David Gregory walks back bow to Netanyahu as ‘leader of the Jewish people’

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David Gregory has walked back his jarring statement, on twitter.

This am I called Israeli PM the leader of the jewish ppl. Better to say he’s leader of jewish state.

Gregory had gotten hammered. By Scott Roth: you made a serious mistake in referring to the Israeli PM as the “leader of the Jewish People.” Josh Marshall doesn’t like it either. The underlying question is, Why did he say it? David Gregory is Jewish; does he believe at any level that Netanyahu is his leader?

Let’s unpack this some more. Netanyahu at the General Assembly a year ago said he was the leader of the Jewish people:

On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today…

As the prime minister of Israel, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who were dispersed throughout the lands, who suffered every evil under the Sun, but who never gave up hope of restoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

But I guess you are the leader of the Jewish people if Israel is declared the nation of the “Jewish people.” Netanyahu to Congress:

President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people…

Tony Karon at Time:

The idea of Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” was at the center of modern Zionism, which emerged in the late 19th century in response to centuries of often virulent anti-Semitism and emerging nationalism in central and eastern Europe. Jews would never have a secure place in the nation states of the West and East, the argument went, because anti-Semitism was immutable and inevitable whenever Jews lived among non-Jews. Thus the need to create an ethnic-Jewish nation state in Palestine, into which Jews could be “ingathered” from their “exile” in the Diaspora.

But then, as now, the majority of the world’s Jews did not imagine themselves in “exile” from an ancestral homeland. Most chose to live elsewhere and to — naively in the minds of the Zionists — integrate themselves into other nationalities. Only a couple of hundred thousand moved to Palestine to help build a Jewish homeland.

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