Coren vs. Boteach: let’s go to the tape

By Frank Moher

A passel of Michael Coren supporters have arrived at backofthebook to defend his “interview” with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the SUN “News” Network. (I always keep a small pile of ironic quotation marks handy when I write about SUN TV.) You’ll find them milling in the comments section following Rabbi Boteach’s account of the hostilities, which we published as soon as it landed in our inbox. That was on Thursday, a few hours before the program had even aired. Rabbi Boteach has a very good PR apparatus.

One of the commenters takes us to task for not publishing “the response article by Michael Coren.” Presumably he means Coren’s blog in The Huffington Post, which we didn’t publish because HE WROTE IT FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST. See how that works? Our correspondent might better have taken us to task for publishing the Rabbi’s rebuttal before we’d even seen the buttal. But now that the program has aired, it seems obvious to me he was entirely right to call Coren on his obnoxious remarks and behaviour.

You can decide for yourself . . .

. . . but what I see is Coren tipping headlong into the old Jews control Hollywood thing, while adding a twist new to me: And hence, they use their power to make movies that parody Christians. One wonders what movies he means (and so does the Rabbi, who tries fruitlessly to get an example out of him). And then, like that Italian cruise ship captain, Coren looks up from his lifeboat and realizes it’s not where he’s supposed to be. The cruise ship captain’s response was to claim he fell in accidentally; Coren’s is to explain that he doesn’t mean that Jews actually control Hollywood, just that they’re very influential, and goodness, that’s all to their credit!

Oh please. If he wasn’t implying that they control the place, then how is it he figures they can get their malicious portrayals of good-hearted Jesus-lovers onto the screen? By talking others into slandering Christians for them?

Next day, Coren appeared fearlessly on another SUN News Network show to defend himself.

Hilariously, he makes two claims. One is that Boteach is only trying to sell his book. (By appearing on SUN TV in Canada? That’ll be good for two copies.) The other is that he “doesn’t realize my place in Canada. This will probably backfire.”

His place in Canada. Now, I expect Coren isn’t an anti-semite, but he’s obviously a big self-kidder. Outside of cities where the SUN Newspapers are sold, his profile is roughly that of, say, Adam and Morgan. (Who are Adam and Morgan? Exactly.) Or perhaps he means his place as a defender of Israel, but he isn’t exactly alone in that portfolio either. We’re looking at you, National Post.

Of course, being a defender of Israel doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re philo-semitic. It could just mean that you like heavily militarized, legs akimbo, right-wing governments. One wonders if these friends of Israel would be quite so friendly if a less belligerent administration, like the one Yitzhak Rabin led, and got assassinated for, was in power.

But let’s take Michael Coren’s word for it: he loves the Jews, and they, in turn, all over Canada, hold him in high esteem. Now, could he treat the ones who come on his show as guests, rather than test audiences for his truly strange notions of what they do and do not think?

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