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In a March 2011 meeting with Jewish leaders, Obama contended that “Israel’s [Palestinian] partner is sincere in wanting a peaceful settlement,” while asking his Jewish interlocutors to “speak to your Israeli friends and relatives and search your souls to determine how badly do you really want peace … Israelis think this peace process is overrated.”
Note also the contrast between his holiday messages to Jews and to Muslims.
In his Rosh Hashanah message last year, Obama only once referred to ‘Jews,’ not once to ‘Judaism,’ promoted a Palestinian state, and never mentioned the extraordinary contributions of Jews to the U.S.
In contrast, in his August 2010 Ramadan Message, Obama referred to ‘Muslims’ six times and to ‘Islam’ twice, stated that “American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country,” and praised “Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings … a faith known for great diversity and racial equality.” Here, Obama, made no reference to what Muslims must do to achieve peace with Israel.
There are many other indicators of Obama evincing discomfort around Jewish matters. When, in May 2010, Obama signed the Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act, he did not mention that Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, was beheaded by Islamist terrorists because he was a Jew and that he was forced to state in the video recorded of his gruesome murder that he was an American Jew. Instead, Obama merely referred to Pearl’s “loss.”
And let’s not forget Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech, in which he compared the circumstances of Palestinians under Israeli rule to Jews under the Nazis and blacks under Apartheid. Nor his September 2009 UN speech, in which Obama “couple[d] unwavering commitment to Israel” with Israel “respecting the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.”
These incidents, some important, some less so, have assumed a troubling pattern. They suggest that President Obama has a distaste or even hostility towards Jews and Israel. But should we be surprised? He spent twenty years absorbing the anti-Israel sermons of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama has called a “great man,” his “friend” and “mentor.”
Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy.
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