Obama and the Jewish Experience

Despite a fawning Israeli reporter, Obama’s TV interview only reassured Israelis that he backs the Palestinian cause

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The interview President Obama gave to veteran Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan went very well. In her Hebrew introduction, Dayan said that being the first black president, Obama had “changed America forever.” While she failed to explain how skin color had changed America, viewers at home could tell by the tone of Dayan’s voice that whatever change to which she was referring must have been a good change.

With such an intro, it wasn’t surprising that contrary to promos suggesting Obama would put all his cards on the table, Dayan delivered an irritating interview showing a smug president having fun with one of his admirers.

Sympathetic as Dayan was, however, speaking for half an hour about Israel inevitably yields some insights, and most disturbing was Obama’s deep pro-Palestinian disposition. 

During the 30 minutes that were aired, nothing was said about Palestinian institutionalized incitement against Israel; nothing was said about how official Palestinian insignia shows the State of Palestine replacing all of Israel; and nothing was said about the spread of Antisemitism on American campuses.

This alone demonstrated Obama’s inclination to embrace a Palestinian narrative that accuses Israel of apartheid and racism in order to deflect attention from its real agenda, which is clearly outlined in nearly every aspect of Palestinian culture, from school plays to soccer teams inform everyone willing to listen that their holy land must be freed from the Zionist monster. 

Obama, it must be said, shares only half of that Palestinian vision in pushing the same old partition plan (two-state solution) that the Palestinians themselves rejected.

Most revealing was Obama’s answer to Dayan’s question over what he thinks about plans to segregate buses going in and out of the West Bank. Dayan’s use of “segregation” was misleading at best, and the president knew that. The demand for separate buses came from Israelis fearing for their lives. This demand that is so eagerly condemned is in essence no different from the two-state solution, for it too seeks to separate, not segregate, Jews from the Palestinians.

The question, framed as it was in the context of apartheid, found a ready president:

“In my mind there is a direct line between the Jewish experience, the African-American experience” Obama said, insisting that there should be “a special empathy and a special regard for those who are being mistreated because the color of their skin or the nature of their faith. The Israeli people,” continued Obama, “don’t have to look to me to determine how to feel about a law like that.” 

Though the request for separate buses for Israelis and Palestinians was never intended to become legislation, and will ultimately not be implemented due to the tyranny of “political correctness” that prefers stupid ideas over life, the president nevertheless framed the conflict in terms of race and justice, or more precisely, Israeli racism and injustice.

In so doing, Obama has shown that he had embraced the guiltless Palestinian narrative that constantly blames Israel for criminal acts that range from rape to war crimes. This explains why he chose to reference a nameless, peace-loving child from Ramallah instead of address the phenomenon of a Palestinian children’s choir singing to dignitaries: “My holy land, I will sate you with my blood.” 

Though Obama repeatedly stressed America’s commitment to Israel’s security, this interview did nothing to appease apprehension toward his administration.


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