By. B. Cohen
President Barack Obama’s description of the January 9 Islamist terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris as a “random” assault on “a bunch of folks in a deli” has sparked widespread outrage, with a top American Jewish leader telling The Algemeiner, “President Obama absolutely misspoke…there’s nothing ‘random’ about the threats against Jewish targets.”
In wide-ranging interview on foreign policy with Vox magazine editors Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias – “Again and again, they serve him softball-no, make that Nerf ball-questions and then insert infographics and footnotes that help advance White House positions,” observed a scathing commentary on their effort at Politico magazine – the president complained that the media’s focus on terrorism was disproportionate, pushing less exciting stories like climate change out of the headlines.
“What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right?” Obama scoffed.
A few moments later, he added: “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
Obama’s use of the term “randomly,” his continuing refusal to describe the assailants as “Islamists,” and his apparent reluctance to acknowledge that four individuals were murdered at the HyperCacher market because they were Jews, was labeled by one popular website as “unreal.”
“President Obama absolutely misspoke – if he wants to check the facts, he should talk to his special envoy on antisemitism at the State Department,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner.
Cooper, who is currently in Paris for talks with French Jewish leaders and government officials, added: “We’re talking about an explosion of antisemitism on this continent, and a convergence of antisemitic hate with terrorism. As we know, many Jews left France last year, well before the January attacks. Here in France, people in authority, especially the leaders of the country, have their eyes wide open to the nature of this problem and the seriousness of the situation. There’s nothing ‘random’ about the threats against Jewish targets, which is why the government has put 10,000 troops on the ground to protect the Jewish community.”
One tweet reacting to Obama’s interview declared, “POTUS in interview calls terrorist shootings at Paris Jewish deli random. Mr. President, antisemitism isn’t random,” a sentiment that was widely shared in similar comments.
Obama also insinuated that the threats to security and freedom emanating from the Middle East had been exaggerated over the past decade. “You know, the strategy that was crafted in Washington didn’t always match up with the actual threats that were out there,” he claimed, in yet another swipe at the previous George W. Bush Administration.