Rick's post reminds me that, much like Obama's latest admonition that Israelis should "search your souls," he told Jewish leaders back in 2009 "that Israel needed to engage in 'serious self-reflection.'" So these are not random comments, but a theme running through the man's mind. Is there a shrink in the house?
Did Obama ever tell the Iranians to search their souls? No, he told them that theirs is a "great and celebrated culture," that their art, music, literature and innovation had made "the world a better and more beautiful place."
Did he tell Muslims to engage in self-reflection when he spoke to "the Muslim world" from Cairo? Absolutely not. Instead, he talked about "mutual interest and mutual respect," he quoted "the Holy Koran," spoke in Arabic and enumerated "civilization's debt to Islam" --
It was Islam... that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.
Never mind the Jew stuff, the first polio vaccine, the discoveries of insulin, aspirin for pain, chloral hydrate for convulsions, streptomycin, the test to diagnose syphilis, a cure for pellagra... And I suppose the world could have lived without Windows operating systems, the Centrum processor, Pentium 4 microprocessor, voice mail, email and cell phones. Never mind that Jews gave us AOL instant messaging, camera chips in cell phones and the first-ever day off from work. Never mind democracy, unmanned aircraft and UAVs, and the largest immigrant and refugee absorption project on earth....
None of this bears comparison to the elegance and poetry of Islamic arches and spires.
Does Michelle thank Israelis every time she pulls a cherry tomato from her garden on the White House lawn? Does her go-green husband praise Israel for its 95% of households that have solar-powered water heaters? Is the "settlement" of Neve-Zin in the Negev commendable for depending on solar energy all year long, or is it just another "obstacle to peace"?
I could go on and on like this, but it's stupid and a waste of time.
The real issue is that the supposed "leader of the free world" is so reliably hostile to the Jewish state that, in his hands, the power of the American presidency has become a potential danger to our future as Jews.
.... Obama reportedly said that the Jewish sections of Jerusalem would remain in Israeli hands as part of any peace deal, but that the Arab sections would not.
Participants uniformly declined to speak on the record about the meeting... While there was general consistency in the reports about Obama's comments, interpretation of them varied widely.
“Many people felt that their worst fears about Obama were confirmed with respect to Israel,” one participant said. “They felt an enormous hostility towards Israel.”
Other participants disagreed, calling such views ridiculous. They said the meeting was a positive one, described the president as “thoughtful” and “forthcoming” in his remarks, and said no new ground was broken.
“The people who loved Obama probably still love him, the people who had big reservations about Obama probably have more reservations than they had before,” one longtime Jewish organizational official told JTA.
Granted, it's difficult to wrap our minds around the true extent of our vulnerability, but we'd better hurry up because after that we still have to figure out what to do.
Our parents and grandparents could say with good reason that they just couldn't believe what was happening right in front of their eyes, because it was so unprecedented, so absolutely unthinkable. But our generation has no such excuse. Because we know. It has happened before. And I know it sounds trite, but it could happen again.
August 2005: Lazer Brody interviews "Rabbi BT"Rabbi BT: .... Even though I pray that the decree against Gush Katif will be rescinded, I think it will happen. Gush Katif is miniature compared to the test of faith that awaits us.
Lazer: You mean Jerusalem, Rabbi?
Rabbi BT: Yes. The world will try to take it from us. Few Jews will remain loyal and steadfast in their belief (emuna, in the original Hebrew). Many will think Hashem has forsaken us, G-d forbid. But, by virtue of those loyal few who unshakingly cling to their faith in Hashem, Moshiach will come and evil will be destroyed, G-d willing. The test of faith is only beginning...
When next you search your soul, let me know what you find.