“The only way I can understand this decision is a presidential attempt to snub people who worked to defeat one of his signature initiatives,” said political commentator Darr K. Emory.
Washington, September 21 – With the traditional Jewish ritual of Kapparot a day away, President Obama declined to offer his pardon to a chicken that would otherwise be slaughtered, increasing tensions with the American Jewish community in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal.
On the day before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, many Jews perform the Kapparot ritual, which traditionally involves moving a chicken around one’s head and designating the animal as a proxy carrying one’s misdeeds, for which one might otherwise deserve death. The chicken is then slaughtered, washed and salted to remove forbidden blood, and given to the poor. While many people use money instead of a bird, and provide those funds to the poor, Kapparot with chicken persists as the dominant image for the ritual, and it remains the exclusive form in some traditional communities. Obama, however, has refused to engage with the Jewish community by symbolically providing a pardon for a doomed chicken, despite the yearly presidential custom of pardoning a turkey from being used in Thanksgiving dinner.
Jewish leaders lamented the president’s decision, saying that the times call for a more conciliatory approach to the Jewish segment of the electorate in light of heightened friction between supporters of Israel and the White House over the latter’s concessions to Iran. Malcolm Hoenlein, former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, said he had petitioned Obama to make the gesture, only to be rebuffed. “We met at a Democratic Party function two weeks ago, and talked freely,” he recalled. “The president was gracious, and expressed understanding of my position, but ultimately, and unfortunately, decided not to take this conciliatory step. I am at a loss to explain it.”
White House spokesman Ben Rhodes declined to comment, saying only that the president had many scheduled commitments, and cannot possibly attend every event to which he is invited.
Analysts, however, see a more profound statement in Obama’s refusal. “The only way I can understand this decision is a presidential attempt to snub people who worked to defeat one of his signature initiatives,” said political commentator Darr K. Emory. “He thinks they ought to be crawling back to him on their hands and knees in abject humiliation to request forgiveness. But that’s hardly a likely scenario, or a wise perspective on events. If Obama really wants to move forward, and not handicap the Democratic party in 2016, he’s going to have to be magnanimous in victory. Pardoning a chicken would have been an excellent way to kill two birds with one stone, as it were, to rebuild burnt bridges and salute the cultural heritage of an embattled community in his constituency.”
“Of course he’s probably just too chickens^%t.”
(h/t Judge Dan)