What do Glenn Beck and Obama Have in Common?

How about trying to onnect with the message of Jews to humankind 'through you will all the families of the earth be blessed'".<br/>

Dovid Efune, Dir. Algemeiner Journal ,

Nothing, you say? Not quite.

In the way by which they address Jews, they both seem to define Jewish identity through the lens of victim-hood.

I  have been present on three occasions in the last twelve months where  Beck was addressing a Jewish audience and each time I came away with the  same impression; Beck views himself as some sort of guardian and  'savior' of the Jewish people.

I  noted in a previous column that in a letter on Beck's website posted  last summer, that introduced his 'Rumors of War' documentary, he  explained his support for Israel, opening with the words "never forget,"  referring to the Holocaust. He then continued, "As the world spirals  into financial chaos and conditions continue to worsen, fingers are  already being pointed to determine a scapegoat. The nation dubbed  'Little Satan' is one obvious candidate to be on the receiving end of  the blame."

President  Obama's interactions with the Jewish community have of course been  broader and more multidimensional, but following his visit last Monday  to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D. C., I couldn't help but notice a  trend. Politics aside, when he addresses the Jewish community, it is  through the lens of the Holocaust, and the Jewish icon that he has most  publicly attached himself to - outside of a political setting - is Elie  Wiesel.

Throughout  his Presidency, Obama has presided over about ten public addresses to  the U.S. Jewish community and some additional off the record meetings  with communal leaders. Of those that were public, the two Jewish  American Heritage Month events, two Rosh Hashanah phone calls with  American Rabbis and various video messages for Jewish holidays were  relatively insubstantive.

The  speeches that were of most significance included the following: Two  that were delivered before an AIPAC audience that focused on  international politics specifically addressing Israel's challenges with  Iran and other belligerent neighbors. These speeches were essentially  addressed to the entire pro-Israel community in the United States as  well.

The  President also spoke before the Union of Reform Judaism focusing on  domestic politics and policies in working to energize his shrinking  American Jewish liberal base.

The  two remaining times that his message was directed towards the Jewish  people exclusive of specific political motive were almost entirely  Holocaust-centric.

The  first was in 2009 on Obama's journey back from addressing the Arab  world in Cairo, where he referenced Jewish suffering as the root of  "aspiration for a Jewish homeland," he stopped in Buchenwald. His speech  there, amounting to an extended tribute to Jewish victimhood,  transitioned to reference Israel by saying, "They could not have known  how the nation of Israel would rise out of the destruction of the  Holocaust." The world's most famous survivor Elie Wiesel was by his  side.

Monday's  message followed the same pattern. Much was said of the sorry history  of Jewish suffering and the need to prevent further atrocities against  other minorities. There Again, Wiesel accompanied him.

In  no way do I wish to diminish the importance of this recognition and  remembrance, but I know that not so far below the surface, America's  Jews would like to see the President connect to another dimension of the  Jewish message to mankind as well.

On  the very same day that Obama visited Buchenwald, The Algemeiner  published an interview with Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, where  he said, "If you tell a young generation of Jewish teenagers, we want  you to know about Jewish history come to Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and  Treblinka and you'll know what it is to be a Jew, then they will have 2  or 10 thoughts before marrying another Jew and having Jewish children.  Who wants to confer the status of victim-hood onto their children and  grandchildren?"

He  continued, "We have failed to connect with the positives and we have  failed to connect with the message of Jews to humankind 'through you  will all the families of the earth be blessed'".

The  next time a President of the United States addresses the Jewish people,  I have one request; let him stand beside a figure that represents the  Jewish future, and pick a venue that highlights the gifts that our  people have bestowed upon the nations of the world, a prestigious Jewish  house of worship or of study, a museum documenting our illustrious  history, or better yet, the Knesset.



More Arutz Sheva videos:


top