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."