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Adelson’s Deranged Iran Comments (II)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach defends [1] Adelson’s deranged Iran comments [2] by ignoring a crucial part of what Adelson said:

Sheldon’s glib comments about nuking rattlesnakes seemed to rattle many of the bloggers who were at our event even more than Ahmadinejad’s threats.

Set aside for the moment that launching a nuclear weapon at another country, even at an “empty” part of its territory, is insane and would still have very harmful effects [3] on the country. The description of Adelson’s comments offered here is incomplete. Boteach omits the second part of Adelson’s idea, which was to follow up the first attack by threatening Tehran with annihilation. That is quite an omission. Was Adelson being “serious” when he said this? I doubt that anyone that cavalierly talks about using nuclear weapons on other countries can be considered morally serious, but there is no reason to think that he didn’t mean what he said.

Boteach found the reaction to Adelson’s comments illuminating “as to the double standards that are often employed on matters relating to Israel.” He’s right that the reaction has been illuminating, but not in the way that he thinks. The debate on Iran in the West routinely includes issuing threats of aggressive military action while pretending that the U.S. and its allies would be acting in self-defense by launching attacks on Iran. When an Iran hawk in the West muses about launching nuclear weapons that the U.S. actually has at Iran, it mostly goes unnoticed and receives a shrug or even an understanding nod from the same people that are obsessed with the mere possibility that Iran might one day acquire nuclear weapons. In other words, they are willing to entertain the idea of using nuclear weapons already in our government’s possession for the sake of discouraging the possible future possession of nuclear weapons. The fact that Boteach makes an effort to justify or minimize what Adelson said suggests that he doesn’t see anything inherently wrong with the idea. In addition to all of the other reasons why it is a completely abhorrent idea, Adelson’s idea would magnify all of the flaws of a military strike against Iran, since such an insane act would backfire spectacularly by proving to the Iranian government–and perhaps other governments as well–the absolute necessity of acquiring nuclear weapons.

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18 Comments To "Adelson’s Deranged Iran Comments (II)"

#1 Comment By collin On October 25, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

Since Sheldon has $28B, I go with the earlier poster that he can start a war on his terms.

Joking aside, Daniel when will the private entity (person or company) to declare war on another country? I actually believe it will a Chinese engergy company against a smaller South America country in 2020ish.

#2 Comment By Thaddeus On October 25, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

Not that it’s really important, but Iran doesn’t even have any rattlesnakes.

#3 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On October 25, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

Boteach is becoming the Jewish Reverend Sharpton. It really is breathtaking that the sentiments of a man grown wealthy by dint of gambling should get this kind of reverential attention.

#4 Comment By Moral Seriousness? On October 25, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

This Boteach character was a Michael Jackson enabler even before he became a Sheldon Adelson enabler, one among the meaningless flotsam of Celebrity World.

#5 Comment By T. Sledge On October 25, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

And …

“as to the double standards that are often employed on matters relating to Israel” ….

does the good Rabbi mean the silence in the mainstream press in this part of the world when Israel used white phosphorus against palestinian civilians ?

does he mean no coverage in our mainstream press of the antics of MK Miri Regev regarding illegal african migrants in Israel?

does he mean the invisible (in our press) coverage of Israeli “settlers” attacking palestinian attempting to farm on palestinian lands?

OH yeah — there’s a double standard in this part of the world “on matters relating to Israel”.

#6 Comment By Glaivester On October 26, 2013 @ 3:03 am

Sheldon Adelson delendus est.

He is a force behind the push for amnesty, and [4].

His influence on the GOP must be destroyed.

#7 Comment By Thaddeus Clax On October 26, 2013 @ 7:56 am

I recognize the importance of nuclear non proliferation, but the very voices who preach it, have those same weapons. Further, our entanglement with Israel in the Middle East and it’s illegal “occupation” of land that didn’t exist before 1947 is, well, morally reprehensible. That we allow a “state” to transfer a people who have existed throughout biblical times by use of force shows how this pervasive attitude has grown to allow a evil, monied man of Adelson’s ilk to be acknowledged. Let him leave the money he has stolen in the US and take his allegiance back to Israel.

#8 Comment By Ken_L On October 26, 2013 @ 8:36 am

Boteach’s defence doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. He claims Adelson’s comments were an ‘exaggeration’. Exaggeration of what? Does he suggest Adelson’s non-exaggerated position is that America should drop some sarin gas instead of the hyperbolic nuclear weapon? 1000 tons of conventional bombs? Propaganda leaflets?

His lame attempt at ex post facto rationalisation just points up what a stupid rant Adelson indulged in in the first place. What would be the point of stopping a bomb in the wilderness anyway? To prove the technology that worked in 1945 still works? An ultimatum threatening to drop a bomb in the middle of Tehran, as Adelson lovingly proposed, would be equally effective without the nonsense of trying to find some desert to drop a bomb in for demonstration effect.

