by Anne Bayefsky
President yet again makes his intentions clear
Obama equated the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation." In his words: "The Jewish people were persecuted. …anti-Semitism …culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…. Six million Jews were killed…. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." This parallelism amounts to the fictitious Arab narrative that the deliberate mass murder of six million Jews for the crime of being Jewish is analogous to a Jewish-driven violation of Palestinian rights.
Speaking in an Arab country to Arabs and Muslims, Obama pointedly singled out European responsibility for the Holocaust — "anti-Semitism in
In fact, Obama's Egyptian hosts would have been only too familiar with Arab anti-Semitism during World War II (and beyond). After all, Obama was speaking in the country that schooled and later welcomed back Grand Mufti Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini as a national hero. This was the man who spent the war years in
Obama thought he would prove his even-handedness towards
Instead, Obama sought Arab and Muslim approbation by drawing a moral equivalence between those who have rejected
Bereft of the most basic understanding of Judaism and Jewish history, Obama claimed that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied," for "around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries." A Jewish homeland in
Obama's stunning offense to
After expressing his belief in a moral equivalence between the claims of Palestinians and the claims of the victims of slavery and apartheid, Obama juxtaposed his admission of Israel's "right to exist" with his assertion that "the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." Every word of this speech was carefully weighed. It was therefore no mishap that for the first time a
Furthermore, the idea that Jews are not permitted to live in any territory that might become part of a future Palestinian state means only one thing: apartheid
But judging by Obama's speech, only one "dislocation" counts. After placing the Holocaust side-by-side with the Palestinian "pain of dislocation," he ignored the dislocation of 800,000 Jewish refugees from all over the Arab Middle East in response to the creation of
Jewish refugees from Arab intolerance were not the only human-rights casualties the president chose to dismiss. Three different times Obama defended the right of Muslim women to cover up their bodies. Never once did he mention the right of Muslim women to refuse to cover up their bodies — a right denied on pain of arrest and death by many of the very communities he was addressing. In the name of "freedom of religion" he chose to "welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's interfaith dialogue." The Saudi Arabian government criminalizes the public practice of any religion but Islam. This manufactured human-rights fantasy has done a tremendous disservice to the oppressed across the Arab and Muslim world.
President Obama's meticulously planned and executed Egyptian speech marks the lowest point in the
Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust
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