Fifty years from now Barack Obama will be known to most Americans as, quite simply, the first African-American president of the United States. Aside from this he will have precious little to distinguish himself other than in the notable electoral deterioration of the Democratic Party under his tenure.
While future historians may join Alan Dershowitz in considering him among the worst foreign policy presidents in U.S. history, he will probably hold a very special place in the hearts of Jewish people throughout the world. This is true because he will likely be known as the American president who, whatever his honest intentions, did more than any to divide the Jewish people from one another and from the Jewish state.
The genius in this bit of Jewish slicing-and-dicing is in its multifaceted aspect.
Obama did not merely rub poison into the cleavage between progressive-left Jews and the rest of us. Nor did he merely drive a wedge between American Jews and Israeli Jews. He even managed, much to my astonishment, to help divide pro-Democratic Party Jews among themselves and between themselves and, increasingly, the party as a whole.
Now that is quite an accomplishment.
Let’s briefly go through it.
On the contrary, along with figures like Mahmoud Abbas, Louis Farrakhan, George Galloway, Rashid Khalidi, Jeremy Corbyn, and Keith Ellison, Obama regards Israel as a rogue state imposing itself upon the “indigenous” Palestinian-Arab population. The Jewish people who live there are considered by their very presence, an impediment to peace.
Among the various ways that Obama’s influence, therefore, served to crack Jewish solidarity, the first was in hammering the wedge between progressive-left Jewish Democrats, who generally show greater sympathy toward his views on Israel, and the rest of us who do not.
I couldn’t agree more.
In order to maintain good-standing with their fellow Democrats, Jews who care about Israel were put into an exceedingly uncomfortable position. They could support Obama or they could support Jewish rights to property on ancestral Jewish land, but they could not do both. And, again, Obama did not create this dilemma, he simply forced the issue. Obama used the two-state solution as a reason for opposing Jews like our friends Joseph and Melody Hartuv who live in Hebron and thereby allegedly stand as an obstacle to peace. He was not even the first president of the United States to do so, but he was certainly the most insistent.
Hebron, of course, is the site of the Cave of the Patriarchs. This is a place that, with a little encouragement from Obama, the United Nations decided belongs to Arabs. Through the unjust, if not racist, insistence that the “settlers” represent an obstacle to peace by their mere presence, Obama encouraged his American Jewish supporters to join him in condemning their fellow Jews. He managed this while still maintaining a pro-Israel face to his Jewish followers. Furthermore, by playing along with the erasure of Jewish history on the ancestral lands of the Jewish people, Obama also encouraged the dilution of American-Jewish support for that country and those people.
Many in their own party hold them in contempt for defending Israel, while much of the rest of the American Jewish population casts a gimlet eye upon their never-ending pro-Obama apologetics and sycophancy. These are Jews who, from political and ideological standpoints, are getting smacked around by all sides and finding it increasingly difficult to walk the “progressive Zionist” tightrope. Divisions thereby emerged between the true Obama devotees and those going wobbly watching Obama’s year-in-and-year-out hostility toward Israel.
Whatever happens going forward, however, the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel are, and will continue to be, one.