President Biden seems to have put his foot in his mouth yet again. This time he made some odd comments in a formal virtual call to the Jewish community ahead of next week’s Rosh Hashanah holiday.
(Read the full text of the President’s comments here.)
The biggest mistake that President Biden made was in claiming that he had visited the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh after an anti-Semitic attack there. “I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” he said.
But Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, told the New York Post that President Biden did not visit the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.
On that attack, the President also said, “And so, I guess the point I’m making is that the attack in Pittsburgh, those attacks — all anti-Semitic attacks — aren’t just a strike against the Jewish community; they’re a strike against the soul of our nation and the values which we say we stand for. No matter its source or stated rationale, we have to and will condemn this prejudice at every turn, alongside other forms of hate.”
President Biden also had a few comments about the Jewish holiday season, a time of repentance, calling the values that the season imbues universal.
“Look, while the season of awe is a sacred time for Jews here in America and around the world, the message of the holidays, I’ve always believed, is universal,” said the President.
“Renewal. Renewal. When I was running for President, I placed the idea of renewal at the center of my campaign. I said my mission was to restore America’s soul. I got criticized for that, but I meant it in a literal sense. We seem to have lost our way. We lost the — a sense of comradery. We treated each other so harshly, the way we spoke of one another and the way in which we dealt with politics.”
President Biden also meandered a bit, going on and off with the telling of the story about when he met Golda Meir when she was the Prime Minister of Israel and he was a young new senator. He, unfortunately, did not seem to have much of a point in recounting this story.
The President also went on to joke about how his daughter married a Jewish doctor and talked about how her wedding ceremony was presided over by both a rabbi and a catholic priest. This, however, will not be taken very well by a large share of the American Jewish population that is concerned about intermarriage and assimilation.