Is It Obama’s Kosher-Deli Gate?

You know how sometimes you try to fix something bad you said and you make it worse? Yes, that's what happened here.


In an interview with the news website Vox this week, President Obama said: “It’s entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

If you’re just a casual follower of the news, you’d probably agree with the president’s sentiment and let it go at that.

But if you take a more inquisitive look at the president’s casual statement, you’d notice right away two key elements missing from Obama’s otherwise truthful statement: that the vicious zealots were Muslim and that the deli was kosher, meaning the victims there were not picked randomly, but because they were Jews.

“Take it from someone who keeps kosher: Nobody ‘randomly’ happens to be in a kosher supermarket, not even in Manhattan, ” the NY Post’s John Podhoretz noted.

Podhoretz was actually responding to a follow-up by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who was already trying to put out the fire started by his boss.

Earnest said: “The individuals who were killed in that terrible, tragic incident were killed not because of who they were but because of where they randomly happened to be.”

You know how sometimes you try to fix something bad you said and you make it worse? Yes, that’s what happened here.

See, the Obama line was met with hard criticism from Illinois senator Mark Kirk, who said: “French President Francois Hollande has consistently called the January shooting at the Kosher Deli in Paris an ‘appalling Antisemitic attack, ’ so why can’t the administration do so, too?”

Which the senator followed with an explanation of his own: “The administration’s inability to speak consistently and clearly about Islamic terror threats reflects not only muddled thinking, but also muddled policies.”

And that’s the fire Josh Earnest was trying to put out, when he burned down half the block.

Podhoretz gave it to him good, saying “his remarks suggest these murders were meaningless acts of nihilism, when they in fact were terrifyingly meaningful acts of Antisemitic murder on European soil 70 years after the Holocaust — acts that are causing many if not most of the 600, 000 Jews in France to think seriously about emigrating.”

Yes, he got the kitchen sink, too, everything. Poor Josh Earnest…

But, as it turned out, the other voice of the Obama Administration, State Dept. Spokesperson Jen Paski, was about to have her own foot in mouth episode over the kosher deli thing, only a few blocks away:

“I believe if I remember the victims specifically, ” Jen Psaki told her crowd of reporters, “they were not all victims of one background or one nationality.”

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, suggested the statements by the president and by both spokespersons ”send the wrong message to both the Jewish community and the terrorists who are responsible for these heinous acts.”

Could be, but even more important: those statements show just how out of touch the Obama crew is with the issues that make U.S. Jews cringe. They think they know, which is the problem.

Only yesterday, I wrote here that Obama had outclassed Netanyahu over the latter’s scheduled speech in Congress. Now I can see how Obama can still drop this ball just by being out of touch with what American Jews want.

I say, bring back Rahm Emanuel.

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