Obama responds to anti-Israel critique: 'I must object'

US president speaks at DC congregation in commemoration of Jewish American Heritage Month.

May 22, 2015 18:36
1 minute read.
obama synagogue

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on Jewish American History Month at the Adas Israel Congregation synagogue in Washington May 22, 2015. . (photo credit: REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama pushed back against criticism of his policies toward Israel on Friday, asserting his objections in a rare speech to a local synagogue.

The address, at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, was a chance for the president to outline his connections with the Jewish people during Jewish American Heritage Month, a federal holiday in the US in May.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

American Jews have “helped make our union more perfect,” Obama told the crowd. He grew up alongside the State of Israel, he said, stating that it’s values as a Jewish state had become his own.

But he argued that his identification with Jewish values, the story of Israel, and his fervent belief in the state’s right to exist are “precisely” the reasons why he must speak out against some of its policies toward the Palestinians.

“I must object,” he said to applause in the Conservative synagogue.

“Papering over hard questions,” he said, is “not a measure of true friendship.”

The Democratic president has endured harsh criticism of his tone and treatment of the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


In recent days, he has suggested that Netanyahu’s treatment of the Palestinians, and of Israeli Arabs, runs contrary to Israel’s constitutional values and to the state’s long-term security.

While Obama said that hard truths would continue to flow from his White House, he suggested they would run both ways.

“The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners,” he quipped, to laughter in the synagogue.

Obama only spoke briefly on Iran, noting that his legacy would rest on the success or failure of a nuclear deal over time. He welcomed the policy debate, he said, which he called necessary for a challenge as daunting as the nuclear file.

And on anti-Semitism across Europe, Obama warned that the phenomenon was “not some passing fad.”

If it festers, it will spread, he warned the audience, which included several European ambassadors. “We are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

HAND-CRAFTED Jewish stars from volunteers around the globe have been hung up around the city of Pitt
November 18, 2018
Thousands of Jewish stars hung across Pittsburgh as sign of unity