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Obama’s Historical Chutzpah

Does the president really know more about Judaism than John Adams and James Madison did?

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Clockwise from top right: Presidents John Adams, George Washington, Ulysses Grant, James Madison, Calvin Coolidge, John Quincy Adams, and Harry Truman. (Collage Tablet Magazine; original images, clockwise from top right, via Wikimedia Commons, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons, and Library of Congress)
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It’s hard to know where to begin with Barack Obama’s recent pronouncement to a group of Conservative Jews that he “probably knows about Judaism more than any other president.” So, why not start at the beginning, with George Washington? It’s only by looking at the past that the scope of Obama’s historical chutzpah becomes clear.

Washington knew the Old Testament well. His favorite book was Micah; his favorite verse 4:4—“But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it”—appears no fewer than 11 times in his diaries. He invoked it again in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport in August 1790. “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid,” he wrote. He grounded America’s experiment in religious freedom in republican theory. “The Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” In so doing, Washington became, as scholar Harry V. Jaffa has pointed out, the first secular ruler to call Jews his countrymen.

Washington’s principal adviser, Alexander Hamilton, whose Jewishness is a subject of historical dispute, publicly extolled Jews, under whom he studied as a boy on the island of Nevis. He saw in their suffering and success evidence of “some great providential plan.” To “discredit them” would “destroy the Christian religion,” Hamilton later argued in a debate.

President John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams agreed with Hamilton, writing separately and favorably of Jews and a Jewish state long before it was fashionable to Mordecai Manuel Noah, America’s first Jewish consul, founder of New York University, and his day’s most famous Jew. “I will insist that the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation,” John Adams wrote to F. A. Van der Kemp, a Dutch-born Enlightenment thinker, condemning the anti-Semitism of Enlightenment writer Voltaire. “If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilization the nations. … [Jews] are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.”

President James Madison also studied Hebrew, electing to spend an additional, post-graduate year to focus on it. During the Revolution, Madison turned to Haym Salomon, a Polish-born financier who offered loans well below market rate to members of the Continental Congress. Writing to fellow Virginian Edmund Randolph in September 1772, he praised Salomon’s generosity: “The kindness of our little friend in Front Street (Salomon) near the coffee-house is a fund which will preserve me from extremities, but I never resort to it without mortification as he obstinately rejects all recompense.” Salomon was captured by the British and condemned to death, but he escaped by bribing the guards with gold.

Salomon wasn’t alone among Jewish patriots. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Jewish finance underwrote much of the cost of the American Revolution, something the unjustly neglected President Calvin Coolidge noted with favor in a dedication of the Jewish Community Centre on May 3, 1925. Their generosity, often never repaid, came because “the Jewish faith is predominately the faith of liberty,” Coolidge declared. “From the beginnings of the conflict between colonies and the mother country, they were overwhelmingly on the side of the rising revolution.” He listed the merchants—overwhelmingly Jewish—who cast their lot with the colonists in signing the non-importation resolution of 1765, also known as the Stamp Act, which directly taxed American colonists by restricting their freedom of commerce. “Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy,” Coolidge said. “[T]he patriots who laid the foundation of this Republic drew their faith from the Bible. … Every inheritance of the Jewish people, every teaching of their secular history and religious experience, draws them powerfully to the side of charity, liberty, and progress.”

The list of pro-Jewish statements evincing serious thought about Jews could go on and on. “I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now,” President Truman declared 60 years ago last week on the occasion of David Ben-Gurion’s visit to the White House. “I believe [Israel] has a glorious future before it—not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.” With words like this, there could be little doubt as to Truman’s position on Israel—but just to be clear, he made sure that America was the first nation to recognize it.

To all of this, Obama might say: I hosted the first White House Seder; I knew the late Arnold Wolf, the controversial Chicago rabbi; I am friends with Bettylu Saltzman, who works with J Street; and I’ve read Philip Roth. But intimate knowledge of the milieu of Hyde Park Jewry does not mean fundamentally understanding Judaism.

CORRECTION, June 4: An earlier version of this piece said that John Adams translated the Old Testament into English.

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Being pro-Jewish/pro-Israel and intimately knowing the ‘Old Testament’ don’t necessarily equate to ‘knowing’ about Judaism either, though the point is taken. It’s likely fair to say that considering his entourage and the benefit of hindsight Obama may well know more about Judaism than many of his predecessors in a wider context. 

    mikeman123 says:

    I agree with your first point, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that Obama is the most knowledgeable president on Judaism simply as a result of being born later. I don’t think it was what Obama was claiming either. It’s obviously impossible to measure the actual knowledge level of the various presidents. But I would think quoting from the Old Testament, knowing Hebrew, and supporting Jews are all strong indicators of a wide knowledge of Judaism.  

      I wouldn’t make that leap.  Having lived in the South, I can assure that many hard rock Christians can quote from “the Old Testament” (albeit, generally KJV, which, while written in wonderful English, ain’t necessarily a really accurate translation), many are strong supporters of Israel, and some can even know Hebrew.  Basically, most of them have very little knowledge of Judaism.  Certainly not of the Jewish Community, as it exists, today and probably has ever existed.

Could be. Probably the Founding Fathers were liberal Freemasons who wanted to establish a secular state (most European countries had state churches) and figured religious freedom was a good thing to have. The British were also considerably less antisemitic than, say, the French, Germans, or Russians. 

Forgot to add: They were also a new country, so the elites may have figured being on good terms with people with financial connections was smart.

ThorsProvoni says:

Obama is related by marriage to Rabbi Caspar Funnye.

ThorsProvoni says:

It is also worth mentioning that Haym Solomon was of Spanish-Portuguese and not ethnic Ashkenazi background. His personal contribution to Revolutionary finances was minimal. He was a broker, who sold debt on behalf of the Continental Congress.

    and why is that worth noting?

      ThorsProvoni says:

      Because ethnic Ashkenazim tend to assume that only the Polish Catholic version of Judaism is real or important.

        leucippe says:

        This is an idiotic ill informed statement, in keeping with your previous remarks.  Think before you write, or better yet, I recommend an education in the facts.  This is the first time I have ever heard of such an attitude.

          An “idiotic ill informed statement” indeed; hadn’t read that bizarre twist, I thought he was going to Kryzakistan Conspiracy, or some other crazy StormFront rant. Imagine the “articles” he reads; on second thought, better not to imagine and go wash the filth away…

          ‘Thors hammer stikes agin’ he must be thinkin’…instead, keep ranting, you reveal yourself.

    Haym Salomon was a Polish Jew,  not Spanish-Portuguese.

      ThorsProvoni says:

      Every article I have read describes his parents to be of Spanish-Portuguese origin. There were a few such families in historic Poland just as there were even more in Germany and Austria.

        What articles (that are based on verifiable facts) have you read that make that leap?

        By the way, considering the financial problems that the forces, under Washington, etc. had, being a broker, able to find a way to provide funds for the Continental Army, was more than significant.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          What a moron! The broker just gets a higher interest rate and charges a higher fee because of risk.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          What a moron! The broker just gets a higher interest rate and charges a higher fee because of risk.

        Even if this is true about Salomon’s ancestry (and all I could find was a popular book without footnotes in gigantic fonts, which is Wikipedia’s “source”) that’s about as relevant as saying that, for example, Rabbi Jechiel Michel Epstein was of Sefardic ancestry. By the 18th century descendants of Spanish-Portuguese emigres in Poland were thoroughly intermarried and assimilated. Haym Salomon grew up speaking Yiddish and went to cheder.  

        Ultimately the truth matters for its own sake. If he was of this ancestry or that, the truth should be pointed out – the truth does not appear to be that he was a “good” Jew, rather than a filhy Poylisher, which seems to be the specific tree that you are barking up. Contrary to the views of the proponents of the “Ashkenazim = evil, Sephardim = usefully less evil as needed” theory of world history and politics, all Jewish ethnicities consider themselves bound by common threads of culture, religion, history, and kinship. Except of course for those who don’t, as there is no one view or opinion among Jews, even red-bearded devil Jews from Poland.

ThorsProvoni says:

Obama made a big deal of reading Uris’ vile racist propaganda screed entitled Exodus.

    Based in what reality do you categorize the fictional work, Exodus, by L. Uris as a racist propaganda screed?  While not exactly great literature, it was based on fact (certainly the available information, 50+ years ago), and was one of the first pieces of popular reading to alert many to much of what happened in the Middle East, to say nothing of our great “friends”, the British.

Kerri Youngdale says:

Thank you for your wonderful article. I feel blessed to have read it. My husband and I recoil whenever president Obama makes yet another ridiculous statement about his knowledge and accomplishments that are so obviously untrue.

    BBansari says:

    How did this article prove that Obama doesn’t know about Judaism? All it did was make a case that he exaggerated – he can’t claim to know more about it than all other presidents. (He actually said “probably knows” but let’s not split hairs). On that, I agree. To say that it’s untrue that he has knowledge of Judaism is anothe rmatter.

    The last sentence is telling: “But intimate knowledge of the milieu of Hyde Park Jewry does not mean fundamentally understanding Judaism.” I’d like to know how the author has shown that he doesn’t “fundamentally” understand the teachings, history, or principles of the religion. He gives a few examples — hosting the first White House Seder (which he in fact did), knowing the
    late Arnold Wolf and
    Bettylu Saltzman, reading Philip Roth — as though this list is exhaustive, that it constitutes *all* of Obama’s knowledge, and is the source of *all* of his insight.

Gee, I didn’t see that quote in the MSM. 

Summer says:

I would love to help Barry and Michelle pack .

    oaklandj says:

    I’m sure they’ll appreciate your help…in 2016.

    ThorsProvoni says:

    Wanting Barry and Michelle to pack up does not correlate with conservative or political attitudes. I am completely offended that Obama claims the right to be the judge, jury, and executioner of American citizens.

    I hope that Romney would be less bloodthirsty and arrogant.

      leucippe says:

      These insults are beside the point of the matter under discussion.

      At what point has Barack Obama claimed the right to be judge, jury, and executioner?  Again, your statement makes no logical sense.

          Michael Shapiro says:

          OK, I read the screed.  Sorry, it simply does not compute.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          Because you are an ignorant racist Jew that simply spews Zionist hasbarah and Jewish supremacism. The Greenwald analysis was simply going through a New York Times article that covered in detail how Obama sentenced Americans and non-Americans to death without trial. The Greenwald article contained a link to the NY Times article.

          ImbackAwhole says:

          You are scum.   Let Hashem cast you and your family not into Hell, but into eternal and insufferable death.  Die. 

          Ari Nir says:

          Adolf Eichmann also learned our history. We know who are you.  But this time it will not happen again.  President Nixon believed that Israel will use nukes. I think he was right. 
          What do expect from us?  Be reasonable. 
          You can hate us, but know that we are not defenseless.  

          ThorsProvoni says:

          Because you are an ignorant racist Jew that simply spews Zionist hasbarah and Jewish supremacism. The Greenwald analysis was simply going through a New York Times article that covered in detail how Obama sentenced Americans and non-Americans to death without trial. The Greenwald article contained a link to the NY Times article.

          Michael Shapiro says:

          OK, I read the screed.  Sorry, it simply does not compute.

        Summer says:

        By sending in drones of course…. we need the info….. instead, we get collateral damage….

      Summer says:

      Of course Romney will!    Obama is one of a kind, very arrogant, elite….. wants to do anything to win re-election.

      yes, Mitt will do just fine.

emunadate says:

We could use another President Truman who believed in Israel and all that it could be. Instead we have a President Obama….
http://emunadate.blogspot.co.il/2012/03/daylight-story-of-obama-and-israel.html

    Michael Shapiro says:

    Actually, if you knew anything about the history of the foundation of the State of Israel, you would know that Truman was influenced more by his former business partner, than by his “belief in Israel”.

