Meir Panim delivers warmth, special care to families in need.
The world now knows that for nearly 20 years, Senator Barack Obama has attended Chicago’s Trinity United Church and that his pastor was Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In his March 18 speech on race, Obama criticized some of Wright’s statements but also essentially excused and rationalized his sermons on the basis that many African-Americans growing up in past decades experienced prejudice, discrimination, lack of economic opportunity, etc.
“This,” said Obama, “is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African Americans of his generation grew up.”
Half right. African-Americans suffered, many even horrifically, in the past. But Wright was not one of them.
How do I know?
It happens that, as a Philadelphian, I attended Central High School – the same school Jeremiah Wright attended from 1955 to 1959. He could have gone to an integrated neighborhood school, but he chose to go to virtually all-white Central, the second oldest public high school in the country, which attracts the most serious academic students in the city.
The school then was about 80% Jewish (95% white). I attended Central a few years after Wright, so I did not know him personally. But I knew of him and I know where he used to live – in a tree-lined neighborhood of large stone houses in Germantown, a lovely neighborhood to this day. Moreover, Wright’s father was a prominent pastor and his mother a teacher and later vice-principal of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, also a distinguished academic high school.
In short, Wright had a comfortable upper-middle class upbringing. It was hardly the scene of poverty and indignity suggested by Obama to explain what he calls Wright’s anger and what I describe as his hatred.
In recent days, we have seen clips of several of Wright’s sermons showing him declaring “God Damn America,” blaming America for intentionally creating the drug problem, for creating the AIDS virus, for supporting Israeli “state terrorism against Palestinians,” for being responsible for causing 9/11, etc.
We also know that last year Wright’s church presented a lifetime achievement award to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In fact, Wright accompanied Farrakhan in the 1980’s on a visit to Libya, which was then illegal under U.S. law.
Imagine for a moment if a white candidate for high office attended for 20 years a church led by a white supremacist pastor who railed regularly against blacks and accused them of bringing down civilization. Imagine if he honored neo-Nazi David Duke with a major award. Imagine if, when these facts emerged, the candidate said he disagreed with and criticized the pastor’s statements, while also saying he was largely unaware of them.
Imagine that he also tried to rationalize these views by referring to the anger felt by impoverished whites even though the pastor himself actually grew up in comfortable circumstances. Imagine also that his pastor retired amid the praises of his congregants and successor, but that the candidate refused to quit the church while continuing to praise the pastor for his good works helping poor whites. His criticism of the pastor would hardly suffice.
This is the situation Obama now faces. I make no judgment on why he joined and stayed with Wright and his church, though I am deeply concerned that he did so. By quitting the church, Obama would be doing the right thing while reassuring the American public in the process that he will not tolerate hate, divisiveness and anti-Americanism.
About the Author: Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.
Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]
Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies
In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?
In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.
In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”
There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.
The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war
The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel
I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!
“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?
Historically, legally, politically, and religiously Israel is the Jewish nation state.
Imagine if the NAACP had responded with skepticism to the passage of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and urged African Americans to exercise their civil rights cautiously under this law. Title VI was landmark legislation when it was passed in 1964 to remedy racial and ethnic discrimination in programs receiving federal funding.
Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which controls Gaza, have formally signed a unity agreement.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that colleges and universities redress racial and ethnic discrimination or risk losing their federal funding. Thus, if African American or Hispanic students are harassed on campus, they can complain to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is mandated to enforce Title VI and ensure that their schools fix the problem.
Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis disapprove of President Obama’s policies toward Israel. They oppose his administration’s condemning Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem; his UN speech supporting linkage of U.S. support for Israel’s security to Israeli concession to the Palestinians; his comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews in his June 2009 Cairo speech.
Is J Street a pro-Israel group? The lobbying organization never tires of claiming it is.
Yet what pro-Israel group would invite a man to speak at its forthcoming conference who has called for Israel’s destruction, stating that “the establishment by force, violence and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948” was “unjust” and “a crime,” and vowed to “work to overturn the injustice”?
Today, under the Obama administration – as yesterday under the Bush administration – U.S. policy toward the Arab war on Israel is largely based on the notion that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction are genuine moderates who reject terrorism and accept Israel’s right to exist, and are therefore committed to building a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/obamas-pastor-a-product-of-privilege-not-poverty/2008/03/26/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: