In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 8, 2009 / 16 Sivan 5769

In Cairo, campaign '09

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If it ain't broke, the saying goes, don't fix it. And so it was that the Muslim world got to hear the 2009 version of Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic convention speech.

In the first rendition before a swarm of fellow party members, though aimed at a national audience, Obama assured Americans that we are not a nation of red states and blue states.

"There's not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

Four years later, Obama was elected president of those United States.

At Cairo University on Thursday, Obama delivered essentially the same message on a slightly grander scale, telling the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, as well as the planet at large:

"The interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart."

The nearly hour-long speech, which contained many inspired passages, was essentially a teaching moment. A lecture, if you will.

Here's the lesson: We have to get along, or we're all doomed. Freedom works; oppression doesn't. Your homework: Clear your mind of the past, evict stereotypes and join the global future.

Beyond delivering core messages of partnership and a new beginning based on mutual understanding and respect, Obama made three big scores: He essentially neutralized Osama bin Laden. He managed to call Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a hateful ignoramus without ever mentioning his name.

And he affirmed Western values of democracy, human rights, religious freedom and women's right to self-determination — all while making Muslims feel complimented, appreciated and understood.

No small feats.

To delegitimize the man whose name rhymes with his, Obama had only to show up and not be George W. Bush. Osama the cave-dweller's latest blurt, timed to preempt Obama's speech, was more pathetic than threatening — the muffled bleat of an emasculated warrior powerless against an enemy he can no longer demonize.

Osama is the withered and quivering Gollum — seething with envy and nursing his precious hatred — to Obama's robust and hope-driven Frodo. The forces of darkness and light personified.

Obama similarly defused the nutty nuke-chaser, Ahmadinejad. Obama was talking about Iran's alleged desire for access to "peaceful" nuclear power and his own goal for a nuke-free world.

Whether Obama's approach to Iran is naive or workable can be debated elsewhere. He makes perfect sense in a perfectly sensible world. Most sane people want to live without the nagging threat of obliteration. And most would agree that reasonable people have the right to access nuclear power for nonviolent purposes.

But we know Iran's president to be un-sane and un-reasonable. Just the day before Obama's Cairo speech, Ahmadinejad repeated his belief that the Holocaust was a "big deception."

In his own remarks, Obama said that denying the fact of the Holocaust is "baseless," "ignorant" and "hateful." If Ahmadinejad didn't recognize himself, surely the rest of the world did, including Iranians who will vote in their country's presidential election this month.

Finally, Obama was unflinching in defending American values, though he characterized them not as uniquely American values but as human rights.

Listening to the speech, one couldn't help noticing (at times uneasily) the moments that prompted applause. Every time Obama quoted scripture from the Koran or conceded errors in America's own history, the audience clapped. (The loudest applause, however, came when Obama spoke of democracy.)

Although it made sense to acknowledge Koranic wisdom as a way of showing respect for the audience, I kept thinking: Why not toss a few crumbs to the non-Muslim boys and girls back home? If the message is our common humanity, why not demonstrate that commonality by showing parallels in Jewish and Christian texts?

This omission would have been my sharpest criticism of the speech if not for the fact that I was judging too soon. Obama saved the best for last.

This time echoing his presidential campaign, Obama said: "We have the power to make the world we seek (yes we can!), but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning (fired up, ready to go!), keeping in mind what has been written."

Then he quoted verses from the Koran, the Talmud and the Bible that all pointed toward peace. He wrapped up with the ultimate plea for hope and change:

"The people of the world can live together in peace," said Obama. "We know that is G-d's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth."

Hey, it worked in 2008.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2008, WPWG