Obama Is A Muslim If Disraeli Was A Jew
08/21/2010 - 21:14
Jonathan Mark

Benjamin Disraeli was born of a Jewish father but was baptized and had a Christian upbringing, joining the Church as an adult. The prime minister didn't practice Judaism.

Barack Obama was born of an Islamic father but, after some grade-school Islamic education, had a Christian upbringing, joining the Church as an adult. The president doesn't practice Islam.

Both attained the highest political office possible when Judaism was politically inconvenient in England and Islam was politically inconvenient in the United States.  

Benjamin Disraeli has an entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica. Why? How is he a Jew? Why is he so often spoken of as a Jew? Yet no one is called "stupid" for calling Disraeli a Jew. People are called "stupid" for calling Obama a Moslem.

Obama is no less a Christian than Disraeli was a Christian.

On the other hand, how is Obama less a Muslim than Disraeli was a Jew? Why is it a crime to think of Obama that way when we speak of Disraeli that way?

No one is more moral for insisting that Obama's relationship to Islam never be raised, than one is moral for insisting that Disraeli's relationship to Judaism never be raised.

If the only reason is political --  for political partisans to insulate and protect a shrinking Obama while at the same time trying to intimidate Obama's political opponents -- then let's not be so high-minded about it and admit that's all it is.

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This discussion should be about the impact of Disraeli as the first Jewish English Prime Minister in comparison to Obama as the first black U.S. President. Disraeli was called Jewish throughout his political career despite his family's conversion to Christianity. The idea that being Jewish can have only religious connotations devoid of racial implications is a very recent phenomenon.

Why is being muslim considered worse that being Christian. According to most poskim Christianity with its tripartite diety is considered idolatry whereas Islam is not. A Jew may worship in a mosque. The cave of the patriarchs in Hebron is a mosque whereas a Jew may not set foot in a church. Please don't intepret this as support for Al Kaida but our present day Islamophobia is the result of a bad case of historical amnesia.
Obama was exposed to numerous teachings from the Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu traditions. His own sister considers herself to be a Buddhist. So Obama's worldview is highly multicultural. If some Jews have a problem with that...that's their problem. It's the real world--time to grow up.
Nobody thinks Disraeli was a Jew from a religious standpoint, only that he was connected to the Jewish people from an ethnic standpoint -- most particularly in the view of the antisemitic British establishment of his day. His entry in the EJ begins by describing his father's quarrel with the London Sephardic community when the future statesman was 13, and goes on to describe his own novel Alroy (1833), about Jewish messianism and his effort to have Lord Rothschild admitted to Parliament. Islam, in contrast, has no ethnic component. If you have no religious connection, you're not a Muslim -- it's clear cut in a way that Jewish identity is not. President Obama's family's historical connection to Islam -- primarily that of his paternal grandfather, since his own father was not religious and his own education in Indonesia was in the only affordable local school - is characterized as making him "Muslim" himself mostly only in the eyes of those as bigoted today as were Disraeli's British contemporaries. So calling him a person who has family and historic connections to Islam seems reasonable. If there is an Encyclopedia listing Americans of significance to Islam, I'm OK with his appearing in it. Calling him a Muslim, however, seems like politically motivated sophistry.
As usual in your posts you are missing a crucial piece of information. Disraeli identified himself as part of the Jewish people. In what way does Obama identify himself as a Muslim?
Disraeli was born into a family whose ancestry was Jewish, period. He proudly asserted and defended his ethnicity (regarding himself as Jewish in this way) throughout his lifetime. Obama has a far more varied family ancestry, which includes numerous races, religions and continents. The more important questions: Why does it matter so much if he's a Moslem? Why does this blogger wade into this nonsense? Why does this blogger's post read as a defense of those who are trying to sandbag Obama? Genug.
In his famous Cairo speech, Obama himself said that he is a Christian "BUT" -- "I'm a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims." He does not come from "numerous religions," as you say. He comes from two, Islam and Christianity. There are tens of thousands of intermarriages in which the child is commonly considered both or in some way connected to both, religious legalities aside. And as Obama says, he is Christian BUT... It would not be of any interest except for his dangerous outreach to the Arab-Islamic world to the detriment of Israel, if not the United States, if good people may disagree. I don't think he's a practicing Muslim but a highly sympathetic one. One wonders why Obama's supporters find this idea so horrible to talk about. They seem to protest too much.