The Zionist Organization of America is the first Jewish group to outright pan President Obama’s speech yesterday in Cairo. In a press release today, ZOA national president Morton Klein says it was a "strongly biased speech, inimical to Israel, supportive of false Palestinian and Arab claims against Israel, blatantly factually inaccurate – inaccuracies that always benefited the anti-Israel Palestinian, Arab and Muslim cause.
For example, Obama falsely claimed the Palestinian Arabs were ‘displaced’ by Israel in 1948; falsely claimed the Palestinian Arabs have been suffering trying to establish their state for 60 years (they could have had a state in 1937, 1948 or in 2000, but turned down each opportunity). Obama also bizarrely claimed that he longs for the day Jerusalem is secure for Jews, Muslims and Christians even though this has been precisely the case since Israel reunited the city under its control in 1967.
“Just as egregious, Obama claimed there are 7 million Muslims in America when major studies show there are between 1.3 and 2.7 million Muslims."
While the ZOA’s lengthy statement is almost entirely critical of the speech, Klein did note at the top that "President Obama made some positive comments about Israel, stating that the U.S.-Israel bond is ‘unbreakable’ and criticized those who threaten Israel’s destruction and repeat vile stereotypes about Jews – without, however, naming those who do so like Iran, Syria, and Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) (through the Fatah Constitution, PA-controlled publications, curricula, media, mosques, schools and youth camps)."
ZOA’s full statement is after the jump:[[READMORE]]
OBAMA GIVES BIASED SPEECH, INIMICAL TO ISRAEL, SUPPORTIVE OF FALSE PALESTINIAN/ARAB CLAIMS – INDICATING HE MAY BECOME MOST HOSTILE
PRESIDENT TO ISRAEL EVER
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein has made the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s President Barack Obama’s speech delivered in Cairo yesterday:
“President Obama made some positive comments about Israel, stating that the U.S.-Israel bond is ‘unbreakable’ and criticized those who threaten Israel’s destruction and repeat vile stereotypes about Jews – without, however, naming those who do so like Iran, Syria, and Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) (through the Fatah Constitution, PA-controlled publications, curricula, media, mosques, schools and youth camps).
“Overall, however, this was primarily a strongly biased speech, inimical to Israel, supportive of false Palestinian and Arab claims against Israel, blatantly factually inaccurate – inaccuracies that always benefited the anti-Israel Palestinian, Arab and Muslim cause.
“For example, Obama falsely claimed the Palestinian Arabs were ‘displaced’ by Israel in 1948; falsely claimed the Palestinian Arabs have been suffering trying to establish their state for 60 years (they could have had a state in 1937, 1948 or in 2000, but turned down each opportunity). Obama also bizarrely claimed that he longs for the day Jerusalem is secure for Jews, Muslims and Christians even though this has been precisely the case since Israel reunited the city under its control in 1967.
“Just as egregious, Obama claimed there are 7 million Muslims in America when major studies show there are between 1.3 and 2.7 million Muslims. He strongly implied that Palestinian suffering was equivalent to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. He also seemed to equate the Palestinian situation to that of U.S. Blacks during slavery and Blacks during South African apartheid. The assumption, just barely left unsaid, is that Israeli Jews are the oppressors.
“The President even claimed the Muslim country of Morocco was the first to recognize the United States when in fact, it was the Netherlands; and that Muslim Cordoba and Anadulus were shining examples of Islamic tolerance, when a cursory examination of historical scholarship on the subject shows them to have been nothing of the kind: Jews and Christians lived under religiously-sanctioned discrimination, could not worship in public or build new synagogues and churches and had to pay the jizya poll tax because they were not Muslims.
“Despite the fact that President Obama declared that he would be totally ‘honest’ in discussing Mideast issues, he said nothing about Palestinian Arab and Saudi Arabian persecution of Christians. (Even the Pope recently expressed dismay by the huge numbers of Christians who have left the Muslim countries.) And while speaking of the slaughter in Darfur, he didn’t even hint that Egypt and other Arab states have for years been blocking international action to end it. President Obama used the Palestinian apologetic term of ‘resistance’ to discuss Palestinian terrorism, implying a legitimate basis for violence. He also never asked the Arab countries or the PA to put Israel on their maps – something which none of them do.
