Perils of a multicultural president

By Jay Bergman, Republican American

“Israelis distrust me because of my middle name.”

This is how Barack Hussein Obama, in a recent interview on Israeli television, explained his unpopularity in Israel. What he said, in effect, is Israelis are bigots. This is in sharp contrast to what he thinks of Muslims, about whose supposed lack of self-esteem the president is so concerned that he tasked the head of NASA with raising it, despite the obvious irrelevance of such a task to NASA’s mission of space exploration.

Obama’s casual imputation of bigotry is empirically false. Israelis distrust Obama by large majorities — in one poll, 96 percent of respondents declared their lack of confidence in him — because they believe his policies are profoundly harmful to Israel’s interests and may threaten its existence.

What is more, the president’s charge is selective. American Jews are as cognizant as Israelis of his middle name, but the president does not accuse American Jews of bigotry, no doubt because they voted for him overwhelmingly two years ago and by and large still support him today.

But what makes his insinuation especially objectionable is it is directed against a U.S. ally and the only country in the Middle East with the same liberal values and democratic institutions. No amount of political stagecraft, such as Passover Seders in the White House this past spring, can obscure that sobering reality.

President Obama is not an anti-Semite. However, his disdain for Israel seems deeply rooted in an earlier period in his life. As a student at Columbia University and Harvard Law School, he was exposed to the multiculturalism that remains today the conventional wisdom on American college campuses.

In essence, multiculturalism holds there are no objective standards of truth and morality and therefore no culture can be considered superior to another. In the absence of ethical absolutes of any kind, all cultures are equal.

But there is one country to whose culture this moral relativism is not applied — the United States — the inherent depravity of which the multiculturalists in academia have enlarged to include Israel. In the multicultural credo, the white men who dominate America today, like the white men who created it, are irredeemably racist, sexist and imperialist, and thus the principal cause of exploitation and oppression around the world. So, as an ally of America and an extension of American values, Israel is complicit in this imperialism and irreversibly corrupted by it.

The result today is a U.S. president who betrays allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic, appeases adversaries such as Russia, and worst of all does almost nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which even if unused would facilitate the spread of an Islamic radicalism antithetical to all that is best in America: religious tolerance, the rule of law, individual rights and consensual government.

Because of his multiculturalism, Obama’s foremost obligation as president, as he perceives it, is not to protect the American people and advance America’s legitimate interests. Rather, it is to rise above such parochial considerations, and as a citizen of the world, help humanity achieve the moral rectitude he alone possesses. In Obama’s own words, he has an obligation to “heal the planet.”

But the humanity he seeks to save is not some indivisible entity whose values and aspirations are everywhere and at all times the same; rather it is riddled with hatreds so long-standing and immune to reason that they are impervious to negotiated settlement, much less to the pandering and flattery of which the president is so fond when meeting dictators and despots.

One only hopes that with the passage of time, Obama will see the world as it really is, not as he wishes it would be. Perhaps then he will protect and defend America, and support allies such as Israel instead of slandering them with malicious and wholly unfounded charges of bigotry.

His disdain and contempt, and ours as well, should be reserved for the world’s real bigots.

His disdain and contempt, and ours as well, should be reserved for the world’s real bigots.

Jay Bergman is a history professor at Central Connecticut State University, a member of the board of the National Association of Scholars and author of “Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov.”

August 10, 2010 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. That’s it. We are racists after all. That’s what he inferred.

    I am, I admit it, so what?

    I hate everyone whose middle name is Hussein and is black.

  2. Um, yeh, we really though all Israelis who distrust Obama, do so because of his middle name.

    /sarc

    Nit picking.

  3. The President said this: “And so I think what this arises from — some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion. Some of it may have to do with the fact that I have actively reached out to the Muslim community, and I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy. And the truth of the matter is, is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West.””

    Jay Bergman quoted him as saying this: “Israelis distrust me because of my middle name.” So it’s neither accurate nor put in proper context.

  4. It’s easy to distort when you misquote. Here is the entire quote:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0710/Obamas_interview_with_Israeli_TV.html

    Q Now, I must ask you this, Mr. President, there are people in Israel who are anxious about you —
    THE PRESIDENT: Right.

    Q — and who — you know, I’m quoting their sentiments — feel like you don’t have a special connection to Israel. How do you respond to that?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s interesting — this is the thing that actually surfaced even before I was elected President, in some of the talk that was circulating within the Jewish American community. Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate.

    And my not just knowledge but sympathy and identification with the Jewish experience is rooted in part because of the historic connection between the African American freedom movement here in the United States and the civil rights efforts of Jewish Americans and some of the same impulses that led to the creation of Israel.

    And so I think what this arises from — some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion. Some of it may have to do with the fact that I have actively reached out to the Muslim community, and I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy. And the truth of the matter is, is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West.”