Daily Israel Report

Comedian Jackie Mason on Obama and Jews

Comedian Jackie Mason talks about Barack Obama and discusses the history of why Jews vote Democrat. Do Jews feel unjustly guilty?
By Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel
First Publish: 9/11/2008, 1:59 PM / Last Update: 9/11/2008, 4:30 PM

Jackie Mason is no stranger to controversy. The Jewish-American comedian is known for his stand-up act, which he started in the 1960s in his fast paced, thick Brooklyn, New York Jewish accent. He  has acted in several movies and TV shows. His most recent work is a video blog and CD called The Ultimate Jew in which he comments on current events.

The veteran Jewish-American comedian spoke recently on IsraelNationalRadio's A Light Unto the Nations with Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel. The  discussion included the United State presidential elections and the Arab-Israeli conflict.


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Ari Abramowitz: Why is it that Jews in America insist on voting Democrat, especially for this guy  Barack Obama?
Since the days of Roosevelt the Jews have been told that the Republicans are for big business and not for the underdog.

Jackie Mason: I'll tell you the truth. Barack Obama isn't only fooling the Jews. He's fooling all the people of America. Right now, people are determined to prove they can vote for a Black person because they were told they're racists all their lives. White men are walking around feeling guilty thinking if they don't vote for Barack Obama, they're racists.

But as far as the Jews are concerned, they are still wedded to the Democratic party, when the Democratic party is not interested in Israel. The Democratic party has voted very often against Israel on major issues. The Republican party is determined to help Israel almost more than the Jews are. Even the Hassidic Jews. I don't care how religious you are. They're not as willing to fight for Israel as the Evangelical Goyim. But since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Jews have been told that the Republicans are for big business and not for the underdog. The Jews feel the Democrats are helping the struggling people. And they still believe it. The Jews are more willing to feel guilty for not helping a poor person than anybody else is. Because a Jew has to feel that he's always compassionate and always helping the underdog.

Ari Abramowitz: I don't understand this guilt. Aren't Jews aware that Israel is the only country that imported Blacks to be brothers and not to be slaves? Where is this white guilt? We're not the white people in the South. We were in the shtetls.

Jackie Mason: The white man's guilt is not so much the reason for the Jews' guilt. But the Jews have a big complex about Democrats because the Jews have this sickness that somehow the Republicans are the selfish party and the Democrats are the compassionate party. They've bought it since Roosevelt because at one time it was true. In the days of Roosevelt, the Republicans really were the big business party and Roosevelt came and revolutionized this country with a great compassionate concern for the underdog. He supposedly cared about the helpless and fought somehow to protect people who aren't doing so hot and the minorities. In retrospect when you look back at history, Roosevelt himself was an anti-Semite.

Ari Abramowitz: He turned away the Jews.

Jackie Mason: He not only turned away the Jews when they had 900 Jews get killed on that ship [the S.S. St. Louis in 1939], but he didn't care about the Jewish plight in Germany. Every time he was reminded to do something about it, he either ignored it or got mad if you mentioned it. Not only did he not care, I think subconsciously he was hoping the Jews get wiped out.

Ari Abramowitz: So what would it look like if Obama was elected? Would he be Jimmy Carter Part II? Israel is the apartheid state?

Jackie Mason: They talk about how much money McCain is raising versus Obama. Its a pittance compared to the huge amount of press publicity he gets. He's a fraud. Like this pastor thing [Obama's former outspoken pastor Jeremiah Wright]. First thing he says this guy is his mentor, his teacher his philosopher, I learned everything for him. Then they ask, did you ever listen to him? Never. I was in the church but I never heard him. He was talking, but I didn't know I should be listening. And besides, whatever he said he didn't say it on the days that I was there. He said it on Tuesday. I came on Thursdays. Then when he saw his polls started to go down a little he said: he was always my mentor but he wasn't a close mentor. I saw him, but not very often. I heard him, but only maybe once in a while. Then he said: I never even liked him. I never got involved with him. Then he said: whatever he said was disgusting to me and if I knew he was saying these things, I would have hated him a long time ago. And he sounded like he just found out about him 20 years later when he wasn't in the church. He was in the church 20 years, and he never heard anything. Now that he's out of the church for a year, he suddenly found out what he said in church when he wasn't actually there.

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Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel, reserve soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, host A Light Unto the Nations live every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Israel National Radio. They are co-founders of The Land of Israel Foundation and hosts of the TV show Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem.