Thursday, July 23, 2009

Myth: President Obama implied in his Cairo speech that the Holocaust was the primary reason for Israel’s creation.

Fact: "Obama said that "America's strong bond with Israel is unbreakable." It is based, in part, on the "recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied . . . an unprecedented Holocaust." The Holocaust proves, Obama has repeatedly said, why Jews must have a state of their own. And right-wingers are fuming. They are upset, or claim to be, because Obama cited the Holocaust but did not refer to the 4,000 year Jewish connection to Eretz Yisrael or the Bible.

"It is rather amusing. Every foreign dignitary visiting Israel-including Barack Obama-is taken to the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, as soon as he or she sets foot in Israel. It is always the first stop because it is the Israeli government's way of showing that the State of Israel is the living embodiment of the concept of 'Never Again.' These visitors are not taken to see the ancient Dead Sea scrolls or the Western Wall. No, Yad Vashem is the destination because, in Israeli eyes, it is the Holocaust that provides the prime justification for a Jewish state.

"But now the right-wingers here are angry because Obama learned that lesson too well. Hypocrisy? No, they dislike Obama because of who he is and the Israeli-Palestinian peace he is trying to achieve. They will clutch at any straw to libel him. In this case, they are accusing Obama of being, get ready, a Holocaust acknowledger. It's laughable.

"But it is also utterly predictable. For people hell-bent on preserving the deadly status quo, there are no limits. They will, quite simply, say anything. To his credit, this president is not listening to them. These people didn't support him in 2008 and they won't in 2012. Besides, the policies they Johnny-one-note about are invariably wrong - wrong for the United States and wrong for Israel. The president should hang tough."

(M.J. Rosenberg, Israel Policy Forum Washington Director of Policy Analysis, With God on Their Side, IPF Friday, July 23, 2009)