Barack Obama has made it clear that his primary identity is Jewish, and not black gentile. For years people on the right were calling him a crypto-Muslim and leftists were passing him off as Christian. He's neither Muslim nor Christian. He's a Jew with some African ancestry. His mother was Jewish, so he has right of return to Israel. He was raised by the Jewish side of his family, having little contact with his African gentile side. Seemingly just about every major influence in his life has been Jewish. His closest advisors and friends are Jewish, such as Valerie Jarrett
, David Axelrod (great-grandson of Trotsky), Rahm Emanuel, Bill Ayers. Nor do I buy that his ideological formation trumps his Jewish identity. You can get that impression from most right-wing critics of Obama, who focus on his Communist associations
. In the linked article they call Obama's mother "white." This is typical of right-wing critics of Obama. They never mention his Jewishness.
There's also the claim that Michelle Obama has Jewish ancestry. Craig Robinson, Michelle's brother, stated that he suspects the Robinson's have Jewish ancestry
because, possibly among other reasons, one of their uncles is named "Andrew Cohen Robinson."
Michelle Obama's first cousin once removed Rabbi Capers Funnye
"leads the 200-member Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation of Chicago, Illinois . . . ."
It makes sense that Obama's attitude towards black gentiles is identical to the attitude white Jews have towards white gentiles. He's not so much the first black president as he is the first Jewish president. And I'm not positive we haven't had a few cryptos in the Oval Office before Obama. He's certainly the first president who has said anything in public like this, "I've always felt Jewish in my soul." And by "Jewish" we can be sure he means Talmudic Judaism. Obama appeared on a New York Magazine cover in 2011
wearing a kippah with the caption "Our First Jewish President." But this article just investigates Obama's relationship with the Jewish community and Israel and makes no mention of his Jewishness, and so the caption comes off as cheeky.
Jews are genetically distinct from non-Jews (so that qualifies them as a racial group
), but due to mating with other peoples they can appear to be of any race, and therefore not visually identifiable in every instance. This chameleon-ness gave rise to the joke, "Is so and so Jewish?"