“President Obama recently declared that the U.S. won’t ‘dictate’ to other countries, yet he strongly dictated to Israel to support the dangerous Arab so-called Peace Initiative and to stop Jewish construction in the territories, thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian suffering is due to Israel and the settlements. He praised the Arab Peace Initiative, which requires Israel to go back to the indefensible 1967 borders and allow Arab refugees and their millions of descendents to move into Israel. He made no demand to abrogate this refugee issue which, if implemented, would destroy Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian statehood remains a repeated demand by Obama for Israel to accept even though Hamas controls Gaza. Also, Abbas doesn’t fight terrorism in any serious way, which makes it likely that this would become another terrorist state. He also claimed that Israel’s creation was rooted in a tragic history of the Jews and the Holocaust. Incorrect – firstly, for Bible-believers, it was G-d who promised this land to the Jews; and the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1922 League of Nations mandated the creation of a Jewish State on both sides of the Jordan River – before the Holocaust occurred.
“Most frighteningly, he said virtually nothing about stopping Iran’s rush to develop nuclear weapons, even though he strongly promised this during his election the campaign.
“President Obama claimed it was illegal for Jews to build homes in Judea and Samaria or East Jerusalem, ignoring the fact that this area was no one’s sovereign or legal territory since 1948. Jordan occupied this territory illegally, without UN recognition, from 1948 until 1967 when Israel captured it in a defensive war. In 1967, Israel even offered to return it for peace treaties. The Arab nations, including Jordan, refused.
“Finally, President Obama ended his talk with quotes from the Holy Koran, and the Holy Bible, but when he quoted the Jewish Talmud, he omitted the term ‘Holy.’ We were perplexed and concerned about that.
“Taken together, the President’s remarks in this speech may well signal the beginning of a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel. It was also a clarion call to all American supporters of Israel, both Christian and Jewish, to make clear to President Obama that strongly supporting the democratic, human-rights loving state of Israel is in America’s interest, especially when the truth of the Arab war against Israel in on Israel’s side.
The following is an analysis of President Obama’s Cairo speech, with ZOA commentary appended to specific passages from it:
· “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.” [ZOA: What does this mean? How exactly do settlements stop? Is the President saying that Jews have no right to live in these places? The implication that these communities are illegal is wrong. Jordan illegally annexed Judea and Samaria in 1948. When Israel captured it in 1967, it belonged to no sovereign entity. Legally, this is unallocated territory under international law. Practically, it is not the cause of conflict: there were no Jews in these territories between 1948 and 1967, but there was no peace during that period as well. We repudiate the proposition that Jews, because they are Jews, may not move to or live in Judea and Samaria, the religious, historical and political heartland of the Jewish people, as it has been from the Bible to the Jewish nation-state 2000 years ago, to the Balfour Declaration to the League of Nations, which reiterated the fact that this is the Jewish homeland. On what basis is it said that 300,000 Jews cannot live among 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when 1.2 million Arabs can live among 6 million Jews in Israel proper? Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem has a fundamental legitimacy and poses no obstacle to a true peace if Palestinians are ready for one, so the Obama Administration’s insistence on a construction freeze would remain inappropriate even if the prospect of genuine peace negotiations with a truly peaceful Palestinian partner were possible. In any case, no peace can be built on the notion that the biblical, historical and religious heartland of the Jewish people, or any territory for that matter, must be judenrein. Discussing further Israeli territorial and other concessions should be conditional on Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority arresting terrorists, outlawing terrorist groups, ending the incitement to hatred and murder against Israel in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps and the transforming of Palestinian society into one that opposes terrorism and accepts the legitimacy of Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state.]
· “…many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.” [ZOA: Apparently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the coalition government he heads, the majority of the Israeli electorate that voted heavily for right-of-center parties, and the ZOA, among others, are non-persons, because they oppose or are skeptical of the possibility under current conditions of a peaceful Palestinian state. Leading figures, like Middle East historian Bernard Lewis, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon all have opposed the creation of a Palestinian state under current conditions. With Hamas controlling Gaza and Fatah running Judea and Samaria, a Palestinian state would become surely another terrorist state in the Middle East. This sort of intellectual absolutism that simply removes from the discussion anyone who does not share President Obama’s view bodes ill for new thinking about the region and this conflict.]
