Ganchrow: Fears of a ‘pintele Muslim’

Jewish leaders may be defending Obama against the false accusation that he’s a Muslim, but at least one former Jewish official says it’s important to raise the question of how Obama’s Muslim background might impact his Mideast policy.

Former Orthodox Union President Mendy Ganchrow suggested on his blog recently that Obama might be a “pintele Muslim.” In Judaism, a pintele yid is someone who isn’t Jewishly identified, but retains some spark of Jewishness, a deep unconscious attachment to one’s roots. Ganchrow, also the founding president of the pro-Israel Hudson Valley Political Action Committee, wondered whether the same thing might exist among Muslims – and if so, and if Obama is one, might it effect his policy towards the Middle East?

Ganchrow wrote: “With a Muslim father, and being sorrounded [sic] in his early youth in a Muslim environment, is there such a thing as a ” PINTELE MUSLIM ? – with deep seated feelings, which could color decisions re terrorism and the Middle East?”

Reached by phone, Ganchrow wouldn’t venture an answer to the question, though he conceded he does have an opinion on the matter. “It’s an opinion based on a gut reaction,” Ganchrow said. “It’s not based on any objective or even subjective evidence. I’m not prepared to say he is or isn’t.”

Asked how Obama’s foreign policy might be affected, Ganchrow was similarly circumspect: “If, and that’s a very big if, if there is such a concept, just as someone who is a pintele yid at that moment of crunch might come to the rescue, maybe it’s also true of other pintele-whatever.”

An interesting side note: The man that Ganchrow hired to run the O.U.’s Washington office, Nathan Diament, attended law school with Obama and played a lead role in organizing the letter criticizing attempts to paint him as a Muslim.

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