      ThorsProvoni says:

      And by the need for Jewish funding for his presidential campaign.

      Truman was a vile creature that sacrificed the native population of Palestine to vicious racist murderous genocidal Zionists (Jewish Nazis) in order to win the 1948 election. There is not a circle of Hell low enough for Truman.

        Normando782 says:

        You are one sick puppy. The real native population of Palestine were the Jews. Arabs came after the Jews created an economy. There were few Arabs during the ottoman empire and Jerusalem was mostly Jewish .

      ThorsProvoni says:

      And by the need for Jewish funding for his presidential campaign.

      Truman was a vile creature that sacrificed the native population of Palestine to vicious racist murderous genocidal Zionists (Jewish Nazis) in order to win the 1948 election. There is not a circle of Hell low enough for Truman.

    Michael Shapiro says:

    Actually, if you knew anything about the history of the foundation of the State of Israel, you would know that Truman was influenced more by his former business partner, than by his “belief in Israel”.

EvenSteven11 says:

Obama’s arrogance toward Jews makes me sick.  He takes Jews for granted and, frankly, he’s right when you see all the liberal Jews who are born Democrats and can’t think for themselves.  It’s sickening.

    leucippe says:

     I am proud that Jews are ‘born’ into fighting for social justice and believing in the importance of human dignity, not just for the rich, but for everyone.

      ThorsProvoni says:

      Historically Jews that have believed in the importance of human dignity, not just for the rich, but for everyone, have rejected Judaism categorically. Zionism has shown the complete correctness of that stance.

        Your statement makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.   It is illogical and has no basis in fact.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          It is basic Jewish history of progressive movements among Jews during the 19th and 20th century. Michael Shapiro’s ignorance of Jewish history could fill the Rose Bowl.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          It is basic Jewish history of progressive movements among Jews during the 19th and 20th century. Michael Shapiro’s ignorance of Jewish history could fill the Rose Bowl.

    This is a fine example of double speak. EvenSteven11 is turning progressivism (e.g. rational thought, critical thinking, enlightenment, compassion, etc.) into the literal opposite. How tragic that Jews are brainwashed into wanting to heal, repair, and transform the world.

      EvenSteven11 says:

      You’re a joke. You should be embarrassed how dumb you are.
      And you are a complete waste of time. As a follower of Norman Finkelstein and Mondoweiss, you are beyond the pale. P*ss off.

Boychic says:

Well done. If that quote from Obama  about knowing more about Judaism than any other President is accurate we are in  a lot more trouble than we originally thought. Is there no end to this man’s ego?

leucippe says:

This piece is an embarrassing piece of journalism from the provocative headline to the evidence about other presidents being trotted forth to get back at Obama.  The pro-Jewish statements, based on a love for the bible, or gratitude for services rendered by one, or their role in the American Revolution, etc. have nothing to do with knowledge about Jews or Judaism.  But maybe if Coolidge is your man, you might approve of this twaddle. 

    Hey, its obama’s arrogant claim… do you think it true?

    This was a sick ego trip statement even if he did know more about Judism than all other Presidents which is doubtful . What on earth is wrong with him to even venture this statement . How can I VOTE FOR THIS MAN AGAIN . 

      leucippe says:

      All the man said is that he probably knows more about Judaism than previous presidents.  I have no doubt that this statement is true, given his life experience — the company he has kept, the environments in which he has interacted with Jewish communities and colleagues, and his own intellectual curiosity — to a greater extent than that of his predecessors.  So what’s the big deal?  I reiterate my original point that the article was needlessly pejorative, even if the author wants to sell his book about the ‘great’ Calvin Coolidge.  Heaven help us.

        ThorsProvoni says:

        Obama probably is more Zionistically brainwashed than other presidents (including GW Bush), but his knowledge of modern Eastern European and Jewish historical political economics is practically nil. (Of course in comparison with Obama’s knowledge of economics and finance practically nil is pretty good.)

          leucippe says:

          Naturally, you can prove everything you say.  bye bye.  Not worth wasting my time on this uninformed drivel. So don’t bother to respond.

          Michael Shapiro says:

          “modern Eastern European and Jewish historical political economics”????

          What edition of the “Protocols” are you reading from?

          Michael Shapiro says:

          “modern Eastern European and Jewish historical political economics”????

          What edition of the “Protocols” are you reading from?

          ThorsProvoni says:

          I am a Harvard and Yale trained expert in Jewish studies. I am also not far from the mainstream. Common beliefs among Americian Jews and non-Jews about Jewish history simply have little connection to the facts.

          ThorsProvoni says:

          I am a Harvard and Yale trained expert in Jewish studies. I am also not far from the mainstream. Common beliefs among Americian Jews and non-Jews about Jewish history simply have little connection to the facts.

          ImbackAwhole says:

          You are not Yale and Harvard trained.  You are a pig.  I hope you die. 

          Alexthekay says:

          Must you defile the memory of Philip K. Dick by using his character’s name to spew this garbage?

        brynababy says:

        I’m with you.  The rest of these ugly, untrue, racist comments about a wonderful President, a friend to Jews and Israel, make me sick!  These Jews do not represent what Judaism is supposed to be.

        brynababy says:

        I’m with you.  The rest of these ugly, untrue, racist comments about a wonderful President, a friend to Jews and Israel, make me sick!  These Jews do not represent what Judaism is supposed to be.

