JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 30, 2010
According to Commentary's Jennifer Rubin:
Obama, as presidents have traditionally done, released a Passover message. It is typical Obama — off-key, hyper-political, and condescending. The core of the message is this:
The enduring story of the Exodus teaches us that, wherever we live, there is oppression to be fought and freedom to be won. In retelling this story from generation to generation, we are reminded of our ongoing responsibility to fight against all forms of suffering and discrimination, and we reaffirm the ties that bind us all.
No, he didn’t have the nerve to recite the emphatic exhortation “Next year in Jerusalem.” And frankly, it sounds like Eric Holder and his civil rights lawyers drafted it. Is Passover really about discrimination? Or is it about the deliverance of God’s Chosen People by God from bondage to the land of Israel?
Gadzooks. Does Rubin really think Obama came up with this kooky notion that Passover has universal implications? I'm not much of a theologian. But I can spot somebody who's faking it even more than I am, and Rubin is one of those people. At my seder last night, the Ellie Weisel Haggadah explained:
The text does not say that every Jew must feel as if he had come out of Egypt. It says "Every individual." And here we find we universal dimension of Jewish experience.
And the American Jewish Committee says:
Passover also has universal meaning.
During the civil rights struggle, African Americans, yearning for full equality, sang a spiritual whose words include: “When Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go... Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.”
And did you know that John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson proposed a national seal with a scene of the Jewish exodus from Egypt?
The most hilarious part of Rubin's diatribe is her calling Obama "hyper-political."