Sunday, December 07, 2014
Europe & The Jews
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes: At the Oxford Union debate on Iran that I participated in last Thursday night, I waited for the inevitable argument that we’re wasting our time fighting over the Islamic Republic when the real wolf in sheep’s clothing is of course the Jewish state. Sure enough it came in the first thirty minutes when a bearded Islamic student who did not look much different to me (lucky, handsome devil) joined the floor debate. He argued that Israel, an apartheid state, is responsible for the real atrocities in the Middle East. So why bother with the Iranian distraction? Time was when an argument like that would have been shot down by the intelligent students witnessing the debate. Really? You’re going to compare a liberal democracy like Israel, with every freedom from religion to press to assembly, to a theocratic nightmare like Iran? Iran last year put 700 of its citizens to death, hangs gays and blasphemers from public cranes, and stones women to death on false accusations of adultery so their husbands can marry younger women. Are you seriously going to compare Israel to a country that used snipers to murder political protesters in the streets of Tehran in 2009 and infamously shot Neda Agha-Soltan in the heart? The martyred Iranian woman even has a scholarship at Queens College, Oxford named after her. Press accounts of the Oxford debate have our side demolishing those of the pro-Iran faction and for anyone who was there the huge applause I was fortunate to receive from the entire audience – easily in evidence on the video of the debate shows how well we connected with the students. But… we lost anyway. When it comes to Israel, British Universities seem impervious to reason.