Anyone familiar with the views of Barack Obama's pastor of twenty years might wonder if Reverend Jeremiah Wright is the chief inspiration behind the president's foreign policy. The president's overseas forays – dubbed the "American Apology Tour" – have featured Obama issuing one apology after another on behalf of a U.S. he has pronounced guilty of countless transgressions.
Obama has apologized for Guantanamo Bay; for alleged mistakes committed by the CIA; for U.S. policy in the Americas; for America's history of slavery; for "sacrificing [American] values;" for "hasty decisions" in the war on terror; for "America's standing in the world;" for American errors in foreign policy; for U.S. relations with the Muslim world; and for American "arrogance," being "dismissive, [and] even derisive" toward U.S. allies. One gets the sense Obama is far from finished.
Wright, too, found unlimited fault with America. For example, he opposed the great American melting pot. He denounced racial impurity particularly when white men and black women have offspring. "Black women were raped by the millions," Wright claimed in his 1996 book, When Black Men Sand Up for God. "Look around your church or neighborhood at the colors of African people today. America is the land of our trouble," he warned in his 1995 book Africans Who Shaped Our Faith.
Wright lectured his parishioners "When you forget who you are, you start letting your behavior be determined by the enemy's [white people's] expectations. How you act is based upon what they think. And that sickness is perpetuated, because through assimilation and acculturation, you now think just like they think." Wright admonished his congregants "If you are not European, stop pretending you are."
Wright's black separatist sermons have been notorious for racist comments about "white arrogance," "the United States of White America," and "the U.S. of KKK." Wright also accused the U.S. government of conspiring against black people. "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied," he claimed in one sermon. Rather than asking for divine blessings for the U.S., instead Wright urged "G** D*** America!"
In August 2007, Wright delivered a eulogy at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He referred to the nation's Founding Fathers as the "fondling fathers." He called Texas "the cradle of dehumanization," he made an ethnic slur about Italians and "their garlic noses," and he repeatedly mentioned "white enemies." Wright warned mourners of "White supremacist brainwashing, passing itself off as education."
Wright's anti-Semitic leanings seemingly play themselves out in U.S. relations with Israel. Just recently, Wright derided "them Jews" for blocking his access to President Obama.
In contrast to his deference to anti-American leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, and Daniel Ortega, Obama has strong-armed Benjamin Netanyahu on key Israeli matters. He snubbed the Israeli Prime Minister in his first request to meet with the president. While pronouncing Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology acceptable and announcing the U.S would not meddle in Iran's election, Obama has warned Netanyahu against targeting Iran's nuclear facilities, has demanded an end to Israeli settlements and has insisted on the creation of a two-state Palestine solution. Obama's attitude is not new.
Years ago, Wright and Obama helped organize participation in the 1995 march on Washington led by the deeply anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan. In his remarks, the Nation of Islam leader accused former President George H. W. Bush of "buck-dancing in a yarmulke for the Jews."
Farrakhan's anti-Semitic activities spanned years. Months before the march, he was embroiled in an ugly, anti-Semitic episode. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a senior Nation of Islam official, delivered three hours of remarks at New Jersey's Keane College that attacked whites, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals and white South Africans.
Muhammad said, "[Jews] are a European strain of people who crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe, eatin' Juniper roots and eatin' each other. … They're the blood suckers of the black nation and the black community."
Muhammad warned the audience of "Columbia Jew-niversity over in Jew York City." He called the U.N., the "Jew-nited Nations." He said Jews were named Rubenstein, Goldstein and Silverstein because they "[have] been stealing rubies and gold and silver all over the earth. That's why we can't even wear a ring or a bracelet or a necklace without calling it Jewelry … but it's not jewelry, it's Jew-elry."
Muhammad argued Jews who perished in the Holocaust had it coming to them. He asked, "[D]on't nobody ever ask what did they do to Hitler?" Then he answered his own question with, "They had undermined the very fabric of the society."
Prior to his Kean College address, Muhammad dismissed the "so-called Jew holocaust" at appearances in Dallas, Texas and Washington, DC. He argued the film "Schindler's List" should be named "Swindler's List."
Countless public figures implored Farrakhan to repudiate Muhammad. Instead, Farrakhan stood by his friend. At a "Black Men Only" rally of 10,000, Farrakhan said, "We know that Jews are the most organized, rich and powerful people, not only in America, but in the world. They are plotting against us even as we speak." Then Farrakhan clasped Muhammad in an embrace on stage.
Even with Farrakhan's long history of racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism, Wright remained a fervent supporter. In 2007, Wright praised Farrakhan as one who "will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African-American religious experience." Trumpet, a magazine operated by Wright and Trinity Church, honored Farrakhan in November 2007 with the "Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award for his years of service.
It is understandable that after sitting through 20 years of sermons delivered by the pastor Barack Obama considered his spiritual mentor that Jeremiah Wright's politics would heavily influence Obama's worldview of the U.S. and Israel. It is unfortunate that they do.
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