Is the American Jewish leadership finally waking up to Obama's anti-Israel views?They were silent and worse during the 2008 election campaign. Could it be that America's 'Jewish leaders' are finally waking up to the evil intentions of the Obama administration regarding the State of Israel? Well, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is about as 'establishment' as you can get, and he is plainly concerned with what's going on in Washington.
Jewish leaders “are expressing concern about what was said [in Obama’s Cairo speech],” Hoenlein says. “I’ve heard it from some of his strongest supporters. It’s expected from his detractors. Even people close to him have said to us that there were parts of the speech that bothered them.”NOW they're concerned? Where were they two years ago? How did they not see this coming down the pike? It was plainly visible to anyone who wanted to see it coming. Need I list the names of Obama's troubling associates? Any one of Ali Abunimah, Bill Ayers, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter, Chas Freeman, Lee Hamilton, Rashid Khalidi, Robert Malley, Tony McPeak, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Edward Said, Brent Scowcroft or Jeremiah Wright should have set off alarm bells in the Jewish community. The combination of them should have been ringing in the ears of the Jewish leadership. And the McCain campaign should have been ringing those alarm bells too.
Obama’s speech to a Muslim audience in Cairo in early June was his second effort early in his administration to re-define America’s posture toward the Arab world. In April, Obama traveled to Ankara, Turkey, to offer a similar outreach to the Muslim world.
But many in the Jewish community, including some of Obama’s most ardent supporters, are troubled by his comments in the Middle East, especially his remarks to his Cairo audience. Others are concerned that, facing a multitude of problems on the domestic front, Obama has traveled twice to the Middle East without visiting Israel, America’s stalwart ally in the region for more than a half-century.
“There’s a lot of questioning going on about what he really believes and what does he really stand for,” Hoenlein says of Obama’s outreach.
Hoenlein is disturbed that Obama did not mention the Jewish people’s ancient connection with the land of Israel.
“There was no reference to the 3,000 years of Jewish connection to this land,” Hoenlein says. “And that is again one of the propaganda lines that the Arabs have used: that the Jews are interlopers, that the two temples never existed, that there was never any Jewish history in the land of Israel. Even Yasser Arafat and others have used that argument because they’re trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state. I don’t believe that was the president’s intent, but not making those references I think is troubling.”
Jews have claimed a connection to the land of their forefathers since 1400 B.C. Even after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. and the dispersal of many Jews throughout the Roman Empire, many Jews continued to reside in Jerusalem through the centuries, surviving various invasions. An Ottoman census of Jersualem conducted in 1845 showed Jews outnumbered Muslim Arabs by almost to 2 to 1 and were the dominant ethnic group in the region.
Hoenlein believes that the most troubling aspect of Obama’s comments in his Cairo speech was his effort to equate the Nazi killing of more than six million Jews during the Holocaust with Israel’s struggle with the Palestinians over six decades and the suffering caused by the displacement of the Palestinians.
“There’s no comparison between the Holocaust, even if it was an indirect one, and what happened to Palestinians,” Hoenlein declares.
In his speech, President Obama addressed the issue of the Holocaust head-on, saying “Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.”
But he quickly changed the subject, comparing Hitler’s genocide of the Jews to the Palestinian struggle.
“On the other hand,” Obama said, as he transitioned from the Holocaust to the modern Middle East, “it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.”
Hoenlein doesn’t buy Obama’s line of reasoning.
“The Palestinian refugee problem, or dislocation as he said, didn’t come about because of the creation of the Jewish state,” Hoenlein says. “It came about because the Arab states declared war on Israel and warned the Arabs that they would suffer the same fate as the Jews if they didn’t get out. And then they kept them as political pawns.”
Obama made no reference to the fact that “the reason the Palestinians don’t have a state is because their leaders rejected every offer for peace,” Hoenlein says. “Whether it was in 1937 or 1947 or 1967, or later on, up until Ehud Olmert’s offer and Ehud Barak’s offer, they rejected everything, even when they were getting virtually everything they had asked for.”
That is because, “The problem really is not what Israel does, it’s that Israel is,” Hoenlein says. “And they’re not ready to accept the existence of the Jewish state.”
In discussing the Palestinian refugee problem, Obama failed to mention the other refugee problem involving nearly a million Jews, Hoenlein says. At the time of the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Jews populated all of the major Arab cities from Baghdad in the East to Casablanca in the West.
Hoenlein notes that after modern Israel saw its rebirth, Jews “were driven out of Arab countries penniless, and some of their families had lived there for a thousand years, and yet there was no reference to them.” He adds, “This is not a question of tit for tat. It’s a question of the realities that are communicated to a vast audience in the Arab Muslim world.”
As troubling as Obama’s references to Israel and the Palestinians were, Hoenlein found the president’s failure to mention the radical regime now running Tehran equally disturbing.
”What concerned us, concerned many people, was the message to Iran that we didn’t hear,” Hoenlein says.
Instead, the Jewish community fell into lockstep behind the likes of Bob Wexler and Gary Ackerman who kept assuring everyone that it was perfectly fine to jerk their knees once again and vote Democratic even when Jesse Jackson was bragging that change was coming and Obama was issuing quick denials because Jackson said it too soon. 78% of American Jews - 78%! - voted for Barack "Can't say my middle name is Hussein until after the elections" Obama.
Welcome aboard Malcolm. We've been waiting for you for too long.
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