell, while simultaneously denying he's doing so.

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