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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Democrats want 'Moore' than Kerry

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 television 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 Web site 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?

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