Can Jews cut President Obama some slack already? (COMMENTARY)

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Photographed through a Menorah, U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a celebration of Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial of Stockholm, on September 4, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-SALKIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on June 3, 2015.

Photographed through a Menorah, U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a celebration of Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial of Stockholm, on September 4, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-SALKIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on June 3, 2015.

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(RNS) President Obama might not be the "member of the tribe" he has proclaimed that he is, but that doesn't mean he's anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. It's time for Jews to lay off the vitriol.

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  • Doc Anthony

    I’m not Jewish, but I can trust Rabbi Salkin’s commitment to the security and peace of the people of Israel.

    Wish I could say the same for Barack Obama, but nooooooope !!

  • Larry

    Israel’s security is not in question. The West Bank is neutered and Hamas is getting enough trouble from the Egyptian side of Gaza to be no more than a nuisance.

    Obama, Netanyahu and pretty much everyone in the region knows Iran is bluffing on the nuclear issue. No country actually seeking nuclear weapons announces its uranium enrichment program in public. Iran’s danger lies not in the expensive PR boondoggle of a nuclear arms race.

    The danger lies in the money and arms they funnel to proxy forces such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Sadr militias and support of the Syrian government. No American president, Republican or Democrat sees fit to address that one beyond public posturing.

  • JeffB

    Rabbi Salkin —

    This year, the president of the United States deliberately, knowingly and willfully misled allies within the Democratic party so as to create a foreign policy crisis for the purpose of intimidating the Prime Minister of Israel into changing his position on Iran. I agree with Obama on Iran, and disagree with Netanyahu. But Obama’s actions of trying to act like Queen Bee of a sorority rather than respectfully and honestly disagreeing with Netanyahu was disgusting. He deserves the criticism and the lack of the support.

    UN action against Israel should be off the table. USA law is clear, the Jerusalem embassy act does not recognize UN 242 and the 1967 borders. Obama is acting outside of USA law in his position towards Israel. USA policy towards Israel should be that the USA will permit no UN action on the settlements.

    But regardless of whether Obama wants to act within the law he shouldn’t be threatening Israel. If he does he deserve the criticism.

  • Jack

    Sorry, but while I don’t believe Obama is anti-Semitic, I do believe his gut-level sentiments are hostile to Israel. It would be odd if this were not so, given how, throughout his formative years, he was surrounded not by liberal-minded people but by radical-left influences who have only had distain for Israel.

    You can delete this if you’d like, but that doesn’t change reality, any more than you can blot out the sun by shutting your eyes.

    There is a big difference between traditional American liberalism and the post-1960s radical left, and Barack Obama’s upbringing, influences, choice of church (Rev. Wright’s liberation theology), and articulated sentiments demonstrate that he is closer to the radical left than to mainstream liberalism.

    And that alone explains what sets him apart on the issue of Israel.

  • Agreed. It’s also time for progressives to cut Jews some slack. I wish that my fellow liberals would take the time to try to learn something about the situation before espousing beliefs that are consistent with Hezbollah. Some of it is rank anti-Semitism coming from people who are LGBT and immigration advocates.

  • Jack

    David, I don’t think “progressives” have anything against Jews per se. But I do think their ideology naturally tilts them away from Israel. You want them to abandon their ideology on the Israel issue, but they are not willing to do so. And part of the reason is that not enough Jews who lean left are willing to make them pay a steep price for their anti-Israel views.

  • It would be wise to express great concern over what this man has done to Israel. It is not wise to look at what he says but rather what he does!. Ask yourself, is Israel’s safety better today then when he took office? The answer is obvious. He is an instrument of war not of peace. The prophets spoke of a time that would come when all the nations of the world would surround Israel seeking to destroy it. We are closer to that day today then a time of Israel’s peace. Messiah Himself will intervene for Israel and destroy its enemies in an act of judgment of the nations. Who knows how far off that day really is? Judgment will come, on the nations as well as judgment upon individual sin. Jesus/Yeshua took God’s judgment upon Himself by His atonement, for all who will receive Him as Savior and Messiah. We can surely find peace and refuge there. Shalom