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April 16, 2015 6:34 am

A Trifecta of Jewish Fears on Obama and Iran

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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President Obama. Photo: White House.

Call it the Trifecta of American Jewish Fears.

President Obama’s campaign to pressure American Jewish leaders to go along with his Iran deal seeks to exploit Jewish fears of seeming to be war-mongers, of seeming to be against the president of the United States, and Jewish fears of seeming to oppose a black president. Is the Obama team’s psychoanalysis correct?

In the immediate aftermath of the Israeli election results, one will recall, the White House went ballistic. On the record and off the record, White House officials blasted Prime Minister Netanyahu for the sin of winning and threatened to punish Israel’s voters by abandoning Israel at the United Nations. President Obama even announced that he was “reassessing” U.S.-Israel relations. He didn’t say what that meant, but he meant it to sound ominous.

Then, after a week of sputter and bluster, the Obama Administration suddenly changed its tune. All the finger-pointing and hostile leaking suddenly stopped.

What happened?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “a group of Jewish Democratic House members met with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in his office last week” and warned that for them to help “sell a very unpopular [Iran nuclear] deal to our constituents,” President Obama must “increase his popularity with our constituents,” the Journal quoted one Democratic congressman as saying.

The Jewish Democratic lawmakers told McDonough that the president should “soften his tone” toward Prime Minister Netanyahu and avoid “getting into a daily argument with” him, one participant told the Journal. Congresswoman Nita Lowey said, “I conveyed directly to the White House that it’s time to dial back the temperature and affirm and strengthen the U.S.-Israeli relationship.”

Pennsylvania Democratic fundraiser Alan Kessler was quoted by the Journal as saying that Republican Senator Pat Toomey might have an advantage in his re-election race because he is “a steadfast supporter of Israel.” Kessler didn’t say – but everyone knows – that his likely Democratic opponent’s ties to the Muslim extremist group CAIR will also be a factor.

And Leonard Barrack, another longtime Democratic fundraiser, told the Journal that “many fellow Democrats of the Jewish faith were appalled” that some Democratic congressmen did not show Prime Minister Netanyahu “the respect and courtesy of being in the audience.”

The Democrat congressmembers who met with McDonough have to run for re-election. Obama does not. So they leaned on the President to take a different approach. And that’s what he’s doing.

In an interview with the New York Times, Obama launched this new “charm offensive,” hitting the key points he will be using to try to intimidate American Jews into supporting, or at least not opposing, the Iran surrender:

Argument #1: “It’s either this or war.”

That plays to the old Jewish fear, going all the way back to at least the days of Charles Lindbergh, of being accused of “war-mongering.”

Argument #2: “You’re hurting me personally.”

When Obama spoke to the Times about his discomfort at Jewish criticism, interviewer Thomas Friedman, almost as if he were speaking on cue, asked, “You mean you take it personally?” To which the president responded, “It has been personally difficult for me to hear…expressions that somehow…this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest.” Get it? If you doubt Obama, you’re hurting him personally. That plays to Jewish fears of being seen as caring more about themselves than about the president of the United States.

Argument #3: “I’m an African-American President.”

Of course, President Obama didn’t actually say those words. He didn’t have to. He did just as much during his campaign against Netanyahu speaking to Congress, when he held a 90-minute meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who then emerged to declare that the controversy was really “about President Barack Obama being a black man disrespected by a foreign leader.” There’s nothing that scares American Jews more than the fear of being called racist. Having already played that card, the Administration knows it’s still out there, on the table. Nobody has forgotten it.

President Obama and his advisers are playing an interesting and sophisticated game. They think they understand the American Jewish psyche and can manipulate the Jewish community to back down on Iran. This crisis is thus a test for American Jewish leaders. Will they be cowed into silence by their old fears and insecurities? Or can they rise up and do the right thing?

Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of Philadelphia, and both are current candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • It’s all part of Ezekiel 7:14 They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.

