The Corner

Obama: ‘There Were Deep Strains of Anti-Semitism in This Country’

Via Walter Russell Mead, here’s a comment from the president in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:

Obama responded to this theory by saying the following: “Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders — and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country —

He really needs to point out America’s past sins and flaws whenever anyone points out vile behavior overseas, doesn’t he? It’s reflexive — the moment an American brings up abominable, hateful actions beyond our shores, Professor Obama has to take us off of our “high horse.”

Separately, I’ll defer to experts on the history of anti-Semitism in the United States, but does the president really think the problems in the U.S. in the past (and now) compare to the situation in Iran? Does our government host conferences of Holocaust deniers?

For what it’s worth, the ADL did a survey and estimated that 9 percent of Americans hold views they characterize as anti-Semitic; they concluded 59 percent of Iranians hold views they characterize as anti-Semitic. The survey found that 64 percent of Iranians believe “people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave,” 58 percent believe “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars,” 55 percent believe “Jews have too much control over the global media,” and 61 percent believe “Jews have too much control over the U.S. government.”

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