The attempt to depict Barack Obama as a Muslim and the response of the Jewish community are depressing on a number of levels. First off, even if he was a Muslim, since when does that disqualify someone from office? Have I missed something here? Why on earth has the reaction of the American Jewish community been, “no, no he is not a Muslim?” Instead we should judge people by their words and actions, not on racial and religious biases.
That said, there are a few things about Obama that still concern me. (Let me be clear, there are a number of things that concern me about all the candidates.) When it comes to Israel and foreign policy issues I am just not yet sold on Barack. My biggest problem is not his lack of experience, it’s those that he surrounds himself with who have experience. Two of his main foreign policy advisors are Samantha Powers and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Neither of these two figures could be said to be favorable towards Israel’s interests in the Middle East. One could argue that both are actually hostile to Israel. It’s not that I think Obama is not pro-Israel. Whether in his heart of hearts he truly loves Israel is a question that does not move me. Every president in the last thirty years–even the worst of them like Jimmy Carter–acted as friends towards the Jewish state and there is no reason to believe the same would not hold true of an Obama administration. What worries me is that I am just not sure if he–or those who he’s surrounded by–really understands the general threat of terrorism and radical elements of Islam that threaten Israel, American and the free world in general.
Finally, there is the issue of Obama and Farrakhan. The other week, Farrakhan–a notorious anti-Semite–endorsed Obama sending chills down the spines of many Jewish observers. Let me be clear again–it would be absurd to accuse Obama of even the faintest sentiment of anti-Semitism because some anti-Semite might think highly of him. Likewise, I would go further, it is absurd that many in the Jewish world feel that his admiration for his pastor–who is friends with Farrakhan–makes him guilty by association. God knows how many rabbis or friends every Jewish person has who might in some way be connected to someone who spews hatred against gentiles or Arabs. If one looked into every statement made by every rabbi that Joe Lieberman was close to I am certain they could drudge up some unseemly material. Likewise, do we gang up on Christian politicians who have ministers that believe that all Jews will be going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus? That said, what we do expect from our politicians and those who represent us is a clear denunciation of those views expressed by those whom they might have ties to. All Obama needs to do is get out in front of the issue and make it clear that in this particular case he does not stand for the type of rhetoric endorsed by his pastor. Barack, “I know you can,” denounce such rhetoric the question is why haven’t you? Barack, we are still waiting.