As the National Security Adviser, General James Jones is not known as a friend of the Jewish State. It was Jones who put together the team of Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski to meet with the President and advise him to impose a solution on Israel.
Earlier this week we may have gotten some insight into why Jones is not a fan of the Jewish Homeland. He was giving the key note speech at a Washington Institute For Near East Policy and started it out with a “Joke” that borders on anti-Semitic, teaching the crowd that Jews are just greedy merchants in the same vein as Shakespeare’s Shylock:
I’d like to begin with a story that I think is true, a Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”
According to the Jewish Forward
After the speech, two participants suggested, in private conversations with the Forward, that Jones’ joke might have been inappropriate. After all, making jokes about greedy Jewish merchants can be seen at times as insensitive.
A prominent think-tank source who attended the event said the joke was “wrong in so many levels” and that it “demonstrated a lack of sensitivity.” The source also asked: “Can you imagine him telling a black joke at an event of African Americans?”
Was the Joke Anti-Semitic? Well, the White House must have thought so. The White House transcript sent to reporters after the event conveniently began a couple of minutes into the speech. The video of the event posted on the Washington Institute Web site started right after the Joke, you can even hear the end of the laughter.
At the very least it was an idiotic time and place to make the joke. Many of the attendees of The Washington Institute dinner were in fact Jewish. And the Jewish community is very nervous about the recent anti-Israel leanings of the Obama administration.
Its interesting that the same President that sees racism in the legitimate actions of the Cambridge Police and the State of Arizona, hides the possible anti-Semitic prose of its National Security Adviser.
UPDATE: I found the video but couldn’t download it. I contacted my friends at Breitbart and thanks to the Scott Baker at Breitbart TV, I was able to get my hands on the video of Jones’ “comic delivery “(if you cant see video below click here).
Jake Tapper Reports that Abe Foxman felt the joke was inappropriate.
While many in the largely Jewish audience laughed, others didn’t find it so funny, including Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
“It’s inappropriate,” Foxman told ABC News. “it’s stereotypic. Some people believe they need to start a speech with a joke; this was about the worst kind of joke the head of the National Security Council could have told.”
UPDATE II: Jones issued a statement of apology today:
I wish that I had not made this off the cuff joke at the top of my remarks, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it. It also distracted from the larger message I carried that day: that the United States commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.
At Today’s White House briefing spokesman Robert Gibbs said there “no intention to deceive” in leaving the remarks off a transcript off the event, which, as pointed out by Tommy Christopher above, was the prepared text not “as delivered.” Christopher was at the breifing and filed this report.
UPDATE III: A friend of mine had an interesting “theory.” He said the joke was meant to be a jab at Israel supporters regarding, Israel’s treatment of Hamas, and the closing of her borders to the terrorist group. I don’t necessarily agree. After reading all of the new facts today, I believe that Jones may have just caught a bit of Joe Biden “gaffe” disease.
In the day since I published this post I have been asked over and over, “was Jones’ statement anti-Semitic?” I can’t answer that without looking into his heart. His Joke did use old anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews. Others in the Administration have used anti-Semitic stereotypes, the most common of which is the “Jewish Lobby controls foreign policy” canard first publicly invoked by National Security Council member Samantha Power. That does not mean the Obama administration has some systemic anti-Semitism running through its veins. What it may mean is the same President who insists on political correctness for other religions and ethnicity does not have the same PC standards for Jews.