André Aciman, author of the memoir “Out of Egypt,” writes on The Exodus Obama Forgot to Mention
The president never said a word about me. Or, for that matter, about any of the other 800,000 or so Jews born in the Middle East who fled the Arab and Muslim world or who were summarily expelled for being Jewish in the 20th century. With all his references to the history of Islam and to its (questionable) “proud tradition of tolerance” of other faiths, Mr. Obama never said anything about those Jews whose ancestors had been living in Arab lands long before the advent of Islam but were its first victims once rampant nationalism swept over the Arab world.
Nor did he bother to mention that with this flight and expulsion, Jewish assets were — let’s call it by its proper name — looted. Mr. Obama never mentioned the belongings I still own in Egypt and will never recover. My mother’s house, my father’s factory, our life in Egypt, our friends, our books, our cars, my bicycle. We are, each one of us, not just defined by the arrangement of protein molecules in our cells, but also by the things we call our own. Take away our things and something in us dies. Losing his wealth, his home, the life he had built, killed my father. He didn’t die right away; it took four decades of exile to finish him off.
And it’s not simply an exodus – it’s a purposeful erasing of history:
he failed to remind the Egyptians in his audience that until 50 years ago a strong and vibrant Jewish community thrived in their midst. Or that many of Egypt’s finest hospitals and other institutions were founded and financed by Jews. It is a shame that he did not remind the Egyptians in the audience of this, because, in most cases — and especially among those younger than 50 — their memory banks have been conveniently expunged of deadweight and guilt. They have no recollections of Jews.
In Alexandria, my birthplace and my home, all streets bearing Jewish names have been renamed. A few years ago, the Library of Alexandria put on display an Arabic translation of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” perhaps the most anti-Semitic piece of prose ever written. Today, for the record, there are perhaps four Jews left in Alexandria.
Richard Landes, also on the Cairo speech, writes, The Problem is the Settlements: The Lack of Palestinian Ones
I suggest that President Obama demand, publicly, and in the same strong terms with which he addresses the Israelis, that the PA begin immediately building settlements for Palestinian refugees on the lands available to them in the West Bank, so that they can begin living decent lives. This would be an enormous boon to the Palestinian economy, it would mobilize the significant talents the Palestinians have in the building industry, and would signal to the Israelis that the “right of return” — i.e., the demand that Israel commit demographic suicide — is not lurking in the background of the “Arab Peace Plan.”
Go read the rest of both articles.
When he was running for president, Mr. Obama courted Jewish voters by saying, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” However, he immediately backed away from his own statement, saying that Jerusalem somehow also could be the capital of a Palestinian state and have divided sovereignty. Now he is signaling that even diplomatic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is in doubt.
This is a major step backward for Jerusalem and the peace process. In his speech in Cairo last week, Mr. Obama stated that “all of us have a responsibility to work for the day … when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims.” In case the president hasn’t noticed, this goal already has been accomplished. Citizens of Jerusalem can worship as they please. Tourists can visit Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious sites. Under Israeli stewardship, the city is a beacon of tolerance and hope.
Prior post: What was missing from Obama’s speech part 1.