Outspoken American Rabbi Shmuley Boteach issued a scathing indictment of the muted response to anti-Semitic terrorism Tuesday, while hailing the "unsung heroes" of Jerusalem – namely Jewish families and activists seeking to revive Jewish communities in parts of the capital where Jews were ethnically-cleansed by Arabs during the first half of the twentieth century.
Speaking at a dinner honoring the Ateret Cohanim organization, which is dedicated to repopulating formerly Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Rabbi Boteach cited the group's "phenomenal heroism," and praised "the unsung heroes who go every day to some of the most dangerous places for Jews on planet earth, so that our people can have a heritage, so that the ancient city of Jerusalem might have a Jewish presence."
Rabbi Boteach lamented how "peace-loving Jews" in the Israeli capital were forced to contend with regular harassment and attacks by Arab extremists, recalling how he witnessed firsthand how in some of the more dangerous neighborhoods such as Shiloach (Silwan) Israeli children "have to play with bodyguards to make sure they don't get shot by terrorists."
He decried as "repulsive" the discourse – often promoted by major media outlets and political leaders – which labeled such Jewish residents as "settlers" and portrayed their living in the ancient Jewish city as a "provocation" or "controversial." "So controversial that they need armed men to keep them alive! But that's the state we find ourselves in," he told the audience in New York.
Contrasting the worldwide outcry over the racist mass-murder of Black churchgoers in Charleston to the international reaction to murders of Jews by Arab or Muslim terrorists, Rabbi Boteach called out what he said was a clear double standard.
"I'm sick and tired… when we're able to name South Carolina as a hate crime – which it absolutely was… a monstrous abomination of hate, a White hater killing nine innocent African Americans – you think it's any different when Jews are slaughtered because they're killed in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)?
"But there we start hearing there was a 'provocation,' because we dared live in their neighborhoods! There was a provocation because Israel built a wall to keep the murderers out!" he added, referring to the security fence in Judea and Samaria.
"We are the only nation on earth who are murdered and we are not even accorded the dignity of victimhood! We are the culprits, we incited our own murder!"