Rabbi Shmuley Boteach blasted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) for using the Jewish Torah in an attempt to attack President Donald Trump.
The Torah typically refers to the first five books of the Old Testament (the “five books of Moses”). However, it can also refer generally to the whole Bible, plus the entire body of Jewish law.
Booker was reacting to President Trump’s statement this week that American Jews who voted for Democrats, after they supported anti-Israel and antisemitic members of their party, were “disloyal” to themselves.
The New Jersey senator told an interviewer in Iowa that Trump was not displaying the Jewish values of tzedakah (charity) and chesed (kindness). The Times of Israel reported:
“I know Jewish values… tzedakah, chesed… there’s an idea in Judaism about kindness and decency and mercy,” he said in a video posted to Twitter by the politics site Iowa Starting Line. “These ideals are not being evidenced by the president of the United States.”
The New Jersey lawmaker added that Democrats “are no less disloyal to this country” than Republicans are.
“The word tzedakah — I know you’re not a Torah scholar — it not only is used to talk about charity and decency and mercy, it’s actually the word for justice as well. We need to get back to that, to being good to each other,” he said to the interviewer.
In response, Rabbi Boteach, a Breitbart News contributor who befriended Booker at Oxford University before their political falling out over the Obama administration’s hostile approach to Israel, issued a statement:
In response to Cory Booker’s comments quoting the Torah and Jewish values to assail President Trump, I would remind him that firstly, “I was the one who taught him the Torah he knows” and what I always emphasized to him is that Judaism’s highest value is protection and preservation of life. This is something that Cory unfortunately violated in the extreme when he betrayed the American Jewish community by voting for the Iran nuclear deal for political gain.
Jewish values are about having core convictions that do not change based on any external benefits, especially when genocide is at stake. While I absolutely agree that President Trump’s words – and not only actions – should be consistent with Jewish values, there can be no question that in action he has been the most supportive President for Israel for security and legitimacy in the history of the United States.
Cory, sadly, has gone in the opposite direction, catering to left-wing extremists who sadly despise Israel and the Jewish people for no legitimate reason. Cory has condemned the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem, voted against the Taylor Force Act in committee, which would simply have stopped Palestinian terrorists from being payed to murder Jews, and most famously he voted for the Iran deal and refused to even once condemn Iran’s genocidal promises to annihilate Israel.
It is not right for Cory to use the Torah – that I taught him as my Student President at Oxford – as a way to try and garner Jewish support while refusing to support Israel. The Torah is not to be weaponized politically. Nor is it to be used for political gain in contravention of core convictions. You cannot quote from the Torah about love and kindness, all of which I taught Cory in hundreds of hours of Torah learning at Oxford, while not condemning Iran’s plans to annihilate six million Jews in Israel, just as the Germans murdered six million of our brethren in Europe.
Booker is far behind the lead pack in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.