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Memories of Global Philanthropist, Sheldon Adelson, from The World Values Network.

Sheldon Adelson was the world’s greatest Jewish and global philanthropist and an American patriot. From America’s wounded warriors to the Israeli Defense Force soldiers, he loved those who fought for the United States and Israel. He was a great friend and mentor to me. He was also one of the most loving husbands & fathers I have ever seen.

Over the years, The World Values Network and Rabbi Shmuley worked with Sheldon Adelson on various philanthropic activities, below are just some of the events that we had the privilege to work with Sheldon on.

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Rabbi Shmuley Featured on the front page of the Washington Post.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was featured on home page of the Washington Post, writing a column about his upcoming book, “Holocaust Holiday”.

In a statement, Rabbi Shmuley said, “I am Honored to be on Home Page of the Washington Post right now with my column on Holocaust Holiday which I took my kids on, and which is the title of my forthcoming book. Go to Washington Post now and read the column”

You can find the article here.

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A message to the ‘Trump will be Hitler’ crowd

During the campaign of 2016, many on the Left predicted that Trump would be Hitler. If not the full-blown genocidal maniac who started world wars and engaged in genocide, at least a version of Hitler-lite. It was a shocking claim but one that gained increasing currency as the campaign intensified.

An example was a column by Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner published in March 2016 in the New Jersey Jewish Standard, where I am a columnist, attacking me. After engaging in the usual ad hominem attacks against me for calling out those who call Trump Hitler, Kirshner wrote, “Where I quibble with those like Rabbi Boteach is, when exactly is the moment of worry which officially allows us to sound the alarm bells? Must one first kill 6 Million Jewish souls to be categorized as ‘Hitler’?”

From there the cacophony of Trump as dictator, Trump as genocidal maniac, and Trump as an American form of Hitler only increased. When HBO aired its excellent series The Plot Against America, based on the Philip Roth novel of the same title that envisions the antisemite Charles Lindberg becoming a Nazi-version of an American president during World War II, many interpreted its timing as a message that this is exactly what is happening with Donald Trump.

Recently, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg got into a lot of trouble with the Jewish Left for stating that Jews owe a debt of gratitude to President Trump. Such is the state of our divisions that even when a respected and liberal-minded rabbi simply invokes Jewish values and says we should have some hakarat hatov (gratitude) for all that Trump has done for Israel, he is savagely attacke

Recently, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg got into a lot of trouble with the Jewish Left for stating that Jews owe a debt of gratitude to President Trump. Such is the state of our divisions that even when a respected and liberal-minded rabbi simply invokes Jewish values and says we should have some hakarat hatov (gratitude) for all that Trump has done for Israel, he is savagely attacke

My purpose here is not to tell anyone how to vote. Less so is it to endorse any candidate. As a rabbi, I never have. To those Jews or others who believe that Joe Biden is their best candidate, I say, of course, vote your conscience. Biden has been a friend of Israel throughout his career (that is, until he pushed through the Obama-Iran deal with its genocidal implications for Israel).

Rather, my intention is to defend those who simply say that even if they wish to vote against Trump, they can still be grateful for all he has done for Israel and the Jewish people, and to push back against those who abase themselves by comparing Trump to Hitler or make any other Nazi comparisons.

Such words are beyond disgusting, vile, shameful, and it’s gone on for four years. So it’s time to assess whether the earlier implications have even remotely materialized.


Since 2016 we’ve heard that Trump would become a dictator and stifle all dissent; that he would dismantle American democracy as we know it; that he would limit press freedoms and quash expression of his opposition.

Really? No president in American history has been more hated by the mainstream news organs than Trump. The New York Times last week devoted not just the customary editorial rejecting Trump and endorsing Biden but an entire section of editorials pillorying Trump and embracing Biden. There is no precedent for it doing this against any other candidate.

The comedy Our Cartoon President on Showtime pillories Trump every week as an overweight imbecile half-wit. Trump’s kids and family are mercilessly mocked. What can Trump do about it? More than refuse to watch it, nothing. Oh yes, he can also call it “fake news.” But that’s about it.

And the media do not fear him in the slightest either, thereby proving that he is neither dictator nor tyrant. CNN, MSNBC, and countless other news organizations strongly challenge Trump from right inside the White House, and he is powerless to prevent their entry.

To the contrary, his media enemies have been emboldened by his presidency and they vilify him with gusto, which is their right, but which also undermines their whole claim that he is dismantling democracy or free speech.The same is true of Trump’s political enemies, who march around the country in their millions, condemning him in the strongest terms, with the president utterly powerless to do a single thing about it. And why? Because the freedoms of America have not withered in the slightest during the Trump presidency. Yes, America is divided. Yes, many Americans sadly hate each other. But yes, America remains absolutely and totally free.

It would be better if we had more love for each other. And former president Barack Obama contributed plenty – as did Trump – to the divisions in American society. Obama forced the Iran deal and other unilateral actions down the throat of the American body politic – with little to no congressional support – knowing that it could tear the nation apart. But he did it anyway. Both presidents could have and should have done more to unite the country. But let’s not pretend that the fault lines in America began with Trump.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but the disgusting and vile comparison of Trump to Hitler belittles the Holocaust and all genocide. But beyond that, it is another act of ingratitude, even by those who have a legitimate right to dislike the president for many of his policies that they reject.

For Trump, not Obama, is the president who twice fired American missiles at the genocidaire Bashar Assad of Syria for gassing Arab children. Trump is condemned for being too close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. I wish he’d condemn the tyrant in stronger terms. But let’s not forget that it was Obama who turned over the problem of Assad’s poison gas to Russia and Putin, accepting the tyrant’s guarantee that he would disarm Assad of his nerve agents, which would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

And then there is the Iran deal, where Obama refused to ever confront Iran over its promise to become Hitler and annihilate Israel’s six million Jews, not to mention bring death to America, the big Satan which supports the little Jewish Satan. So who rewarded Iran for its repeated promises to bring about a second Holocaust by giving it $150 billion in unfrozen assets, with much of it literally flown in cargo planes as cash? Obama or Trump? And who, when he entered the Oval Office, imposed new sanctions on Iran for its threats to exterminate Israel, bringing the Iranian economy to ruin? Obama or Trump?

Then there is the comparison, made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, that Trump built concentration camps on the Southern border. He’s therefore Hitler. Another disgusting, stomach-turning comparison.

We can condemn the separation of children from parents at detention centers on the border – a practice that should never have occurred and was quickly stopped – while never being so offensive as to compare it to the Holocaust, where 10,000 Jews were put into gas chambers every day for three years. To compare American border agents to the Gestapo is an abomination. To compare US ICE agents to the SS is an affront to the 1.5 million Jewish children who were gassed to death at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor and many other centers of death. And to compare America to Nazi Germany is an affront to logic, values and decency. It should offend every American.What the “Trump as Hitler” attacks really expose is the biases and prejudices – not to mention the amorality – of Trump’s opponents. For they are even prepared to trivialize Hitler’s unprecedented and unspeakable crimes, all in an effort to demonize Trump.And that just shows you where we have all come to politically. We have precious few values left. We hate each other so much that we use only the most extreme examples by which to pillory one another.

Which is why we should go back to basics.Jews who are voting for Biden can still, as Rabbi Greenberg said, show thankfulness and gratitude for all that Trump has done for Israel and the Jewish people, while still choosing to eject him from office.Jews who are voting for Trump can still acknowledge Biden’s decades of friendship with Israel and the Jewish community.

And Jews who are voting for Biden can still make it clear to him that he better maintain his independence and not be co-opted by the antisemitic polices of the Democratic far Left, headed by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

And Jews on the Left and the Right can all agree that for four years it’s been inspiring to see a president with a Jewish daughter, whom he loves very much, and son-in-law in the White House who observe the Sabbath, light the Hanukkah candles, read the Purim megillah, and push their father to stand with, and protect people who just 70 years ago were murdered in their millions by a man and a party to whom no human ought ever be compared to, save the Iranian mullahs who glory in their designs to copy the Nazis and ape Hitler.

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An American rabbi says thank you to President Trump

President Trump, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your protection of a vulnerable people that has been massacred throughout the ages.

By now everyone is piling up on US President Donald Trump. They’re calling him a loser. They’re reveling in his defeat. They’re saying America has been saved from the ogre.

But I, for one, will not join in this in this pileup. While I accept the results of the election, in bowing to the majesty of the American democratic tradition, I also submit to Jewish values that tell me to show gratitude to a true friend of our people.

Trump was always a controversial figure. He could at times be deeply divisive, and he reveled in being a counterpuncher. But I will remember him as a staunch friend of the world’s most persecuted nation.

To be a Jew is to almost expect bigotry, double standards and prejudice. To be a Jew is to accept the unbelievable fact that in the lifetime of my parents six million Jews were murdered by firing squads and poison gas. To be a Jew is to live with the almost daily vilification of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.

Onto the stage of tragic history rose President Trump with an unfailing defense of our people at every turn, for he proved to be the greatest friend of Israel ever to occupy the Oval Office.

Trump fundamentally changed the tenor toward Israel at the disgustingly unfair United Nations, where demonization of Israel was a 70-year tradition. He hired the most pro-Israel people ever to serve in an American administration. From Nikki Haley to David Friedman to Jason Greenblatt to Jared Kushner to Avi Berkowitz to Mike Pompeo and, of course, Mike Pence, Trump’s subordinates had Israel’s back at every turn.

They shut down the corrupt Palestinian Authority quasi-embassy in Washington because of its Mahmoud Abbas’s constant incitement against Israel. They held Hamas accountable for its genocidal ambitions and actions against Jews and defunded UNWRA. They recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, and they recognized the Golan Heights as being forever sovereign Israeli territory.

Israel has had many friends in the White House, from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan and, of course, George W. Bush. But Trump easily outdid them all.But he was also the protector of Muslim life, as he demonstrated in Syria, when he fired American missiles at the butcher Bashar Assad, who gassed Arab children and was given a pass by Barack Obama. Trump did this even as he was vilified by his opponents as a hater of Muslims.

If he was hated by the Arabs and Muslims, as his American opponents would have you believe, how is it that only Trump was able to forge peace between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan? Obama could not pull it off. To the contrary, the Arab nations despised Obama’s policies of appeasement of genocidal Iran and, due to Obama’s policies, began to see Israel as a kindred spirit rather than as an enemy.

Trump deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for possibly beginning the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but was given scant praise by his critics for this incredible achievement.

Most notably, he took America out of the execrable Iran deal, which legitimized a regime that hangs gays from cranes and stones women to death. He stopped the immoral payments to a regime that is the foremost purveyor of terrorism around the world.

It is fashionable to attack Trump now that he has lost the election, even as he lost by the thinnest of margins and garnered more than 70 million votes. But I will not be one who joins the demonization of a true friend of my people.

Rather, I will thank him and ask his successor, Joe Biden, who has a long history of friendship with the Jewish people and Israel, to embrace his predecessor’s 180-degree shift toward Israel and continue to champion the Middle East’s only democracy.

Gratitude is a dying virtue in our world, which puts partisan loyalty before basic decency and values. To be sure, Trump, like the rest of us, is a flawed man, and he, like all presidents who preceded him, made many mistakes. For such is the price we all pay for human leadership.

But on the subject of Israel and the Middle East, as well as other notable accomplishments, especially the growing of the American economy, he was exceptional and deserves to be recognized as such.President Trump, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your protection of a vulnerable people that has been massacred throughout the ages.

May God bless you and keep you, and may the country that you have served for the last four years be fair and thankful in their assessment of your legacy. And may President-elect Biden follow in your trailblazing footsteps of friendship to Israel and the Jewish people.

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Five values that could heal divide between Democrats and Republicans.

I will forever be grateful to President Donald Trump for the unprecedented and incomparable friendship he has shown to Israel and the Jewish people. And now that America has elected a new president, I wish congratulations to Joe Biden and hope that he’ll continue in his predecessor’s footsteps in having the world’s foremost democracy always support and defend the Middle East’s only democracy.President-elect Biden’s victory speech was eloquent for its call to national unity and his quotation from the book of Ecclesiastes as this being “a time to heal.”

But how can we possibly unite America?Heal? Are you kidding? We Americans hate each other. We’re divided on every level, from blue states to red states, from liberals to conservatives, from Only-Trumpers to Never-Trumpers, from those who think Joe Biden is a good soul to those who think his best years are behind him and he’ll be coopted by the Democratic Left.So it’s time to ask whether there is anything that can unite us, aside from geography.Here are five values that I believe can bring us together and which I hope Democrats and Republicans will embrace.

