Our new president did not tell a virulent anti-Semite to travel to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington to kill Jews, but he is most certainly creating a climate of hate against us.
It is no coincidence that we are witnessing this level of hatred toward Jews as President Barack Obama positions America against the Jewish state.
Just days ago Obama traveled to Cairo, Egypt. It was his second trip in a short time to visit Muslim countries. He sent a clear message by not visiting Israel.
But this was code.
In Cairo, Obama said things that pose a grave danger to Jews in Israel, in America and everywhere.
And if his views are not vigorously opposed they will help create a danger as great as that posed by the Nazis to the Jewish people.
Just last week, Obama told his worldwide audience — more than 100 million people — that the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust was the equivalent of Israel’s actions in dealing with the Palestinians.
This remark is incredible on its face, an insult to the six million Jews who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide — and it is a form of revisionism that will bode evil for Jews for years to come.
While Obama acknowledged that “six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today” — his discussion about the Holocaust was followed by this statement: “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.”
“On the other hand . . . ”?
Obama’s clever construct comparing the mass genocide of six million Jews to the Palestinian struggle will not be lost on the estimated 100 million Muslims who tuned into to hear him.
Perhaps it was not lost on James W. von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist identified as the alleged attacker Wednesday at the Holocaust Museum. He apparently felt that he could easily take retribution against the Jews for the atrocities Obama implies they are guilty of.
At first blush Mr. Obama’s speech seemed rosy, optimistic — one that espoused tolerance and understanding.
If you scratch the surface it is a dangerous document that history will view as a turning point for America and Israel — one that will lead to dangerous times ahead for both Jews and believing Christians.
The immediate danger posed by Obama’s speech is in its incredible re-writing of the history of Jews, Christians and Muslims from Medieval times to the present.
Obama, continually throughout his speech, talks of Islam’s peaceful intent. And while there are certainly Koranic verses that support this interpretation, Islam has a long and bloody history of violence against fellow Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Has Obama not heard about the Muslim’s violent conquest of the Middle East, Spain and half of Western Europe? Was he never taught that the Crusades sought to turn back this Muslim onslaught that demanded subjugated populations convert or die?
In his almost hour-long speech, there is not a single word about Islam’s well known and checkered past.
Ironically, the American president offered plenty of references to what he sees are America’s evils, such as its “colonialism” and history of slavery.
“For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation,” Obama told his audience, citing a litany of American shortcomings. He failed to mention that Arab Muslims were the greatest slave traders in the history of humanity.
According to Obama, Israelis, too, are guilty of wrongdoing, especially when it comes to their supposed maltreatment of the Palestinians.
Isn’t it odd an American president would go to a foreign country and slander his own country and its long-time ally?
At the same time he praises — unconditionally — a religion and culture that has a long history of being antithetical to the very values that have made America a great nation?
Mr. Obama even has the unbelievable gall, when talking about the treatment of Muslim women, to condemn Western countries for attempting to stop Muslim women from using the full facial cover, or hijab. This is a symbol of Muslim subjugation of women.
Listen to what Obama said: “Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear.”
And Obama not only ignores the gross subjugation of women in many Arab societies — he does not mention even once the almost total religious intolerance throughout the Muslim world against Christians and Jews.
In his speech, Obama’s only plea for Muslim women living in Muslim countries is that they should be afforded an education.
How about a discussion of the beheading of Arab women for “crimes” such as adultery? How about the malicious treatment of women in Muslim countries who choose not to wear the hijab?
Obama insists that Islam has promoted tolerance and that in Islamic societies such ideals have flourished.
Obama claimed that “as a student of history” he understands more than most the truth about “civilization's debt to Islam.”
He added, “And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
Does he not know that a Jew or Christian would be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for practicing their religion today, now, this minute?
Of course, Obama offers not one example of where religious freedom is truly tolerated in the Muslim world. Yet, he proudly told his audience that in every state of the union and throughout the U.S. there exist more than 1,200 mosques.
But why, Mr. President, is there no Christian Church or Jewish synagogue operating within the borders of Saudi Arabia? Not even one.
Why in many countries, including your host Egypt, Christian churches have suffered vicious and continual persecution? Why is a once vibrant Cairo Jewish community — a home for the likes of Maimonides — today practically extinct?
Why, dear president, has the ancient Christian community in the West Bank and places like Bethlehem been almost completely wiped out by the modern Muslim onslaught?
“On the other hand,” to quote you Mr. President, you avoided mentioning some other truths.
Let’s start with the Israeli Arabs who can claim one of the highest standards of living in the Arab world. Indeed, they have more rights than Arabs in any Muslim country, their religious freedom is completely protected, and they even vote in free elections.
Tell me what Muslim country matches Israel’s record in protecting its minorities?
Even Arabs in the West Bank, during the time of Israeli control, saw their standard of living rise dramatically. Today, Arabs there are among the best educated in the world, thanks to Israel.
In your revisionist view, Israel has acted to harm these people. But it was not Israel that could not abide by United Nations resolutions clearly setting borders for both the state of Israel and an entity that had never existed before named Palestine.
You cleverly omitted any discussion of these facts, or the continual attacks against the state of Israel over six decades by its Muslim neighbors. Nor is it the Israelis who persecute from time to time the Coptic Christians of Egypt.
No, Mr. President, I do not accept your assertion that you are seeking religious tolerance or that you are seeking to protect Jews. I do not accept it because you are inventing a false history to fit your own agenda.
Mr. President, I am deeply disturbed that you would offer such a distortion of truth in the hopes of creating a lasting peace. A lasting peace cannot be created out of lies, distortions and half truths.
You profess to be a Christian. But you seem more intent on protecting Muslims. In your speech you talked openly of your Muslim heritage, your admiration of their way of life, and so forth. You said in your speech that you have made one of your chief aims of your presidency repairing the image of Islam.
Why did you hide these views from the American public during the recent presidential campaign?
Why, as president, did you fully bow to the Saudi king, who refuses to allow any religious freedom for any Christian or Jew?
You have made clear, by your words and assertions, that you are re-positioning the United States away from Israel, America’s lone democratic ally in the Mid-East.
You have made clear through your statements and those of your minions that Israel should, under no circumstances, prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
And yes, you have promised to retaliate against Iran if it ever attacks Israel with nuclear weapons.
But you know full well that if Iran succeeds in its admitted goal of “wiping the Jewish state off the map” — and hits this tiny nation with nuclear warheads — there will be no Israel for the U.S. to retaliate on behalf of.
Some Jews may be naïve, but we are not stupid.
Rabbi Dr. Morton H. Pomerantz is a member of the Reform movement of Judaism and serves as a chaplain for the State of New York. A former Navy and Marine Corps officer and chaplain, he has also served as deputy national chaplain for the Jewish War Veterans of the United States.
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