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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Wright factor

Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg explains why he didn't vote for Obama and why it still matters.
But as events have unfolded, even sadder to say unfortunately I think I was right in my concern about what Mr. Obama had not said. For 20 years he went to a church whose minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spoke in terms that were both critical of America and of Israel. And Mr. Obama had never raised his voice in protest. He not only should have, he could have! Let me tell you about a man who, in similar circumstances, did! His name is Abraham Foxman, and he is the head of the Anti-Defamation League. Mr. Foxman was a member of a prominent synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey but he found himself in a similar position. And he left his synagogue.

In his words, "I tried to have my rabbi change his views. I went to fellow congregants to see if they could have an impact on him. Only at a point in time where that didn't happen I resigned." And he went on to say, "It was a wrenching decision, this was a synagogue where my son was Bar Mitzvahed, this was a synagogue where every happy event and every sad event I celebrated … this was my religious home." But he got up and left!

And when Rev. Wright's words came out into the open, I asked myself: why didn't Mr. Obama do the same? And it wasn't just a matter of Rev. Wright's words and it wasn't just a matter of Mr. Obama's close relationship with him … it was a matter of the whole church being enveloped with a "liberation theology" with it's Bulletin reprinting pro-Hamas articles. Wouldn't all this have had an effect on Mr. Obama's thinking? I asked myself.

James Tisch, the Manhattan billionaire and Chief Executive of Loews Corp. and long time activist in Jewish causes and philanthropies, thinks it did! In light of everything that has now been unfolding, Mr. Tisch recently said, "I think the President comes to this from Jeremiah Wright's church and there is no doubt in my mind that in Jeremiah Wright's church the Palestinians were portrayed as freedom fighters and not as terrorists." In light of Mr. Obama finding the time to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, but not Israel … in light of his refusing to take a picture with Prime Minister Netanyahu after their recent meeting … in light of so much emphasis being placed on the settlements … in light of the recent resurrection of Zbignew Brezinski … in light of new talk about an imposed settlement … in light of all this and more, I have to agree with Mr. Tisch.


[T]he disagreements that are now taking place between America and Israel are different than the disagreements in the past. They are different on two levels.

First, for the first time that I can think of, Israel is being accused of being the one that is the hindrance to peace. That's never happened before!


And to make matters worse, Israel is not only now being blamed for hindering peace with the Palestinians, talk has started to boil to the surface that Israel is to be blamed for the death of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a libel … this is a blood libel! We've heard these accusations before, but they always came from the extreme fringes; from the Pat Buchanans and others of his ilk. Now the talk is becoming more mainstream. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, was quoted as saying that Israel's stubbornness makes the U.S. appear impotent. In a statement later denied, Vice President Biden was quoted as telling Prime Minister Netanyahu, "What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus sends a statement to the Pentagon with a stark warning: "America's relationship with Israel is important but not as important as the lives of American soldiers."

A member of the administration is quoted as accusing Dennis Ross of having a dual loyalty. And we're told that it's all "misunderstood" or "misquoted" … it "doesn't mean anything." Well, I could read you quotes from the Palestinian Chronicle and from the Jordan Times and from the Middle East Online, Beirut's Daily Star and many other pro-Palestinian papers that have taken these words very seriously and are emboldened by them.
Read the whole thing. I wish more people had listened in 2008. The fact that Obama didn't leave Wright's church provided 20 years' worth of 'teachable moments,' and most of us missed all of them.


At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what were the reasons why foxman left his shul?

At 6:39 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

No one in the American Jewish Community cared - or was bothered by Obama's circle friends, none of them known to be friendly to Israel.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanna know why Foxman left his synagogue?

NYT, 1995: Peace Effort in Israel Leads to War of Words

Foxman survived Hitler and the Poles and almost grew up catholic:

There Is Nothing Like Home

That's a heavy piece of baggage to carry.


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