1. A hatred of evil

From the beginning of the American republic, we Americans have hated tyrants. We called George III a tyrant and this was mostly for taxing our tea. Even that was too much for us. Who the hell did he think he was, living across an ocean and trying to control us? So we rebelled, kicked his redcoats out of America, and created our own nation.We call those Americans who fought Hitler “the greatest generation.” Boys from Kansas or Nebraska died and were buried in France or Luxembourg because they fought the Nazi tyranny, even though it did not directly affect them and their families.That’s even why we fought – however ineffectively – in Vietnam, because we hated the Communist tyranny and were going to stop it.It’s why, ultimately, we removed Saddam Hussein from power. Yes, we thought he had weapons of mass destruction, and yes, the war was messy and most Americans today probably question it. But the reason the war enjoyed widespread support at the time was because we Americans hate tyrants, and the tyrant Saddam Hussein killed more than one million people.Based on this, I hope that President-elect Biden will never return to the Iran nuclear deal. An agreement that gave a brutal, monstrous government that hangs gays from cranes, and stones women to death should never have been given American legitimacy, and certainly not sweetened with $150 billion. I was sorely disappointed when Kamala Harris said in her vice-presidential debate that one of the first things a Biden administration would do would be to return to the Iran deal. We Americans oppose tyrants, we don’t support them.

2. A love for communal service

I have lived in Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel. The one thing that distinguishes the United States is a passion for giving. We are the most charitable nation on Earth. Yet our youth are becoming more self-centered and narcissistic, told that they should live to share their every moment on social media and work day and night in school in order to get into a great university and thereby obtain a well-paying job.That’s great. But where is the service? I fervently hope that the next American administration will institute a year of national service for all high school graduates as a gap year. We should emulate Israel in this regard. Not all Israelis go to the army. Many do Sherut Leumi. American youth should be asked to give a year of their lives to, for example, working in hospitals, homeless shelters, charities, libraries and homes for the aged.

3. A love of family

America revolves around beautiful national holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we travel from every corner of the nation to be with our loved ones. But two days a year are not enough. It is time to institute a national weekly family dinner program for all Americans. I believe that we in the Jewish community should spearhead a national Friday night dinner campaign, in which all families are asked to turn off the TVs, laptops and cellphones for two hours and focus on our children and loved ones. We should have our children – once the coronavirus has passed – invite two guests so that we inculcate within our offspring an appreciation for hospitality, making the American home into the tent of Abraham.

4. A love of learning

America is the most prosperous nation on Earth, and this is mostly due to American industriousness and innovation. But both of these traits are predicated on a mastery of information. We take learning and ideas and transform them into companies and industries. American science put a man on the Moon, invented the Internet, and mapped the human genome. But now, that flow of information is being corrupted by politics. We don’t even know what is true when we read the news. If it comes from CNN, it has a liberal slant; from Fox, a conservative one. Universities are embracing a cancel culture in which the “wrong” ideas are slowly being muted. I fear we won’t be a creative as we once were. And we’re also not reading as much as we did, and when we do read, it’s so often the political books that disproportionately populate The New York Times’ bestseller lists. Add to that the terrible disruptions to schooling that have come with the coronavirus pandemic, and what emerges is a true crisis in education. The solution is a renewed respect for learning. We need to promote public intellectuals again, making philosophers, historians and scientists into national celebrities. We have to elevate the public discourse, making it one of ideas and not just opinions, intelligent insights and not just partisan political babble. Our national soul depends on it.

5. A love for God and religion

No country on Earth is as religious as the United States. Even countries that purport to be religious – such as Iran, ruled by fraudulent mullahs – nearly always leverage God and religion for political purposes. And while this also happens in America, the average US citizen has a natural spiritual disposition. It’s expected that every public speech will end with the words “God bless America,” and public holidays like Thanksgiving have a spiritual dimension of Divine gratitude. No Western country save America has “God” printed on its money. We have to nurture this innate American spiritual disposition by cultivating it and not fearing it. A moment of silence should be instituted as part of the curriculum of every American school, allowing students to reflect daily on a higher cause of their choosing. We need to affirm more spiritual values in American life that transcend the traditional religious debates on abortion, gay marriage and contraception. There is more to American religion than the social-sexual values that have come to define American spirituality. A new emphasis on charity, national prayer, synagogue and church attendance, or civic conferences for agnostics, will return us to a time when we didn’t only seek a vaccine for pandemics like the coronavirus, but also turned our eyes heavenward, seeking Divine grace and national redemption.

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Rabbi Shmuley Speaks to Marianne Williamson about her presidential campaign.

Former Democrat presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson joined Rabbi Shmuley Boteach for a Facebook Live discussion on Tuesday in which she claimed leaders within the Democrat Party and the “media industrial-complex” conspired with one another in an effort to make her look crazy.

Read the rest of the story on Breitbart.

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Rabbi Shmuley Speaks to Roseanne Barr About the Recent Controversy and the Jewish Concept of Repentance Episode #2

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Rabbi Shmuley Speaks to Roseanne Barr About the Recent Controversy and the Jewish Concept of Repentance Episode #1

Roseanne Barr on Repentance, Jewish Values, and the Pain We Cause Others

Edited Transcript of Roseanne’s Conversation with Rabbi Shmuley on his Podcast

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

 

When I first heard about my friend Roseanne Barr’s tweet about Valeria Jarrett, I could scarcely believe it. I’ve known Roseanne for two decades and I’ve never seen a racist bone in her body or been exposed to a racist idea crossing her lips. Not even a hint of one.

How could she have written that?

The question was especially strong in light of Roseanne’s incredibly public and passionate commitment to Judaism in general and studying Torah in particular. The Torah, in its very first chapter in Genesis, makes the incontrovertible and powerful statement that God created every human being in His image. All humanity is one, equal, and of infinite value. Racism, therefore, is a sin not just against man but especially against God. So how could Roseanne write something racist when I know she’s not one? How could Roseanne have written something ugly about an African-American woman when Roseanne has always told me Martin Luther King was her idol?

I reached out to her and told her that she has a responsibility, in the name of repentance and her commitment to Judaism, to make this right. She agreed and allowed me to interview her for a podcast that was comprehensive and moving. The written transcript below, edited for both clarity and brevity, does not do justice to the depth of emotion she showed throughout our discussion. She cried through much of it. It was clear she was in terrible pain. She ended the discussion by expressing her desire to call Valerie Jarrett directly and apologize to her, even though she had already apologized on Jarrett’s Twitter feed and on her own Twitter account.

