In June 2009, President Obama addressed the Muslim world in a speech in Cairo. About Israel, he said this:
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.
At the time, there were objections from Israelis and from many Jews in the United States that he appeared to believe Israel was the product of the Holocaust, period. The “tragic history” to which he referred appeared to be not two millennia of anti-Semitism but the Holocaust alone, and he seemed to ignore two millenia of Jewish longing for a return to Jerusalem.
Today the president said this in his speech to the UN General Assembly:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.
As Ronald Reagan once said, there he goes again. Islam has a prophet; Christianity has a savior, but Judaism has…. the Holocaust. The problem Jews and especially Israelis face, with apologies for having to spell it out, is not so much Holocaust denial as it the slander of the Jewish religion as a whole and the desire to eliminate the Jewish state.
Mr. Obama and his speechwriters should get over their equation of Judaism and Israel with the Holocaust. It is dispiriting to see the 2009 error repeated again three years later.