In an administration not known for its commitment to our staunchest ally in the Middle East, it’s not a wise move for the National Security Advisor, himself not known as a friend to the Jewish State, to crack a joke bordering on anti-Semitic. But, with such a joke did President Obama’s National Security Advisor James Jones lead him his address last week to the Washington Institute For Near East Policy.
Asking whether the joke (which he includes in his post) was anti-Semitic, Yid with Lid offers:
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.
All-in-all, I’d call it a very unwise joke for a security advisor to The American President to make, especially if the president is trying to convince the nation -by his words more than his actions- that he supports capitalism and the free market, the existence of Israel and the defeat of the Taliban.
The truth is the joke would have been inappropriate under any president; the White House and its administrators should never be in the business of laughing at anyone but themselves, because other-directed humor signals insecurity; self-denigrating humor does the opposite.
Noting that Jones has apologized, Jennifer Rubin offers:
Let’s unpack this. First of all, I don’t believe the joke was made up on the spur of the moment. That’s not how these things work. As a reader pointed out to me, it’s quite likely that not only Jones but also a speechwriter or two thought there was nothing much wrong with this. Second, for an administration under criticism for insensitivity or outright animus in relation to Israel, why play with fire? If nothing else, this confirms the criticism of Jones — he’s a bit of a buffoon.
Do we want this kind of individual advising the president on national security issues? To his credit, Jones did apologize, but it does show a clear lapse in judgment that he would make a joke this this, particularly in a public forum.