Controversial comedian Jackie Mason recently made a comment that struck me as odd while he was attacking President Barack Obama for celebrating Hanukah too early in the White House.
According to Politico.com, Mason (a long-time Obama-hater) told a New York radio station that the Hanukkah celebration was a stunt to appeal to Jewish voters before next year’s election.
A bunch of advisors, most of whom are Jewish anyways -- because [Obama] has more Jews in his cabinet than Netanyahu. He's jammed up with Jews all around him -- and they told him, if you wanna get them back, Hanukkah is a good idea, Mason said.
Is Jackie right? Are there more Jews in Obama’s Cabinet than in Netanyahu’s?
Well, it would appear that Mason – who is, after all, a famous comedian – was exaggerating a bit.
The U.S. Cabinet comprises the Vice President and the head of fifteen executive departments, the most prominent of which is probably the Secretary of State.
However, while the Obama cabinet boasts significant diversity, there are only three Jews serving at this time: Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of The Treasury; Jacob Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Alan Krueger, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. (And I am not completely certain about Krueger).
I should add that two former Cabinet members, ex-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and the former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, are both Jewish.
Still, there are only three active Jewish members of the U.S. Cabinet. Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s cabinet in Israel comprises 38 people (including deputy ministers) and all of them are Jewish.
Thus, Jackie Mason’s comments on Obama were woefully inaccurate.
But what’s interesting about his diatribe is that it seems to turn the classic anti-Semitic canards inside out.
While anti-Semites have long contended that Jews have a disproportionate amount of political power and influence in the United States, Mason (who is clearly not anti-Semitic) has similarly claimed there is too much Jewish influence in the Obama administration. But he’s making that charge only as a way to explain why the president used Hanukkah in order to curry favor with Jewish voters for 2012 election.
Mason is quite an interesting character in his own right. Unlike many showbiz types and celebrities he is a staunchly right-wing conservative and fanatically pro-Israel.
He has also been accused on anti-black racism. He reportedly referred to David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City, as an a fancy schvartze with a moustache [schvartze is considered to be a derogatory Yiddish term of black people]. He also called Obama a Schvartze.
Interestingly, while Jackie apologized for his attack on Dinkins, he apparently has not apologized to the president.
Jackie has also called for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel, The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, citing that the safety of the Jewish state is greatly endangered by the presence of Palestinians in the country.