Critics challenge Obama’s assertion of Jewish knowledge

President Barack Obama told a group of Conservative Jewish leaders May 29 that he “probably knows about Judaism more than any other president” because he read about it. The same day, Obama mistakenly referred to a Nazi death camp as a “Polish death camp” at a ceremony honoring a Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.

Critiquing Obama’s assertion of Jewish knowledge, former national security advisor Elliot Abrams told the Washington Free Beacon that when Obama connected the establishment of the Jewish state to the Holocaust (a narrative often used to delegitimize Israel) during his 2009 Cairo speech,  “It became obvious…that neither the President nor the advisers upon whom he relied, like Rahm Emanuel, really knew all that much about the Jewish community or about Jewish history.”

Commentary Magazine’s Jonathan Podhoretz called Obama’s statement on Jewish knowledge “transparently absurd.”

“We can quickly pass over the fact that John Adams and James Madison, among the most educated men in the world at the time, knew Hebrew as well as Latin and Greek and just say that the president is, to put it mildly, punching above his weight here,” Podhoretz quipped in a blog post.

National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed that Obama in fact was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland and said, “We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.”

JointMedia News Service


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