Obama Not An Anti-Semite
Over the years, I have appreciated Saul Jay Singer’s “Collecting Jewish History” column. Singer’s pieces have brought heretofore unknown elements of our past to an appreciative public.
It is with this preface that I must note how stunned I was by his words in the Oct. 29 issue. Writing about anti-Semites, he lists Desmond Tutu, Yasser Arafat, and Barack Obama. It is the designation of the latter that causes me such discomfort. One may or may not disagree with our former president on many issues, but that does not afford one the right to term him “anti-Semitic.” Quite the contrary: Obama is on record on numerous occasions as a friend of the Jewish people.
I will cite two examples. Speaking in Israel on March 21, 2013, Obama talked of how the Jewish people inspired him. He said, in part: “After enjoying Seders with family and friends in Chicago and on the campaign trail, I’m proud that I’ve now brought this tradition into the White House. I did so because I wanted my daughters to experience the Haggadah and the story of Passover that makes this time of year so powerful.” These are hardly the words of an anti-Semite. A White House Seder was held in each of Obama’s eight years there. At the first Obama Seder, in 2009, silverware from the Truman years was used, a nod to President Truman’s early recognition of the Jewish state.
In 2016, speaking on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Obama reaffirmed his affinity with us, declaring, “We are all Jews.”
President Obama surrounded himself with Jewish advisors, including David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and Dan Shapiro. Again, one may have policy differences with any or all of these men, but Obama clearly had no “Jewish problem” per se.
Some have asked: If Barack Obama is not anti-Semitic, why did he tolerate Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s hateful screeds? Why not walk out on his pastor’s sermons? That is a good question, but I ask in return: How many of us have heard rabbis make casual (or not so casual) racist comments about blacks or Arabs and sat in our seats rather than walk out? I confess that I am guilty. This does not make me a racist (although it may mean I am gutless!). It is not always easy to speak truth to power.
The danger of Singer’s words cannot be overstated. Barack Obama remains the most popular Democrat in the United States. We should be courting him, not distancing him. Singer owes Obama a heartfelt apology.
Far Rockaway, NY
Cities Can Prevent Rioting and Mayhem
Biden’s ill-conceived convictions about the Rittenhouse verdict, as pointed out in the Jewish Press editorial (Nov. 26), is not the only poor judgment displayed by some Democratic leaders. The Rittenhouse saga showed that much of the rioting and mayhem of the summer of 2020 could have been avoided.
Before the verdict, Kenosha was bracing for the worst: violent protests, vandalism, riots. But they never happened. There’s little doubt that the highly publicized presence of troops is what thwarted the anarchy. In the summer of 2020, President Trump offered to send troops to any city or state to help stem the tide of violence. It was rejected by just about every Democratic leader. There’s no telling how many lives and livelihoods such troops could have saved. But what seems almost certain is that much tragedy could have been avoided.
The biggest tragedy, though, is that people got killed for no other reason than some Democratic leaders’ animosity toward Trump. This is dereliction of duty, at best, criminally negligent homicide, at worst. Democrats investigate just about any hint of questionable wrongdoing by Republicans – why aren’t congressional Republicans investigating the failure of these Democratic governors and mayors to protect human life? It looks like the swamp is a lot deeper than Trump imagined.
Patients Need Face-to-Face Care
The piece on mental health by Keira Hale “Virtual Psychiatric Care: What it Lacks” (Nov. 26) explains how psychiatric practices are lagging behind when patients aren’t seen in person. As a psychiatric social worker, I heartily agree with Hale. It’s a disservice to the patient for the therapist not to see the body language of the individual. Body language is the use of physical behavior to communicate nonverbally. Wordless signals like posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact are cues to the therapist to help pick up unspoken issues or negative feelings.
Let’s hope that when Covid-19 has disappeared it will do away with phone calls and result in the patient and therapist sitting in the same room.
Delray Beach, FL
Put Your Collateral Where Your Bill Is
President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, along with their respective Democratic House and Senate caucus members claim that both the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and $1.75 trillion Build Back America bills are fully paid for. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the first bill would add $228 billion and the second bill $367 billion to our $29 trillion and growing national debt over the next ten years.
If they are so confident of this financing scheme, let them all put up their respective future pensions, 401k’s, stocks, bonds, jewelry, automobiles, mortgage homes and property assets and social security as collateral. Place all of these assets in a blind trust on behalf of taxpayers. This can serve as a small down payment to cover the inevitable multi-billion-dollar shortfall in anticipated revenues to pay for both bills over coming years. Ask their spouses or significant other to do the same.
Biden, Schumer, Pelosi and company remind me of J. Wellington Wimpy who famously said “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Tuesday may never come for taxpayers who have to pay for all the goodies promised by them within their lifetime.
Great Neck, NY