26 Comments
Jan 14Liked by Joshua Hoffman

“Under Obama’s two presidential terms, racial tensions escalated in America.”

Can you show any evidence that President Obama is responsible for deteriorating racial relations in America, besides being the first Black American president? Do you mean when he made the comment that a teenager slain by a White vigilante could have been his son? Or that it was “stupid” for a cop to arrest Professor Gates for breaking into his own home after being locked out when returning from a trip? I don’t recall President Obama being particularly confrontational to White Supremacy. What exactly did he do to earn this distinction?

Please note, Joshua, I’m a fan. I’m just asking you to connect the dots for me.

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Jan 15Liked by Joshua Hoffman

Thank you, Josh. To me, this supports that discrimination and bias against Black people became more visible after a long period when it had faded from attention, likely due to the white backlash to a “Black” man in the Oval Office. While we can fault him for other things (like every President) I dispute that Obama was somehow personally responsible for that white backlash.

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I always love your writing Joshua and this was an interesting and solid analysis. However I’m not sure the term “unintentional antisemitism” is appropriate here. For me, that fits better situations in which the person truly has no clue how their stance or actions express antisemitism. E.g using the term “Judeo-Christian” or the unfortunate”antisemitism is bad because it hurts good Christian people”. Gay and Obama consciously hold views that, even if not centred around Jews, result in them viewing Jewish people as “lesser” than others, which qualifies as antisemitism. I’m not sure how to call their kind of antisemitism- derivative antisemitism? Or maybe we don’t need a specific name...

I’m wondering about looking at South Africa’s anti-Jewish fervour through the lens of black antisemitism? Maybe next article?

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Dec 30, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

Excellent essay. I voted for Obama twice, and now I'm sorry I did. I didn't see it then, but I do now.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

Just a general comment about how we talk about antisemitism. I think it’s easy to spend too much time on who is an Antisemite with a capital A. Obama’s personal philosophies may not always reflect classic Jew-hatred in their vocabulary, but those same philosophies have produced actions that marginalize Jews. Obama is a smart man. I suspect he knows how to cloak discriminatory beliefs in more acceptable speech. Many smart people who harbor these prejudices do the same and get away with it because we look for clear, direct language that we can present in a court of law. That is a mistake. Hitler, our archetypal antisemite, didn’t present a clear, antisemitic platform when he ran as the leader of the NSDAP (unlikely that most of the electorate had read Mein Kampf). Like any good politician, he geared his rhetoric toward different constituencies, and he didn’t necessarily wear the uniform. He courted the big industrialists in top hat and tails. It’s a myth that direct Jew-hatred was the biggest part of his campaign strategies. Of course, I’m not saying that Obama and Gay are in that category. I’m just saying that we make a mistake when we look solely for the wolf, rather than the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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Very well said Rachel! Couldn’t agree more!!

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

I also don’t think Obama is a “bonafide” anti-Semitic, but IMHO I think the unintentional anti-Semite can in fact be worse than the overt, obvious one. Obama’ s “growth” into his now pretty clear anti-Semitic stances are in addition to the obvious pain this causes (back room support of Claudine Gay for example), also a personal source of pain. We both came of age at the same time in the same lovely neighborhood with common friends in the melting pot of Honolulu, a place that at the time had zero anti-Semitism and today has far less than most cities its size. As one of mixed race, like many in Hawaii, he fit right in and had every conceivable advantage, including attending one of Hawaii’s most prestigious and expensive private schools, Punahou. Obama chose his path because it somehow spoke to him no doubt partially caused by the absence of his father, even though as we all know, his father was not an American Black and hence did not carry the American Black experience entrenched within him. Obama could have used his impressive set of skills to bring people together and fight the good fight in this country; instead he chose to embrace Farrakhan and his ilk. So we should not now be surprised, just incredibly sad.

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Thanks for sharing this, Julie! Well said!

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

I disagree with you and think you are giving Obama and Gay an easy pass. During Obama's presidency he was not a friend of Israel and this was not thinly veiled. Also, for Obama to have accepted what was said by Cokely without questioning it, or researching more information about it, indicates it reinforced and justified his feelings of antisemitism. Obama's words have always been very intentional and ordered. I believe Claudine Gay has been indoctrinated into the camp of DEI, which is why she has been protected, but she has also been cowardly to speak out against what is happening on her campus and that is intentional. Those who are not antisemitic can bravely speak out about the situation in the conflict. They do not have to hide behind words that can be interpreted in several ways to make themselves look good. This comes from someone who campaigned and voted for Obama twice.

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I see where you’re coming from, Diane! I used to think that it was as simple as being courageous or not. The first draft of this essay included a paragraph about their lack of courage, but upon further review it seemed that lack of courage might be more a secondary argument, whereas the primary argument (at least in my mind) is that they were trying to fit into the quintessential Black community while also trying to appease the “White guilt” that got them elected/appointed in the first place.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

I do agree with you that they were doing a dance as many in political circles do, i.e. Biden with Israel and Iran. It's a very dangerous and ineffectual dance. By trying to appease both, you end up either appeasing no one, or angering one side over the other. I believe it shows weakness, and I'd rather someone tell me honestly what they believe, then try to placate me with vacuous words. However, I do understand the political game and abhor it. Nevertheless, I'm glad you addressed the topic and gave me more to think about.

