Shmuley Boteach, the outspoken Orthodox rabbi, is going up with a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Washington Post blasting the president for negotiating with Iran and pleading with him not to strike a deal with the ayatollah.
“Fighting al-Qaeda made you like Churchill,” the ad’s headline reads. “Appeasing Iran will make you like Chamberlain.” A photograph of former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, waving the infamous Munich agreement over his head, along with the New York Times’s coverage of the moment in 1938, are superimposed over Obama’s face. The Times, the ad notes, endorsed the Munich agreement as “the price of peace.”
“The price of peace,” it says, “turned out to be 60 million lives.”
The ad, which is paid for by the World Values Network, an organization founded by Boteach and intended to foster Jewish values, also says that even those awed by the president’s resolve in foreign affairs are now “mystified” by his “willingness to appease” Iran.
Though it doesn’t say so explicitly, it’s clear the ad intends to send a message to the president from the Jewish people. “We look to you as the leader of the free world and our friend,” it says, “to understand that Jews today are being murdered around the globe. We need you to stand up for us.”
Boteach himself is not apolitical: He was the Republican nominee for Congress from New Jersey’s eighth district in 2012, and he lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Pascrell. Nor is he a stranger to controversial ads. Just last month, Boteach put up an ad in the New York Times that accused national-security adviser Susan Rice of having a “blind spot” for genocide because she failed to speak up about the genocide in Rwanda while she served in the Clinton administration. The ad was widely criticized by Jewish groups on both sides of the aisle.
The latest ad comes as nuclear talks between Iran and other major world powers, including the United States, hit a roadblock on Monday when Iran said it would no longer agree to ship its uranium stockpile out of the country. American officials said the matter had been a sticking point for months but that the two sides, who are negotiating in Lausanne, Switzerland, are hoping to come to an agreement before the end of the day on Tuesday.
American Jews have strongly backed the president in both elections, though his support from the group slipped nine points between 2008 and 2012. His latest, public rift with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have caused some concern for Hillary Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, who reportedly told a major Jewish leader that she wants to improve the U.S.–Israel relationship.
If negotiations don’t hit a snag on their own, Boteach, never shy with his opinions, is hoping to put another wrench into the president’s plans.
–Eliana Johnson is Washington editor of National Review.