Obama's Passover Message Misses the Message of Passover

An important lesson from Jewish experience--for those willing to heed it--is that change is not always good and that some things never change. But after all, the Jews were doing pretty well in ancient Egypt until there came a pharoah who knew not Joseph.

It is also no accident that the Passover seder reminds us: "In every generation, there are those that rise up against us to destroy us...." Wow, does the history of the last few years prove that to be true!

Left-wing Jews, who also generally don't like Israel, have failed to grasp that lesson. And those who joined the Bolshevik revolution and the Communist movement thereafter often learned that lesson the hard way.

The Biblical text reminds us how the problem began. A new ruler decided that his predecessor had been too friendly to the Jews. Now, he warned, the Jews had become too strong and so must be defeated, enslaved, and finally wiped out entirely through a genocidal policy. That has rather different implications for the contemporary situation than the version given by Obama.

In the Middle East, the collapse of old democratic regimes and their replacement by Arab nationalist ones -- and in Iran by an Islamist one -- marked the end of centuries-old Jewish communities. The passing of a bad ruler or a bad system often leads to a worse one.

It remains to be seen whether recent events in the Middle East will ultimately be ones of liberation for the people living under the new regimes. It should already be obvious, however, that the result in Egypt is dangerous for Israel's security and probably very bad for U.S. interests.

Lebanon and the Gaza Strip have gone the opposite way from liberation with no serious U.S. effort to reverse events or even realization that what has happened is disastrous social transformation at the hands of radical Islamism assisted by Iran and Syria.

Indeed, in Iran and Syria, two places where change could be genuinely liberating, the Obama administration has done nothing to help.

More genocidal-minded radical nationalist and Islamist forces may come to power elsewhere. The main concern stemming from Obama's Passover message is that he still has no clue about such things. Indeed, I think Obama genuinely does not understand that social transformation and change can be a very bad thing.

Finally, there is another aspect of Passover that Obama could have chosen to emphasize, though I doubt he heard the Reverend Wright preach on it. The purpose for which God took the Jews out of Egypt in the first place. For otherwise, the creator of the Universe might merely have transformed Egypt into a multicultural society, right?

"God spoke to Moses, and He said to him, `I am the Lord...I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob....I established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan....'"

At a time when Israel's right to exist is coming increasingly into question -- mainly so among Obama's supporters -- that would have been a nice gesture.