Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Obama Makes New York Magazine Cover as ‘First Jewish President’

Barack Obama may be America’s “first Jewish president,” this week’s New York magazine cover provocatively suggests.

The publication sets the phrase in quotation marks, placing it over a cover photo of Obama’s kippah-wearing head. The accompanying article — entitled “The Tsuris,” and written by staff political analyst John Heilemann — looks at at Obama’s relationship with both Israel and American Jews. Is the latter group truly up for grabs in next year’s election because of the president’s Middle East policy, as some Obama critics suggest? The article explores the issue via interviews with commentators on both sides, taking its cover quotation from Obama supporter and former White House counsel Abner Mikva, who in 2008 joked, “When this all is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.”

Mikva was referring, of course, to author Toni Morrison’s famous claim that Bill Clinton was America’s “first black president,” a controversial statement she was still being asked about years later.

The Obama story is timely, to say the least, as his administration scrambles to prevent a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood and critics claim the Democrats’ loss of a New York City congressional seat was actually a referendum on his Israel policy.

Israel’s role in U.S. domestic politics is a lightning rod even during periods of calm, so the Shmooze can only imagine the number of tweets, talkbacks and other feedback the article will generate.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.