WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said he meant to say Zionists rather than Jews are keeping him from talking to President Obama.
"I misspoke," said Wright, Obama’s former pastor, on Mark Thompson’s Sirius satellite radio show. "Let me just say Zionists."
"I am not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith," he continued, according to a transcript of the interview from The Associated Press. "I’m talking about Zionists."
Wright was responding to questions about an interview he gave earlier in the week to the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va., in which he said in reference to Obama, "Them Jews aren’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office."
Wright said in the newspaper interview that "ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza" and “ethnic cleansing [by] the Zionists is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel.”
He also said that “the Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote, that’s controlling him — that would not let him send representation to the Darfur Review Conference, that’s talking this craziness on this trip, ’cause they’re Zionists — they would not let him talk to someone who calls a spade what it is."
In the radio interview, he noted two books by Jewish authors criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and said, "I’m talking about fact, historical fact. I’m not talking about emotionally charged words."
Obama broke with Wright a year ago during his campaign after Wright publicly reiterated his views, which he aired previously in church sermons and other venues, that U.S. policies had caused the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and committed terrorism, and that Louis Farrakhan is a great man.