Shmuley Boteach: I Might Run For Office

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shmuley-boteachThe JTA reports that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says he is considering a run for public office after local officials failed to prevent a Libyan ambassador from moving in next door to him.

In an opinion piece published today by JTA, Boteach said he was outraged that Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, was permitted to take up residence in Englewood, N.J. The rabbi, controversial for some of the books he’s written and his affiliations, said that having the diplomat as his next-door neighbor has him angry enough to launch a career in politics.

“From the age of 16, all I ever wanted to be was a rabbi, someone who brings healing to broken lives and values to a needy culture. But for the first time in my life, I find myself contemplating a run for elective office. The reason is simple: The Talmud declares, ‘In a place where there are no men stand up and become one,'” Boteach wrote in his JTA piece. In conclusion, he added, “I wish to remain a rabbi who informs and influences politics from the outside. But if Gadhafi’s envoy remains my next-door neighbor with the tacit blessing of my elected leaders, I will do my best to unseat them by every legal means necessary.”

Back in August and September, Boteach played a lead role in the successful campaign to keep Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi from staying at a house in Englewood during the U.N. General Assembly. But Shalgham recently moved into the property, owned by his government and located near Boteach’s home.

Boteach said he was outraged when his friend and congressman, U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), was quoted by the newspaper as saying, “And so, I hope everyone will be appropriately good neighbors.”

“Is he seriously asking me to borrow a cup of sugar from a man whose government murdered American servicemen while they danced at a disco?” Boteach wrote.

In a statement issued to JTA, Boteach did not identify a specific office that he was eyeing, but listed the issues that were most important to him.

{JTA} {Noam Newscenter}


  1. Boteach is OK, stop the chillul hashem business, it is stupid. however, he is being a little bombastic about objecting to a Libyan ambassador next door. besides, in 1967 the lybian government protected the jew from the mobs, i know first hand. after the 6 day war all the jews left, but the government helped them to get their possessions out and to sell their assets without losing everything. what’s the ambassador going to do? bomb him? boteach has done some good work, but he doesn’t know his limitations. he lost a public debate to atheist christopher hitchens (who is jewish). boteach was just not in hitchen’s league. the catholic, dinesh d’sousa beat hitchen’s in a debate. shmueli should not have taken on hitchens.

  2. Rabbi Boteach seems to be confused about what country he’s living in. This is the United States. And even in Israel I’m not sure that his case would hold water.

    Reverse the situation – Rabbi Boteach moves into a neighborhood on Long Island and the people of Arab descent living there try to get him evicted because he has ties with Israel.

    Whether the good Rabbi likes it or not, this is a democracy, and the laws that protect people he doesn’t like are the very same laws that protect him.

  3. #4 – what you are relating is frightening. I would hope that such an incident would truly teach him his place. If this is the case, however, then isn’t this, by definition, a chilul Hashem?

  4. besides that this man doesn’t belong on a frum website, when it first became public that Qadhafy was coming to engelwood Boteach wrote a column describing how the only problem he had was that they cut down some trees between the houses. he went over and had a nice conversation with someone who promised they would return the trees after Qadhafy left. if i remember correctly at the end of the column he plans to send some cookies when Qadhafy arrives. a few days later all the conservatives (rightly) were outraged that Qadhafy would be let out of NY and the local politicians started screaming. suddenly Boteach saw a podium and ran over and started screaming with everyone else. he is an opertunist of the lowest order and a shame for yiddishkiet.

  5. All Jews, including Shmuley, should stay out of politics in the diaspora. We have enough problems as it is. Shmuley – please don’t do it!

  6. It should be noted that Rabbi Boteach
    was not the only citizen expressing outrage
    at the government for allowing gangsters
    from Libya to reside in New Jersey.

    Gadhafi and his henchmen have no right
    to come here. (I am not endorsing the
    clergyman for any political office; but I
    share his outrage.) Boteach has every right
    to protest. Most folks in New Jersey don’t
    want terrorists in their neighborhood.

    The open-door policy on immigration
    in general is undermining national security.
    The liberal Democrats have to be thrown out
    of office.

  7. the outrage was misdirected and too late. it should have been directed at pres bush and condi rice when they themselves legitimzied khadaffi and made it possible for this to happen. Bush removed kadaffi from the US top teerrorists list and suddenly legitimized the psycho as a diplomat. condi rice whats the first and highest ranking us official to travel to him to meet with him and suddnly legitmize him with diplomacy and she even celebrated ramdan with him and had a ramadan iftar dinner.
    where was the outrage then? that paved the way for this New Jersey business to happen a year and some months later.

  8. Dr. Berger, your anger at “liberal democrats” is laughable especially since this has nothing to do with them or immigration policies. in fact, kadahffis pressence had nothing to do with immigration policies and certainly not “liberal democrats.”
    what kind of a doctro are you? do you even have a clue that his presence in this country was enabled by the reckless and careless and insane actions of the very conservative and republican George W. Bush and Condoloeezza Rice? Facts are facts, and you spew talk radio jibberish.

  9. Re #18

    “Your anger at liberal Democrats.”

    What about it? The liberal Democrats are
    selling America down the river.

    Don’t you understand that the
    enemies of America take advantage of the
    country’s lax immigration policy?

    You’re right about Bush. He was too
    lenient—no argument from me about
    that. McCain was also too lenient on
    immigration. (One of the reasons he

    In light of the current Islamic
    imperalism, a tough immigration policy
    is needed now more than ever. (This
    dumb open-border policy dates back to
    1965; we now suffer the consequences.)

    With regard to Ghadaffi and
    his henchmen, it is also a matter of
    principle. He’s a mass murderer. He
    should have been arrested and


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