· “America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond”: [ZOA: President Obama rightly tells his audience that Holocaust denial and hateful anti-Jewish propaganda are obscene lies, but failed to identify any malefactors – the governments of the PA, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to name three, that officially promote hatred of Jews in their media, mosques and schools. He strongly implied that there is equivalence between Jewish suffering in the Holocaust and Palestinian suffering in the present day. He then plunges into false equivalence between Jewish and Palestinian suffering, saying that Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. This is simply false. Palestinian have suffered, not in pursuit of a homeland – something they could have had when it was formally proposed internationally by the 1937 Peel Commission, the 1947 UN partition plan and the 2000 Clinton peace parameters. They have suffered because they have unsuccessfully pursued the destruction of the Jewish homeland. As long as the goal of destroying Jewish sovereign independence trumps the goal of creating Palestinian independence, the war will continue. Palestinians were not “displaced by Israel’s founding” – a stock propaganda claim of Palestinian apologists; they were displaced by a war which they originated to destroy Israel in embryo. To describe Palestinian violence as “resistance” is again to endorse the false polemical tricks of terrorist sympathizers. President Obama spoke much about legitimate Palestinian aspirations to statehood, but said little about illegitimate Palestinian aspirations, like eliminating Israel or carrying out suicide bombings. He never called upon the Arabs to accept Israel as a Jewish state.]
· “For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered”: [ZOA: Having indulged in false equivalence, President Obama immediately proceeds here to inappropriately insinuate the notion that the Palestinian cause has any relationship or morally congruence to the African-American civil rights struggle in the U.S., or to the anti-apartheid cause in South Africa. Rightly condemning violence and terror does not reduce the indecency of this comparison.]
· “Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society”: [ZOA: Israel has not impeded the development of Palestinian society. To the contrary, under Israel control before Oslo, the Palestinian economic conditions were much higher. The hostilities that have caused such damage to the Palestinian economy were initiated by Palestinians and can only be ended by them. Israel has played no part in the PA corruption and waste that disfigures the Palestinian economy. This is simply an unwarranted swipe at Israel.]
· “Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities”: [ZOA: To put it mildly, there is legitimate reason to doubt that the 2002 Arab Initiative represents any sort of peace overture. It demands that Israel surrender all territory beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines, which include, not only eastern Jerusalem with the holiest Jewish sites, but also all of Judea and Samaria, including major communities like Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Efrat and as well as the strategically vital Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, as well as religiously holy cities Hebron and Beit El. There are presently almost 600,000 Jews living beyond the 1967 armistice lines. Moreover, the Saudi Initiative insists on the legally-baseless so-called ‘right of return’ in accordance with the non-binding 1948 UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which has no legal weight and was in any case rejected by Arab states at the time. This “return” is to be exercised at Arab discretion, not Israel’s, meaning that millions of Arabs would be permitted to move into Israel proper, which would render impossible Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. The Initiative also rejects any substitute for the ‘right of return,’ asserting "”he rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation [sic] which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries,” meaning the rejection of proposals for settling the refugees and their millions of descendants in neighboring Arab countries and the granting of citizenship to them. Successive Israeli governments have rejected the ‘right of return’ as unequivocally unacceptable. The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saudi Saud al-Faisal and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa have ruled out any changes to the Initiative.
The Arab Initiative also contradicts the written assurance provided in 2004 by President George W. Bush to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in which President Bush assured Israel that in any future settlement, Israel should be able to retain major Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria and that Palestinian refugees would be resettled in Palestinian-controlled territories, not in Israel. This Initiative also makes no demand on Palestinians Arabs and Arabs in general. For example, arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups, end incitement to hatred and murder. It also makes no mention of what is to become of the almost 600, 000 Jews presently living there. In this context, it is deplorable that President Obama did not call for the Arab world to discard the ‘right of return’ in the interests of forging a genuine peace. Also, honesty would require that the President state that the Palestinians turned down President Clinton’s 2000 peace plan, with the encouragement of Arab states like Egypt.]
