Obama: Criticizing Jews over Iran Deal Like Saying "You're Not Black Enough"

Obama: Criticizing Jews over Iran Deal Like Saying
Tue Sep 1, 2015 14:53:31

Barack Obama has said that people criticizing Jews who support the Iran nuclear deal are like African Americans who dismiss others as “not black enough”.

Obama made the remarks while speaking in an interview with the Jewish newspaper Forward. He was asked whether it hurt him personally when people say he’s anti-Semitic.

“Oh of course,” Obama said. “And there’s not a smidgeon of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times when I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue.”

He said he was “probably more offended when I hear members of my administration who themselves are Jewish being attacked”, IRNA quoted Guardian’s report.

“You saw this historically sometimes in the African American community, where there’s a difference on policy and somebody starts talking about ‘Well, you’re not black enough’ or ‘You’re selling out.’

“And that, I think, is always a dangerous place to go.”

Obama didn’t mention any specific critics or targets by name.

Asked to whom the president was referring, the White House press secretary Josh Earnest mentioned the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s charge that the nuclear deal was like “marching the Israelis to the door of the oven”, a reference to the Holocaust. Earnest added: “It’s certainly not the only example of the kind of political rhetoric that certainly the president and others find objectionable.”

Obama’s treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, who is Jewish, was heckled recently at a Jewish-themed conference in New York when he defended the nuclear deal and spoke of the administration’s support for Israel.

Obama, in the Forward interview, said that while those who cared about Israel had an obligation to be honest about their views, “you don’t win the debate by suggesting that the other person has bad motives. That’s, I think, not just consistent with fair play; I think it’s consistent with the best of the Jewish tradition.”

John Kerry, the secretary of state and chief US diplomat in the negotiations with Iran, is due to make a speech in Philadelphia on Wednesday on the importance of the agreement to US national security.

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