That’s the phrase retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright used when he was asked if he’d talked with a certain former parishioner of his since the latter had become president of the United States.
Here’s what Wright said about his lack of conversation with President Obama since Jan. 20:
“Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck or in eight years when he’s out of office. They will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. I said that from the beginning. He’s a politician; I’m a pastor. He’s got to do what politicians do.”
I’m surprised he didn’t add “Now let me get back to my favorite book: ‘Protocols of the Twelve Elders of Zion.’” In an attempt to clarify his remarks, Wright later went on a radio show and said the word he meant to use was “Zionists,” not “Jews,” according to some news reports.
But all Zionists aren’t Jews, and all Jews aren’t Zionists. Indeed there are Jews who are so passionately anti-Zionist that they can, and have, presented the case for the Palestinians far more eloquently and compellingly than Wright ever could.
If Wright was attempting to make a statement in favor of the Palestinians, he stumbled badly. With friends like Wright, some Palestinians may be pining away for the more naked but at least more honest animosity of enemies like the Irgun and the Stern Gang.
Wright’s language smacks of that of the classic Jew-baiter. I dismissed Wright in an earlier column as a fool; now I realize that was an egregious insult to every fool who has lived, will ever live and is now living.
It’s not that Wright’s an idiot. No, he’s far more dangerous. He’s an intelligent man who seems to have developed an insatiable appetite for the taste of his own feet.
What, exactly, did Wright mean with his remark? Well, at least two things. The first is that Obama is not a man who knows his own mind or can make his own decisions. He’s merely a puppet in the hands of “them Jews.”
The second is the premise of all classic Jew-baiters and anti-Semites: That Jews control the economy and the government and that there is some sort of Jewish cabal that seeks to run the world. Wright clearly believes there is a great T.J.I.R.T. conspiracy afoot.
If you don’t know what that acronym means, that’s because you’re a normal person. But Wright will recognize it immediately. It stands for “Them Jews Is Running Things.”
There are some people who are shocked by Wright’s comments, but they shouldn’t be. Wright revealed a bit of the bigot in him in late 2007, when he wrote a piece for Trumpet magazine in which he managed to offend Italian-Americans. Making some kind of bizarre biblical analogy, Wright said Italians “looked down their garlic noses at Galileans.”
“Garlic noses.” “Them Jews.” Are you getting the gist of Wright’s problem with bigotry? In the same magazine, Wright said that Jesus was the victim of an “Italian-style” lynching. That didn’t sit well with members of the Order Sons of Italy, who felt compelled to remind the good reverend that not only were Italian-Americans the victims of numerous lynchings in this country, but also the victims of the greatest mass lynching. That happened in New Orleans in the early 1890s.
Wright never apologized for his offensive comments about Italian-Americans, but he seems to have had a change of heart about “them Jews.” According to news reports, Wright wrote a mea culpa on his Facebook page.
“I apologize to the Jewish community and all others who were offended by the way in which I framed my comments. I misspoke. I meant no harm to the American Jewish community or the Obama administration. My great respect for the Jewish faith and the foundational (and central) part of my Judeo-Christian tradition are unquestionable, and I pray that all whom I have hurt accept my apology.”
From “them Jews” to “respect for the Jewish faith.” What a piece of work Jeremiah Wright is.
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.