“Narcissists have a unique problem. They are so blinded by their self love and self regard that they cannot understand what they are actually saying and doing. Their internal filters are all distorted because they believe that they can do no wrong. US President Barack Obama is a narcissist.”
– Caroline Glick, Facebook, May 29, 2015
It is hardly a unique problem. We could, of course, say the same of haters. And racists. Even of true believers and extremists of all stripes. Including Caroline Glick herself.
Chicago-born Caroline Glick, the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, suggests, in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, that President Barack Obama is an anti-Semite. Her reasoning is as flawed as any we have seen with regard to Obama.
Glick, who has been called “an apologist for Israel” and who has previously accused Obama of “cowardice” and of making a laughingstock of the U.S., claims, tendentiously, the question of whether he is an anti-Semite “has lingered in the air since his first presidential bid in 2008. It first arose due to the anti-Semitic sermons that Jeremiah Wright, his pastor for more than 20 years, made as Obama and his family sat in the pews.”
I say tendentiously because this view “lingers” only because it has been continuously pushed by the president’s enemies – including, prominently, Glick – in complete disregard of the facts. Apparently, it is permissible to attack U.S. foreign policy and the president, but doing the same of Israel is worse than objectionable: it is anti-Semitism.
Glick relies a great deal in making her case on a recent Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, in which, she relates,
Obama said that an anti-Semite is someone who refuses to recognize the 3,000-year connection between the Jews and the Land of Israel. An anti-Semite is also someone who refuses to recognize the long history of persecution that the Jewish people suffered in the Diaspora.
“But there’s a bit of a problem,” she says. “Right after Obama provided us with his definition of anti-Semitism, he endorsed and indeed engaged in the very anti-Semitism he had just defined.”
She says that “Throughout the six-and-a-half years of his presidency, Obama has laughed off the concerns. But he has not dispelled them. And this failure has hurt him.”
In all fairness, a lot of conservatives believe a lot of things about Barack Obama, and he has not dispelled them either: that he is Kenyan, not American; that he is a Muslim, not a Christian; that he is a terrorist-sympathizer, not a killer of terrorists; that he is somehow both a lawless dictator and weak.
The facts don’t come into play. It is all a matter of belief. Is is a matter of defining America’s first black president as the “Other.”
The charges of anti-Semitism, for example, revolve around his refusal to let Israel control the United States’ foreign affairs, to set America’s diplomatic course in the Middle East. They revolve around the assertion that if you disagree with Israel’s foreign policy, that you are anti-Semitic.
As Jimmy Carter found out a few years ago, it is illegal to hurt Israel’s feelings.
Glick says that Obama intends to destroy Israel, or, at least put Israel in a position from which it cannot defend itself. “Obama,” she asserts, “reportedly intends to enable the passage of a French draft resolution that would require Israel to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines.”
Reportedly. So of course, he is guilty. He is also reportedly a Muslim. He is also reportedly a Kenyan.
Glick returns to the president’s “extensive interview to Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic.”
In this interview, Golberg tells us,
In the wake of what seemed to have been a near-meltdown in the relationship between the United States and Israel, Obama talked about what he called his love for the Jewish state; his frustrations with it when it fails to live up to both Jewish and universal values; and his hope that, one day soon, its leaders, including and especially its prime minister, will come to understand Israel’s stark choices as he understands Israel’s stark choices. And, just as he did with Saudi Arabia, Obama issued a warning to Israel: If it proves unwilling to live up to its values—in this case, he made specific mention of Netanyahu’s seemingly flawed understanding of the role Israel’s Arab citizens play in its democratic order—the consequences could be profound.
And this seems to be what bothers Glick most. She writes, “As Goldberg, who is sympathetically inclined toward Obama, put it, Obama ‘holds Israel to a higher standard than he does other countries.'”
Of course, Goldberg qualified this remark by saying, “this is my interpretation of his worldview,” and revealed that Obama also told him,
What is also true, by extension, is that I have to show that same kind of regard to other peoples. And I think it is true to Israel’s traditions and its values—its founding principles—that it has to care about … Palestinian kids. And when I was in Jerusalem and I spoke, the biggest applause that I got was when I spoke about those kids I had visited in Ramallah, and I said to a Israeli audience that it is profoundly Jewish, it is profoundly consistent with Israel’s traditions to care about them. And they agreed. So if that’s not translated into policy—if we’re not willing to take risks on behalf of those values—then those principles become empty words, and in fact, in my mind, it makes it more difficult for us to continue to promote those values when it comes to protecting Israel internationally.”
I do not believe the facts prove this to be true, that Obama holds Israel to a higher set of values. Americans will well-remember Obama’s infamous “Apology Tour” that never took place. Obama holds America to higher values. Obama speaks often, and critically, of American values and our failure to live up to them, notably in the case of torture.
Glick claims, “in the end, Obama’s charm offensive did provide a clear answer to the question of whether he is anti-Semitic.”
It bears noting that the fact that Obama failed his own test of anti-Semitism doesn’t necessarily mean that he hates Jews. It is certainly possible that he likes Jews.
But loving Jews and being an anti-Semite are not mutually exclusive.
So Obama is a Jew-loving anti-Semite?
“Consider anti-black bigots,” she tells us in cringe-worthy prose. “Over the years, plenty of racists have professed, and perhaps even felt, love for black people.”
And she apparently believes them. She believes racists can love blacks. While they beat them? Gun them down? Lynch them? Call them abusive epithets? Deprive them of their vote and civil rights?
I’m a white guy, and I’m not feeling the love.
But she tells us,
They discriminated against blacks not because they hated them but because they believed that blacks were inferior to whites. It was due to their “love” for blacks that they insisted on holding them to lower standards than whites, or on segregating them from whites, lest they be embarrassed or set up for failure.
In other words, the fact of their “love” didn’t make them less bigoted.
The “fact” of their love? Where is the fact of their love? Saying it’s so doesn’t make it so. Yet, following this dubious logic, Glick concludes,
“Likewise, the possibility that Obama loves Jews doesn’t make his compulsion to judge Israel by a separate standard from other states and nations, including the Palestinians, any less bigoted.”
It is Glick’s claim that,
By rejecting the policy significance of anti-Semitism for the Iranian regime, Obama exhibited yet another anti-Semitic behavior. Obama asserted that if you fail to recognize the danger that anti-Semitism constitutes for Israel’s survival, then you are an anti-Semite.
She insists Obama is wrong about Iran, and if Obama is wrong about Iran, ipso facto he is an anti-Semite. But Obama does not believe he is wrong about Iran. It has not been proven he is wrong about Iran. And thinking somebody is an anti-Semite simply because they disagree with you is not a cogent argument; it is stupidity.
Republicans have called Obama every name in the book because they disagree with him. None of this makes their insults true. Glick has engaged here in the same sort of smear campaign as Republicans have for the past six years.
She has not made or proven a case for anti-Semitism beyond a belief that if Obama doesn’t do what she wants him to do, he must be an anti-Semite.
By her own logic, we could accuse her of being a racist.
Her conclusion is that “Now that he has answered the question, Israel needs to act in accordance with Jewish values, and choose life even at the expense of good relations with the Obama administration.”
Unfortunately, and here she misses the point entirely, Jewish values, at least to her, include ethnic cleansing and apartheid of the remainder – the genocide of the Palestinian people.
It is this approach that Barack Obama questions. And it is certainly not anti-Semitism to question it.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.