How Jewish is Barack Obama?

June 13, 2008

So Hilary Clinton has finally admitted what the rest of us have known for weeks now. Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic candidate in this year’s US presidential election. So is he Jewish?

There is a huge amount of ethnic diversity running through Obama’s family — unfortunately, none of it is Yiddishe. Barack’s father was born in Kenya, his mother’s ancestors were British, and he was born in  Hawaii. Then there is his step-father, an Indonesian called Lolo Seotoro. Both his natural father and his stepfather were Muslims (definitely non-practising, though, says Obama). However, his middle name is the rather Islamic sounding Hussein. Hamas picked up on this Islamic stuff — its top adviser Ahmed Yousef said he hoped Obama would win the nomination.

But look closer at Obama’s name. Barack could easily be derived from the Hebrew baruch. So could it be a possibility that Barack senior’s ancestors were Ethiopian Jews who migrated south? Indeed, he shares a name with ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Coincidence? Then there was his attendance at Harvard Law School. You don’t go there without picking up a few kosher vibes. And now Hamas has fallen out with him after he told a pro-Israel lobby group that Jerusalem should always remain Israel’s undivided  capital. Why would he say that if he wasn’t a tiny bit Jewish?

His genuine Jewish identity will come out eventually when the FBI releases the files. Until then…

So we say he is 14% Jewish

Last updated: 4:24pm, September 23 2009