And then Boteach resorts to the ultimate excuse of immature people caught out in wrongdoing – “He started it”. “Adelson’s just doing what Ahmadinejad did” he whines, oblivious apparently to the fact that recommending the use of nuclear weapons carries a certain degree of extra seriousness from a country that actually possesses them than it does from a country that has none.

Like I said in my comment on your first post about this issue, Adelson is a genuinely scary individual and Boteach could not be a better nominee for the role of useful idiot.

#9 Comment By TomB On October 26, 2013 @ 11:54 am

Glaivester wrote:

“Sheldon Adelson [] is a force behind the push for amnesty, and the probable reason for Boehner and Cantor initially coming out in support of the war in Syria.”

I doubt it, not alone, and even the linked to story notes that there are other whale-like donors involved. (Meaning guys like Zuckerberg and the Google guy and etc.)

As some Republican said just the other day, the problem with immigration is just simply that “*all* the money” is on the amnesty side, meaning in addition to the guys like Adelson and Zuckerberg and etc. all the corporate money, interested ethnic lobbies and etc.

Makes it funny: When, as regards this or that issue, such as some gun control measure often, even *some* of “the money” is on one side, well of course in its coverage of the issue the media can’t seem to write a single paragraph without noting same and implying that the position of such side (e.g., the NRA) is probably per se wrong/corrupt/etc.

When it comes to certain *other* issues though, like immigration, when even “all” the money is clearly on one side, well my goodness the silence about that money. My goodness the fawning and often even exclusive concentration on the shining moral impulses possessed by those on that money side…

(Accompanied, my goodness, in this immigration debate now of course by the silence about the downsides of ethno-racial appeals or motivations in making public policy.)

“What’s evil for thee is not for me!” seems to me to be the ever more openly apparent motto of some.

#10 Comment By Michael N Moore On October 26, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

Sheldon Adelson’s musings are a long-time Israeli tactical idea:

“The key item in this release is a video interview (as well as a written transcript) which I made in 2008 with the late Azarayahu ‘Sini’ Arnan, a former senior advisor in the Israeli government, who provides a dramatic eyewitness description of a closed-door ministerial consultation in which Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir overruled Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, halting preparations to ready the country’s nuclear weapons for a possible demonstration during the 1973 War.”

You will find thorough documentation at:


#11 Comment By James Canning On October 26, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

Bravo. Adelson’s idiotic call for hitting Iran with a nuke should be condemned by anyone claiming to possess common sense.

We should bear in mind here that Adelson wants the Palestinians to disappear, and he spends tens of millions of dollars in attempting to further his dangerous objective.

#12 Comment By Worried On October 26, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

“Rabbi Shmuley” ran the Chabad House at Oxford in the 1990s. He promoted Cory Booker while the latter was a grad student there, got Gorbachev to make a speech, and was generally great at generating publicity. I was able to observe him there, and have never seen a more power-hungry, self-promoting individual in my life.

#13 Comment By Glaivester On October 26, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

TomB: Consider Adelson a synecdoche for all of the rich donors.

When it comes to certain *other* issues though, like immigration, when even “all” the money is clearly on one side, well my goodness the silence about that money. My goodness the fawning and often even exclusive concentration on the shining moral impulses possessed by those on that money side…

What’s even funnier, TomB, is how when they do mention money, it is as if somehow being part of the 1 per cent in and of itself makes their positions more pragmatic; i.e., Adelson spends $50 million to buy off politicians for his positions because he knows that the positions he asks them to take are more pragmatic, unlike the non-results oriented populists. That his positions are what they are due to selfish, venal motives is never considered.

#14 Comment By How Things Work On October 26, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

This [i.e. Adelson’s raving] is now a Matt Drudge headline.

#15 Comment By Weldon On October 27, 2013 @ 5:21 am

when will the private entity (person or company) to declare war on another country?

Assuming there was supposed to be a “first” in that sentence, you’re about 400 years too late: check out the history of the various India Companies, Dutch and British. (For bonus points, look at the Honourable East India Company’s flag and compare it to the US flag.)

#16 Comment By Boston Bob On October 27, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

“I doubt that anyone that cavalierly talks about using nuclear weapons on other countries can be considered morally serious,” or seriously moral.

#17 Comment By Puller58 On October 28, 2013 @ 6:16 am

Given that the Rabbi is sticking up for Adelson shows his faith is far less devout than his desire to be close to “power/money.”

#18 Comment By Uncle Vanya On October 28, 2013 @ 10:33 am

Boteach is a Jewish Al Sharpton, another grifter and two-bit hustler, but this time in Yarmulke and beard.