In his inaugural address President Obama jettisoned the long-established locution that embodies the generally-accepted notion of “the Judeo-Christian tradition.” That tradition, in America, mandates the phrase “Christians and Jews,” with Christians in first place for the good reason that the roots of this country and most of those who founded it are Christian. Obama, however, said on January 20 that “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims,” and then, after a slight pause, “Jews and Hindus,” another slight pause, “and unbelievers.” Later, in his Al-arabiya interview, he demoted the Jews still further, calling America a country of “Muslims, Christians, Jews.” Obama’s actions (and inactions) with respect to Jewish concerns suggest that this demotion is real and not merely verbal.
The appointments to his Middle East “team” have been mostly leftovers from the Clinton administration — peace processors like George Mitchell and Dennis Ross, trotting out (for about the fifteenth time) the stale formulas of peace conferences and the “two-state solution.” But the new faces in positions that are crucial to formulation of Middle East policy are people notable for a distinct lack of charity in the Israeli direction, like Susan Rice at the UN and Samantha Power as Director of Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council. Power has in the past advocated ending all aid to Israel and even invading it to protect Palestinians from Israeli “genocide.” (One of her tasks is to look over the shoulder of Hillary Clinton, whom she called “a monster” in 2008.)
The Obama administration also chose Charles Freeman to serve as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman has blamed Israel not only for 9/11 and world terrorism but for nearly every evil on the globe with the (possible) exception of bird flu. But when his close ties to Saudi Arabia and China (and his approval of the Tiananmen Square massacre) became public knowledge, he withdrew.
Far more disturbing than Obama’s appointments however, has been his own obsession with appeasing the forces of militant Islam through flattery and oily sycophancy, embodied in his now famous bow from the waist before Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. His public utterances have been characterized by a hammering insistence on the need to “respect” Islam. He urged this no fewer than seven times in his Al-Arabiya interview, as if emulating George Galloway’s far left and pro-Hamas “Respect Party” in England.
At least as crucial for understanding Obama’s cold indifference to Jewish fears is what he has not said, especially during his recent grand tour of Europe, the continent that in his mind represents the high moral standards that America must strive to satisfy. His visit took place a week or so after the Religion of Perpetual Outrage had been expressing its outrage over Israeli actions in Gaza by staging virulent, often violent pro-Hamas demonstrations throughout the old post-Christian continent. Muslim Brotherhood members and their sympathizers took to the streets of European cities screaming, “Death to Israel! Death to the Jews!” In several cities they were joined by members of parliament. And shortly after Muslim mobs had intimidated policemen in London and Malmo, smashed up the Place de l’Opera in Paris, burned Israeli and American flags while chanting Allahu Akbar, Obama was busily apologizing to Europe in general for “our past arrogance.” All this happened while Europe was once again in full retreat, as the French-American writer Nidra Poller observed, from “enraged mobs bearing down on helpless victims.”
Nowhere in Europe was this more blatant than in Turkey, which in the three months prior to Obama’s recent speech there had been the scene of the fiercest anti-Israel and antisemitic agitation in all of Europe, extending from the streets to schools, newspapers, TV stations — for the very good reason that it was encouraged by Prime Minister Erdogan, who declared that “Israelis know very well how to kill” and that “Jews control the media.” But nary a word about this little unpleasantness crept into Obama’s April speech to Turkish parliamentarians. Rather, it was full of his usual calls for “respect” plus assurances that America is not and “never will be” at war with Islam. He also said, cryptically, that Islam had made great contributions to America — by which he meant not the massacres of 9/11 but the fact of his having had a Muslim father. Listening to him, a new arrival from Mars might well have gotten the impression that it is Muslims and not Jews who are the constant target of physical and verbal aggression throughout Europe.
The inability of Jew to recognize political realities is one of the marvels of human nature. James Baker once, with typical nastiness, alluded to it when he responded to expressions of American-Jewish unhappiness with his Middle East policies as follows: “F— the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.” Now Barack Obama seems to be saying: “F— the Jews, they always vote for us anyway.”