Most Americans, with the exception of President Joe Biden, were made aware of the surprise Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel early Saturday morning. But one U.S. Senator, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), was actually in Israel around the time the attacks first started.
On Sunday, over 48 hours into Hamas’ brutal assault on Israeli civilians, Booker posted a video to his Twitter/X page in which he talked about what he experienced and his hope for the future of human rights:
“I was in Israel when the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas started on Saturday. My team and I are now safe, but like many we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these sickening terrorist attacks.
After this experience, more than ever, I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue supporting Israel’s security and ensuring stability in the region — and I hope one day soon, a long-term and just peace in the region.”
“We who believe in peace and freedom and human rights for Palestinians, for Israelis, for all humankind, must reject those who use terror as their weapon,” he said at the end of the clip.
I was in Israel when the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas started on Saturday. My team and I are now safe, but like many we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these… pic.twitter.com/E4BgEZxSTC— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 8, 2023
Booker’s plea for peace and stability and the region, along with his voicing of support for Israel rang extremely hollow to New Jersey Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known in media/political/religious circles as Rabbi Shmuley or, as the Washington Post refers to him, “America’s most famous rabbi.”
Shmuley, a longtime friend of Booker’s, responded accordingly to Booker’s video tweet, noting Booker’s support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which saw the United States under President Barack Obama’s leadership effectively give $150 billion to Iran, saying “words are cheap,” and demanding he go on the Senate floor and apologize to the Jewish community for his betrayal:
As soon as the rockets started in Israel, my Senator and dear friend Cory Booker ran for his life. Maybe it’s because he voted to give Iran $150 billion. @CoryBooker voted to give Iran $150b. Then he ran today away from Israel
@corybooker please stop bragging about how you endured rockets in Israel. You were my closest friend for 25 years. You were my student president at Oxford and my brother. Then you voted to give the Iranian terrorist monsters, who are largely responsible through Hamas for this attack that murdered 700 Israelis, $150 billion to murder innocents, in order to preserve your political standing. Also, right after you made this video, your staff spirited you right out of Israel. And I wonder if you got special treatment to get on a plane to get out of the war zone. The only hope for our friendship and your relationship with Jewish Community is for you to finally come to the well of the Senate floor this week and condemn your own vote to give billions to Iran and by extension Hamas and to apologize profusely, and beg forgiveness of the innocent Iranian people being brutalized by their Goverment and the world Jewish community. Otherwise, we are not interested in these posts. Words are cheap Cory. Remember all the Torah we studied together? It’s action that counts #CoryCondemnIran
As soon as the rockets started in Israel, my Senator and dear friend Cory Booker ran for his life. Maybe it’s because he voted to give Iran $150 billion. @CoryBooker voted to give Iran $150b. Then he ran today away from Israel@corybooker please stop bragging about how you… pic.twitter.com/5YPJcVs3WW— Rabbi Shmuley (@RabbiShmuley) October 9, 2023
Others pointed to Booker’s coddling of radical anti-Israel activists and Congressional colleagues in his own party:
You stood with the radicals pic.twitter.com/9Fcdl32Kv4— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) October 9, 2023
In addition to Booker’s support for Obama’s Iran deal, Booker has also been a big disappointment when it comes to calling out anti-Semitism in the Democratic party, as demonstrated in 2019 when he tried to “both sides” the debate over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s repeated instances of anti-Semitism. In April 2019, Booker also proclaimed that criticism of AOC’s Squad for their anti-Semitism was “toxic” and rose to the level of “Islamaphobia.”
While some have said Democrats and Republicans should pause their war of words and put on a united front when it comes to supporting Israel, I’m only on board with part of that – putting on the united front in supporting Israel’s right to defend themselves.
The war of words, however, should continue, because in my opinion there is no better time than the present for Republicans and others with a similar mindset on this issue to remind Democrats and their allies that their words and actions (and inactions), policy positions, etc. can have deadly consequences, something we are sadly seeing play out as we speak in Israel.