HannaH43 says:

 The great scholar of Judaism Rev. Wright taught hem for over 20 years

David Eber says:

All of the commentators, and the author of this piece for that matter, ignored the way in which Obama truly understands the American Jewish experience more than the other Presidents before him, and that is the fact that he knows what it is like to live in two civilizations: being American and being Black. He gets that dichotomy of trying to hang on to an authenticity of one culture while assimilating oneself into the dominant culture.  No other President can claim that. Certainly there are others who know more about Jewish history or religion, but I would argue that Obama has a case and the statement isn’t as ridiculous as people are making it out to be

    leucippe says:

    Bravo!!  You’ve stuck to the facts rather than using this article as an excuse for nasty rants.  

    elixelx says:

    You forgot “being Indonesian, half-white, Muslim”.
    You forgot “being brought up in Hawaii and Chicago”
    You forgot “taking advantage of Affirmative Action to get ahead in Life”

    So you think being black helps you to truly appreciate the Jewish tradition, history, angst,? Not being Japanese? Not being Buddhist?

    Being Black gives you a true insight into every culture known to man? Being Black gives you an innate empathy with all other cultures? Uh-huh!

    What a twit, an acolyte, a kow-tower you be!

    elixelx says:

    You forgot “being Indonesian, half-white, Muslim”.
    You forgot “being brought up in Hawaii and Chicago”
    You forgot “taking advantage of Affirmative Action to get ahead in Life”

    So you think being black helps you to truly appreciate the Jewish tradition, history, angst,? Not being Japanese? Not being Buddhist?

    Being Black gives you a true insight into every culture known to man? Being Black gives you an innate empathy with all other cultures? Uh-huh!

    What a twit, an acolyte, a kow-tower you be!

    SandMan00 says:

    Eber, you are ignorant and delusional. The only Jews Obama relates to are the ones who are in denial and rejection of their own Jewish heritage. Obama’s Jewish friends are the leftist radical secularists who work tirelessly to eliminate all vestiges of religious influence in this nation.

    Furthermore, as the writer of this piece points out, there has been a Jewish presence in this country since before its founding. They are thus as authentically American as anyone born here and hence have no dichotomy to reconcile. It is only the guilt-ridden leftist Jew who denies the faith of his fathers and the religious underpinnings of this nation’s founding that have to square their agenda with their own history and people.

      Between 74% to 78% of the Jewish community supported Obama in 2008. Are you suggesting that nearly 80% of American Jews are in denial and rejection of their Judaism? Apparently only Jews who think and act like you are “real” Jews. Which of course means only a small minority of Jews are like you.

        SandMan00 says:

        No, I am not suggesting that 80% of American Jews are in denial. I am suggesting that Obama only relates to the ones that are. Just because someone votes for a particular person does not mean that person can actually relate to the voter. I would also submit that while 92% of African Americans voted for Obama, the man himself probably relates to only a minority of them. His life experiences, perspective, and formative influences have little in common with those of the poor, undereducated and alienated inner city Blacks who voted in droves for him. I have voted many times for people I assumed did not relate personally to me – nor did I require them to. It was sufficient only that I thought they would best advance my interests as I saw them. This foolish notion held by many that a candidate must share some bosum bond with everyone to effectively lead is naive and invites pandering.

    SandMan00 says:

    Eber, you are ignorant and delusional. The only Jews Obama relates to are the ones who are in denial and rejection of their own Jewish heritage. Obama’s Jewish friends are the leftist radical secularists who work tirelessly to eliminate all vestiges of religious influence in this nation.

    Furthermore, as the writer of this piece points out, there has been a Jewish presence in this country since before its founding. They are thus as authentically American as anyone born here and hence have no dichotomy to reconcile. It is only the guilt-ridden leftist Jew who denies the faith of his fathers and the religious underpinnings of this nation’s founding that have to square their agenda with their own history and people.

PhillipNagle says:

In Israel’s  hour of need during the Yom Kippur War, Richard Nixon airlifted badly needed munitions to Israel (unlike Truman who had in place an arms embargo on Israel).  Obama sat in the pews for twenty years listening to Jeremiah Wright spew his anti-Semitic venom.  He did not eschew him until required to by politics. 

    xmontrealer says:

    To be fair, Nixon didn’t send those munitiions until the very last minute, and only after Kissinger’s empassioned pleas, and an indication that Israel was about to “go nuclear”.Nixon’s attitude towards Israel and Jews in general was hardly glowing.

41953 says:

Haym Salomon was Ashkenazic.  From Poland.  He was a true American patriot

Christians can know the “Old Testamanent” too. They can also be Ziionists, but it is knowledge of Jewish customs, rituals, holidays, literature and history that really counts.   

Weak article.

    Andrea says:

    It doesn’t appear that the president has a knowledge of Jewish literature and history, just that he associated with many Jews.  

      SandMan00 says:

      Secular Jews in denial of their own religion and culture. The same vein of secular Judaism that was an early embracer of Communism.

      Obama knows nothing of devout Judaisman and sympathizes with its adherents even less. Which explains why he is hell bent on thowing Israel to the Islamofascist wolves.

      SandMan00 says:

      Secular Jews in denial of their own religion and culture. The same vein of secular Judaism that was an early embracer of Communism.

      Obama knows nothing of devout Judaisman and sympathizes with its adherents even less. Which explains why he is hell bent on thowing Israel to the Islamofascist wolves.

    Andrea says:

    It doesn’t appear that the president has a knowledge of Jewish literature and history, just that he associated with many Jews.  

CygnusA81 says:

It’s pretty obvious that all the Jewish O-bots didn’t even bother reading the essay before they went out of their way to defend their liberal messiah.

CygnusA81 says:

It’s pretty obvious that all the Jewish O-bots didn’t even bother reading the essay before they went out of their way to defend their liberal messiah.

Play Righter says:

It seems to be Obama’s obsession that so much of what he does is “unprecedented’…
     in hopes that his next four years will not be “un-presidented”.

Play Righter says:

It seems to be Obama’s obsession that so much of what he does is “unprecedented’…
     in hopes that his next four years will not be “un-presidented”.

NonElite says:

I was appalled by Obama’s monumental, deceitful arrogance in claiming to know Judaism this way. He has demonstrated time and again that he has no real empathy for the Jews but a great desire for their money.

NonElite says:

I was appalled by Obama’s monumental, deceitful arrogance in claiming to know Judaism this way. He has demonstrated time and again that he has no real empathy for the Jews but a great desire for their money.

this moron gets away with this kind of imbecility because the media is up his a.s. he is a repugnant socialist black bigot with a lot of unpaid debts, personal and public. All of them will be paid. He is insulting, arrogant and abusive…..he has to go…..now.
suibne

this moron gets away with this kind of imbecility because the media is up his a.s. he is a repugnant socialist black bigot with a lot of unpaid debts, personal and public. All of them will be paid. He is insulting, arrogant and abusive…..he has to go…..now.
suibne

elixelx says:

Some of my best friends are black, so I know about the black experience!
I’ve read “Soul on Ice” and I watch Al Sharpton’s programme, so I am practically an honorary black!
Hey, I listen to cRAP, and I loved Motown. That makes me black!

Why are you unwilling to admit that Barry-boy is a narcissistic, ego-driven, low-self-esteemed LIAR, who will make any claim, claim any paternity, patronise any group that furthers his imperative…to stay at the top of the greasy pole?
As Axelrod, one of his Jewish “friends” said: : “The Higher A Monkey Climbs Up A Pole, The More You See Of His Butt”.
http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A7x9QXgwwclP_0wAIDRKBQx.?p=axelrod%2C%20pole&fr=ush-mailn&fr2=sfp

Of course, his monkey has just given the world a full-screen shot of his bony Tochus. It’s NOT a pretty sight. In fact it’s pretty pathetic!

elixelx says:

Some of my best friends are black, so I know about the black experience!
I’ve read “Soul on Ice” and I watch Al Sharpton’s programme, so I am practically an honorary black!
Hey, I listen to cRAP, and I loved Motown. That makes me black!

Why are you unwilling to admit that Barry-boy is a narcissistic, ego-driven, low-self-esteemed LIAR, who will make any claim, claim any paternity, patronise any group that furthers his imperative…to stay at the top of the greasy pole?
As Axelrod, one of his Jewish “friends” said: : “The Higher A Monkey Climbs Up A Pole, The More You See Of His Butt”.
http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A7x9QXgwwclP_0wAIDRKBQx.?p=axelrod%2C%20pole&fr=ush-mailn&fr2=sfp

Of course, his monkey has just given the world a full-screen shot of his bony Tochus. It’s NOT a pretty sight. In fact it’s pretty pathetic!

This is ridiculous. Even if half of what you say is true, Judeophilia has nothing to do with knowledge of Judaism. 

As to the veracity of the information, this is a start at looking at what here is true and what is not: http://onthemainline.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/we-dont-even-know-if-other-john-adams.html

This is ridiculous. Even if half of what you say is true, Judeophilia has nothing to do with knowledge of Judaism. 

As to the veracity of the information, this is a start at looking at what here is true and what is not: http://onthemainline.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/we-dont-even-know-if-other-john-adams.html

BNBsquared says:

This man writes for Breitbart: http://www.breitbart.com/Columnists/Charles-C-Johnson. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about his bias and his contribution to the negative spin on Obama. I am so disappointed in Tablet for presenting this article. Is Tablet overly concerned with being perceived as liberal that it sees it necessary to pander to these distortions?

BNBsquared says:

I double posted…sorry.

BNBsquared says:

I double posted…sorry.

JehudahBenIsrael says:

One can’t forget – although during elections season some would attempt to suppress the knowledge about it – Obama’s first major speech at Cairo University in 2009, one in which the only justification for Israel’s very existence given by the president was the Jewish Holocaust in Europe, as though 4,000 years of deeply rooted affinity and sovereignty in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) didn’t exist. And, then, one can’t forget either, that the President of the United States of American then proceeded to compare the Shoah to the conditions of Arabs in Gaza… 

One can’t forget – although during elections season some would attempt to suppress the knowledge about it – Obama’s continuous attempts to insult and humiliate Israel’s prime minister, meeting after meeting. And, as if this was not enough, he proceeded to insult other members of Israel’s cabinet – including Israel’s foreign minister as well as Israel’s interior minister. What the president did was akin to spitting at some of the most important symbols of renewed Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish people’s homeland of 4,000 years, symbols of the liberal democratic nation-state of the Jewish people, thus putting down the people whose nation-state Israel is, the Jewish people, everywhere. 

And, of course, one can’t forget Obama’s continuous demands of Jews, only because they are Jewish, to refrain from moving into certain neighborhoods of their capital city of Jerusalem. And, this, in addition of demanding that Jews, only because they are Jewish, refrain form residing in villages and towns of their homeland; in places like Shiloh, Beit El, Hebron…, and this from a man who has read the Hebrew Bible time and again while “sitting under” the Rev. J. Wright for some 20 years.. 

It was, let us not forget, Mr. Obama who denied any commitment by the US former president to the government of Israel, despite the fact that it was US President George W. Bush who made some written commitment to then Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, a commitment that was re-affirmed by the US Congress. Thus, if a President refuse to adhere to written commitments made by the US Presidency, why should one trust verbal ones made by him.. 

And, one can’t erase from one’s mind Obama’s demand that Israel, contrary to its national and security interests, and contrary to international law, retreat to the 1949 armistice lines (wrongly dubbed by Obama “the 1967 borders”), and was contemplating to impose his “solution” on the Jewish people and its nation-state of Israel.

Mr. Obama is a thinking intelligent man. The above are only samples of the result of his deep thoughts about good and evil in the world, about right vs. wrong, about dos and don’ts, and about how one treats old, close and most loyal allies.. 

But, instead of apologizing to the Jewish people, within and without its nation-state of Israel, for his words and deeds, the man has been unleashing the likes of Mr. Thomas Friedman to continue to herald Obama’s attitude towards Israel and its leaders, while employing other supporters to sing his glory and Messiah quality. This, sadly, is the face of the present President of the United States of America. 

P.S. No, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat; just a loyal Jewish person: loyal to my people, to its national homeland of 4,000 years, including the Jewish people’s nation-state of Israel, and to the Jewish people’s teachings, which includes looking at reality truthfully.

    JehudahBenIsrael says:

     P.S. We, Jews, have nothing inherently against the other, so long as the other is willing to accept our right to be, to exist freely as a community and a people in our homeland of 4,000 years. This includes Muslims – Arab and non-Arabs alike. Criticism of Obama is NOT derived from his name as such!! However, since HE brought up the matter of name, let us at least be informed of the fact that Obama’s name is: Barack (derived from the Arabic, Barakah, or blessed) Hussein (the name of the Imam, grandson of Muhammad) Obama (a common Muslim-African family name). And, let us also note that in 2008 it was Mr. Obama who was attempting to fool some Jews in Florida by telling them that his first name, Barack, was actually a derivative of Barukh in Hebrew. Indeed, Barukh in Hebrew and Barakah in Arabic have the same meaning, but to tell elderly Jews in Florida who are not fluent in either language such a lie is simply despicable for a person running for the Presidency of the United States of America.

      BBansari says:

      Except, it’s not a “lie.” Both the Arabic and Hebrew name “Barukh” share the same linguistic roots, and you know it. You are being entirely duplicitious. YOU are being despicable here.

      The fact that you open with “We, Jews, have nothing inherently against the other” speaks volumes of your arrogance. You do NOT speak for all Jews! And Obama DOES accept the right of Jews to exist, including in Israel.

      And who here said criticism of Obama comes from his name? You created this strawman out of nothing. Projection, perhaps? After all, why state you have anything against the “other” when no one here stated that you did? In your previous post, you already made it clear that you are loyal to Jews, not to the wellbeing of humanity in general.

      In that sense, you are no different than any other ethnocentric person. If people want to stop minorities from being facing genocides in the first place, ultimately the most important thing they should work on is making sure humanity moves beyond these archaic patterns of thought, where ethnic/religious/tribal/national identities matter more than basic commonalities, and these differences important enough to separate groups into opposed moral communities, with different legal standards.

        JehudahBenIsrael says:

        Obama accepts the right of Jews to exist, even in Israel! Wow, what a generous thing: We can exist.

        Yet, it has been the same Obama who, for years, refused to utter the concept of “two-states for two-peoples” despite the fact that he was alerted about his refusal many times.

        The closest he came to it was by stating the mantra: two-state solution; one that, incidentally is contrary to international law, but mostly denies the existence of a Jewish people with the full historic, ethical and legal rights to its homeland.

        Things, of course, began to change once we notice elections time on the horizon…

          ManfredCoates says:

          @JehudahBenIsrael ,

          Would you have a different opinion if Obama was white?

          JehudahBenIsrael says:

          No, since Obama’s skin color has nothing to do with my objective observation of him, on e that is strictly factually based rational analysis.

          @
          JehudahBenIsrael why doesn´t Israel start a movement to keep all Americans out of Israel and you then have a lot more freedom to make your own decisions and bomb who you want. You could also put signs on the border to Israel “Whites only” and this would give you more security.

          JehudahBenIsrael says:

          Such questions should be addressed to the liberal democratic state of Israel, of course. But, I suspect no one in Israel, and rightly so, will even entertain such questions for the simply reason: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), to date, has only engaged in Israel’s defense and the defense of its citizens – you know, Jews are also entitled to the very first of all of human rights, i.e. the right to live and to defend one’s life – and, Israel, is not a racist state but rather the liberal democratic nation-state of a people, of the Jewish people, just as Greece is the nation-state of the Greek people, Denmark the nation-state of the Danish people, Poland the nation-state of the Polish people and Ireland is the nation-state of the Irish people.

          It is time the poster delve a bit into the learning about the Jewish people, its 4,000 years of history, part of which is the history of Israel. And, please do so prior to spewing out nonsensical statements that can only be perceived as hate speech.

      You are indeed being despicable and borderline Islamophobic with insunuations that Obama is Muslim (if not in belief in practice then in culture and heritage). It’s a shanda. An embarrassment to Jews everywhere.

        JehudahBenIsrael says:

        I actually don’t try to insinuate anything. I share the little knowledge I have of the meaning of the name of the US President after he, not me, made an issue of it. And, no, I don’t fear Muslims or Islam, thus hardly being an Islamophobic. Only those eager to hide from reality are phobic…, of reality…!!

    JehudahBenIsrael says:

     P.S. We, Jews, have nothing inherently against the other, so long as the other is willing to accept our right to be, to exist freely as a community and a people in our homeland of 4,000 years. This includes Muslims – Arab and non-Arabs alike. Criticism of Obama is NOT derived from his name as such!! However, since HE brought up the matter of name, let us at least be informed of the fact that Obama’s name is: Barack (derived from the Arabic, Barakah, or blessed) Hussein (the name of the Imam, grandson of Muhammad) Obama (a common Muslim-African family name). And, let us also note that in 2008 it was Mr. Obama who was attempting to fool some Jews in Florida by telling them that his first name, Barack, was actually a derivative of Barukh in Hebrew. Indeed, Barukh in Hebrew and Barakah in Arabic have the same meaning, but to tell elderly Jews in Florida who are not fluent in either language such a lie is simply despicable for a person running for the Presidency of the United States of America.

    BBansari says:

    “…in which the only justification for Israel’s very existence given by the president was the Jewish Holocaust in Europe…”

    Really, did he say it was the “only” justification? Or an important one (which it was)? You must remember that speech differently than I do. This is what the transcript has:

    “America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is
    unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the
    recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a
    tragic history that cannot be denied.

    Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for *centuries,*
    and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.”

    “…the United States of American then proceeded to compare the Shoah to the conditions of Arabs in Gaza…”

    The conditions of the Arabs in the Gaza strip are terrible, firstly. It has been compared to the world’s largest open-air prison. UN observers who have seen horrible places scarred by war the world over have said it was one of the worst, if not the worst, places to live. Does this not merit anyone’s concern?