· “All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear”: [ZOA: It is Israeli mothers, not Palestinian mothers who must fear the blowing up of their children in buses and schools. Israelis do not murder Palestinian children. All danger and bloodshed to which Palestinian children are exposed stems from Palestinian non-acceptance of Israel and the hostilities waged against Israel as a result. This, too, was a form of inappropriate equivalence].
· “… when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer”: [ZOA: It is only under Israeli rule since 1967 that all adherents of all religions represented in Jerusalem been able to worship freely and access their religious sites. Under Jordanian rule (1948-67) Jewish sites were destroyed or vandalized. Every one of the Old City’s 58 synagogues was destroyed and the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives desecrated, with tombstones used to pave roads and Jordanian army latrines. The President’s hope for a Jerusalem that is open to all three religions is a reality today.]
· “Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist”: [ZOA: President Obama is simply repeating the woefully inadequate criteria that has been espoused to admit the genocidal, anti-American Hamas organization into negotiations. He did not, but should have, called for Hamas to abrogate its Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). The idea that the U.S. should deal with Hamas if it meets the three conditions just restated by the President is based on the extraordinarily naïve or malign idea that a bloodthirsty group of terrorists can become responsible and acceptable peace partners provided that they utter the right words on a few occasions when the cameras are rolling. This sort of approach was attempting in the 1990s with Yasser Arafat and Fatah, and failed completely: Arafat did verbally renounce terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist and even signed several agreements to that effect, yet he immediately continued terrorism, repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction in Arabic and continued incitement. In the case of Arafat and the PLO, the U.S. demanded that they renounce the PLO Charter which, while calling for terrorism against Israel and Israel’s destruction, did not speak of genocide. Why, when the Hamas Charter is even worse, and its record of terror against Israel as least if not more bloodthirsty, is President Obama not demanding that Hamas rescind its Charter? Even if Hamas uttered the few words that we’re asking of them, the result would be the same as it was when we dealt with Arafat. Words and signatures mean nothing when they come from murderers. Surely if such people are capable of murdering they are capable of lying. In short, by restating these conditions for Hamas’ participation in government and negotiations, the President is really asking Hamas to lie to us so we can give them recognition and financial aid. At the very minimum, the Obama Administration should be insisting on deeds, not merely words – the rescission of the Hamas Charter; the dismantling of its terror squads and bomb-making factories; the complete overhaul of its education system and media broadcasting to remove all incitement to hatred and murder against Jews, Judaism and Israel; and strict adherence to such changes for at least one year before granting it any form of recognition. The current, wrong-headed and dangerous policy to engage Hamas if it meets these three elastic conditions could remove all incentive to Palestinian terror groups committed to Israel’s destruction to moderate or give up terror, since they can simply wait out international pressure and wait for the U.S. to fold.]
· “…nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today”: [ZOA: This figure is a three-fold plus exaggeration of the actual number of American Muslims. Inflated figures like these are usually cited only by Islamist organizations like the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Society of North America (ISNA). The 2007 Pew Research Center study estimates a U.S. Muslim population of 0.6 percent, resulting in a figure of approximately 1.8 million American Muslims, while a 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, puts the figure even lower, at 1, 349,000.]
· “Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible”: [ZOA: Until now, President Obama has opposed the war in Iraq. Now he admits in passing that “the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein,” yet he never thanked President Bush for bringing this about. Had President Bush followed President Obama’s advice, Iraqis would still be under the heel of Saddam Hussein].
· “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings”: [ZOA: The President did not address the wide array of values that the West and Muslim worlds do not necessarily share in common – freedom of religion, equality before the law, democratic and civil society largely do not exist in the Muslim world. Jews may not enter Saudi Arabia, Christians may not hold religious services or openly pray as Christians, on Saudi soil and even Shia Islam worship is prohibited in the country. Shia mosques can be found in Washington, but not in Riyadh; Sunni mosques can be found in Tel Aviv, but not in Teheran. Jews may not live in Jordan, Christians are assaulted, harassed and dramatically declining in number in Palestinian-controlled areas, etc. – the list of inequalities unacceptable in the West is long. The Pope, Benedict XVI, recently expressed deep concern and regret that the majority of Christians have left the Middle East because of persecution. Instead of acknowledging this, President Obama indulged in false equivalence by suggesting that the failure to fully realize women’s rights was somehow a problem of similar dimensions in the West].
