Jeremiah Wright: Revisiting Obama’s anti-Semitic pastor
Jeremiah Wright: Revisiting Obama’s anti-Semitic pastor

Leah Hagelburg co-authored this article.

Christian Liberation Theology is a doctrine that began in Latin American Catholicism. Since then it has become a significant current in contemporary Protestantism. At its outset, it dealt with Jews as the antagonists of the New Testament, accusing them of embodying a legalistic and unforgiving religion.[1] It has since been injected with further anti-Semitism as well as anti-Israelism inter alia by the Palestinian Sabeel movement.[2] 

One well known supporter of the black version of Liberation Theology is Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. He has been a major producer of classic anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli anti-Semitic slurs for at least 15 years, both when preaching and in retirement. Formerly he was the Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, a Protestant community in Chicago.

Before he was elected U.S President in 2008, Barack and his wife Michelle were members of his community. Wright married Obama and his wife in 1992 and they left his church only in 2008.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism was approved by 31 democratic governments, among them the United States.[3] It is largely similar to the State Department working definition of anti-Semitism.[4] By applying the IHRA definition to Wright’s  statements one can see the extreme character of his anti-Semitic slurs.

The IHRA definition says, that anti-Semitism includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Wright did so a number of times, for instance in 2015 at a talk on racial reconciliation at a church in Chapel Hill N.C. There he spoke about the “illegal state of Israel” and in speaking for the rights of the Palestinians through the lens of ancient Canaanites, said, “What kind of God you got that promised your ass my land?”[5] As a Christian pastor, he should be familiar with what Christians call the Old Testament, in which God promises the land of Israel to the Jews, then called the Israelites.

He called Israel an apartheid state. He also claimed that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes every year a ten point-list of the last 12 months’ major anti-Semitic slurs and incidents. Wright was mentioned in that publication in 2011 on the basis of his statement “The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal place… to equate Judaism with the state of Israel is to equate Christianity with [rapper] Flavor Flav.”[6] It was another example of his denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.

In 2015, Wright participated in a rally with the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farakhan. There he called Israel an apartheid state. He also claimed that “Jesus was a Palestinian.” [7] This lie was part of his attempts to disconnect the Jewish people from the land of Israel by wildly distorting history.

The IHRA definition furthermore says that it is anti-Semitic to accuse “Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoings committed by a single Jewish person or even for acts committed by non-Jews.” Wright did that when he said: “You don't see the connection between 9/11/2001 and the Israeli-Palestinian? Something wrong, you wanna borrow my glasses?"[8] He remained silent about the fact that the killings were committed by Muslims coming from abroad to carry out mass-murders in the United States.

As can be seen from above, in analyzing the statements of this preacher  against the backdrop of the IHRA definition one finds that the category many of his anti-Semitic statements fall into is the earlier-mentioned “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Yet Wright is a self-appointed advocate for the self-determination of African Americans, through Black Liberation Theology.[9][10]

The IHRA definition also mentions as anti-Semitic “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such, or the power of Jews as a collective – such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government, or other social institutions.” Wright did not even pretend to be talking only about Zionists and Israel as his hate targets when he stated: “Them Jews aint gonna let him talk to me” about Obama.[11]

Also under this category of anti-Semitic defamations comes another remark of Wright’s: “The Jewish vote, the AIPAC vote that's controlling him that would not let him [Obama] send a representation to the Darfur [Durban] review conference that's talking this craziness because the Zionists, they will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. The ethnic cleansing of the Zionists is a sin and a crime against humanity. They don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel."[12]

An inciter and producer of hate slurs against the Jews and/or Israel, most probably has also other targets for his hatred. That is also the case with Wright. He has said “Not ‘God bless America.’ ‘God damn America!’”[13]  and called his country, “The United States of K-K-K-A.”[14] He has also blamed whites for creating HIV.[15]

There is much more to be said about Wright’s anti-Semitism, but the above quotes already qualify him as a major anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate monger  

Wright's anti-Semitic incitement has a second relevant aspect: Obama's looking away from it while he was a congregant of Wright’s. Obama justified this by saying that Wright had changed over the years[16] and that he had never heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms.[17] In this remark he avoided the core of the issue.

In retrospect, we know that Obama, if it suits him, has a remarkable capability for looking away from crimes committed by specific groups or individuals. While President, he whitewashed Islam of many of the huge crimes coming out of parts of it. So, for instance, he said that “ISIS and Al-Qaeda were distortions of Islam.”[1] It was absurd for a Christian President to speak as if he were a Muslim theologian. An analysis of his rhetoric, regarding Islam shows in detail his intentional blindness and deafness

More recently, there was a third example of a similar attitude. Fidel Castro committed many barbaric crimes.[20] When he passed away recently, all Obama said was, “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”[21] It is known that deafness concerning anti-Semitism rarely comes alone. Obama demonstrated that during his presidency, both as far as criminality coming from parts of the Muslim world is concerned, and in his ignoring the Cuban dictator’s brutality.



















[19] Ibid.