    Secondly, I looked through the speech, and didn’t see anywhere in which he made this comparison. He doesn’t even mention the Holocaust in that part of the part of the speech where Palestinians are mentioned! The closest I could find was this: “Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians
    can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates
    Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does
    not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of
    opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the
    Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take
    concrete steps to enable such progress.”

    Gee, how irrational!

    “And, of course, one can’t forget Obama’s continuous demands of Jews,
    only because they are Jewish, to refrain from moving into certain
    neighborhoods of their capital city of Jerusalem.”

    What? Only because they are Jewish? Is that what he said?

    And you think the settlements, destruction of people’s homes and forcibly removing people who live there already, is justified? I support Israel and even I think that is wrong. To equate that position with anti-Semitism is absurd, and it only gives more fuel to those who find nothing but hallow rhetoric in Zionism.

    “It was, let us not forget, Mr. Obama who denied any commitment by the US former president to the government of Israel.”

    It’s a different administration, different policies, and Ariel Sharon is no longer the Israeli head of state. Have you forgotten how democratic republics operate? And it’s not like Obama went over the authority of the U.S. congress but not honoring a personal memo! And actually, Obama is adhering very much to the “demands” of the road map set by his predecessor, agree to by all sides (who are not all honoring their commitments, wouldn’t you know) and is not doing anything, let alone saying anything, contrary to the official U.S. position on Israel and the two state solution (in fact, Obama has even backed off).

    “And, one can’t erase from one’s mind Obama’s demand that Israel,
    contrary to its national and security interests, and contrary to
    international law, retreat to the 1949 armistice lines (wrongly dubbed
    by Obama ‘the 1967 borders’), and was contemplating to impose his ‘solution’ on the Jewish people and its nation-state of Israel.”

    Oh that’s right, Obama is a Nazi now! Yes, totally valid comparison, nothing veiled there in your reference to a “solution.” Again, I suggest you look up the positions of previous presidents on the issue of the 1967 borders.

    Not only is this not contrary to international law, but in fact, according to international law, the West Bank and Gaza strip were gained through war, and thus are occupied territory. They were only supposed to be held as a bargaining chip to ensure peace from its neighbors, not permanent annexations. Syria, Jordan and Egypt are not currently at war with Israel (not that many Arabs wouldn’t like to be, of course) so it’s quite reasonable to ask for land swaps (e.g. Sheba Farms, Golan Heights) and work towards a viable state for Palestinians who desire self-determination (on the precondition of not waging war on Israel or continuing with horrific terrorists attacks, as Obama, like U.S. presidents before him, made crystal clear in the Cairo speech you so deplore).

    “One can’t forget – although during elections season some would attempt
    to suppress the knowledge about it – Obama’s continuous attempts to
    insult and humiliate Israel’s prime minister, meeting after meeting.”

    Maybe it’s because Netanyahu is an arrogant asshole? He did the same exact thing. He came to the congress of a foreign country, insulted the head of state (to great rounds of applause from the idiot rightwingers in congress who already hate Obama for quite separate reasons, which Netanyahu knew was a safe bet) which has never happened in the history of the United States. Somehow *that* is okay.

    Btw, Netanyahu also said Israel doesn’t need U.S. weapons — as it makes its own — nor U.S. tax-payer subsidies. Great. Then why insult the president (who still provides it any way, and backed off of reasonable concessions from his side if Israel wants to continue getting them). Why snub the president over this? It’s bad enough America has to deal with the likes of Pakistan and its odious military regime, also making hypocritical demands on the U.S. tax-payer.

    And yes, Obama is an intelligent, thinking man. Hence, in response to this: “But, instead of apologizing to the Jewish people…” well, no reasonable person believes he *does* owe you or other Jews any apologies for anything he has said or done, because he hasn’t done anything wrong to Jews!

    “No, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat; just a loyal Jewish person: loyal to my people, to its national homeland of 4,000 years, including the Jewish people’s nation-state of Israel, and to the Jewish people’s teachings, which includes looking at reality truthfully.”

    Well that’s wonderful. I commend your loyalty and patriotism.

    But what about goyim? Do you care about the rest of the world? How about the future of the human race in general, not just your people? How about the possibility of a peaceful, cooperative, healthy world order not dominated by any religious divides and balkanization, tribalism or bigoted nationalism? How about a commitment to a sane, secular politics not based on religious identity or affiliation or the claims of a holy book?

    If you believe in looking at the reality truthfully, well, I see very little in this post that indicates that.

JehudahBenIsrael says:

One can’t forget – although during elections season some would attempt to suppress the knowledge about it – Obama’s first major speech at Cairo University in 2009, one in which the only justification for Israel’s very existence given by the president was the Jewish Holocaust in Europe, as though 4,000 years of deeply rooted affinity and sovereignty in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) didn’t exist. And, then, one can’t forget either, that the President of the United States of American then proceeded to compare the Shoah to the conditions of Arabs in Gaza… 

One can’t forget – although during elections season some would attempt to suppress the knowledge about it – Obama’s continuous attempts to insult and humiliate Israel’s prime minister, meeting after meeting. And, as if this was not enough, he proceeded to insult other members of Israel’s cabinet – including Israel’s foreign minister as well as Israel’s interior minister. What the president did was akin to spitting at some of the most important symbols of renewed Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish people’s homeland of 4,000 years, symbols of the liberal democratic nation-state of the Jewish people, thus putting down the people whose nation-state Israel is, the Jewish people, everywhere. 

And, of course, one can’t forget Obama’s continuous demands of Jews, only because they are Jewish, to refrain from moving into certain neighborhoods of their capital city of Jerusalem. And, this, in addition of demanding that Jews, only because they are Jewish, refrain form residing in villages and towns of their homeland; in places like Shiloh, Beit El, Hebron…, and this from a man who has read the Hebrew Bible time and again while “sitting under” the Rev. J. Wright for some 20 years.. 

