Obama to Host Passover Seder in the White House [Tom Gross]
President Barack Obama will celebrate the second night of the Jewish festival of Passover tomorrow with staff and friends in what is believed to be the first White House Seder attended by an American president. Key Jewish donors to Obama’s presidential campaign have also been invited.
The event was slipped onto the president’s public schedule last night with little fanfare, after he had left the predominantly Muslim countries of Turkey and Iraq which he visited yesterday.
At the same time press reports in Israel today claim Obama is preparing for a major clash with the Israeli government about policy towards Iran and the Palestinians. Many in Israel fear that Obama’s Passover meal may be a stunt designed to soften up Jewish Democrats for what are likely to be some strong differences with the new Israeli government.
Vice-President Joe Biden on CNN yesterday: “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu would be ill-advised to hit Iran[ian nuclear sites].”
Obama will visit Israel and the Palestinian-run territories in June, according to sources quoted in today’s Israeli daily, Ha’aretz. The president will make a quick trip to the Mideast after his visit to France that month.
There is also concern in Israel after Obama expressed support for the Arab peace initiative when he met (and bowed before) Saudi King Abdullah at the G20 summit in London last week. That plan demands, among other things, a “right of return” for the descendants of Arabs who left Israel when it became an independent state in 1948.
Israeli governments far to the left of the new Netanyahu coalition, that were willing to address the Arab initiative, nevertheless said the so-called right of return issue was an unacceptable demand that would signify the end of Israel.
Meanwhile, for Jewish (and non-Jewish) NRO readers, this Passover song is kind of fun:
It is sung to the tune of Irving Berlin’s “cheek to cheek,” which was first beautifully performed by Fred Astaire in the 1935 movie “Top Hat.” In case you haven’t seen it, here is a clip: