President Barack Obama really wants you to know that he has Jewish friends — really he does! Ergo, why should anyone criticize him over his position on Israel?
William Kristol with the Weekly Standard describes why this photo op for Barack just might be a bit… awkward for the President:
1. The reason no one asks John Boehner or Mitch McConnell about their support for Israel is … because they really do support Israel. The reason people ask Barack Obama about his support for Israel is because his support for Israel has been equivocal.
Boom. Right there — no questions asked. That the question even is being raised should send red flags up throughout Israel… because it’s certainly sending green flags up throughout the Occupied Territories.
2. It’s truly pathetic that Obama has to reach for the tired (to say the least) trope that some of his best friends were Jewish. Actually, one wishes more of his best friends were pro-Israel Christians. They might have had more luck convincing him, a fellow Christian, that he should be pro-Israel.
Again, another excellent point. It’s not just a matter of finding pro-Israeli Jews. It’s a matter of finding pro-Israeli Christians here in America who believe this president — not because this says anything about the faith of those who support Israel, but moreover because it allays any sorts of fears about rejecting Israel’s integrity as a Jewish state.
3. And the claim that Obama knows more about Judaism than any president? His vanity boggles the mind. One could begin by citing Adams and Madison, who knew Hebrew, or Harry Truman, who knew Jewish history … but it’s silly to dignify this claim with a rebuttal. In thinking about the presidents since Truman, though, I’d guess the president who knew the most about Judaism was Jimmy Carter, who taught Sunday school and had a deep interest in religion. So let’s stipulate that of the modern presidents, Carter and Obama “know” the most about Judaism. But what is it they know? In Obama’s case, one could ask whether what he “knows” is what he learned from Rashid Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright.
Unfortunately, this little incident did more to define Obama’s problems when it comes to Israeli policy more than it did to reassure a soul as to where Obama’s true intentions lie for the region.
I can only imagine that somewhere in the State Department, Hillary Clinton’s hand-to-forehead ratio continues to grow.