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You nailed it — it’s a very dangerous and ineffective dance.

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Dec 29, 2023·edited Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

Obama is such a well-spoken, slippery creature that efforts to label him as an antisemite just slide right off of him. Nevertheless, from the first moment when he humiliated Netanyahu by keeping him waiting in a side office while he finished dinner with his family, through the years of enabling Iran's path to the bomb, talking about the "occupied territories," forcing Israel to release 1000 terrorists, and embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, to his final act of refusing to veto the UN's declaration that the Kotel is a Palestinian monument, all of his actions were anti-Israel in effect and antisemitic in spirit. However, Progressive Jews were so in love with themselves for their virtuous act of helping to elect a black man to the Presidency that Obama could do no wrong.

Israeli TV's weekly satirical show, LATMA, offered a spoof of current events during the Obama years. Their humor cut too close to the bone for mainstream tastes, but their aim was deadly accurate. Here's their take on Obama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBRwU3y5ZD4

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I watched the video. It says it all. Thanks for sharing.

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All very interesting, Josh - but I believe that American black anti-Semitism (like most anti-Semitism) is rooted in the fact that Jews, despite being persecuted and discriminated against, are a successful minority. For the blacks, it's even more bitter because many Jews have white skin and can "pass". Black culture has a history of resenting their own light-skinned brothers and sisters who could "pass for white" and succeed. This black resentment against successful minorities extends to Asians, who often do very well academically and financially. It's high time that blacks and other anti-Semites fix their own problems instead of blaming them on Jews and others.

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There is a culture of grievance in common to Palestinians and Blacks. Reparations. The right of return. The history do-over.

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Yes, this also crossed my mind, that the Black struggle empathizes with the Palestinian struggle. Both fee they have been oppressed.

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Dec 30, 2023·edited Dec 30, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

American Blacks and other minorities with a sense of “deprivation and grievance” (real or imagined) have been targets of Palestinian propaganda from the get-go. The Islamo/Leftist elites who control the Palestinian issue needed to “universalize” the cause in order to get world-wide sympathy and resources to support their terrorist operations. What must happen now is a world-wide “blitz” of truth-telling to finally end this. Pro-Palestinian lies must be itemized and exposed to specific audiences. From the reason why Arabs occupying Gaza, Judea and Samaria are there to their violent behavior for decades, to the lies about Israeli apartheid. Black audiences must be told that Palestinians are not “people of color”, like them. This is something the propagandists often use to promote a sense of kinship with black communities. The propagandists’ claim that Palestinians are “indigenous” to the region is another big, fat lie which must be exposed to aboriginal communities worldwide. (In some aboriginal communities this is starting to happen.)

Sadly, we don’t have mainstream media on our side to help spread the truth. Nor academia. So we must find sympathetic individuals and organizations within the minority communities to work with us. Naturally, any truth-telling campaign should be blasted all over social media with minorities and celebrities who formerly supported the Palestinian cause to be our spokespeople.

Concurrent with this campaign should be a separate campaign that exposes the anti-Semitic aims of the woke movement to liberal Jews. Wokeness has embraced the Palestinian cause while throwing Jews under the bus. This has already been started by such Jewish liberals as David Bernstein (read his book: Woke Anti-Semitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews). Some of Israel’s worst enemies have been well-meaning but misguided liberal Jews in the media and other places of power. We must not attack their “liberalism”, just that they’ve been lied to.

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Incredibly well said Susan!!

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There’s also the purposeful obfuscation of language. ‘Systemic racism’ - what specifically? Where? In 1950? Now? No firm definition. Similarly ‘the occupation’ (used by Obama). Where? Gaza? What does that mean? The West Bank? Or are we really talking about (yes this is what they mean) the whole of Israel.

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Exactly.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

As always, I need more facts and yes, “context,” to determine whether I would assess Obama’s actions so harshly. It is easy in one slice of a story to illuminate what proves one’s point. I have my doubts about Obama, but I think it’s going too far to say he harbors Anti-Semitic leanings.

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Dec 29, 2023·edited Dec 29, 2023Author

Again, I don’t think Obama is a bonafide antisemite, but this doesn’t mean that the results of his actions were not antisemitic, even if that wasn’t his intention.

And I didn’t write this essay with a presumption that Obama is an antisemite and therefore I need to find a story that supports this presumption. I read about an article about the varying stories between Obama’s book and the other one, and then did my own analysis.

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Joshua Hoffman

Can you ask Moynihan to unblock me on Twitter? I was just kidding. Big fan! Subscriber. The Hitch would be proud.

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