Learning from Indonesia

One of the lowlights of President Obama’s trip to Asia was his criticism of Israel for resuming building plans in Jerusalem. “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” Obama said in response to a question at the press conference he held with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta.
Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world, and it is Obama’s boyhood home. Obama had lots of good things to say about Indonesia while he was there. (The text of his speech at the University of Indonesia is here.) Unlike the kind words he occasionally has for Israel, Obama really means the stuff he says about Indonesia.
“It also turns out,” Andrew McCarthy notes, “that this exemplary Islamic nation has about as much tolerance for Israel as the Palestinians do. Like Hamas and Fatah, Indonesia does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.” McCarthy observes that Israelis are not even permitted to enter Indonesia, nor are Israeli aircraft permitted to fly in its airspace.
Obama praised Indonesia for its tolerance and diversity. Yet Indonesia only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. Judaism and other religions are not recognized by the Indonesian government. McCarthy is one of the few observers commenting on Obama’s trip who has bothered to note the reductio ad absurdum Obama achieved in Jakarta.
UPDATE: Reader Janice G. (a/k/a Granny Jan) notices a pattern.


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