I hope this discussion, however incomplete, leads to healing in our country and to all of us committing – as Roseanne does courageously in this interview – to taking responsibility when we cause pain to others and seek to right the wrong.

——————

 

Rabbi Shmuley: Hi Roseanne, it’s really nice to speak to you. How are you doing?

Roseanne Barr: I’m OK. How are you?

S: Well it’s really nice for us to connect again. We’ve been friends amazingly for more than two decades.

R: Isn’t that weird?

S: Isn’t that amazing, and we’ve remained friends. And I’m going to quickly retell a little bit of our history. I published a book called Kosher Sex, almost twenty years ago. You had me on your show. You had a talk show at the time. The Roseanne Barr Show. I remember it was filmed in television city in CBS, and we clicked. You’re a very proud Jewish woman. I guess you liked having a Rabbi who wrote a book about sexuality! We got along like a house on fire on your show and when I saw that you were so committed to your daughters marrying Jewish – your three daughters – I suggested to you, Hey, Oh you asked me, do you know any nice Jewish guys for my daughters. And I said, “I’m the Rabbi at Oxford university, do I know? Is the Pope Catholic? I know all the great Jewish guys!” And you actually brought me in with three guys that I chose to date your daughters on your show, and it was amazing.

R: Right, right, of course none of them worked out.

S: (Laughs)

R: How it turned out is, I got one of my three daughters… is married to a Russian Jewish guy and they’re adorable. And my other two married, you know, wonderful men, and they’re kind of hippyish, but their very good people, and I have six wonderful grandkids. And I tried to teach them about Torah and you know, their parents think I’m crazy, but I’m not going to give up, but you know that’s how families are now.

S: Well I also know you to be an extremely loving and involved mother. I’ve witnessed that over the past two decades, and how close you are to your kids.

R: Well my kids may think it’s too much. I think I am too. Thank you.

S: Well you’re a Jewish mother, you can’t help it. That’s the way it is. It’s in our DNA.

R: Especially when you know, they’re not doing the right thing. You want them to, well I know everything, and they don’t trust that. That’s the problem.

S: Well I’m not even a Jewish mother, I’m a Jewish father and my kids accuse me of the exact same thing. So I guess it’s a…

R: Well I think it’s, all parents are the same Jewish or not Jewish, yeah they’re all, they try to take care of our kids and guide them.

S: Exactly.

R: Yeah, really. It blows up in your face sometimes when you make a horrible, embarrassing mistake that you bring shame to your family. Now that’s bad too, and I’m going through that right now.

S: No, I can imagine and I’m going to get to that soon. But I first want to establish the nature of our friendship, and the framework of the values by which you live your life. Because I feel what you just mentioned this mistake and the repercussions. It does need a little bit of context. So let’s just dwell on this for a moment.

The other thing that connects us is a love of Torah. I’m amazed as a Hollywood superstar, as a globally recognized name, how openly and beautifully and eloquently you speak for your love of Torah. You and I have studied Torah together – and you’re one of the few high profile people I’ve studied Torah with who constantly promotes it. I’ve studied a lot of Torah with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who was my student president at Oxford. I studied Torah with Michael Jackson, the singer before he tragically died at such a young age. I studied Torah with Samantha Power, who was President Obama’s UN ambassador, we studied the passages from Leviticus about anti-genocide. You know, “Thou shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor,” Leviticus 19.

R: I wish [I] would have studied Torah with them, Shmuley. I might have definitely had a different way of teaching…

S: (Laughs)

R: Most people I know, they needed Torah for sure. But that’s, that’s, that’s the funny thing. That today’s Torah portion is about how to, when my brother does wrong and of course I’m including myself in that. But when you feel someone is doing wrong against you, what do you do, and when you feel you’ve done wrong against someone, what do you do, and it’s answered beautifully in today’s portion. It was funny that I got up and read that first thing. My mom’s like, “Get out here, look what the Torah says.” And it was just, uh, such an incredible thing to read, it’s so brilliant.

S: So I’m going to get to that as well. But I want to make this point, thank you very much for mentioning that. Because I do want this to be framed by our shared commitment to Torah values. But I mention that because of all the high-profile people I’ve studied Torah with, Torah specifically, the Jewish Bible, you’re the one who speaks the most passionately, publicly about your love for the Torah, it’s quite remarkable. You said it so beautifully at The Jerusalem Post conference in front of some of the most influential people in the world, world leaders just about a month ago at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square.

R: Yeah, Yeah. I didn’t have much of a voice or I would have done more. But, it’s so fun to be a Jew, don’t forget that, just a blast.

S: (Laughs)

R: (laughs)

S: Well out of all the things I’ve heard about being Jewish, fun, fun was never one of them (laughs).

R: I know, but it is. It’s joyous, it’s so fun, joyous and deep and wonderful. I get a lot of joy from it.

S: There are a lot of Hollywood celebrities that are Jewish. But you’re one of the few that speaks that passionately and proudly about your Jewishness, the State of Israel, which brings us to this conversation about your recent tweet about Valerie Jarrett.

I know your heart, I have had limitless interactions with you, and my wife Debbie and we love you, and feel close to you so.

R: Me too.

S: And I know your values system. I know what you believe. So the first thing I wanted to address is knowing that you love the Torah, and the Torah is clear. The very first chapter of Genesis says emphatically that every human being is created equally in the image of God, Jew and non-Jew alike.

R: Right.

S: There were no Jews when God created Adam and Eve. They were the parents of all mankind, black and white…

R: That’s right.

S: Every shade in between

R: I always say our ancestors go back way before the Jews.

S: Correct. To Adam and Eve, and the Garden of Eden.

R: Right.

S: Who are created in the image of God. Which means every human being regardless of nationality, ethnicity, belief system is equally God’s child.

R: Right, you know what it says in the [Torah] reading today. I love this so much it says, “We are all, all of us, all of mankind and humanity, we are from the same embryo. I just love that. And that’s why we look at our fingernails…

S: On Saturday night at the end of Shabbat at the Havdalah service… Go on, please, we look at our fingernails…

R: Because it reminds us of when we were in an embryonic state before we became of matter. We were just spiritual and we were all connected. There was only one soul.

S: That’s beautiful.

R: That’s why we do it.

S: (Laughs) You’re teaching a Rabbi.

