Shmuley Boteach is not an easy person to peg. Some of his articles are right on the money, others way off the mark. In recent weeks he has written one article attacking Steve Rothman, another defending Richard Goldstone. To be sure, his Goldstone piece in no way defended anything the man has done, but he did rally to Goldstone’s side regarding his wish to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah.
The irony is apparent if you look at the big picture. Although Rothman has made his share of mistakes, his belief that Obama would be fully supportive of Israel being one of them, his heart is in the right place. Those who care about Israel know he has been one of its most ardent supporters, making his voice heard in Congress. Recently, he did his part to help dispel an ugly myth with a highly visible article in Businessweek. In it, he details why America’s military aid to Israel, rather than being some sort of handout as many believe, actually provides a great return on investment. Rothman should be given the benefit of the doubt by Boteach, not his scorn.
Goldstone, on the other hand, has caused untold damage by fueling an ugly myth that Israel is an immoral bully, a nation that committed war crimes against a defenseless people. Besides the obvious gift he has handed Israel’s enemies, and the fuel he has added to the flame of anti-Semitism, he has perhaps done something even more tangible. If and when Israel must battle Hamas again, knowing their actions will be under an even more powerful microscope than usual, courtesy of Richard Golstone, they are likely to err on the side of putting their young men and women in even greater danger to avoid the possibility of again being labeled as war criminals.
Although Goldstone attended his grandson’s bar mitzvah after all, we should never have been concerned about his possible lost opportunity, especially when we consider what the loved ones of some of Israel’s soldiers may lose because of his vile report. Boteach’s concern for such a harmful man is woefully misplaced.