· “The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations”: [ZOA: This is historically inaccurate. Co-operation and conflict have occurred, but colonialism has had little impact on the Middle East. Saudi Arabia was never part of any non-Muslim or even Muslim empire. Prior to World War One, most Arabs lived under the Ottoman Empire, a Muslim empire. Arab nation states arose only because Western powers dismembered the Ottoman Empire. The Cold War led America and its allies to often coddle dictatorial Arab regimes, rather than treated as proxies.]
· “Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail … In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security … We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can … none of us should tolerate these extremists…”: [ZOA: With words like these, President Obama refused to acknowledge that the “extremists” who threaten us are Muslims acting in the name of Islam. In short, he refused to name the enemy he concedes we are fighting.]
· “And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience”: [ZOA: President Obama did not once challenge the Arab states, or his host, Egypt, to cease stymieing, as they have done for years, American efforts to achieve U.N. action over the ongoing slaughter in Darfur.]
· “I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day”: [ZOA: We find the President’s words stunning: he mentioned that the truth of America being attacked by Islamist terrorists on 9/11 has been questioned and that justifications have been offered for the attack, but did not bother to refute the pernicious idea that this attack can be justified. Here was an opportunity to rebut the (usually anti-Semitic) conspiracy theories and polemics that predominate in the Arab world and the President shied away from calling these lies by their name.]
· “Their [terrorists’] actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind”: [ZOA: Quite apart from the fact that this epigram stems from the Babylonian Talmud (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5) and was adopted by Islam, Islamic hadith and other authoritative sources of Islamic jurisprudence explicitly mandate warfare against non-believers who repel Muslim conquest or who refuse to accept the Muslim sovereignty, under which they become second-class, unequal subjects. The line quoted by President Obama does not override the doctrine of jihad or the discriminatory practices of sharia, like the jizya, the poll tax imposed on non-Muslims because they are not Muslim. Above all, there is the 9th century hadith by Al-Bukhari that states, “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” This is incidentally quoted in the Hamas Charter, which President Obama did not denounce nor demand its abrogation by Hamas.]
· “The Holy Koran tells us, ‘O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.’ The Talmud tells us: ‘The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.’ The Holy Bible tells us, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’: [ZOA: We are puzzled by President Obama’s reference to the Holy Quran and Holy Bible, but the absence of that term from the one distinctively Jewish document he cited, the Talmud.]
· “The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims”: [ZOA: Incorrect. On November 16, 1776, Dutch forces on the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius returned the salute of the American brig-of-war Andrew Doria, thereby making the Netherlands the first country to officially salute the flag of the newly-independent United States. Also, the exchange of Dutch and American ambassadors in 1782 beats by one year the 1783 Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship. The Treaty of Tripoli, which President Obama cited, one of the Barbary Treaties, came only 13 years later.]
· “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition”: [ZOA: This is simply myth. Historical scholarship shows that Jews and Christians in Andalusia and Cordoba, while permitted to remain Jews and Christians, could not build or repair synagogues and churches, were required to pay the jizya tax because they were not Muslims, and so on. To have these cases offered as examples of Muslim tolerance displays bad faith or lack of knowledge.]
· President Obama’s Cairo speech is also significant for what it did not contain – any serious discussion of the looming threat posed, not only to Israel but, by the President’s own prior admission, to the region, the United States and other democracies by Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons. Extraordinarily, President Obama had an opportunity to reassure not only Israel, but the whole Sunni Islamic world, that he takes this threat deadly seriously and would do anything to stop it eventuating and thus, among other things, triggering nuclear proliferation across the Middle East. In this context, disturbingly, President Obama did not even mention the possibility of further sanctions against Iran.
· There is also the matter of one of the hosts of President Obama’s speech, the Al-Azhar University. Al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning, is presided over by Grand Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who in 2003 stated regarding the Palestinians that suicide bombing is not contrary to Islamic law if performed in defense of a homeland. He has also made anti-Semitic statements about the evil and degenerate nature of Jews, making exceptions only for those Jews who convert to Islam. Quite simply, Al-Azhar was a completely inappropriate host for President Obama’s speech. The choice to deliver his address there was a woefully misjudged one.