Rabbi Boteach is taking a lot of offense of late.
At LimmudLA, he stormed out of one of his sessions (on his book Kosher Jesus) after 10 minutes because he was asked by a volunteer to keep the noise level down as it was interfering with the session next door.
Ryan Torok writes for the Jewish Journal: “On Sunday, Boteach created a different kind of controversy, during his presentation on “Kosher Jesus,” his new book. Asked by a LimmudLA volunteer if he could stand farther away from the microphone because a neighboring workship could hear him, he was apparently so troubled by the request that he left the room and didn’t return.”
Michael Coren says 3:30 in that he believes that “a majority” of Jews object to Christians. “I have no problem with Orthodox Jews having issues with Christianity. That’s a theological difference which I respect. It’s more secular Jews who are often very liberal and very much on the left and who object to Christians, especially evangelicals, who they think are strange, of the south, ignorant, know nothing and still really if you scratch them, are anti-Semitic. I come across that and I resent that because it is not a theological opposition but a sociological one.”
Shmuley: “That’s an unfair characterization of the Jewish community. To think that Jews look down at Christians or see them as bumpkins is absurd.”
Michael: “That’s the Hollywood depiction that I see all the time.”
Shmuley: “You’re saying that the Jews control Hollywood?”
Michael: “They’re very influential in it. I think that’s a wonderful thing.”
Shmuley: “If we want to engage in an ancient anti-Semitic as controlling the banks and controlling Hollywood.”
Michael: “I didn’t mention banks. We should thank Jews for Hollywood.”
Shmuley: “It’s simply not true that the Jews control the media.”
Michael: “Why are you saying things that I never said? I said Hollywood.”
Shmuley: “You said depictions of Hollywood by Jews of Christians…”
Michael: “I think that still within the Jewish community there is a view that somehow Christians are southern, bigoted, and there’s anti-Semitism there. I think that’s the general view.”
“I think Hollywood invariably does that and far worse. Jewish people are very influential in Hollywood and it is childish to say otherwise. You depict that as anti-semitism and I think it is a great tribute to Jewish people.”
Shmuley: “That they depict Christians as neanderthals?”
Michael: “My personal experience is that it is overwhelmingly the case. And I’m philosemitic.”
“The picture of Christians is one of negativity.”
“Christians have changed the past 50 years. I want a meeting in the middle.”
Shmuley: “Pope Pius XII was one of the most wicked men of the 20th Century.”
Michael: “You know nothing about that period of history.”
Today I had what was probably the most unpleasant TV interview of my life on Canada’s Sun News Network (national). Interviewed by host Michael Coren about my book Kosher Jesus, I expected to be asked about the book’s content. The interview started that way. But then Coren quickly got to a question that seemed to be bursting from within. You’ll have to see the exact show, airing tonight at 7pm, for complete accuracy, and I am writing this about an hour after.
Coren essentially asked me why Jews depict Christians so negatively. He went on about how much the Catholic Church and Christians in general have done for the Jews of late. Yet the Jews continue to be so unappreciative, always questioning Christian motivation, always finding fault with Christians no matter what.
I asked him to justify his claim that Jews depict Christians negatively. He said something like, “What do you mean? Just look at Hollywood.”
Hollywood? I was confused. Weren’t we just talking about Jewish-Christian relations? Where did Hollywood come in, unless, for Coren, Jews and Hollywood were synonymous.
What was the connection between Hollywood’s depiction of Christians and the Jews, I asked. The show went downhill from there, with the anti-Semitic stereotype of the Jews controlling and influencing Hollywood dominating the interview. I defended my people against this disgusting slur, a tributary of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that the Jews control whole segments of society, in this case the motion picture industry, which they use to negatively depict Christians as a bunch of illiterate and primitive bumpkins.
Jews do have a disproportionate role in Hollywood as compared to their percentage of the American population.
(The Forward investigates Shmuley Boteach and his charity.)
His articles and speeches often include stories of his own personal spiritual journey. Coren’s father was Jewish as was his maternal grandfather, while his maternal grandmother came from a family of Welsh coalminers and converted to Judaism. Coren’s father and uncle were cab drivers. Coren has said that his father’s family left Poland a few decades before the Holocaust. He has also said that his father’s family emigrated from Poland in the 1890s. He said “People have called me an anti-Semite. I thought it quite rich since my father’s family was massacred in the Holocaust”. Michael Coren was profiled on Credo, on Vision TV, and said that his father told him he could not attend his son’s wedding in a Catholic Church without becoming “physically sick.”
He converted to Roman Catholicism in his early twenties while still living in England, but that didn’t last long. He said that he “converted to an institution.” He eventually converted to Evangelical Christianity in the 1990s, after a conversion experience as an adult, greatly influenced by Canadian televangelist Terry Winter.
We knew Rabbi Shmuley Boteach would be a difficult guest when he insisted on a meal being provided, and then kept us waiting for 10 minutes while he worked on his computer outside the studio.
Once inside all began amicably, if a little cliché-ridden from the Rabbi. I then said that it was glorious that post-Holocaust theology had transformed the way Christians see Jews, but wondered if secular Jewish people always had a balanced and fair view of Christian conservatives. He disagreed, and asked me for examples. I told him of my vast personal experience, and then spoke of the Hollywood depiction of Christian characters.
Before I could qualify and quantify, he alleged that I said Jews control Hollywood, the media, and banking. I never mentioned banking or media and never used the word “control.” I could and would not do so. But in my numerous conservations and conferences with informed Jewish experts and friends, it’s clear that there are still solitudes and misunderstandings when it comes to Christianity.
The closest I said to my new best friend about Jews and Hollywood was that “Jewish people do have an influence in Hollywood, and that’s a wonderful thing, thank God for it, and we should congratulate ourselves on the fact.” But by this time the Rabbi was irrational. He became increasingly aggressive, harangued me, and alleged that Pope Pius XII was one of the wickedest men in history.
He obviously knew little about me, about my Jewish background, and about my most recent book — Why Catholics Are Right — a best-seller in Canada as well as the U.S. — in which I devote an entire chapter to Pope Pius. I referred him to Rabbi Dalin’s book , The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, and my good friend Sir Martin Gilbert’s exemplary work on the Church and the Holocaust.
But the Rabbi was a friend of Michael Jackson’s and appears on Oprah; clearly he was out of my league! After the interview he refused to leave the studio, threatened me, insulted a young Orthodox Jewish intern who works with us, and then got down to writing, calling, and tweeting the world about the Jew-hater Coren.
Firstly, the idea of Michael Coren being anti-Semitic is patently absurd. I have known Michael for over a year, appeared on his television show about half a dozen times, spoken to him and corresponded with him on many other occasions. He is outspoken about and proud of his own Jewish heritage, which has made him the target of anti-Semitism from Islamists and fanatical leftists like those who skulk in online ideological cesspools such as rabble.ca.
What Michael said about secular leftist Jews and their contempt for conservative Christianity is something he has said to me about secular leftist Christians. Indeed he was much more harsh in his assessment of them. Perhaps Michael would have done well to bring that point up with Rabbi Shmuley, but given the heat of the exchange and the Rabbi’s constant interruptions, that opportunity never arose.
…Michael Coren is one of Canada’s most ardent defenders of Zionism and the right of Jews to national self-determination. In less than a week, he will be a panelist at an event presented by The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization devoted to combating anti-Semitism. Not only is the calumnious accusation of anti-Semitism against Coren wrong, but it is a shameful disgrace and if Rabbi Shmuley has any sense, he will retract his self-serving publicity release and apologize.