President Barack Obama was honored Wednesday by the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation. Filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, who created the foundation, presented the president with the Ambassador for Humanity award.No, Mr. President. The worst examples of antisemitism are not in Overland Park or among ascendant right-wing groups in Europe or the Ukraine or even Iran.
In his remarks, the president condemned the official anti-Semitism of foreign governments such as Iran.
"And that includes confronting a rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world. We’ve seen attacks on Jews in the streets of major Western cities, public places marred by swastikas. From some foreign governments we hear the worst kinds of anti-Semitic scapegoating. In Ukraine, as Steven mentioned, we saw those disgusting pamphlets from masked men calling on Jews to register. And tragically, we saw a shooting here at home, in Overland Park in Kansas.
"And it would be tempting to dismiss these as isolated incidents, but if the memories of the Shoah survivors teach us anything, it is that silence is evil’s greatest co-conspirator. And it’s up to us — each of us, every one of us — to forcefully condemn any denial of the Holocaust. It’s up to us to combat not only anti-Semitism, but racism and bigotry and intolerance in all their forms, here and around the world. It’s up to us to speak out against rhetoric that threatens the existence of a Jewish homeland and to sustain America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.
Though he did not mention the country by name, Iran has a long record of “rhetoric that threatens the existence of a Jewish homeland.”
The worst antisemitism today is in the Arab world.
The blood libel is alive and well in Egypt and Jordan and in the areas ruled by the PA. Holocaust denial is endemic. There have been antisemitic TV mini-series based on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a forgery which is accepted unquestioningly as fact. The biggest insult any Arab gives to his enemies is to say that they are secretly Jewish.
But Obama cannot mention Arab antisemitism for fear of upsetting our Arab "friends." For Obama, it is much easier to talk about isolated incidents, especially done by extreme rightists, than to deal with the most obvious and explicit Jew-hatred on the planet.
If Obama wants to truly fight antisemitism, he can't ignore its worst instances. By doing so, Obama's words ring very, very hollow.