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President Obama’s Passover Insult

by Keith Koffler on April 22, 2011, 10:24 pm

Jews all over the world this week celebrate Passover, remembering their long ago emancipation from Egypt. But one thing they may choose to forget is the Passover “message” offered this year by President Obama.

In it, Obama compared the Jews’ flight to freedom with the revolutions engulfing the Arab world this year.

The story of Passover – which recalls the passage of the children of Israel from bondage and repression to freedom and liberty – inspires hope that those oppressed and enslaved can become free, The Seder, with its rich traditions and rituals, instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and responsibility it entails.

This year, that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.

This is an insult to the Jewish people. Most of the very Arabs seeking to overthrow their leaders would gladly pause in their work to partake in the destruction of Israel if offered the opportunity. They hate Israel, and many or most are enthusiastically anti-semitic. Obama has no business giving them a role in this cherished Jewish holiday.

Obama didn’t intend this as a slight, I’m sure. But it’s another example of how out of touch he can be. It’s insensitive to Jews, and it shows how little he understands the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The president, I’m sure, entirely misses the irony that one of the ways these threatened Arab regimes have stayed in power is to deflect the anger of ordinary Arab citizens away from themselves and onto Israel by stoking pro-Palestinian outrage. Or that the overthrow of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is a catastrophe for Israel, which had relied on him as a force for peace for 30 years. What follows Mubarak can only be worse – and possibly much worse – for both Israel and the United States.

I’m sure Obama views the Arab-Israeli conflict as a balanced argument and not what it is: the desire of Arabs who never accepted Israel’s existence to finally drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea after having failed numerous times to do so.

I know, this is all terribly insensitive and politically incorrect of me to say. But let’s look at some facts.

A 2010 Brookings Institute Arab public opinion poll asked the following question:

When you watch Israeli civilian casualties in the conflict with the Palestinians, which two of the following best describe your feelings?

“Israelis brought it upon themselves” was selected by 75 percent of the Arabs interviewed. “Revenge for the Palestinians” was chosen by 59 percent. “Empathy with the Israeli victimes was chosen by  . . . three percent. “Angry with the Palestinians” by one percent.

How about the following question: “When you watch a movie or a program about the Jewish Holocaust, which of the following is closest to your feelings?

Well, fully 97 percent chose “Empathize with the Jews who suffered under the Nazis.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, it would make sense, if it were true. Sorry to mislead you. In actuality, the number of Arabs who said they empathize with the Jews who suffered under the Nazis was three percent.

Fifty nine percent chose “resent it as I feel it brings sympathy toward Israel and Jews at the expense of Palestinians and Arabs.” Twenty nine percent charitably selected the option, “I have mixed feelings.”

One of the nice things about doing this blog is that, in my research for it, I learn something new every day. For example, I WASN’T AWARE IT WAS POSSIBLE TO HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST.

Mr. President, please, in the future, leave the Arabs out of Jewish holiday greetings. Thanks.

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{ 26 comments }

Granny Jan April 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

What more proof would you need that he is an anti-semite than a partial list of his “former” friends: Jeremiah Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abunimah, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn. According to Abunimah, editor of the Electronic Infitada, Obama told him when he was running for office that he couldn’t speak up about Palestinian issues now but that he would in the future.

I once read about an encounter that Obama had with a Jewish Hyde Park neighbor. When the neighbor brought up Israel, Obama turned cold and walked away. Then there’s the Rashid Khalidi tape we’ve never seen.

Keith Koffler April 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

What a group.

D.V. April 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Bravo, well and clearly written.

Keith Koffler April 22, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Thanks DV.

srdem65 April 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Your piece brought back memories of my dear Father.
He never spoke of his wartime memories until he and I were watching CNN showing live shots of the first war in the Gulf. He was amazed at the modern weaponry and the seemingly detached fighting by our soldiers and compared it to his time in Europe during WWII. He talked of the destruction he saw of the major cities in Germany. I asked him if he saw the concentration camps and all he did was nod and say “it was bad”. He wouldn’t answer any more of my questions, so I let it be.

MrO’s insults are legion. There are few groups or individuals left that he hasn’t insulted or ridiculed. He’s not a nice person.

Keith Koffler April 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Srdem, can’t imagine what he saw. WWII was so hard on our boys, but they did not have access to the counseling soldiers have today. I’ve met other WWII vets who also wouldn’t talk about it, and only a few who would say much. Glad to bring back a memory for you.

I’ll tell you a story, not saying it applies to your dad. My father once told me that the Russians, when they liberated the camps, gave their machine guns to the Jews and let then shoot the Nazi guards.

I used to be a bartender in Washington. One of my regulars – not a big drinker, mostly came for lunch – was a WWII vet who served in Europe. He’d talk about it a little. I related what my father said about the Russians. He looked at me and said, “What do you think we did?”

Good for him.

Holy Smoke April 23, 2011 at 2:59 am

At least he stopped short and did not insist that every Israeli invite a Muslim over for the Seder and sing Kumbaya.

Jew for Peace April 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm

And what would be so wrong with that? Why shouldn’t Jewish people (not just Israelis) and Muslims make an attempt to reach a peaceful agreement with regard to Israel? You really think Muslim people are that bad? Well, I am sure they feel the same way about Jews. Once you give up your prejudices, maybe they will give up theirs.

qestout April 23, 2011 at 6:27 am

I don’t even know what to say…speechless…..Wow.

sportinlife10 April 23, 2011 at 7:12 am

I am so happy that you brought this to our attention again…not only happy but vindicated in realizing this is a great site. What the tone-deaf (your phrase) o did was sacriligious.
I’m pretty sure I gave you some $$ support. Smarty me.