R: Well I told you Shmuley. I’ve been teaching Torah for twenty-five years, and I teach it to a small select group and a lot of them are Rabbis that I study with. Anyway, I’m just joyous that’s part of the joy of community and you know sisterhood and you know oneness and it’s just great to celebrate that with other people of like mind and shared values. I like doing it with everybody. I teach everybody that wants to know. Ya’ know?

S: And I know you love teaching, so that’s my point.

R: I just like reading it and talking about it and looking at it. You know it’s just such an amazing power source. Like plugging in a cord into a wall. Woo, here comes the light! That’s how it feels. Just to look at it. Just to study the letters, that’s a very deep thing to me.

S: Well, teacher is a really important word. The greatest people that ever lived were all teachers whether they were Moses, Jesus or Muhammad, or Martin Luther King. They were all teachers.

R: I’m a bad teacher because I make too many mistakes. I like sharing. But I make too many human mistakes to call myself that.

S: Well let’s get to this specifically now. So we’ve established your value system. It’s from the Torah and I know you love it and you preach it. And it doesn’t help your career to talk about how much you study the Torah, because the Jewish people are a tiny minority.

R: No.

S: But you do it.

R: They think you’re crazy.

S: Right, and you do it because it’s your passion now.

R: Yeah, it makes me feel good.

S: Now there’s two systems of thought in the world that predominate. One is the Judeo-Christian religious system from the Hebrew Bible. It says God created man. The other is what’s taught in schools, it’s evolution, that people evolved slowly over time. The former says all people are created equally in God’s image and the latter says we evolved through different phases ultimately through primates and became human. Now I know you subscribe to the Torah. You are one of the Hollywood stars that most speaks about that. The Torah is clear that all humans are uniquely God’s creation.

R: I feel really great when I study Torah and when I think about it and when I pray and meditate. I just feel energized and great, and when I’m doing the right thing I feel so good and that’s all it is to me. The rest is like, you know, the sages said the rest is commentary, I can recite it on one foot, that I love myself and my fellows the same. That’s all it is really.

S: But you were saying today you made a big mistake, with your tweet. So what I’m saying is you believe in the Torah’s values, all people are created in the image of God, right? Black and white, Jew and non-Jew, correct?

R: Yes. All. Yeah.

S: Completely and equally. You have tremendous depth, Roseanne. And one of the things that I said to you when this whole controversy broke with the tweet about Valerie Jarrett, I wrote to you and I said, “You’re too important to the Jewish people, to the State of Israel, to all the Americans that love you, to let yourself be felled by a controversy or to say anything that contravenes your core Torah values.” And that’s what I wanted to speak to you about, who you really are. To set the record straight and to recant or repent of anything that needs to be done. Because I know your heart and I know you have great love in your heart. And I know your values are that all human beings are equal and all human beings are God’s children. So, I’m asking, in that tweet, people see in that a complete contravention of that values system.

R: Right.

S: So how did it happen? You don’t believe that. You don’t believe that any human beings are less than anyone else. And you speak constantly about the Torah that has influenced the whole world. That is the only source for the belief that all people are equal. Because they are created equal in the image of God, every single one of them. That’s why Martin Luther King quoted the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, constantly. The greatest civil rights leader of all time used the Torah as the foundation of his liberation manifesto for humanity.

R: He’s my idol. He is my Idol.

S: Okay, he’s the greatest American of the 20th century. I’ve said that constantly…  I’m glad that we share that. I try to memorize his speeches. So how do you, someone who looks at Martin Luther King as an idol and loves the Torah – and I know your heart – how did you write something that people feel is in complete contravention of that values system?

R: It’s really hard to say this but, I didn’t mean what they think I meant. And that’s what’s so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people. When you hurt people even unwillingly there’s no excuse. I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses. But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance. But I didn’t mean it the way they’re saying I meant it. And that’s really weird too because if I don’t speak for myself, who will speak for me.

S: As Hillel said, right?

R: And if I’m only for myself, then I’m one big jerk, but I’m paraphrasing. So I have to speak for myself too, and say what was in my mind, and what I meant and what I did. And I can’t let other people define me and project their stuff on to me. Now they’re just changing the words of what I said totally. So painful.

S: OK, so I’m about to ask you, Roseanne, what you meant, but I’m going to ask you in the context of also our shared commitment, yours and my shared commitment to the Torah’s ideas of repentance. What I love about Judaism is its holiest days are about being better and improving and repentance. And the great sage Maimonides, whom you and I both revere, gave stages as to how we are to repent and make right the pain we cause others.

R: Well it’s not just about repentance, repentance is like self-reflection. And then after repentance, remorse. The point is to feel remorse in your heart because that’s what unplugs your heart. You have to feel remorse, not just repentance. That’s just a step towards feeling remorse. And when you feel remorse you have to follow it with recompense. You have to take an action in the world – whether it’s through money or other things – to correct your sin. After your heart is unfrozen and after it stops being broken from the pain you caused others, you stop being a robot and you gotta’ come back to God. So it’s remorse, and I definitely feel remorse. (Speaking while crying)      

S: You see this? This is the eloquence on values I’ve always heard from you, that people don’t always get to hear from you, Roseanne.

R: (Sobbing) I have black children in my family. I can’t, I can’t let ‘em say these things about that, after thirty years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people. I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. (Crying) But I’m not stupid for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that. And people think that I did that and it just kills me. (sobbing) I didn’t do that. And if they do think that, I’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid. I’m very sorry. But I don’t think that and I would never do that. I have loved ones who are African-American, and I just can’t stand it. (Sobbing) I’ve made a huge error and I told ABC when they called me. They said… (sobbing) I gotta’ get a hold of myself here, wait. I gotta get a hold of myself. (sobbing)

S: Take your time.

R: They said, “What were you possibly thinking to say this egregious and unforgivable thing you said?” Now first of all I had already apologized and removed it by then cause it wasn’t up very long. You know,  sometimes you reread your tweets, especially Memorial Day weekend at 2am, on Ambien. And that’s no excuse, but that is what was real.

S: It’s not an excuse because you and I both believe in the Torah’s definition of repentance where we don’t excuse bad behavior, right?

R: There’s no excuse. I don’t excuse it. It’s an explanation. I was impaired you know.

S: Right. But you still regret and don’t excuse what you wrote.

R: Of course, no I don’t excuse it. I horribly regret it. Are you kidding? I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything. And I said to God, “I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because I know I’ve done wrong. I’m going to accept what the consequences are,” and I do, and I have. But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology, or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet. And as a Jew, it’s just horrible. It’s horrible (crying).

