President Barack Obama has a “blind spot” towards anti-Semitism that is evident in his administration’s outreach to Iran, Ruth Wisse, a scholar of Yiddish and comparative literature, wrote in an op-ed (Google link) published Friday in The Wall Street Journal.
Yet when it comes to the world’s most widespread and ideologically driven racism, President Obama seems to have a blind spot, initiating a nuclear deal with the fanatical anti-Jewish regime in Tehran, despite what he calls Iran’s “bad behavior.” The euphemism this time is his, not that of the perpetrators, and it camouflages their intentions even if they won’t.
Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.
Wisse described the deal not as a “sin of omission” that others in the past have made in regard to protecting Jews, but as a “sin of commission,” which she described as “the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people—a pact that doesn’t even require formal repudiation of the country’s genocidal aims.”
According to Wisse, the deal is not only a betrayal of Jews, but a betrayal of American values.
What of American Jews in all this? It is sometimes mistakenly assumed that those who are passionately for Israel are therefore less for America. It is just the opposite: Anti-Jewish aggression is always aimed at the self-accountable way of life that the Jews represent. “Death to the Jews!” is a call to arms against Western liberal democracies; that is why in Iran the cry is often accompanied by “Death to America!”
It was reported over the weekend that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published a book calling for the destruction of Israel. The book fleshed out Khamenei’s tweet from last year spelling out a nine point plan for destroying Israel.
[Photo: The Israel Project / YouTube ]