Obama, as presidents have traditionally done, released a Passover message. It is typical Obama — off-key, hyper-political, and condescending. The core of the message is this:
The enduring story of the Exodus teaches us that, wherever we live, there is oppression to be fought and freedom to be won. In retelling this story from generation to generation, we are reminded of our ongoing responsibility to fight against all forms of suffering and discrimination, and we reaffirm the ties that bind us all.
No, he didn’t have the nerve to recite the emphatic exhortation “Next year in Jerusalem.” And frankly, it sounds like Eric Holder and his civil rights lawyers drafted it. Is Passover really about discrimination? Or is it about the deliverance of God’s Chosen People by God from bondage to the land of Israel? Hmm. Obama notes the “rich symbols, rituals, and traditions” but skips the God part. What is missing from Obama’s secularized spiel is the unique, historic, and, indeed, religious message of the Jewish holiday.
After a similarly tone-deaf message last year, a sharp wit contrasted Obama’s politically correct pablum with a message George Bush delivered on April 7, 2007, which adroitly affirmed the distinctive message of Passover (which fell the same week as Easter that year), and which read in part:
This week, people around the world celebrate Passover and Easter. These holy days remind us of the presence of a loving God who delivers His people from oppression, and offers a love more powerful than death. We take joy in spending this special time with family and friends, and we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.
One of our greatest blessings as Americans is that we have brave citizens who step forward to defend us. Every man or woman who wears our Nation’s uniform is a volunteer, a patriot who has made the noble decision to serve a cause larger than self. This weekend, many of our service men and women are celebrating the holidays far from home. They are separated from their families by great distances, but they are always close in our thoughts. And this Passover and Easter, I ask you to keep them in your prayers.
As Rachel Abrams noted then: “This religion without God thing is a tricky business.” And indeed a Passover message without Jerusalem is not only off-putting but it also reveals Obama’s mindset and lack of sympatico with the Jewish state and its centrality in the history and religious memory of the Jewish people. After all, the president who delivered the Cairo speech suggesting that Israel’s legitimacy rests on Holocaust guilt is really not the sort to get the Passover message right.