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Late Night: Sheldon Adelson Wants Obama to Nuke Tehran, Yeshiva U Students Applaud

After watching the crowd react to Sheldon Adelson’s proposal Tuesday evening to nuke Tehran, I started to visibly shake.  I haven’t been this upset in a while.  Maybe it is because one of the books I’m reading right now is Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser, about how close to accidental thermonuclear war we’ve sometimes come.

As appalling as Adelson’s statement was, what got me shaking was the incontestable fact that the audience applauded the following utterance, as the President of Yeshiva University, Richard M. Joel, JD, sat there mutely.  Here’s what Adelson was applauded for saying (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.


I was upset enough to call the office of President Joel.  I was told he had not responded to Adelson’s call for thermonuclear genocide.  So I wrote him the following open letter:

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Philip Munger

Philip Munger

musician, composer, educator, environmental and community planning activist