R: When ABC hired me they asked me to get off Twitter, cause I’m always saying things, right? And I told them, I promise I will get off twitter, they said, cause you’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you’re on there, and my kids took it away from me, and the whole thing cause they said, “Mom, you have to stop.” I told ABC, I have to tell you right now before we sign any papers that I will never stop defending Israel and the Jewish people. I cannot, if I were to do that, I would rather be dead, I can’t do that. So if you want to hire me know that. I will never stop.

S: You’re a ferocious defender of Israel, let’s take a step back for a moment.

R: Well you know Shmuley I grew up, my grandmother owned an apartment, which my mother still owns, and that is the apartment I grew up in and in that apartment my grandparents sponsored survivors from the camps, Auschwitz too. And I grew up with people who had numbers tattooed on their arms, and when I was three years old they had me watch the Eichmann trial… That affected me and I made a deal with God then that I would never stop, and I never will stop. I will never stop and that’s what I thought I was doing. Cause Valerie Jarrett, I don’t agree with her politics and I thought she was white, I did not know she was a black woman. When ABC called me and said what is the reason for your egregious racism, I said, Oh my God, it is a form of racism. I guess I didn’t know she was black, and I’ll cop to it, but I thought she was white.

S: OK, Roseanne. But some people are going to hear you say this and they are going to think, on the one hand, Roseanne is apologizing and saying she made a terrible mistake.

R: I did!

S: And that Martin Luther King is her hero.

R: Right.

S: And she believes in the absolute equality of all people. But on the other hand, she is defending what said, that Roseanne is kind of finding reasons that excuse her behavior, so I want to…

R: No, it’s why I did it. It’s no excuse. It’s the reason and I will say the truth. That’s what I thought.

I know it’s a form of racism to assume every person who looks white is white. But it’s a mistake that a lot of people make. People make that mistake about me all the time. They don’t know I’m a Jew. We all make that mistake. It was an insensitive thing for me, but it’s the reason, and I’m just gonna’ own my reason. I can’t let anyone else say I did it because I’m a racist, because I didn’t. Although now when I look back, you shouldn’t compare any people – regardless of ethnicity –

S: Because it goes against the Torah….

R: No, they are saying that I said black people look like monkeys. But that’s not what I said. Here’s what I said. I know the history of the world, and racism and how it affects people. I’m not ignorant. But I’m stupid sometimes. I understand everything, you know, not everything obviously, but a lot about racism, and I always have. I’ve always worked with black women. I’ve done that since the sixties. And you know it still creeps in. I am so sorry and humiliated and you know, angry at myself. But in my heart I just made a stupid error. I told that to ABC, and they didn’t accept it, or want to hear it. But that’s the truth, and I thought she was white. When it was over I was like why would you call any person that?

S: But Rosanne if you and I get into the weeds of this, the overall principle will be lost. Let’s establish something.

R: No, I don’t want to go away from this subject. I don’t want to change the subject…

S: You had issues with Valerie Jarrett over Middle East policy, Israel, the Iran deal…

R: Well, she was the architect of the [Iran deal]…

S: I understand, I understand. I also had issues with her policies.

R: And I don’t agree with her politics, and I kind of think of her as someone who is trying to subvert, you know, freedom for me. I do think of her that way.

S: But we can disagree with Valerie Jarrett and anyone in the Obama administration, or Trump administration, on policy. We can always disagree on policy. Do you believe that they’re humanity is fully guaranteed? That they are all equally God’s children, even as we disagree with them on issues or policy?

R: Of course.

S: And that Valerie Jarrett is a very smart, very articulate, and a very refined woman, albeit with whom you have very strong policy disagreements.

R: I ask people if you look at my tweet don’t defend me. I’ve done something egregious and I don’t want to be defended. I don’t want to get anymore racism going from what I did, I don’t want that. I don’t want to be defended.

S: And you’ve expressed a lot of emotion, the pain you’re feeling from what you’ve done. You’ve repented through what you said with your apology and feeling great remorse.

R: No and it’s not just that. I’ve given money to those I’ve offended (charities focused on African-American children’s education).

S: Because you’re taking Maimonides three stages of repentance: remorse and pain, committing to a new path, and making restitution.

R: Recompense.  

S: Yes, Recompense, that’s correct. That’s Maimonides’ Jewish idea of repentance.

R: For Tikkun Olam.

S: For Tikkun Olam, to repair the world. Yes, I respect that.

R: Yeah.

S: Roseanne, help me here for one second in our last minutes.

R: Okay but don’t go past this. Everyone talks about intersectional politics in America, and remember I ran for president so I’m not politically naïve. But this intersectionality just happens to exclude Jews on every level. It really bothers me, and that’s why I did my run for president.

S: But you understand how people viewed your tweet about Valerie Jarrett and how wrong it was?

R: I do. And that’s why I feel horrible.

S: Well that’s why we’re having a real conversation. But it’s also a values conversation, on Torah principles.

R: But every day on Twitter Jews are called actual apes, and actual pigs. And nobody says a damn thing about it. I didn’t say black people look like apes, come on. I didn’t do that. I can see how it was misconstrued. That’s why I’m trying to rectify it because I’m not that person. I never was, and I never will be. I never will be that person. I was trying to say that I had issues with the Obama administration on Israel and Jewish issues.

S: Many people felt that the Obama administration’s policies towards Israel created unnecessary tensions with Israel. The condemnation at the UN [which the Obama Administration did not veto] and the last month of the Obama administration and resolution 2234 about the settlements… meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Arabs were being murdered in Syria. So, a lot of people felt that way. But what we all have to agree to do is affirm the humanity of our opponents, even as we disagree with their ideas.

R: I don’t even look at them as my opponents. I know so many Palestinian people, please. I used to be a complete leftist. In fact, I wrote most of the narrative they’re out there parroting now. Before I opened my eyes, I said those things myself and it’s also why I have to say these things now. Cause I am no longer under robotic mind control of the left. I want freedom for everybody. I consider Palestinian people, they’re my cousins. They are like me.

S: They’re children of God in the image of God, like all of us. As is Valerie Jarrett.

