Turns out that it’s all about the sequence, and Klein, the ZOA president, feels that Jews were unfairly downgraded to third place. In a press release, Klein reads into Obama’s decision to put Muslims before Jews (and Hindus and non-believers) in his speech.
“Throughout its history, the United States has always been known as a nation based on Judeo-Christian values and heritages,” he argues, quoting former president Bush’s 2001 inaugural address in which he put “synagogue” before “mosque.”
According to Klein, it is not a matter of prestige but of numbers, and since Jews outnumber Muslims in the United States, they should rightly hold on to their second place. “This is not a Muslim-Christian-Jewish nation, it is a Judeo-Christian nation,” he told the Forward.
But if numbers and sequence do matter, here is a point Jewish observers who are worried about Islam beating Judaism for second place in the president’s eyes, should look at: A day after the inauguration, Obama attended the national prayer service, and guess what: There were three rabbis and only one Muslim representative.
Last year, it was Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu whom the Zionist Organization of America wanted drummed out of polite society. In that case, the ZOA could at least point (however clumsily) to a number of one-sided and perfervid criticisms of Israel by Tutu. (But does that mean a university should withdraw an invitation for a Nobel laureate to visit campus — an invitation that had nothing to do with Israel? Level heads at the Anti-Defamation League didn’t think so.)
Now, the ZOA seems to be lowering the threshold necessary to qualify for its enemies list.