The Perils of a ‘Multicultural’ President”
By Jay Bergman
“Israelis distrust me because of my middle name.”
This is how Barack Hussein Obama, in an interview on Israeli television, explained his unpopularity in Israel. What the President was saying, in effect, is that Israelis are bigots.
The President’s casual imputation of bigotry is empirically false. Israelis distrust Obama by large majorities because they believe his policies are profoundly harmful to Israel’s interests and may even threaten its existence. What makes President Obama’s insinuation especially objectionable is that it is directed against an ally of America, the only country in the Middle East with which we share similar liberal values and democratic institutions. No amount of political stagecraft, such as Passover seders in the White House, can obscure that sobering reality.
President Obama’s disdain for Israel seems visceral and deeply rooted. As a student at Columbia University and Harvard Law School, he was exposed to the malign version of multiculturalism that we’ve seen morph into today’s conventional wisdom on American college campuses and throughout our society: no objective standards of truth and morality exist. By implication it also infers that no culture can be considered superior to any other and that in the absence of ethical absolutes of any kind, all cultures are equal.
But there is one country to which this moral relativism does not apply: the United States. This multicultural narrative goes on to say that white men who dominate America, like the white men who created it, are irredeemably racist, sexist, and homophobic. And as imperialists they are the principal cause of exploitation and oppression around the world. By extension and as a full partner in American values, Israel is complicit in this imperialism and irreversibly corrupted by it.
The result is an American President who aligns himself with countries who do not share our values. He implements this belief by betraying allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic. He appeases adversaries such as Russia. And worst of all does next to nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Also, most dangerously, he facilitates the spread of an Islamic radicalism, a credo that is antithetical to all that is best in America – religious tolerance, the rule of law, individual rights, and consensual government.
This deeply rooted commitment to personalized multicultural beliefs and an egocentric sense of mission has led President Obama to subordinate America’s legitimate interests. Instead of leading the free world, he chooses to fancy himself as the moral leader of humanity who’s self-perceived task is to “heal the planet.”
But Obama’s vision is wrong because humanity is not some benign indivisible entity whose values and aspirations are everywhere. Rather it is a condition riddled with hatreds, many of which are so longstanding and immune to reason that they are impervious to negotiated settlement. That misperception makes the incessant pandering and flattery the President exudes when meeting the world’s dictators and despots both self defeating as well as a futile and embarrassing exercise.
One can only hope that with the passage of time Barack Obama will see the world as it really is, not as he wishes it would be. Possibly he will recognize that in fulfilling his oath of office to protect and defend America, allies like Israel should be embraced instead of shunned, supported instead of slandered, and above all treated as friends and equals. Our disdain and contempt ought to be reserved for the real bigots in the world.
Jay Bergman is a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Scholars and the author, most recently, of “Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov.”