Shmuley Boteach

The Spiritual Snake Oil Salesman

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Many things may be said of Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

That he is the world’s foremost terrorist is born out by the simple fact that he is the supreme head of the world’s leading terror regime. For over three decades, Iran has acted as a central banker for Middle East mayhem, perpetuating instability in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan by providing monetary and logistical support to terrorist organizations the world over. The State Department sums it up best: Iran “arms militants, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and continues to play a disruptive role in sustaining violence in the region, particularly Syria.”

That Khameini is a man blind to his own hypocrisy is born out by so many of his speeches, like his recent attack where he, yet again, predicted the end of Israel: “The Zionist regime emerged through force, and no phenomenon that has emerged through force has continued to exist – and this regime will not continue to exist either.” The irony of a man who came to power, along with his predecessor, through the Iranian revolution, and is sustained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, is rich.

But perhaps the most insightful statement that can be made of the grand Ayatollah is that he is a quite simply the world’s foremost religious fraud. A spiritual snake oil salesman. A devout phony. A pious impostor. A holy hoaxer. And a sacred scam artist.

Here is a man claiming to be a supreme religious leader who just yesterday said that Israel “is doomed to annihilation.” Zionist officials, his euphemism for Jews, are “animals, and not human.” The Jewish state is “a rabid dog.” Jews are canines, frothing at the mouth, predatory and ready to pounce.

All these blessings, from a man of God, in a single speech.

These are the words not of a crank but of a con man. An individual who sports a connection to heaven but whose vision for humanity is hell on earth.

At the very least, Kim Jong Un of Korea, and his father Kim Jong Il, who starved three million people to death, never claimed to be religious. They are secular Marxists and self-proclaimed gods. But Khameini wants to have his cake and eat it too. He thinks nothing of regularly calling for the annihilation of six million innocent Jews while wearing a pious turban on his head. He sports a long beard which masks a countenance brimming with hate. What courses through his veins is not compassion but contempt. What animates him is not harmony but hate. Not affection but anti-Semitism. He is animated not by love of his fellow but detestation of the stranger.

I have met religious fakers, men who wear yarmulkes who cheat in business, women who wear crosses who are unfaithful in their marriages. While their corruption exhibits itself in different ways, they share one thing in common: they always seek to mask their infidelity to the word of God. They don’t want people to know they are bad people or religious hypocrites. They recognize that their private behavior is not in accordance with their public pronouncements and they are ashamed.

Khameini is different. He is that rare religious leader who is proud of his hate, who brags of his genocidal intentions, whose day is brightened by the thought of another holocaust in Israel that he has promised for years.

There is, of course, one exception. And this is the recent revelation by Reuters, after a six-month investigation, that Khameini, like Arafat before him, is one of the richest men in the world, controlling a business empire worth around $95 billion, a sum larger than the value of Iran’s annual petroleum exports. You’ll notice that the Ayatollah has never bragged of being richer than Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates. He doesn’t want you to know that for all his protestations to piety he is nothing but a spiritual shoplifter. No, it turns out that his pride in his religious hypocrisy is limited merely to genocidal intent against the Jews but not to the exposure that he is, like so many religious charlatans before him, just another common thief.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post call “the most famous Rabbi in America,” will shortly publish “Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer.” Follow him on Twitter @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.