Barack Obama is personally hurt when people call him an anti-Semite, the president said in an interview with the Jewish newspaper the Forward. Obama says "there not a smidgen of evidence for" the accusation.
The editor of the Forward asked the president, "[D]oes it hurt you personally when people say that you’re anti-Semitic?"
"Oh, of course. And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times where I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue. And I’ve said before, and I will continue to say, that if you care deeply about Israel, then you have an obligation to be honest about what you think, the same way you would with any friend. And we don’t do anybody, any friend, a service by just rubber-stamping whatever decisions they make, even if we think that they’re damaging in some fashion," the president said.
"And the good news is that the people I’m close to, the people who know me, including people who disagree with me on this issue, would never even think about making those statements. I get probably more offended when I hear members of my administration who themselves are Jewish being attacked. You saw this historically sometimes in the African American community, where there’s a difference on policy and somebody starts talking about, well, you’re not black enough, or you’re selling out. And that, I think, is always a dangerous place to go.
"These are hard issues, and worthy of serious debate. But you don’t win the debate by suggesting that the other person has bad motives. That’s I think not just consistent with fair play; I think it’s consistent with the best of the Jewish tradition."
A week ago, I suggested that—contrary to conventional wisdom and perhaps even to first-blush common sense—the GOP field might benefit from one or more new candidates. One of the well-qualified dark horses I mentioned was third-term Rep. Mike Pompeo from Wichita, Kansas.
President Obama claims, as Bill Kristol noted in his editorial in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, that no country in the world has expressed opposition to his deal with Iran, with the exception of Israel. But that's not accurate. Canada, the United States' biggest trading partner—and, traditionally, its closest ally—has made it clear it wants no part of an agreement normalizing relations between Iran and the West.
This week President Obama sealed his legacy as the most divisive president in modern times, who will leave behind both worsened race relations and a set of arguments about Iran that will surely feed anti-Semitism.
Cleveland As the clock ticks down to tonight's set of debates in Cleveland, the Democrats have set up their spin shop to try and sway the press. The venue they chose, the Radisson Hotel Cleveland-Gateway, may sound like an ordinary hotel, but beneath the surface lies an awkward controversy for the ostensibly pro-Israel DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
According to Iranian-based media, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif appeared on a panel today at Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations where he spoke about the nuclear agreement he negotiated with the P5+1 last month in Vienna. Zarif explained that the so-called snap-back sanctions mechanism was less effective than the Obama administration claims. “Our snap-back is easier than theirs,” is how one Iranian journalist tweeted Zarif’s talk, “because we can resume our work with nuts and bolts, but they should convince countries to resume sanctions.” Also, said Zarif, “doing business with foreigners is a guarantee to make them unable to use snap-back mechanism.”
In May, President Barack Obama donned a yarmulke and spoke in a Washington, D.C., synagogue. He reminded his audience that Jeffrey Goldberg, a member of the congregation, once called him the “first Jewish president.” He claimed to be flattered by the characterization. And perhaps he was—most Jews, after all, voted for him for president, and many Jews of Obama’s acquaintance have sometimes seemed to care more about the well-being of Planned Parenthood than about the survival of the state of Israel.
Secretary of State John Kerry's warning that Israel will be "blamed" if Congress opposes the Iran agreement conjures up troubling memories of other instances in which Israel or Jews were warned they might be blamed for international conflicts.
Across the Middle East, there is concern about the nuclear deal with Iran. By releasing frozen assets and removing economic sanctions, the deal seems to facilitate renewed aggression. Won’t that encourage more violence from Iranian terror proxies, like Hezbollah and Hamas? The international community is preparing its response.
Hillary Clinton failed to rebuke a questioner at an event today who criticized Israel. "[M]y third question is about Israel, we spend too much money, $6 billion dollars to Israel funding apartheid!" said the questioner. "There is not the shared values that we are supposed to share with Israel!"
The Pentagon is illustrating Defense Secretary Ash Carter's trip to Israel with a picture of any angry-looking Benjamin Netanyahu. The picture is available on the Defense Department's website:
The caption reads, "U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following a meeting to discuss matters of mutual importance in Jerusalem, July 21, 2015."
Last month the general synod of the United Church of Christ approved a resolution calling on its members and local churches to boycott products made in the West Bank. The resolution also called on the denomination's local churches and the organizations that manage UCC-related investments to divest from companies that do business with Israel's defense establishment.