It was, let us not forget, Mr. Obama who denied any commitment by the US former president to the government of Israel, despite the fact that it was US President George W. Bush who made some written commitment to then Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, a commitment that was re-affirmed by the US Congress. Thus, if a President refuse to adhere to written commitments made by the US Presidency, why should one trust verbal ones made by him.. 

And, one can’t erase from one’s mind Obama’s demand that Israel, contrary to its national and security interests, and contrary to international law, retreat to the 1949 armistice lines (wrongly dubbed by Obama “the 1967 borders”), and was contemplating to impose his “solution” on the Jewish people and its nation-state of Israel.

Mr. Obama is a thinking intelligent man. The above are only samples of the result of his deep thoughts about good and evil in the world, about right vs. wrong, about dos and don’ts, and about how one treats old, close and most loyal allies.. 

But, instead of apologizing to the Jewish people, within and without its nation-state of Israel, for his words and deeds, the man has been unleashing the likes of Mr. Thomas Friedman to continue to herald Obama’s attitude towards Israel and its leaders, while employing other supporters to sing his glory and Messiah quality. This, sadly, is the face of the present President of the United States of America. 

P.S. No, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat; just a loyal Jewish person: loyal to my people, to its national homeland of 4,000 years, including the Jewish people’s nation-state of Israel, and to the Jewish people’s teachings, which includes looking at reality truthfully.

Lavaux says:

America has prospered by, among other things, treating Jews and Israel with dignity and respect. Obama not so much. 

Tamtzit says:

I hope that this was intended to be tongue in cheek. The pretext (pretense?) for this article is false: Barack Obama never said that he “probably knows about Judaism more than any other president.”  

Jonathan Krasner says:

Most of the evidence cited here is besides the point. Knowing the Bible and being able to read and speak biblical Hebrew only provides limited insight into the Jews c. 1776, 1948 or 2012. And judging a person’s knowledge of Jews by whether they make “pro-Israel” or “pro-Jewish” statements is also patently ridicuous. A person can pontificate about all kinds of subjects pro or con about which he or she knows little. I have no idea whether Obama knows more about Jews and Judaism than previous presidents. But I do know how to judge whether a column is looking for a pretext to start a fight when I read one. Bingo!

DoctorRebecca says:

Interesting article and I’m always glad to see more historical facts discussed, especially in this case, earlier presidents and their relations with the Jews. Many educated people (mostly men) in the 18th and early 19th century read Hebrew – another example George Wythe, founder of the first law school at William and Mary. He studied the language with a Richmond rabbi. Wythe was Jefferson’s law teacher and all-round mentor. There was one small factoid I would quibble with — although James Madison did study Hebrew, his reason for spending an extra year at what is now Princeton was to delve into constitutions and forms of government and write a masters dissertation on it. In the delightful picture accompanying the article, surely that is not Ulysses S. Grant. Anyway, glad to have discovered this interesting blog.

Which bust does Barry wish to remove from Mt Rushmore so his likeness can carved ?

butanefire says:

what a stupid article,  Americas presidents knowledge on a topic  immense as a religion contained within a few paragraphs and that too by some columnist with no research no references nothing except for a few excerpts . Is this some kind of political propaganda? I’m surprised that this has attracted so many worthless comments.

kriserskine says:

Hard to judge Obama’s comments against any President before 1948.  There was not even a country of Israel until 1948…. had been wiped from the map since about 568 if my memory serves me correctly.  So Washington’s knowledge, or anyone’s knowledge, of Judaism was purely Biblical.  I think Obama’s comments, while perhaps inferred a historical knowledge, probably had more to do with the political Judaism since the redrawing of the map after WWII.  In that sense, he only can be compared to about eleven potus’.  I’d say probably he is right.  A bit of a gutsy statement to make, but perhaps true.  

That said, if you think Obama is arrogant, and you think he operates in a political vacuum in which no other politicians are arrogant…. you aren’t paying attention.  ALL politicians are this way.  How do you think they get where they are?  They say lots of good things about themselves all the time… otherwise you would never vote for them.  

As a liberal Jewish Obama voter I am very happy with his stands on health care and gay marriage but as a Jew , I remember that Obama really has put Israel under the bus.
He changed the policy of previous administrations that the borders were subject to negotiations and that Israel would get new borders and not have to go back to the 67 borders ( including the Western Wall and the settlement blocks ) to withdrawal from all the territories.
This takes away Israel’s most important card in negotiations.So if he does that why would I believe he would bomb Iran when it gets the nuclear bomb?

    JehudahBenIsrael says:

    Obama’s “contribution” to the border issue is not only a change of US policy, it is also contrary to international law and to bilateral agreements Israel has already reached with its Arab neighbors and signed on them. More specifically, I am referring to UN Security Council Resolution, 242, and all the relevant international law elements that preceded it. Most important among them are the San Remo conference decisions, 1920; League of Nations decisions, 1922; and the United Nations Charter, Article 80, 1945.

The first Christians were originally Jews. These first Christians are the ones who brought Christianity to Europeans. What then made many of the White Christian Right Movement so hateful of Jews?  

Acts of the Apostles 15:21 ” For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the
synagogues every Sabbath day.” shows us that even in Roman and Greek times the Israeli community with their synogogues used for schools during the rest of the week had the most civilizing effect upon the known civilizations within the Roman Empire and far flung from it in India, China, and even Japan. The book “America BC” by Barry Fell shows they even influenced the Americas from ancient times.

Well isn’t his wife Michelle’s cousin a Jewish Rabbi?

EEAATZ says:

I have a feeling that Obama is more Zionist than most people think…When we see Netanyahu and Obama disagree on the so called occupied territory, that’s just for show.Obama being a world leader, he hasn’t got show that he is biased . When they get off cameras, they drink to some wine..In my opinion, that’s how it works…Long live Zion 

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