Obama's Synagogue

Barack Obama chose the perfect synagogue, Congregation Adas Israel, in which to deliver a rebuke of Israel, couched in an address commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month, using some fuzzy throwaway lines designed to lull the gullible into apathy regarding his approach towards Iran and the Palestinians.

Barack Obama is on another campaign: to sell his Iran deal and sell out Israel. So he spoke before the largest and oldest conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C. He said that while Iran may be anti-Semitic it was not irrational and would not risk destruction by developing and using nuclear weapons.

For a man who boasted he was a student of history during his speech in Cairo, he must have forgotten that Adolf Hitler was irrational, was responsible for the murder of many millions of people (including 6 million Jews) and his irrationality did lead to the destruction of Germany. His views about Iran and the mullahs’ Nazi infused technology and genocidal goals have been amply criticized. Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow of Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has recently written that the Nazi genocidal ideology animates and motivates the Iranian mullahs.  They openly have boasted of their desire and plan to destroy Israel -- and then the Great Satan, America.

He rebuked Israel for not living up to its ideals when it comes to the Palestinians and said the Palestinians were not free -- implicitly, alluding to Jews being their oppressors. In fact, Palestinians do enjoy a fair amount of freedom (certainly compared to many of their fellow Palestinians in the Arab world) and often have used this freedom to murder Jews. But let’s move on to the media treatment of Obama’s visit.

Apparently, the crowd was very receptive and his speech where he declared his concern for the Jewish people and Israel was a paramount value of his. He even had the temerity to declare himself an honorary member of the tribe and noted some Jews had called him the first Jewish president. As I noted in a previous column, if Obama had concerns for Israel and the Jewish people, he has off ways of showing such concern since his actions and words have had the opposite effect -- he has no problem, for example, empowering anti-Semites here and abroad

But the media has completely ignored the composition of the audience and the rabbi who welcomed Obama to the temple. The media correctly noted the synagogue was a Conservative temple. This may lead many to conclude that this has some sort of political connotation -- that if Conservative Jews welcomed Obama with such applause then that is some sort of stamp of approval from the wider Jewish community. Conservative Jews do not mean conservative in the political sense. However, religiously conservative Jews do more often than not fall on the redder spectrum when it comes to politics. However, this Washington synagogue may be an outlier in this regard to the audience’s reactions, and may not be indicative of anything when it comes to the wider Jewish community (that has been slowly turning against Obama -- faster, please, faster -- and have concerns regarding his approach towards Iran).

I will speculate that what is considered Conservative in a religious sense in the environs of Washington may vary a bit from what is considered conservative in, say, New York City. But beyond that speculation, is there something more specific about Obama’s choice of synagogies to deliver his political palaver?

It turns out the synagogue has some very liberal members including the left-wing journalists Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic) and Franklin Foer (formerly of the New Republic). Goldberg is one of Obama’s favorite Jewish journalists and is one of Obama’s emissaries to the Jewish community.  He repeatedly grants one-on-one interviews with Goldberg who, in turn, routinely touts Obama’s pro-Israel bona-fides. Obama rarely grants interviews but will do so when he knows there will be no gotcha questions and he has a “friendly” journalist who will serve his own purposes.

Furthermore, the rabbi who praised Obama is Rabbi Gil Steinlauf. The rabbi made news a few years ago when he declared he was gay, even though he had been married for 20 years, Understandably, gay marriage is an important issue for him so he must be very appreciative for Obama’s changed stance on gay marriage. Rabbi Steinlauf has made it very easy to view his priorities by having his blog. The blog is heavily populated with postings focusing on gay marriage and attacks on the religious right. Perusing the blog, I don’t see any entries concerning the explosion of anti-Semitism in America and the world-let alone violence perpetrated on Jews as Jews. He agrees with Obama’s scathing criticism of Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Other posts are titled “Slavery lives in our attitudes” and “ A Rabbi on the Economy & The Great Gatsby” -- a critique of capitalism and free enterprise.

Did any of the media outlets’ actually drill down to why this particular synagogue would be so welcoming to Obama’s speech? Did any journalist bother to point out this synagogue and its congregants are not reflective of anything other than Obama’s political strategy to con American Jews into accepting a deal with Iran that will ineluctably lead to its becoming a nuclear armed terror state?

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