Rev. Jeremiah Wright, longtime pastor of Barack Obama's former Chicago church, has sparked new controversy by claiming "them Jews" won't let him speak to Obama.
Attending the Hampton University Ministers' Conference in Virginia, Wright said in an interview on Tuesday that he had not spoken with Obama since he became president
The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ told Virginia's Daily Press: "Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office . . .
"They will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is."
Wright said Obama should have sent an American delegation to the recent World Conference on Racism in Switzerland, but chose not to do so for fear of offending Jews and Israel. The U.S. and several other countries boycotted the conference in large part because it was viewed as anti-Israel.
"Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza," Wright declared. "Ethnic cleansing (by) the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel."
Richard Gordon, chairman of the Community Relations Commission of the United Jewish Community Center, told the Daily Press: "My impression is that Barack Obama . . . is doing what he thinks is in the best interest of the country, and his advisers are telling him the best way to accomplish that.
"It would also be my opinion that he wants to distance himself from Rev. Wright because of these spurious and ridiculous accusations that he consistently and persistently makes."
On the Sunday following 9/11, Wright characterized the terrorist attacks as a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later, Wright suggested that the attacks were retribution for America’s racism.
Wright has said America created the AIDS virus to kill off blacks. He gave an award for lifetime achievement to Louis Farrakhan. He has equated Zionism with racism and has compared Israel with South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid.
Obama resigned from Trinity United in May after nearly 20 years as a member. Rev. Wright had retired as senior pastor several months earlier.
In his interview with the Daily Press, Rev. Wright said he did vote for Obama but added: "He made mistakes. He made bad choices. I've got kids who listen to their friends. He listened to those around him. I did not disown him."
Rev. William Curtis, president of the Ministries Conference, said: "Dr. Wright is a part of the church and he is a friend of the church and his views are personal. And they don't represent the statements and views of the entire African-American pulpit."
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