The education of Barack Hussein Obama came from extreme Leftist JewsIn 2007, I reached the conclusion that Barack Hussein Obama was bad news for Israel based on who his friends are. Ali Abunimah, Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Jeremiah Wright - they all pointed in one direction, and it wasn't a good direction for Israel.
Bret Stephens reports that Obama supporter Peter Beinart says that we have it all wrong. Obama's views on Israel came from a group of far Left Chicago Jews, who “bred in Obama a specific, and subversive, vision of American Jewish identity and of the Jewish state” (Hat Tip: Herb G). (For those who - like me - do not have online access to the Wall Street Journal, you can find the full article here).
At the center of this coterie, Mr. Beinart explains, was a Chicago rabbi named Arnold Jacob Wolf. In 1969, Wolf staged a synagogue protest in favor of Black Panther Bobby Seale. In the early 1970s, he founded an organization that met with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization—this being some 20 years before Arafat officially renounced terrorism. In the early 1990s, Wolf denounced the construction of the Holocaust Museum in Washington.Read the whole thing.
And, in 1996, the rabbi “was one of [Mr. Obama's] earliest and most prominent supporters” when he ran for the Illinois state Senate. Wolf later described Mr. Obama’s views on Israel as “on the line of Peace Now”—an organization with a long history of blaming Israel for the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Mr. Obama had other Jewish mentors, too, according to Mr. Beinart. One was Bettylu Saltzman, whose father, developer Philip Klutznick, had joined Wolf in “his break with the Israeli government in the 1970s.” Ms. Saltzman, writes Mr. Beinart, “still seethes with hostility toward the mainstream Jewish groups” and later became active in left-wing Jewish political groups like J Street. Among other things, it was she who “organized the rally against the Iraq War where Obama proclaimed his opposition to an American invasion.”
Ms. Saltzman also introduced Mr. Obama to David Axelrod, himself a longtime donor to a group called the New Israel Fund. For a flavor of the NIF’s world view, a WikiLeaks cable from 2010 noted that an NIF associate director told U.S. embassy officials in Tel Aviv that “the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”
Ruth of Ruthfully Yours puts rabbi Wolf into a context that I recognize.
Breira is the organization to which Stephens refers when he says Wolf started an organization in the early 70s. Arnold Jacob Wolf, whom Beinart singles out as the center of the far left coterie who shaped Obama’s attitudes toward Israel, was chairman of Breira, the first of the Jewish organizations (J Street is its current descendant) which sought to destroy Israel in the name of saving her soul. In 1977 AFSI published an expose of Breira by Rael Jean Isaac that the organization itself credited with leading to its demise. Readers interested in learning more about Breira and the ideas and role of Arnold Jacob Wolf can find the Breira pamphlet on the AFSI website. I will reproduce in a subsequent Ruthfully “The Rabbis of Breira” which has more material on the writings of Arnold Jacob Wolf. Thy destroyers and they that make thee waste shall go forth of thee. Isaiah 49:17I have discussed Breira several times on this blog, most notably here and here. And rabbi Wolf sent out a letter seeking support for Obama during the 2008 campaign that I discussed here.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama