Obama hugging and wrestling in Cairo

June 4, 2009

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Irrespective of one’s opinions, President Barack Obama gave a great demonstration of hugging and wrestling at Cairo University.

His careful quotations from the Koran set the moral tone of the speech: “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” One can just as easily imagine President Obama speaking at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, quoting from the Torah and Talmud in support of the same values.

As he warned, no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. This was clear in particular when listening to the applause of the audience. Praise of the Muslim world: cheers. Critique of the Muslim world: silence.

We at Makom now wonder: which aspects of the speech would Jews applaud? And to which should we remain silent, either in disagreement or in serious contemplation?

And are we reaching a stage in Israel-Diaspora relations where Israelis and Jews around the world might applaud at opposing points?

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