This ad appeared this weekend in The New York Times to precede National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s Monday evening speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network took out the ad:
Boteach expanded on these thoughts a few days ago, writing that Israel has no reason to entrust its security to Rice “because of her record of trivializing genocide” while on President Clinton’s national security team.
UN Ambassador Samantha Power quoted Rice in her 2002 book as saying during the Rwanda Genocide, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?”
“This is an astonishing statement. Here you have Susan Rice hearing about the murder of 330 people very hour for 3 months and her response is, How will this affect us politically?” Boteach writes. “That Rice would have brought up the midterm elections as a more important consideration than stopping the mass murder of so many men, women, and children that their bodies were damming the rivers of Rwanda is one of the most heartbreaking pronouncements ever uttered by American official.”
“Rice then joined Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, and Warren Christopher as part of a coordinated effort not only to impede UN action to stop the Rwandan genocide but to minimize public opposition to American inaction by removing words like ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ from government communications on the subject.”
The rabbi added that it’s “nearly as painful watching Rice now attack the Jewish state, which lost one third of its entire people in a genocide of four short years, about how its elected leader is destroying its relationship with the world’s greatest superpower simply because a weaker nation insists on standing up for itself and speaking truth to power.”
Cue the outrage machine.
The National Jewish Democratic Council called the ad “disgusting and astonishingly beyond the pale,” adding “Rabbi Boteach must apologize to Susan Rice immediately and explain why he would spread and promote such falsehoods.”
Pro-Palestinian J Street, which is running the #BibiDoesntSpeakForMe campaign to coincide with AIPAC and the prime minister’s address to Congress, said Rice wasn’t high enough in the administration during the genocide to be assessed any blame.
“This advertisement amounts to a scurrilous scapegoating of a devoted public servant and a good friend of Israel,” J Street said in a statement. “It is full of incendiary language, accusing the Obama administration of treating Israel like Czechoslovakia in 1938, a vile, false and offensive characterization that has no basis in fact. The Obama administration has been a staunch friend and defender of Israel and has taken unprecedented measures to protect its security.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman said there was “no justification for this incendiary personal attack,” adding it was “not only an ugly distraction from the real issue, it is reckless.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition placed their own NYT ad highlighting Iran’s statements about America and Israel, and released a video ad.