Originally published at Religion Dispatches
An increasing number of individuals have lent their support to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, including icons such as the physicist Stephen Hawking. The growing strength of the BDS campaign highlights the controversial nature of visiting Israel as it continues to brutally violate human rights through its occupation of Palestine.
Apparently for some such “trivial” considerations are not enough to dissuade them from questioning, let alone accepting, an all expenses paid trip to Israel—even when that trip is paid for by one of the doyens of Islamophobia, Sheldon Adelson.
But who can resist that old, smiley Casino tycoon you might ask?
Not famed Turkish American Muslim Dr. Mehmet Oz!
On the plane ride to Israel, none other than Rabbi Shmuley Boteach interviewed Dr. Oz for the Jerusalem Post. Asked why he chose to come to Israel Dr. Oz replied that it was “an effort to better understand the source of the universal Jewish values that have so positively impacted on the world and the place from which they stem.”
Is it really necessary to visit Israel to better understand Jewish values? Can’t one just as easily become acquainted with Jewish values, right here, in the United States (particularly one who lives in a New Jersey suburb separated from Manhattan by the Hudson River)? Also, is it really true that the most positive Jewish values stem from Israel? I guess Hebron is not on Dr. Oz’s itinerary.
Asked about his recent meeting with Miriam and Sheldon Adelson and what his impression was of the two, Dr. Oz told Rabbi Boteach that he was really impressed by the pair who helped get him to Israel, and that “Sheldon’s not so bad himself.”
I appreciate their passion in getting friends of the Jewish people to visit Israel, myself included. I am incredibly impressed by their intellect, generosity and wisdom. I spoke to Dr. Adelson at length about her vision for changing how we help troubled youth around the world. She wants to invest in kids because they are our future and always will be. I look forward to visiting her addiction clinic in Tel Aviv where she helps people who have fallen prey to addictive behavior as they try and cope with the challenges of life. I applaud Mr. Adelson for being wise enough to marry such a wise woman and brilliant physician. And by the way, Sheldon’s not so bad himself.
This is the same Sheldon Adelson who not only poured millions into Newt Gingrich’s pockets after he said that “Palestinians were invented in the seventies,” that he believes Palestinians are as imaginary as the Easter bunny, and whose only desire in the world is to kill you, but also happens to be one of the leading funders of the Islamophobia Industry.
He’s doled out mega-bucks to the Clarion Fund which produced such anti-Muslim films as “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West,” and “The Third Jihad.” He also holds onto the view that “All terrorists are Islamic,” one of those absurd memes that remains a favorite amongst the crowd that sees Muslim Brotherhood infiltration and subterfuge everywhere they look.
So I ask Dr. Oz: do you still think “Sheldon’s not so bad?”
Update: Looks like I spoke to soon, Dr. Oz did in fact visit Hebron. (h/t: Ilisha)
Dr. Oz dances with Hebron settlers
…One of the world’s most well-known physicians, Dr. Mehmet Oz, visited Hebron on Monday.
But the renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and television host did not learn about one of the most shocking and extreme iterations of military occupation and settler domination during his visit. He did not meet with local Palestinians to hear about their hardships under occupation, or even take a tour with an Israeli groups like Breaking the Silence, that try and shine light on the situation there.
No, Dr. Oz went on a tour hosted by the settler community in Hebron….
The same settler community that maintains a shrine for mass murderer and brother in arms Baruch Goldstein and named a park for [Israeli designated] terror organization leader Meir Kahane.
These are the people with whom Dr. Oz danced with on Monday.