R: They are our people too. Part of our people. Because we are several tribes. I happen to be Tribe of David and Tribe of Judah. They are a tribe too… Sometimes I think, damn, I’m just going to move to Israel and run for Prime Minister myself. I want peace, they’re all children. And I want women’s rights and children’s rights. And men to be treated decently. I want them to have jobs. I want all those things that Torah teaches that’s what the Jews are here to bring. That’s what we have always brought. Justice…

S: And an emphasis on peace. We Jews say God’s name is peace.

R: I’m not for any people suffering. I’m not.

S: Okay, Roseanne, I’m not trying to go past anything, but there’s one thing I want to hone in on for a second. I’m your friend and I know your heart.

R: I know.

S: And this has been a very moving conversation. I think your real core values and core principles and convictions are being expressed with a lot of emotion and feeling and I know that you’ve been sobbing through your words and I don’t want to cause you pain. The one thing I want to hone in on is this. We Jews know more than most what it feels to be dehumanized, right?

R: Yeah.

S: Six million Jews were slaughtered. I took my kids over the summer to all the killing fields across Europe, from Majdanek, to Auschwitz, to Treblinka. The Jews were first dehumanized through a propaganda campaign.

R: Right.

S: And it was an effective propaganda campaign. It was evil.

R: It wasn’t just that, it was the culmination of two thousand years of hatred of the Jewish people.

S: That’s right, of anti-Semitism.

R: The inquisition, the witch burning, many of the people burned were Jewish women. I mean it’s European History.

S: So, the dehumanization of our people is something we really understand. I was on a skating rink in Miami when I was a boy and a girl skated up to me and said, “Can you remove that skull cap so I can see your horns.” So, we know more than most what it’s like to be dehumanized. You are one of the most famous…

R: I don’t know if we know more than most. But we know more than… we know as much as any suffering people.

S: Right, right, we know too much. So, this is the last thing I wanted to bring to you. You’re one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world. You’re one of the most famous Jewish women in all the world.

R: Well nobody knows I’m Jewish.

S: Here’s the one thing I want to put to you. Do you understand in light of our own Jewish history that when we make any kind of comment – and the Rabbis of the Torah said we have to be very careful with our words, right?…

R: I know.

S: In the Ethics of our Fathers it says be very careful with your words. Do you understand that if you write a tweet like this about Valerie Jarrett, or if you say something that can be misconstrued as dehumanizing, why the pain is great and why the backlash is so great? Actually, in light of Jewish history, let alone African-American history, where in this country we sold God’s children on the block just one hundred and fifty years ago…

R: That’s right.

S: Then all the Jim Crow that followed… A black child couldn’t take a drink of water in the South…

R: Absolutely.

S: You understand why this caused a lot of pain?

R: Yeah. I do. And you know, it just makes me sick, that I did it and that it was taken that way. It makes me sick. There’s no, I can’t defend it. I don’t want to defend it. I just wanted to explain. What was in my head. That’s what ABC asked me, “What was in your head when you did that.” And I told the truth, like I’m telling you. I just wanted to give my full honest, what was in my head. And I never, ever meant it to hurt people.

S: And Roseanne, finally, is there anything you want to say on the line with us together, specifically to Valerie Jarrett? You know we may disagree with her policies, is there anything you want to say to her specifically?

R: I went to her Twitter page and I said “Please forgive me. I have done something horrible and I apologize to you, and I ask for your forgiveness.” And you know, I tried to get her phone number because even though I don’t agree with her – even when we really disagree with someone because they’re hurting us and our families – we still have to treat them with human dignity. And that’s what I wanted to apologize to her for. Because you know, even though I didn’t have that in my head it came out that way. Sometimes you just say the wrong words and I should have known better. I shouldn’t have done it. I wish to hell I wouldn’t have done it or be more clear with a few letters. I should have been better, and I wasn’t. And I caused a lot of pain. I know that, and that’s the worse feeling in the world. I caused pain for my family, I caused pain for my mother, I caused pain to the two hundred out-of-work actors that I loved. And the crew and writers. I feel so bad that they gave me another chance and I blew it. But I did it. And what can I do now except say of course, I’m not a racist, I’m an idiot. And I might have done something that comes across as bigoted and ignorant, and I know that’s how it came across. And you know, I asked for forgiveness ‘cause I do love all people, I really do.

S: Roseanne, you’ve tried to practice all three levels of Maimonides’ repentance. You feel terrible remorse. You’ve tried to make rectifications, an apology. And you said you’ve given money to charities that deal specifically with race relations.

R: Well for children. I gave money for African-American children’s education.

S: The final thing I want to say is, you’re supposed to approach the person you hurt directly. So I think this thing you are saying about calling Valerie Jarrett is proper and get her number and call her.

R: Well I can’t find her number of course, if anyone has her number…

S: I think that would be really appropriate. I’m gonna’ see if we can find out ‘cause I think you should call her and apologize to her.

R: I want to apologize to Michelle Obama too, because I heard she was irate, and that nothing I could say is forgivable.

S: Well, I’m sure they believe in repentance as well. We’ll see if we can advance it along the way.

R: You think we can do that?

S: Well, we’re gonna’ try because these are the value we believe in. We believe in rectifying wrong, curing pain we’ve caused, and repentance.

R: Well thank you.

S: And taking responsibility. I wish you all the best. And God bless you, and lets makes this all right, and let’s bring healing to America, and bring all of God’s children – white, black, Jew, non-Jew, atheist, agnostic – let’s bring everyone together.

R: Let’s bring healing to the whole world. And let’s bring healing to the whole Middle East, once it’s time.

S: Yes, God willing.

R: Now I just want God to let me do the right thing to do that.

S: You’ve spoken from the heart. God bless you Roseanne and we’ll see how much we can do.

R: Thank you Shmuley, and I love you. Bye.

S: Love you too. Bye.

 

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NO HOLDS BARRED: DESPITE DIFFERENCES, JASON GREENBLATT IS ISRAEL’S FEARLESS FRIEND

Less than six months into his job as US President Donald Trump’s adviser on international negotiations and chief Middle East negotiator, Jason Greenblatt is already feeling heat.

Following his trips to the Middle East in both March and May, some in the pro-Israel community have already begun accusing the chief negotiator of coming under the influence of left-leaning, wing-tipped bureaucrats at the State Department.

They point to Greenblatt’s meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who they believe (as do I) is not a true partner for peace. They take issue with Trump’s failure to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. They question Greenblatt’s relationship with Tzipi Livni and Ronald Lauder. And they intimate he is slowly falling for a decades-old European campaign for a two-state solution.

