Thursday, November 08, 2012
Does President Obama know of Jewish refugees?
As President Obama embarks on four more years, let's ask the question: does the President know, or even care, about Jewish refugees from the Arab and Muslim world? The likely answer is no.
When in 2008, Resolution no. 85 demanding parity for Jewish and Palestinian refugees was passing through the Senate, Obama was the only senator who refused to sign it. (The resolution was never approved, owing to the imminent presidential elections.)
As the current campaign for Jewish refugees gathers momentum, it is to be hoped that US Jewish organisations, such as the World Jewish Congress, get to brief Obama's advisers, if not the man himself.
Obama's predecessor in the White House, George Bush, was 'very aware' of Jewish refugees. Activists seized the opportunity of the White House Hanucah party in 2007 to have a word in the Presidential ear about Jewish refugees.
So far the signs do not bode well. Obama's 2009 Cairo speech was a huge disappointment. To ignore the 850, 000 Jews forced out of the Arab world was like failing to mention to the people of Berlin a small detail called World War ll.
I am re-posting this reaction by the Egyptian-born writer Andre Aciman.