Shmuley Boteach

The Connection Between Sexual Repression and Antisemitism

Is there a connection between sexual repression and antisemitism? Strange question, right? But is it?

Over the last six months, since the start of the October 7th war, initiated by the Hamas massacre, I have debated some of America and the world’s leading antisemites. There was Cenk Uygur, the former Democratic presidential candidate who bellowed and howled like a lunatic on international TV that Israel took delight in murdering Palestinians. There was Europe’s foremost Islamist, Mohmmed Hijab, who claimed Israel’s terrorist-to-civilian death ratio was 1-80. There was America’s foremost Jewish antisemite, Norman Finkelstein, who actually wrote that on October 7th he praised God and said “Halleluiah” to see the Israelis murdered. There was, of course, Candace Owens, who promoted the idea that I as a Rabbi was “drunk on Christian blood” and whom my daughter and I, Rochel Leah, got fired three weeks ago through non-stop pressure on her orthodox Jewish employer Ben Shapiro. And then there was my debate with conspiracy-pscho Alex Jones.

All of these debates had three things in common. First, they were watched by vast audiences, cumulatively probably more than 30 million people. Second, each opponent told the most disgusting lies and offered the most poisonous blood libels about Jews. And third – and here it gets weird – nearly every single one attacked me viciously for my international best-selling book “Kosher Sex” and the marital-aid company my daughter Chana, an IDF veteran, set up in Israel by the same name.

I was astonished at the sexual prudishness of my opponents and how much they indulged attacks about Jews and sex. Indeed, I was unprepared for just how obsessed each was about Jews and sex in general. The attacks were constant. Why did you write your books “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Lust,” “The Kosher Sutra,” “Kosher Adultery,” etc etc. And why is your daughter selling products that enhance intimacy and passion between married, monogamous couples.

The most disgusting of all the attacks came from Mohammed Hijab and especially Candace Owens who sought to portray herself almost as a celibate nun – kind of weird, as she is married with three children – compared to us Jews who are obsessed with having passionate sex.

As I pondered why each of these filthy antisemites all brought Jewish sexual activities and teachings, it finally dawned on me what the connection was between antisemitism and sex.

What is sex other than a celebration of life? At its best, sex is simply something that makes a husband and wife feel most alive. Let’s face it. Marriage can be filled with drudgery. Changing diapers. Paying bills. Affording a mortgage. And the stultifying deadness of any everyday routine. Then comes along a passionate sexual connection which invigorates the couple and brings them back to life.

And that’s what antisemites hate most about us Jews: that we always choose life.

Why do Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, and all the other Islamist sickos hate us so much? Because no matter how much they pledge to spill our blood, we continue to choose life. Israel is filled with cafes, restaurants, museums, universities, parks, and children’s playgrounds. Gaza, by contract, well before Israel’s invasion last year, was just a giant garbage dump. I know because I was personally there with the Reverend Al Sharpton in October of 2001.  The place was an ugly trash heap. Our Palestinian brethren – not Israel – had chosen to make it so.

The same is true of so many other places that were once beautiful – like Lebanon and Beirut, the Paris of the Middle East – which today are essentially piles of rubble.

Our enemies hate us because no matter how hard they try to make our lives miserable, we are always joyous, we always rise above their hate, and we always choose life.

Let me make the case even stronger.

Notice what meesskeits, what miserable wretches, all the pro-Hamas and anti-Israel activists all around the United States are. The only joy they get is by ruining your day. They will protest concerts and shut them down. They will shut down airports so you miss your flight and can’t visit your family or take a vacation. They are miserable people who spread misery. Show me even a single pro-Israel rally where we have taken that attitude or trying to spread agony.

Antisemites are the most miserable wretches on earth. Their only joy is in making sure you have no joy. That’s why little by little all these disgusting anti-Israel protests and marches are backfiring. These miserable people are making the lives of everyday Americans absolutely miserable.

Of all the hundreds of thousands of newsreels we ever saw of Hitler and his henchman, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler, maybe 10 have them smiling. They were vile people possessed of a vile melancholy.

The idea of the happy Nazi, the gleeful terrorist, the smiling murderer, is obviously an anachronism. And the single happiest nation on earth, relative to their historical misfortunes and current global challenges, are easily the Jewish people.

Larry David just ended his 24 year-run of the most successful comedy on TV, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Yes, he plays a curmudgeon. But it’s all about making you laugh. Notice how some of the world’s greatest comics and wits are Jews and how so much of their humor is about taking everyday misery and learning to laugh at it, like Woody Allen (yes I know, right now not the best example) or Rodney Dangerfield.

Who are the Jews? The nation that has learned not just to survive persecution to flourish. What is Israel? The most irrationally hated nation on earth that was simultaneously – according to the 2024 World Happiness Report released last month – just voted the fifth happiest country in the world, and this despite the war in Gaza and the October 7 massacre.

And now you see why all these reptiles whom I’ve debated, or gotten fired, like Candace Owens, hate Jewish sex more than anything else. Because Jewish sex is not only that which keeps our nation surviving, quite literally, but thriving, quite literally as well.

Judaism is the only religion on earth that says sex is not for procreation – survival – but for intimacy, thriving. As the book of Genesis says (2:24) “Therefore shalt a man leave his father and his mother, he shall cleave unto his wife and they shall become one flesh.”

So much of religion leads to sexual repression. In Catholicism priests and nuns – the religious leaders of the Church – have to be completely celibate, easily the most unnatural human state to exist in. St. Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7).

And many Islamic countries have taken sexual repression to an extreme by cloaking women in such austere and severe garb, and by so separating the sexes, that there can be little everyday joy in social interactions.

Hitler, of course, famously created the Lebensborn program that likewise reduced sex to simply birthing more and more soldiers for the Fuhrer.

And that’s why so many antisemites attack my book “Kosher Sex” and my daughter Chana’s company of the same name. Because both are a clear distillation of that most essential of ideas, that Judaism wants us to celebrate life. That Judaism doesn’t believe that men and women marry primarily to have children but to feel alive in each other’s company and make love. And that life is meant to be lived at the mountain’s summit and not just the deep dark valleys.

The holiest book of the Hebrew Bible is something that is anathema to an the average miserable antisemite, who hates life and all of his fellow human creatures. The Song of Solomon, is an erotic lust poem that describes the burning yearning between a man and a woman: “Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies… Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” For us Jews, lust is hot, sexy, and holy. The tenth commandment is clear: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Which means, by direct implication, you ought to be coveting your own.

The antisemites, well, they too covet. They covet Jewish joy. They are jealous of Jewish prosperity. They are envious of Jewish success. And instead of following our lead and imitating our greatest teaching of all – L’Chaim, always choose life – they find it much easier just to make sure that even we cannot choose it by making us dead.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whom Newsweek and The Washington Post call “the most famous Rabbi in America,” has just published the 25th special anniversary edition of Kosher Sex (Skyhorse Publishing). His website is Follow him on Instagram and X @RabbiShmuley.

About the Author
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of This World: The Values Network. He is the author of Judaism for Everyone and 30 other books, including his most recent, Kosher Lust. Follow him on Twitter@RabbiShmuley.