'Bill, Jews Are Not the Enemy'

Donohue's anti-Semitic reference to 'secular Jews who control Hollywood' prevents Christians and Jews from working together.

Bill Donohue's comments in his debate with me on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last week have proven deeply shocking to decent Americans everywhere. Not that it didn't take a while. When the president of the Catholic League said on national television that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular," it was I who was initially criticized for calling him and my other Catholic assailant on the show Jennifer Giroux (who was saying that the Jews killed


) "ignorant peasants."

But after a few days, the pit of press hell opened for Donohue. First there was the Daily News article on Wednesday that said, "Jewish viewers are still agog over Catholic League President William Donohue's comments on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" the other night." Then Frank Rich of the New York Times attacked Donohue for his anti-Semitic diatribe with the words, "For Shame," and Jon Stewart replayed the debate as a lead-in to his Daily Show and called Donohue an expletive.

For my part, I invited Donohue, with whom I normally share a warm and friendly relationship, onto my radio show twice, affording him the opportunity to retract the offensive slander. Sadly, he chose to defend and explain the accuracy of the comment instead.


Christians throughout the United States had better get used to the idea that much of what they say and do scares the hell out of Jews. And people like me, long defenders, apologists, and admirers of religious Christians, are losing our ability to convince the Jewish community that evangelical Christians are our brothers with whom we should work to create a more moral America.

Certainly, it does not help that evangelical Christians, who so love and support the State of Israel, also believe that Jews who lead exemplary lives but don't believe in Jesus are going to hell. It also doesn't help that all-too-many evangelicals are extremely vocal about this offensive belief, which utterly dismisses the Jewish faith as spiritually useless. Of course, every religion is entitled to its beliefs, and people should be judged by their actions rather than their dogma. But increasingly, since President Bush's election, religious Christians are showing an insensitivity to Jews and Judaism that is causing further distance between the two communities.

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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
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