Is Barack Obama anti-Semitic?

Is Barack Obama bigoted against Jews?

I have never thought so, but the question has arisen at Israel Thrives.  And the fact of the matter is that many Jewish people do believe that Obama is anti-Semitic.  That is a simple fact.  What the percentages are I do not know, but a significant minority of Jewish people, or at least a significant minority of Jewish Americans, hold to this belief and therefore it should be discussed.

Let me start by saying that, no, I do not believe that Barack Obama is an anti-Semite.

An anti-Semite is someone who repeats certain specific tropes that have historically gotten Jews killed in pogroms great and small.  Anti-Semitism is characterized by the repetition of particular themes.  If someone suggests that Jews are blood-thirsty, or that the Jewish state is blood-thirsty, then that person is spreading anti-Semitism.  If someone suggests that Jews control sovereign governments outside of Israel or that Jews have an undue and malicious influence over those governments, then that person is also spreading classic centuries’ old anti-Semitic themes.

Barack Obama has never done any such thing.

I defy anyone to show me a quote by president Barack Obama in which he has expressed anything that could possibly be considered anti-Semitic.  I have never seen anything of the sort.  Therefore I cannot, and will not, consider Obama anti-Semitic until he does so.

If this is the case, and it is, it raises the question as to why so many Jews do consider the president of the United States to be racist against the Jewish people.  The answer to that question is fairly obvious.  Obama is not an anti-Semite, but he does support anti-Semitism throughout the world and at home.  After all, does one need to be a racist to be friendly toward racists?  If that is the standard than everyone is a racist because we all have a certain degree of racist tendencies and we all have friends who do so, as well.

So Barack Obama is not an anti-Semite, but merely a friend and supporter of anti-Semites.  The obvious difference is that Obama is the president of the United States and the anti-Semites that he is friendly towards are not just some shmoes who live down the street, but highly influential political movements, such as political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as highly influential American politicians, such as Chuck Hagel.

Obama supports the Brotherhood and he supports Chuck Hagel and both are deeply anti-Semitic.  Obama knows this, of course, but he doesn’t care which is why he gives very many Jewish people the impression that he, himself, is also anti-Semitic.  What I would suggest is that the question of Obama’s anti-Semitism is irrelevant.  Whether or not Obama is racist toward Jews, the fact remains that he is a great supporter of those who dislike Jews including those, like Egyptian president Muhammed Morsi, who control armies directly adjacent to the border of the Jewish state.

This is what should be our focus of concern.  Obama supports political Islam, and thus supports the Muslim Brotherhood.  The rise of political Islam, under the misnomer “Arab Spring,” is the most genocidally anti-Semitic movement on the planet today.  The mullahs and the ayatollahs and the various religious leaders who are part of this movement consistently pour forth the most violent hatred toward the Jewish people and perpetually suggest that it is Allah’s will that the Jews be annihilated.

Excuse me, but my father’s side of the family was slaughtered during Operation Barbarosa during World War II by people who thought in a similar fashion.  My father’s side of the family comes from a town called Medzhybizh in the Ukraine.  Medzhybizh, much to my astonishment, is also the shtetl where Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism resided, taught and is buried.  The Nazis came through in July of 1941 and forced the residents, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to road building and the digging of ditches.  Once the ditches were completed they lined up the Jewish population of the town, about 3,000 people, including all my relatives there, and shot them dead.

Anyone who knows anything about the history of the Muslim Brotherhood knows that they were allied with the Nazis during World War II and, yet, this is who Barack Obama supports, so how could it be any wonder that some Jewish people would consider Obama hostile towards Jews and thus anti-Semitic?

The Hagel nomination is just the icing on the cake.  Of all the people that Obama could have chosen for Secretary of Defense he chose a man who apparently claimed in public that Israel controls the U.S. Department of State.  The Department of State!  The U.S. Department of State is the very least friendly branch of the American government toward Israel and, in fact, opposed its creation during the Truman administration.  Traditionally, the Department of State has been “Arabist” and has sought to withhold U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State of Israel.  Yet, somehow, against all reason, Chuck Hagel thinks that the Jews of Israel control the American State Department.

And this is the guy that Obama puts forward for Secretary of Defense?

So how can Jewish people not wonder if Obama is anti-Semitic?

I don’t think he is because he doesn’t blather anti-Jewish racist themes in public, but ultimately who cares?  Obama promotes movements and organizations, including genocidal organizations like the Brotherhood, that are anti-Semitic.

So who am I to quibble?


Mike Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at