  • Larry Andrews

    Excellent comments by everyone which need to be both read
    and heeded by America’s so-called Jewish “leaders”. We all know that “actions speak louder than words!”. And, President Obama has been and continues to be the most anti-Israeli president in the history of the United States. The “Good News” is the majority of America’s elected officials and the majority of Americans know that this Iran “deal” stinks!!
    Zay Gezunt!

  • Jeffery Saddlemire

    Obama is on the wrong side of God, make no mistake about it. He is a very good story teller, he will deceive you. May God bless Israel!

  • Dov

    Make no mistake, it isn’t just President Obama who has turned against Natanyahu, but its the Democratic party. Just look at the 40 members of Congress who boycotted his speech. Its the entire Democratic party that we have supported and voted for years, that is turning against Jews.

    • Deborah M

      The best thing everyone can do is tell your American Jewish friends not to vote on the Democratic ticket. The dems have already shown that they do not support Israel. Do not let them make you feel guilty about this “black” president-he is not black, but Muslim. He said in his book Audacity of Hope that he would always stand with the Muslims if the winds of tide changed. I think it is page 267. Hilary Clinton is equally as bad, as she had an assistant who is in the Muslim sisterhood. She will welcome the Muslim leadership in the white house just as O has done. Please know you are dealing with the powers of darkness here. If the tide can be changed, it will be by conservatives who pray for Israel and people everywhere who seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who can turn the tide. Blessings of peace and shalom be unto Israel, yahweh’s chosen ones.

  • The Historical Perspective.
    At the breaking up of the Turkish Empire by the Allies at the end of W.W.I, both Arabs and Jews requested independent states. The world powers were generous in the extreme to the Arabs by granting them 21 independent Arab states, covering 5,414,000 square miles. The Jews asked the Allied powers to honor the San Remo Treaty of 1920 which is less than 1 percent of that vast territory. In 1917 and 1921 the Allied Powers agreed to this request. At the San Remo treaty of 1920 which was confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne. The Jewish people were allocated all of Palestine as a Jewish State while the Arabs were granted 21 states. The British as trustee for the Jewish people under the Mandate for Palestine, violated the Treaty and allocated 77% of the Jewish Territory in Palestine to the Arabs east of the Jordan river and created a new country named Jordan. As a consequence of “oil diplomacy” Israel now possesses a mere 0.2 percent of it.
    Rather than the rules allowing non-Muslims to ascend the Mount being from 2006, as was cited in Wikipedia, the rules have remain unchanged since 1924, as can be seen in an online copy of “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” published by the Supreme Moslem Council in Jerusalem, in 1924, with this copy from 1925.

    A link to the document can be found here:

  • These comments are all excellent.
    We Jewish people are an intelligent, gifted people with fine accomplishments….At times, some of us tend to “forget” history, and in so doing…. take positions that are essentially “foolish”

  • nelson marans

    I would not trust President Obama when he makes mollifying statements about his support of Israel. his actions speak louder than word and he has shown his disregard for the Jewish state innumerable times. Hopefully his chief Democratic Jewish contributors will not be fooled and will withhold contributions that help to destroy the Jewish state.

    • Jeff Blankfort

      President Obama was elected to serve the American people, not the government nor the people of Israel.

      American Jews who believe otherwise had better take a reality check because through their attacks on Obama for not showing his affection for Israel, which is unwarranted by any US president, they are alienating not only the African-American community but other Americans who will begin to question, as some are doing already, what flag is it that American Jews salute?

  • DrTCSilver

    We are appalled at the Presidential slap in the face to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who lost his only brother in the Entebbe Raid! No American President has ever treated its ONLY Democratic Ally in the Middle East! Has Mr. Obama ‘missed the Video Clips of ISIS ‘beheading President Obama in effigy!’ We are deeply concerned about his seemingly ‘misplaced allegiances’ and telling ‘American Jews to move to Israel!’ It’s akin to telling him to return to Africa, Morocco or where he can Worship Islam in Peace!’=Unacceptable! Does he know the World NOW (due to him) sadly commemorates ‘the Shoah of 2015!’ How embarrassed many Americans feel!

