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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Obama declares himself an expert on Judaism

President Obama told 'Conservative Jewish leaders' on Tuesday that he knows more about Judaism than any other President (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). I assume that 'Conservative' here means members of the US Conservative Jewish movement, and not politically conservative Jewish leaders (Hat Tip: The Weekly Standard via Memeorandum).
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Obama and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew met about 20 Conservative Jewish community leaders, thanking them for the work they do to improve communities around the country and discussed their shared commitment to rebuilding the U.S. economy.

The U.S. president, according to a readout of the session also reiterated his unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and steps his Administration has taken to enhance it - including unprecedented security cooperation and the toughest-ever sanctions on Iran.”

There were some questions directed at the presidents concerning his thoughts on the role of religious leaders in a more civil political dialogue, which then lead to the inevitable question - how does he feels about Israel? Obama joked that Lew always warns him it will get to "the kishkes question."

"Rather than describe how deeply I care about Israel, I want to be blunt about how we got here," Obama said, reminding his guests that he had so many Jewish friends in Chicago at the beginning of his political career that he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby.

In the Senate, he said, his support for Israel's qualitative military edge has been unwavering.

Obama added that people judged his support for Israel because of the differences between a center right government in Israel and center-left in the U.S. - because he pressed Netanyahu too hard in his belief that it was time to seize the moment and pursue peace initiative.

Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it - and wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel about their support to Israel.
I imagine that the next thing we will hear is that The One studies Daf Yomi (the daily Talmud folio whose cycle is to be completed in another two months).

As to Obama's Jewish friends, we already know who they were, don't we? Is that authentic Judaism? Not in my book.

YNet adds:
During the meeting, Obama told the rabbis that when he was running for Senate some accused him of being the Jewish lobby's "puppet" because of his many Jewish associates in Chicago. Now, he said, the Republicans are trying to portray him as not being supportive of Israel by stressing the fact that his father was Muslim and he has a Muslim name, as well as by claiming that he had been overly aggressive in pushing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promote the peace process with the Palestinians.

According to the US leader, he had Israel's best interest in mind.
Where have we heard that cheap shot about his Muslim name before?

Bill Kristol adds:
1. The reason no one asks John Boehner or Mitch McConnell about their support for Israel is ... because they really do support Israel. The reason people ask Barack Obama about his support for Israel is because his support for Israel has been equivocal.

2. It's truly pathetic that Obama has to reach for the tired (to say the least) trope that some of his best friends were Jewish. Actually, one wishes more of his best friends were pro-Israel Christians. They might have had more luck convincing him, a fellow Christian, that he should be pro-Israel.

3. And the claim that Obama knows more about Judaism than any president? His vanity boggles the mind. One could begin by citing Adams and Madison, who knew Hebrew, or Harry Truman, who knew Jewish history ... but it's silly to dignify this claim with a rebuttal. In thinking about the presidents since Truman, though, I'd guess the president who knew the most about Judaism was Jimmy Carter, who taught Sunday school and had a deep interest in religion. So let's stipulate that of the modern presidents, Carter and Obama "know" the most about Judaism. But what is it they know? In Obama's case, one could ask whether what he “knows” is what he learned from Rashid Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright.
And what's most pathetic here is that the American Jewish community is actually falling for this. Simply pathetic.

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2 Comments:

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Were any of his friends kosher and inmarried! Im talking about youDWS and Rahmbo

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger Will said...

Hi Carl.

He forgot to mention the part of 'judaism' he learned from 'The Holy Koran'.

 

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