Keith Koffler April 23, 2011 at 10:19 am

Thanks sportinlife, you are very kind.

Maryb April 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

Beg to disagree with you…I do believe he did intend to insult Jews everywhere with his Seder comments. He was and is an anti-Semite.

sportinlife10 April 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

Your point is better taken than mine. Grats.

Star April 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

It’s all a function of their “one the one hand this,” “on the other hand that” equivlanecy mindset–this is supposed to be intellectual. But so misses the point.

Susan April 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Thank you Keith for having the courage to write this very insightful article. I think you are way too generous to the man in regards to his intentions. He knew exactly what he was saying. His way of stealing the meaning of Passover to serve his own agenda. He is profaning faith for political purposes and if he had any faith at all he would know his actions have consequences.

MaryOhSoContrary April 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Keith, you are showing the spirit of Passover with your kindness towards Obama’s intentions with his choice of words. IMO, he (and/or his writers) knew exactly the shameful slight the words chosen would elicit.

Kinda like the reverse of ‘…the most beautiful sound on earth…’ (the muslim call to prayer). He/they always KNOW what his words say.

Kimmy April 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Obama’s true colors will show regarding Israel & Jews. Both Congress & Senate are pro-Israel. What or who is withholding America’s support? Obama, yes that’s right. The cat will soon be out of the bag.
Even Democrats have even acknowledged this.
There’s a saying that comes to mind: Birds of a feather flock together. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

jeff April 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

Thought I would share some current news from Barry’s partners in peace.
Who he is insisting on backing still…

Palestinian Authority Police Kill Israeli near Joseph’s Tomb
Published: 04/24/11, 6:38 AM / Last Update: 04/24/11, 6:34 AM
Palestinian Authority police Sunday morning shot and killed one Israeli and wounded three others when they tried to pray at Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) around 6 a.m. Sunday (11 p.m. Saturday night EDT).

One of the wounded is in serious condition, and Army helicopters evacuated the injured to a hospital for emergency care. The group of worshippers from the Breslov Chassidic sect had driven to the site when they were gunned down. One of the drivers rushed the murder victim to a nearby IDF checkpoint.

The IDF hurriedly issued a statement that the trip to Kever Yosef was not coordinated with Israeli security forces.

Kever Yosef is a Jewish holy site that was supposed to be under Israeli control and open to worshippers as stated in previous agreements. However, the government has surrendered the area to Palestinian Authority control, and local Arabs have desecrated it several times.

The attack on the morning before the last day of the Passover holiday comes less than a month after the savage stabbings of Rabbi Udi Fogel, his wife Ruthie and three of their six young children, including a three-month-old baby, in community of Itamar, also located in Samaria.

Residents of Judea and Samaria frequently have warned that the removal of roadblocks and checkpoints in the area would make it easier for Arab terrorists to stage attacks and would encourage PA police to attack Jews. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has argued that the easing of security measures are “goodwill” measures that strengthen PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s popularity and help him fight terror.

Barry is trying to serve them up…

Donna April 24, 2011 at 10:50 am

And yet – the overwhelming majority of American Jews voted for him in 2008 and will vote for him in 2011. And they detested Bush, who was a strong supporter of Israel.

This gentile really doesn’t get it.

The Plague Fairy April 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

I wondered how he’d make Passover all about himself and add a “shout out” to the Arabs. Simply shameful.
Good article, thank you, Sir.

grant ellsworth April 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Dear Mr. Koffler, I do not agree. It seems to me that arab hostility and intransgience with respect to Israel has been stoked up by these autocratic regimes. When the autocrats are all gone and the dust settles, it is quite possible that this insane hostility and intransigence will start to subside.

Mastiff April 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm

As much contempt as I have for Obama, I think this is harmless. I know of eminent Chassidic rabbis who have made the same comparison between the Exodus and the present Arab revolutions. And really, I shed no tears for Mubarak or Qaddhafi. Mubarak was no friend, he only knew which side his bread was buttered on. And Qaddhafi? Yeah.

Let’s not fall into the trap that the BDS sufferers did, where everything the President did was prima facie the WORST THING EVER. There’s enough real problems with Obama that we don’t need to make up more, God knows.

Bill in AZ April 25, 2011 at 7:08 am

We know this stuff is written for him. Are his own people this stupid or are they intentionally derisive at 0bama’s insistence?

Susan Bivens April 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I learned something new that I didn’t realize, or forgot, that Mubarak has been an “ally” to Israel over the past 30 years and reminded of when Arafat was replaced…words can’t describe the sadness that I feel for the majority of people who are uneducated about what really goes on in the Middle East. It continues to sadden me that the leader of our country is so thoughtless and it saddens me more that I voted for him. Maybe he didn’t mean anything by it, but as the president he has to think about everything that he says…I home that the American Jewry does not support him if he chooses to bid for re-election.

Susan Bivens April 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I hope, not I “home”

Greg the Electrician April 26, 2011 at 10:10 am

Obama’s comment is really “off-topic”…and finger pointing somewhat.

Israel was scheduled to return to their land, after the last of them were removed at about 70 A.D, by the Roman Military. They were under Roman Authorities even prior to Christ’s arrival.

Now, since they have returned, and “done their time”, they are under The Abrahamic Covent or the Davidac Covenant or both.

Now, God has a schedule of events to happen once they return as prophecied (EZ Ch 36)..

Daniel’s 70th week needs to be fullfiled. The detail of this terrible time is written about in The Bk of Revelation.