  • yussi

    This president has become a total disaster to Israel and jews worldwide. I dont care if he is black,white,purple etc. That has nothing to do with it. We jews cannot allow him to manipulate our organizations and our jewish population. The Iran deal is a disaster. They continually call for the death of both Israel and the US. They release details of this deal that are the exact opposite of those released by the US. They cannot be trusted!.They must be given two choices: Dismantal the facility or it will be done for you.PERIOD!!!


    The American Jewish liberal community is easily bamboozled. That is why support from the military and Christian communities is essential for Israel’s survival. Of the following the only Jewish officer is Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow. He is a survivor of the Holocaust from Lithuania. In his book he wrote that when they threatened to kill you, believe them.
    When Pres. Obama was a state representative he attended the farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi. The toast and chant was “death to Israel”. Obama has never disowned this chant with the people who made it. [The story was in the Los Angeles Times who have the tapes but will not release them.]
    The following generals and admirals are very public in their support of Israel: V. Adm. John M. Bird, USN (ret.), R. Adm. Garry J. Bonelli, USN (ret.) ,Gen. James T. Conway, USMC (ret.) ,Gen. Don G. Cook, USAF (ret.) ,Maj. Gen. Robert D. Eaglet, USAF (ret.) ,Adm. Leon Edney, USN (ret.), Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, USN (ret.),Maj. Gen. Jon A. Gallinetti, USMC (ret.), Lt. Gen. Thomas Griffin, USA (ret.) ,ӬLt. Gen. Earl B. Hailston, USMC (ret.) ,Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, USAF (ret.) ,Col. Jack Jacobs, USA (ret.), Adm. Jerome Johnson, USN (ret.) ,ӬV. Adm. Bernard Kauderer, USN (ret.) ,V. Adm. Anthony A. Less, USN (ret.), Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch, USMC (ret.), Maj. Gen. John A. Macdonald, USA (ret.), R. Adm. Edward Masso, USN (ret.) , Lt. Gen. Charles May, USAF (ret.), ҬLt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle, R. Adm. William F. Merlin, USCG (ret.) ,Maj. Gen. William C. Moore, USA (ret.) ,Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom, USAF (ret.) , Maj. Gen. Robert B. Patterson, USAF (ret.), V. Adm. David Pekoske, USCG (ret.) ,V. Adm. James B. Perkins, III, USN (ret.) ,ӬMaj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, USA (ret.) ,ӬLt. Gen. Mark D. Shackelford, USAF (ret.) ,ӬLt. Gen. Ted G. Stroup, Jr., USA (ret.) ,ӬLt. Gen. Guy Swan, USA (ret.) ,ӬMaj. Gen. Larry Taylor, USMCR (ret.) ,ӬGen. Louis Wagner, USA (ret.) .


    • Ephraim

      They are NOT liberal, they are left wing fascists.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Leaders of American Jewry,
    You are faced with a challenge today not unlike the American Jewish leaders of the late 1930s up to the middle 1940s. It is a challenge based on the lives of Jewish people, whether they be in Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, North America or Asia: a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Whether they be theist, secular, atheist, agnostic, they are all Jews. Whether they are Zionists or not, they are all Jews. We are a people of, perhaps, thirteen million souls in all, a relatively small people in number. We are an ancient people. Our common goals can be meaningful as they help preserve the entire Jewish people globally. One common goal is to preserve our identity as a people. Another is to preserve our faith as a nation. A third is to preserve our links to the past, our collective memory. Please, leaders of American Jewry, remember that this small, ancient, people-nation is entitled to a future, a future for the Jewish people, a future for the entire Jewish people. As a Jew who lives in Israel, but was born, raised, and educated in Chicago, Illinois, I entreat you to weigh the moral responsibility you have as leaders of the American Jewish community to ensure as much as is humanly possible that a second Holocaust does not occur in our time. The right thing is to protect Jews wherever they live in this world because we are one people, one nation with a common memory dating back to Abraham, the first Jew.

    • Ephraim

      I wish J Street and the other self hating Jews would heed you. Unfortunately, on this site you are probably preaching to the choir.