The criticisms don’t stop at policy. In the Israeli press, some even criticized Jason for not wearing a kippa. Even Reuters mentioned it last March.

But I know Jason. And it bothers me to see a good man defamed.

So here are the facts: On the kippa issue, there has already been way too much frum-shaming aimed at members of the Trump administration. It is downright disgusting. I am a proud Jew and believe in external manifestations of Jewishness.

But the constant attempts to humiliate Jared and Ivanka about travel on Shabbat, and now Jason about a kippa, subverts basic norms of Jewish decency and punishes those in the administration who are observant. Rather than being proud of their orthodoxy, we seek to prove their hypocrisy.

The Mishna in Ethics of our Fathers is clear: judge everyone favorably. Shame on us that we don’t.

Jason Greenblatt is a devout and observant Jew. Whether he wears a kippa is not the public’s business. Plenty of other generally kippa-clad Orthodox Jews opted not to wear them while serving in their official capacities – among them former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, Obama’s secretary of the treasury Jack Lew, or even the famously Orthodox Senator Joe Lieberman. While I absolutely believe in wearing a kippa, sitting with a magnifying glass to examine who does and doesn’t wear one is the condescension of the self-commissioned purity police for whom faith is naught but a game of never-ending condemnation. We don’t live in Iran. So let’s stop this disgusting display of judgment.

I consider Greenblatt a friend and saw him recently in the White House again to talk about Israel. He is a good and God-fearing person, a man of genuine humility with a deep moral center. And he is dedicated in heart, body and soul to America, his Jewishness, and Israel.

His critics have told only one side of the story. Here is a figure at the center of Middle East policy in an administration that has preached to the Arab states that they must finally stop all funding of terrorism, that has forcefully challenged UN bias against Israel, that is working to contain and isolate genocidal Iran, that put Israel on the president’s first trip abroad, that had the president make the first ever visit by the leader of the free world to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, that has reversed the non-stop hostility shown by the Obama administration to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that celebrated Israel’s Independence Day with the US vice president at the first ever White House celebration.

And let us not forget that the Trump administration demonstrated morality and humanity in attacking the air force of Syrian mass murderer Bashar Assad after Assad gassed innocent Arab children, something president Obama categorically refused to do.

And for all that, Greenblatt, who is helping to shape all these policies, is being attacked for not doing more.

Mind you, I believe he could do more, that he should do more. I believe the administration should be telling Abbas that there will be no negotiations until the PA immediately ceases all payments to terrorists and their families. I believe that a Palestinian state would quickly be overtaken by Hamas and would pose an existential threat to Israel.

And I believe that the Trump administration has a moral obligation to bomb the recently- revealed Syrian crematoria where tens of thousands of bodies have already been burned.

Those are incredibly serious issues, ones which I hope Greenblatt will carefully consider before moving forward.

But for all of that, the Trump administration has thus far shown incredible friendship to Israel, and Greenblatt, Jared Kushner and David Friedman, along, of course, with the president, deserve enormous credit.

Jason Greenblatt has played a pivotal role in reversing the previous administration’s hostility toward Israel. He is a hero for doing so and deserves our thanks.

When it comes to Middle East policy, particularly in how it pertains to Israel, the Trump administration has not been perfect.

Neither was the administration of George W. Bush, who was the best friend Israel ever had in the Oval Office prior to Trump. The Trump administration could have moved the embassy, and still should. Many in the administration, including Trump himself, still seem to believe that the two-state solution can bring peace.

But what they haven’t done is peddle the deeply-flawed policies of the Obama State Department. On the contrary, Greenblatt and all those in the Trump administration’s foreign policy wing have taken huge steps to perfect American policy in the Middle East, make it clear to American allies that there will be no tolerance for terrorist sympathy or funding, and that demonizing Israel will make you anathema to America.

The best proof came last week.

For years under the Obama administration, Qatar was allowed to freely fund some of the most brutal terrorists in the Middle East, including and especially Israel’s arch-enemy Hamas, the leader of which Qatar hosted for over a decade and to whom it promised a billion dollars in 2014. Housing America’s largest air base in the Middle East, they seemed to always get a pass from their American tenants.

Until now.

Following Trump’s meeting with the Saudi king in Riyadh last month, however, Qatar’s neighbors finally had the American support they needed to take action and rein in the evil kingdom.

And indeed, just last week, the sheiks of Qatar were finally made to pay for the incalculable cash flows they’ve been providing to terrorists across the Middle East and to the thugs in Iran. Following their payment of a billion-dollar ransom to Iran, Qatar found itself cut off both diplomatically and physically from almost of all of its most crucial allies, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. Saudi Arabia even locked its borders with Qatar, preventing the import of 40% of the nation’s food, making prices soar. Qatar’s state-sponsored news outlet, known for its bitter hostility to Israel, suffered crippling cyber-attacks and was forced to shut down its website.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made it pretty simple. For Qatar to win over its friends again, all it needed to do was cut ties with Islamist terrorist groups Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Finally, someone said it. This would in all likelihood not have occurred without the Trump administration.

President Trump took credit for the actions taken against Qatar, tweeting that his trip to the Middle East was “already paying off.”

And the truth is, while these moves were taken by Arab states, they could not have happened without a presidential go-ahead, which explains why they happened only now.

This wasn’t the first time Trump took Middle Eastern nations to task for their support of terrorism. He did the same with Iran, against whom he’s taken a long-awaited hard line, a U-turn from Obama’s generous nuclear deal, which gave the terrorist state $150 billion, the legitimization of their nuclear program, and the right to build nuclear bombs legitimately in just over a decade.

In the UN, too, Ambassador Nikki Haley has completely reversed the decline of American support for Israel at the UN. Last week she called out the UN Human Rights Council, which she claimed “whitewashes brutality” and reserves its criticism exclusively for the State of Israel. She even threatened to pull American funding for the Geneva- based body. On Wednesday, while on a trip to Israel, Haley told President Reuven Rivlin: “I have never taken kindly to bullies and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time and we are not going to let that happen anymore.” It’s clearly a new day for Israel at the UN.

I have been honest to Greenblatt about my disagreements with administration policy.

But for the enormous progress he and his team have already made, they deserve credit, our thanks, and our patience.

The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including his most recent The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @ RabbiShmuley.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/NO-HOLDS-BARRED-Despite-differences-Jason-Greenblatt-is-Israels-fearless-friend-496651