Major Republican donor (and boogeyman to the left-wing) Sheldon Adelson and his wife have each given $250,000 to a new independent super PAC called the Patriot Prosperity PAC created to help elect New Jersey Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to Congress. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“I treasure the Adelsons’ support. They are among the most generous and sophisticated political donors in the country,” said Mr. Boteach in a statement through his spokesman. The Adelsons previously have given directly to Mr. Boteach’s campaign. The $500,000 donation to the new super PAC “is a game-changer, and I suspect there will be many more like it,” said Rabbi Boteach.A half-million dollars is a huge sum to donate to a congressional campaign. It not only reflects Adelson’s confidence in the Rabbi as a future congressman but also his confidence in the Republican’s ability to win the election.
In contrast, NORPAC, whose mission is to elect pro-Israel candidates, has refused to endorse the Rabbi and even tried to convince him to stay away from one of their events -- not because of anything the Rabbi said or did but because unlike Sheldon Adelson, they aren’t sure Boteach can win. They want to be on good terms with the incumbent following a primary where they offered strong support for his opponent.
Because of redistricting, the NJ-9 Democratic Party primary pitted two incumbents against each other, Bill Pascrell vs. Steven Rothman.
In an interview with NJ Jewish News, NORPAC President Ben Chouake talked about the group’s endorsement of Rothman, saying in essence that Pascrell, who has received NORPAC contributions in the recent past, may be supportive on matters concerning the Middle East — but Rothman is better.
The primary campaign got ugly in the middle of February when Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, published a column in the Newark Star Ledger that questioned the loyalty to America of Rothman and the Jews who backed him. The article, titled "Rothman is Israel’s Man in District 9," used that age-old anti-Semitic meme of dual loyalty.
As total and blind support becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s.This started a political battle between the district's Jews and Arabs. NORPAC redoubled their efforts as Pascrell has remained silent, refusing to condemn the charges of dual loyalty. The primary campaign ended up as a proxy war with NORPAC leading the Jewish forces against the Arab favorite, Pascrell.
In the end, Pascrell won the primary by a 20% margin, and NORPAC became convinced Rabbi Boteach had no chance. They have decided to sit out a crucial election even though its mission is to elect pro-Israel candidates.
Bill Pascrell ‘s 14-year Congressional record does not illustrate a friendly attitude toward the Jewish State, and some of his best “friends” are linked to terrorism.
For example, in March 2007, “he reserved a conference room in the Capital to be used by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim organization formed by the Muslim Brotherhood and criticized by the FBI for its links to Hamas.” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and vice chairman of the party’s Senate conference, stated, “We know (CAIR) has ties to terrorism,” then criticized the group for having “intimate links with Hamas.”
Rep. Pascrell was also one of the 54 signatories (all are Democrats) to a January 21, 2010 letter to the president asking him to address the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, forcing the end to what they called a "blockade" of Gaza by Israel. The letter said nothing about the danger that action might have on Israeli security.
Speaking at a Pascrell fundraiser in 2002, Lebanese-American businessman Sami Merhi likened then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler and said he “can’t see the comparison” between the 9/11 hijackers and Palestinian suicide bombers. When Mr. Merhi ran for a seat as Passaic County freeholder in 2006, senior NJ Democrats, including Sen. Robert Menendez, repudiated his remarks and said they could not support his candidacy. Mr. Pascrell called Mr. Merhi’s comments a “mistake” but refused to abandon him as a candidate.
With a track record such as this, NORPAC should be chomping at the bit to support Rabbi Shmuley in the general election. Instead, the pro-Israel organization is treating the Rabbi as if he had a contagious fatal disease.
On June 13th, Speaker of the House John Boehner came to NJ and spoke at a small NORPAC gathering. Rabbi Boteach purchased a ticket for the event -- after all, he is a GOP candidate for Congress, and he is one of the area's most prominent clergymen. But a source within the Rabbi’s campaign has told me NORPAC tried to stop the Rabbi from attending the event.
The campaign insider played me a voice message which was recieved the Friday afternoon before the Boehner event. The message was from Dr. Mort Fridman, NORPAC's vice president. Fridman requested the Rabbi not attend the event "because of the situation." Fridman never described what the situation was, but the campaign assumes it had to do with the Democratic Party primary battle.
Ironically Fridman ended his phone call by wishing the Rabbi a “Good Shabbos” a traditional Jewish greeting on a Friday afternoon. But in this case it was more like the person who slanders a friend behind their back and but feels guilty for telling the tale so they end the slander with, “bless his heart.”
Rabbi Boteach attended the event anyway, as he should have not merely because he is a GOP candidate for Congress, but because he is one of the areas most respected Rabbi. And as for NORPAC they remain on the sidelines despite the fact that there is a clear difference between the two candidates’ record with regards to the Jewish State, they are not sure Rabbi Shmuley will win or perhaps are afraid that if he does it will rile up the local Arab community the same way the primary did.
Sheldon Adelson started with nothing. He became one of Forbes' 400 richest people in the world because he made smart decisions about how to best use his money. Adelson and his wife donated a total of $500,000 to a superPAC supporting Boteach because he believes the Rabbi has a good chance of winning the election.
Who would you believe? I would put my money on the judgment of the guy who went from nothing to the Forbes400 list.
NORPAC behavior makes the words of Ze'ev Jabotinsky ring true:
It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not "meet halfway" those who do not want to meet you.
--Ze'ev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall November 4, 1923