Michael Moore a hero at the Democrats’ convention

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

On the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, from where I was broadcasting my radio show, I found myself sitting 10 feet from Michael Moore. He was chatting with journalists, so I decided to ask if he would agree to be a guest on my radio show. I wanted to debate him about his Bush-hating “Fahrenheit 9-11.” But when he saw me approaching, he dismissed me with a single, condescending flick of his finger as if I were a bug crawling up his arm.

I was initially offended by his arrogant gesture. And knowing of his hatred of Israel – he identified Israel as one of the three epicenters of evil in the world (New York Times, June 26, 2004) – I wondered if his attitude had something to do with my yarmulke and beard. But then I remembered a recent New Yorker profile of Moore that portrayed him as something of a monster who treats his employees like garbage.

I walked away. A moment later I was shocked to see president Jimmy Carter walk up to Moore in front of a gargantuan TV audience and give him a warm handshake and then sit next to him for the duration of Bill Clinton’s speech to the convention.

Here was a former president lending his stature to a man who wrote on his website last April that America brings immeasurable misery and sadness to the world. But then, Jimmy Carter, who rarely met a tyrant he didn’t like, has been embarrassing the United States with irresponsible actions for decades.

Supporters of Israel need to question whether they wish to support a party that honors men like these – Moore was positively mobbed by the Democrats wherever he went – and whose presidential candidate, John Kerry, said last year that he might send Jimmy Carter to the Middle East as his personal envoy.

I fear that the increasing anti-war posture of the Democratic Party (notwithstanding that Kerry voted for the war) will ultimately turn against Israel. The delegates at the convention were Carter Democrats rather than John Kerry Democrats. Nine out of 10 delegates reportedly consider the war in Iraq a mistake and support a speedy troop withdrawal.

The most common refrain heard throughout the convention was that America needed to restore its respect and popularity in the world.

What better way to do that than by ending its solid support for Israel?

America is hated by the nations of the world almost entirely due to its support of Israel and the war in Iraq. The United States is the great champion of Israel and is therefore loathed by a world that despises the Jewish state. Likewise, the United States has incurred the wrath of the world by refusing to turn a blind eye toward Arab tyranny as embodied in Saddam Hussein.

When Democratic Party leaders demand that George Bush be dumped so that America can be loved again by the French and the Germans, they are well aware that the only way that’s going to happen is by a radical change in American foreign policy. That would take us back to Bill Clinton’s days, when America was neutral on the Arab-Israeli conflict and when it largely turned a blind eye to Arab tyranny.

But so long as America puts principle before profit by standing up for tiny Israel against half a billion Arabs and forcibly removing Arab tyrants, the world will continue to hate the superpower. Washington has become an international irritant by shaking up a complacent world order that couldn’t care less if the Arabs eventually democratize.

That America is hated for standing up for Israelis and Iraqis against aggressive Arab bullying should not surprise us. The Talmud teaches that Mount Sinai, which means “mountain of hatred,” earned its name because the Ten Commandments that were given there made the Jewish people the most hated nation on Earth. The world does not want a conscience, and the Earth’s inhabitants have always sought freedom from a moral code.

Because the Jews were entrusted by God with commandments such as “Thou shalt not kill,” they immediately become the enemies of murderers.

And now that America has become the moral conscience of the world by aggressively promoting liberty and justice, it too is being demonized.

The Democratic Party would have us believe that there is something wrong in having the whole world oppose you. But the Jews have long known that there is honor in it as long as you are right and they are wrong.

When all the world closes its eyes to slaughter and tyranny, Winston Churchill taught us in his opposition to Britain’s policy of appeasement that the noble dare not close their eyes as well – even if it means losing the “respect” of the world.

I personally do not need the respect of Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan. These are dishonorable men who used their influence to protect a wicked tyrant rather than his innocent victims. Nor do I wish for the respect of Jimmy Carter, a man who was the first American president to witness the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism, but capitulated in the face of its threat.

And I certainly do not seek the respect of a man like Michael Moore, who profits from portraying the United States as a murderous dictatorship and Israel as its chief partner in crime.