Rabbi Shmuley Boteach assessed the state of peace talks with North Korea on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM hosts Alex Marlow and Frances Martel. He acknowledged the necessity of dealing with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to remove the nuclear threat it poses but was uncomfortable with legitimizing the hideous Kim regime and excusing its crimes.
“With Kim Jong-un, it’s not just an issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Boteach contended. “You’re talking about a man, with his father, who starved to death hundreds of thousands of people, allocating their resources specifically to the military, because the only thing the guy has got is an army. He’s got no economy. He’s got barely any electricity. But he’s got an army. He feeds them first, and he starves children.”
“If this deal is done, what happens with all his past crimes?” he asked.
“One of the great moments in American history was the Nuremberg trials. Roosevelt insisted they take place, and then they were carried on through Truman after Roosevelt’s death,” he elaborated. “Some of the greatest speeches in American history, like Robert Jackson’s opening speech at Nuremberg, define American democracy. We didn’t just take vengeance. We didn’t just line up the SS and shoot them. We tried them.”
“What happens to all these crimes? If we do a deal, does he just get off the hook?” Boteach asked about Kim Jong-un.
“I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be engaging him,” he clarified. “I think it is important to engage him because he’s a menace to the world, and we have to get rid of his nuclear weapons.”
“I’m skeptical whether he will relinquish his nuclear weapons because the only reason that he hasn’t been invaded and attacked, given his constant saber-rattling and his threats to world peace, is because we’re afraid he’ll drop a nuke on Seoul. So I’m not sure that he’s going to give them up. He should be engaged. I’m just wondering, what is the process if he does agree to a peace deal?” he said.
“I think that one of the main things we’re missing in the world today, and one of the things that the Jewish community and the Jewish religion specifically contributes to the world, is a hatred of evil,” Boteach said.
“You know, this famous verse in songs that those who love God hate evil — the word ‘hatred’ is so dangerous today. We hate the word ‘hatred.’ You’re supposed to hate evil. What are you supposed to feel towards Assad? Indifference? Love?” he mused.
“I even tell my Christian brothers and sisters who say to me, well, Jesus said you’re supposed to turn the other cheek, and Jesus said you’re supposed to love your enemies — I always say to them, Jesus said love your enemies. He never said love God’s enemies,” he explained.
“Assad is not your enemy. Your enemy is the guy that takes your parking space or who got the promotion at work that you wanted. Assad is God’s enemy. When you gas children, you’re God’s enemy. Jesus never said to love God’s enemy,” Boteach asserted.
“And by turning the other cheek, what Jesus of course meant was to slights and provocations. Turn the other cheek, don’t let yourself be provoked. But turn the other cheek to genocide? No, he never meant that, because the Bible is all about life,” he said.
Breitbart National Security Editor Frances Martel described the sense of unreality and moral confusion hanging over footage of American and South Korean officials treating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as a statesman and honored guest when he boasts such a long record of crimes against humanity.
“Sure, we can denuclearize him, but that’s not going to make the lives of any North Korean people better. That’s not going to change his crimes,” she pointed out. “Why do we have an International Criminal Court if not for people like Kim Jong-un?”
“I was a rabbi at Auschwitz for 11 years, and having worked in academia, I’ve always said the problem I had with many of my liberal friends — and they were my friends, of course I was surrounded by people who mostly embraced a liberal ideology — and I used to say to them, the biggest issue is that you undermine this hatred of evil,” Boteach responded.
“You’re prepared to excuse a lot of criminal mass genocide by virtue of giving excuses for it and saying it happened for this reason, economic reasons. Evil is evil, and you have to call it what it is. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be engaged, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do peace agreements. It does mean I agree with you about this chumminess. At least have a stern face,” he told Martel.
Boteach agreed that images such as those released yesterday by the White House showing the new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, receiving a warm welcome from Kim during a secret Easter visit to the dictator are disturbing.
“Mike Pompeo is a very good man and congratulations to him on becoming Secretary of State yesterday. He’s been very tough on Iran, and President Obama legitimized Iran. The essence of the Iran nuclear agreement was legitimizing a brutal regime that is a greater threat to its own people, and even to the rest of the Middle East. But even if we’re going to do a deal, that chumminess should not be there, because Kim Jong-un is a mass murderer,” he said.
“He’s a killer. He’s a cold-blooded killer who presides over a brutal, brutal regime. That can never be forgotten. Even if this deal has to be done, do it holding your nose,” he advised.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the author of over 30 books, including The Israel Warrior: Fighting Back for the Jewish State from Campus to Street Corner and Lust for Love: Rekindling Intimacy and Passion in Your Relationship with Pamela Anderson.
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