Rattling the Cage: Islamophobia, Obamaphobia

The record on Obama as an anti-Semite or enemy of Israel is utterly blank.

larry derfner 88 (photo credit:)
larry derfner 88
(photo credit: )
Some of the dirtiest attacks against Barack Obama are being carried out by Jewish bigots in the US and Israel, and if Obama is the Democrat's candidate for president, which looks very likely, these smears are going to get a lot worse.It's not a whispering campaign, it's not anonymous; Marc Zell, co-chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel, put his name to an article in The Jerusalem Post's Web edition last week that brands Obama as a Muslim anti-Semite."Obama and the Jews" begins: "Less than two weeks before the critical primary elections in Ohio and Texas, Democratic voters have made it very clear: Barack Hussein Obama is for real."Why would a Republican activist mention Obama's middle name, especially in the first sentence, especially to readers of The Jerusalem Post? Everyone knows the reason, but I'll spell it out anyway: To reinforce the false impression that Obama is a Muslim, knowing that many readers, Jewish and Christian, will hate and fear him for that reason alone.Zell, of course, knew what he was doing.Several Talkbackers barked on cue. (The following excerpts appear unedited. Raw.) "Could anyone imagine in 1944 an Adolph or Tojo ran for President of the US Less than 7 years after 9/11, people want to put a moslem in the White House!" (jason white - israel) "As Anti-Semite accidents are rising in the USA most probably Obama is hopping [sic] to get the votes of the Anti Jews and the Anti Israel." (Dr. D) "Manchurian Candidate For Farrakhan?" (David Rochlin - USA)This is what's going on. And it doesn't matter how many times AIPAC and ADL and the other mainstream American Jewish organizations denounce it, how many times they repeat that Obama doesn't have an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic bone in his body, the Jewish demagogues keep on spreading their poison.They're not a fringe element among the pro-Israel, anti-Arab community, either. Zell is a Republican neocon in excellent standing, a former law partner of pro-war zealot Douglas Feith.He takes a remark by Obama in which the candidate blamed the Iraq war on "Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and the other armchair, weekend warriors in the administration," and decides that this is an anti-Semitic statement. "Note that only Jews are singled out," Zell writes, "despite the fact that the policies in question were promoted by the entire administration."Sorry, but Jews are ridiculously over-represented among the true-believing neocons who pushed for the Iraq war; you don't have to be an anti-Semite to think first of names like Perle and Wolfowitz - or Feith and Kristol and Podhoretz and Frum and Abrams and on and on. You just have to be reasonably well up on current events.AS I'VE written, I support John McCain for president, and I think Obama is too inexperienced in military and foreign affairs to be president now. But as far as anyone has been able to find out, he has never made anything even close to an anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli remark in his life - unless you think that expressing sympathy for Palestinians, and preferring Middle East diplomacy to Middle East war, is inherently anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic.There are lots of Jews in America and Israel who do think this way, and if Obama wins the Democratic nomination as expected, we are going to be hearing more from them.Zell and his allies use the award by Obama's church's newspaper to Louis Farrakhan and try to make him into a Black Muslim. They take his pastor Jeremiah Wright's harsh criticisms of Israel and support for the Palestinians and try to put them into Obama's mouth. They take anybody Obama's ever had a conversation with who ever worked for Jimmy Carter to say this proves Obama thinks Israel is an apartheid state.But if you want to play guilt by association, then you can also brand as an anti-Semite any politician who has a good word to say about Richard Nixon, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell, just to name a few Republican and Israeli favorites who've been known to spout off against the Jews. Remember, until about the last 40 years, evangelical Christianity and the right wing of the Republican Party were saturated with anti-Semitism.AND IF you want to play guilt by association with any kind of bigot, not just anti-Semites, then which leader is more comprehensively prejudiced, which leader has spewed hatred at a wider range of ethnic and religious groups, than Rabbi Ovadia Yosef? And which Israeli politician hasn't kissed his ass? So can it be said that all of Israel's politicians hold the same views as Rav Ovadia?And keep in mind that not only hasn't Obama ever spoken well of Farrakhan, he denounced Farrakhan's Jew-hatred and criticized the church newspaper's decision to honor him.The record on Obama as an anti-Semite or enemy of Israel is utterly blank. He's not a Muslim, either. (Although it doesn't speak well for America that he can't publicly say, "And what if I was?" without killing his chances for election.) But it doesn't matter - he's caused legions of Jewish crazies to come crawling out of the woodwork.READ SOME of these Talkbacks. "Every time I hear Jewish Leaders support Obama, I am reminded of the blindness of Jewish Leaders in the Germany of the 1930s." (Morton Friedman - USA)Yes, there is a problem of black anti-Semitism in America, but Obama isn't part of it. There's a problem of bigotry among American Jews, but Joseph Lieberman isn't part of that. If American blacks or Muslims were running an ethnic/religious smear campaign against Lieberman like Jewish extremists are running against Obama, what would Jews call it? We'd call it anti-Semitic. The one against Obama is Islamophobic, with an undercurrent of white racism. It's the exact same sort of bigotry.There's a lot of crap thrown back and forth in a presidential election; the Democrats are no doubt going to try to tar McCain as a corrupt war-monger, which isn't true, and the Republicans are going to try to brand Obama as an ultra-liberal pacifist, which is also a crock. The standards of truthfulness, fairness and accuracy naturally get stretched out of shape in political campaigns.But even in politics there is a red line, and on the other side of that red line is what's called a hate campaign. Deliberately drawing attention to Obama's middle name, Hussein, is the stuff of a hate campaign. Depicting him as an anti-Semite or an enemy of Israel is the stuff of a hate campaign.For information on how you can become part of it, contact Republicans Abroad in Israel.