Case Strengthens That Obama Poem Is Anti-Semitic

In an earlier speculative posting I made the case that "Underground," a poem written by Barack Obama and published in the Occidental College literary magazine in 1981, may well be an anti-Semitic allegory.

The "apes" in the poem, I argued, may represent the Jews of Israel, and the "figs" Israel itself. The end of the poem has the warlike apes tumbling into the sea.

A correspondent promptly sent me a link to an Islamic cartoon that strengthens the case for anti-Semitic allegory. The cartoon has been translated and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Middle Eastern not-for-profit press monitoring organization, and seems authentic. The cartoon begins at about the 8:00 minute mark.

The cartoon is preceded by an interview in which a woman asks a girl of no more than five or six whether she likes Jews. The girl decidedly does not. Upon prompting, she tells the woman that Jews are "apes and pigs." She has learned this from "our god" as revealed "in the Qur'an."

The cartoon itself is a crude claymation, which was apparently shown on Al-Manar TV in Lebanon in December 2005. In the opening scene, a group of Jewish traders are selling fish and boasting that they can do so on a "day that the Lord once forbade." One of them proudly says, "I am working on the Sabbath and I challenge the will of the heavens."

So saying, the trader and his colleagues slowly turn into monkeys.

"Look, my child," says an Islamic adult to his son, "the young among them have turned into apes."

The boy concedes that the Lord "punishes severely," and the father thanks the Lord for their deliverance. A voice over tells the listener, "The [Jews/apes] remained in this condition for three days, and then were annihilated. The wind cast them into the sea."

In my book Deconstructing Obama, I dismissed "Underground" as a sophomoric effort devoid of any real meaning. I still think it sophomoric, but I am not at all sure it is devoid of meaning.

In an earlier speculative posting I made the case that "Underground," a poem written by Barack Obama and published in the Occidental College literary magazine in 1981, may well be an anti-Semitic allegory.

The "apes" in the poem, I argued, may represent the Jews of Israel, and the "figs" Israel itself. The end of the poem has the warlike apes tumbling into the sea.

A correspondent promptly sent me a link to an Islamic cartoon that strengthens the case for anti-Semitic allegory. The cartoon has been translated and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Middle Eastern not-for-profit press monitoring organization, and seems authentic. The cartoon begins at about the 8:00 minute mark.

The cartoon is preceded by an interview in which a woman asks a girl of no more than five or six whether she likes Jews. The girl decidedly does not. Upon prompting, she tells the woman that Jews are "apes and pigs." She has learned this from "our god" as revealed "in the Qur'an."

The cartoon itself is a crude claymation, which was apparently shown on Al-Manar TV in Lebanon in December 2005. In the opening scene, a group of Jewish traders are selling fish and boasting that they can do so on a "day that the Lord once forbade." One of them proudly says, "I am working on the Sabbath and I challenge the will of the heavens."

So saying, the trader and his colleagues slowly turn into monkeys.

"Look, my child," says an Islamic adult to his son, "the young among them have turned into apes."

The boy concedes that the Lord "punishes severely," and the father thanks the Lord for their deliverance. A voice over tells the listener, "The [Jews/apes] remained in this condition for three days, and then were annihilated. The wind cast them into the sea."

In my book Deconstructing Obama, I dismissed "Underground" as a sophomoric effort devoid of any real meaning. I still think it sophomoric, but I am not at all sure it is devoid of meaning.

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