Nearly four years ago, Rev. Jeremiah Wright stunned the American people with his harsh and racially-charged words. Now, just months before his former congregant Barack Obama is up for presidential re-election, the faith leader is back in the headlines. Wright is reportedly endorsing the "March to Jerusalem," a radical, anti-Israel event planned for later this month.
IsraelNationalNews.com has more about what's being planned:
Mr. Zaher Birawi, Spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem,’ an initiative that aims at getting over one million Arabs and their supporters to attempt to infiltrate Israel’s borders on March 30th, said that the initiative “demand[s] freedom for Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.”
He claimed that the campaign is “an international coalition of hundreds of organizations,” which plans on amassing organizers from the bordering countries of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and also organizing protests in countries worldwide.
Here's how the Global March to Jerusalem web site describes its efforts:
We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem. We will make a renewed true effort towards ending the occupation through peaceful national movements inspired firstly by our convictions, secondly by the justice of our cause, and thirdly by the spirit of the Arab spring revolutions and the determination of young people who were able to overthrow dictatorships. Especially now that the nations have realized the magical effect of the people’s will to make the impossible possible. The advancing slogan, “the people demand,” has proved to be more effective than armies and weapons.
Here's a video advertising the event:
Plainly stated: This isn't a positive development for the Israeli state, although these sorts of assaults are common in the region. Wright, who was Obama's pastor for 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, is listed on the group's web site as an American personality who is endorsing the march. Here's a screen shot of a portion of the list (his name is circled):
According to IsraelNationalNews.com, the White House has declined to comment regarding Wright's endorsement. In all fairness, it would seem a bit odd for Obama, from a tactical and practical standpoint, to weigh in. To begin with, questions regarding the president's allegiance to Israel already exist. Additionally, he no longer attends Trinity and Wright is no longer the faith leader at the church.
Still, the endorsement of such a radical effort does cause one to wonder if Obama's claim that he never heard Wright speak harshly or offensively as a congregant is true. After all, the faith leader has a track record of making some pretty unsavory comments about the Jewish people.
In 2009, the Anti-Defamation League dubbed Wright a "messenger of intolerance" and recapped some of his comments and statements that the group saw as inflammatory and discriminatory against Jews:
Wright blamed Jews for the fact that he has been out of touch with President Barack Obama in an interview with theDaily Press, a Newport News, Virginia-based newspaper, on June 9. Wright noted that "them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."
In the same interview, Wright asserted that Israel is committing ethnic cleansing in Gaza, which he described as "a sin and a crime against humanity," and expressed his belief that the Obama Administration would have sent a U.S. delegation to the 2009 Durban Review Conference in April if not for fear of losing "the Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote, that's controlling him."
Wright later stated that he misspoke and that he did not mean to refer to Jews, but rather Zionists. "I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said.
The National Conference of Jewish Affairs, among others, is condemning Wright's purported endorsement. So far, the former reverend hasn't announced his support on his official web site, but his name appearing on the group's web site is enough to cause angst.