NEW YORK – The mainstream acceptance for which Jews have been striving for
centuries is turning out to be our undoing, according to billionaire
philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, an outspoken supporter of Israel.
participated in a panel at Yeshiva University on Tuesday night, headed by
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s rabbi.” The panel included Yeshiva University
president Dr. Richard M. Joel and Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal
foreign affairs writer Bret Stephens, a former Jerusalem Post editor.
event, organized within a week in response to the recent Pew research study on
Jewish life in America, attracted a full auditorium and focused on two issues:
the existential threat of Iran to Israel, which Boteach called “the body of the
Jewish people,” and the diminishing number of secular and otherwise non-Orthodox
Jews in America, whom Boteach described as “the soul of the Jewish
Adelson was articulate and firm in his beliefs that negotiating
with Iran is a sign of weakness that would lead nowhere.
“We need a show
of strength to show that we mean business,” Adelson said.
from the beginning clarified that he would not be an impartial moderator,
prodded the panelists on their various opinions, at times outright disagreeing
with Joel and Adelson; Joel, meanwhile, jokingly threatened to shut off the
rabbi’s microphone. Adelson, Joel and Boteach butted heads somewhat over what
can and should be done to increase Jewish engagement in communities across the
The most passionate speaker was undoubtedly Stephens, who delivered
several monologues about the evils of the Iranian government, the characteristic
Jewish guilt that inhibits Jewish pride in their collective excellence, and what
a Palestinian state might – and should – look like.
“I’ve always said, I
support a two-state solution as long as the state on the other side of the
border is Canada,” Stephens quipped. “Funny accents, odd sporting habits, but
generally peaceable people. It’s horrible to just write off the
Palestinian people as being totally incapable of a liberal, democratic,
tolerant, pluralistic government.”
it’s as unwise to trade land for peace as it is to trust our enemies,” he said.
“I think allowing a Palestinian state would be playing Russian
roulette. One day the bullet’s going to come out and it’s going to kill
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