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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Antisemitism in New Jersey: Democrat Pascrell's Supporter Attacks Republican Rabbi by Mocking His Faith

A prominent Arab-American supporter of Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell has attacked his opponent, Republican challenger Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in starkly religious terms after Boteach's super PAC, Patriot Prosperity, received $500,000 from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. Adelson has been the target of attacks from the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party throughout the 2012 election cycle, some of which have had religious undertones. Pascrell supporter Dr. Aref Assaf (above), president of the American Arab Forum, has taken that further, declaring that Boteach had "sold his soul" and accusing him of "Islamophobia."

The explicitly religious nature of Dr. Assaf's attack mocks Boteach's Jewish faith, and his profile as one of the country's best-known rabbis--ironically, while using an unsubstantiated charge of anti-Muslim prejudice. The sole basis for Dr. Assaf's claim about "Islamophobia" appears to be that Adelson and Boteach both support Israel, whereas Pascrell has joined the small minority of strident critics of Israel in the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Assaf backed Rep. Pascrell in his primary fight against 9th District incumbent Rep. Steve Rothman, a pro-Israel Democrat who was forced to run against 8th District incumbent Pascrell after the state's congressional districts were redrawn. One of the positive factors Dr. Assaf cited was Pascrell's support for the radical Imam Mohammad Qatanani--whom, Joel Mowbray reported in June, "the federal government is attempting to deport [to Jordan] for failing to disclose his arrest and subsequent conviction in Israel for supporting Hamas."

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