Maybe Richard Cohen heard a different speech

MAYBE RICHARD COHEN HEARD A DIFFERENT SPEECH…. The point of Richard Cohen’s latest column is to condemn what he sees as the routine anti-Semitism that exists in the Middle East. But in the process, the columnist admonished President Obama for not doing more to combat these anti-Semitic ideas during his recent visit to the region.

“In his remarkable speech at Cairo University, President Obama only inferentially mentioned this aspect of what has become an ugly part of the Middle East: a tolerance for and advocacy of old-style anti-Semitism,” Cohen chided.

Obviously, whether Cohen liked the president’s speech is up to him, but I heard the same remarks, and far from “only inferentially” mentioning pervasive anti-Semitism, I thought Obama actually did the opposite.

“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.”

Maybe Cohen watched a different speech. Or perhaps Cohen applies a different meaning to the word “inferential.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation