Barack Obama smiles as he plays golf in Hawaii.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Woodmont Country Club, an exclusive, mostly Jewish golf club in Rockville, Maryland has invited former President Barack Obama to join after all.
The club had been locked in a contentious and rather public debate over whether to admit Obama for membership because of the US decision to abstain from a UN vote against Israeli settlements and other actions perceived as hostile against Israel. The New York Post was the first to report the dispute.
In an email to members Monday, Woodmont President Barry Forman said that after “many hours in recent weeks considering this matter and the views of our members,” the club’s executive committee decided to invite Obama to join, the Washington Post
reported Monday evening.
“Political views have never been part of our membership criteria, and our members have always reflected a range of opinions on issues of the day. In the current, deeply polarized political environment, it is all the more important that Woodmont be a place where people of varying views and beliefs can enjoy fellowship and recreation in a relaxed environment,” Forman also wrote.
Obama played at the club four times during his presidency. He has not indicated whether he will seek a membership at the club.
The exclusive club charges members an $80,000 initiation fee and $9,673 in annual dues.
Obama would be invited to join the club under the “special membership” provision to “welcome” senior government officials. Under the special membership, the initiation fee is waived, according to the Washington Post.
The Obamas are planning to remain in Washington, DC for at least the next couple of years, according to reports.
Woodmont was founded by DC-area Jews in 1913 because Jews were banned from joining other clubs.
“We are proud of our Jewish heritage, and we are also proud that our membership is now more diverse, which reflects significant changes in our society in recent years. Given our legacy, it is regrettable that we have now been widely portrayed as unwelcoming and intolerant, because that is not who we are,” Forman also wrote in his email to members.
At least one member, Jeffrey Slavin, a Democratic activist and mayor of the Montgomery County town of Somerset, resigned over the debate.