Rabbi Shumley Boteach
Rabbi Shumley BoteachCourtesy: Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach took to social media to describe how he was harassed by antisemites who walked over to him screaming 'Free Palestine' two nights in a row at an unnamed Miami Beach hotel.

“Two nights in a row I faced an antisemitic hate crime that nearly came to violence in a Miami Beach hotel, very near where I grew up and where my mother lives,” he said in an Instagram statement.

“Because the executives of the establishment have taken this matter seriously, I will not name the establishment as it is always my preference to work with venues and businesses where antisemitic incidents occur to make sure they stamp out all threats to their Jewish clients, protect them, and punish the perpetrators rather than attempt to shame the venue in question.”

“In this case, the security was absolutely wrong in speaking of ‘two sides to a story’ as they watched two men – who identified themselves as ‘Arabic’ – right in my face threatening and abusing me,” he added.

In the Instagram video posted by Boteach, the men can be seen accosting him and threatening him before security intervenes and the men are separated from him.

He explained that in posting the video he was demonstrating the “eruption” of antisemitism going on across the US.

“Let me be clear. Every Arab and Muslim is my brother and sister, equal under the one G-d. We are all equally His children,” he said. “The exception is haters like the ones you’ll witness in this video. But what I will tell you is that I show this video so you can see the eruption of antisemitism around the United States. And second so we all learn never to go underground as Jews, to G-d forbid stop wearing our yarmulkes or Magen Davids. To the contrary, if you get attacked or threatened, call security or the police immediately but try – without endangering your life – and stand your ground. Show the antisemitic haters that you never fear them.”

In a testimonial posted to Twitter, he described experiencing “two hate crimes on two successive nights in the Miami Beach establishment.”

“I’m not naming them because I feel that they are dealing with it seriously and I want to respect that they are taking it seriously,” he said.

“After someone screams at me, ‘Free Palestine,’ … code word for destroy the Jewish State… a reporter from a Miami television asked me, ‘But didn’t you escalate by responding to him?’ And I said to him, Well, I told the man who was calling me the most disgusting names and the F-word and getting in my face and threatening me and also becoming violent and I had to tell him that if he touches me I’m calling the police. I said, ‘What did you expect me to do? Absorb it? Take my yarmulke off? Hide the next night? Hide the way Jews are learning to be a secret society in America? Take off their [Star of David], take off their yarmulkes because they’re afraid of being attacked? Is that what you want from the Jewish community?’”

“What’s happening to the Jewish community in the United States is unprecedented," he noted. "Never Again only has meaning if we ensure that Never Again means exactly what those words say. Never again, none of it, zero, not the defamation, not the attacks, not the violence, never again.”