JERUSALEM – In his address in Jerusalem today, President Obama channeled Saul Alinsky, citing the radical community organizer's defining mantra as he urged young Israelis to "create change" to nudge their leadership to act.
Obama told a crowd of college students at Jerusalem's main convention center that Israel "has the wisdom to see the world as it is, but also the courage to see the world as it should be."
One of Alinsky's major themes was working with the world as it "is" to turn it into the world as "it should be."
In his defining work, "Rules for Radicals," which he dedicated to "the first rebel," Lucifer, Alinsky used those words to lay out his main agenda. He asserted radical change must be brought about by working within a system instead of attacking it from the outside.
"It is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system," wrote Alinsky.
Obama related his Alinsky quote to a suggestion that "peace" begins with the people and not just the leadership – a statement some may relate to community organizing.
He further suggested Israelis do an end-run around the country's leadership and "create the change that you want to see."
The president said: "That is where peace begins – not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people; not just in a carefully designed process, but in the daily connections that take place among those who live together in this land, and in this sacred city of Jerusalem."
He continued: "Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: Political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see."
It's not the first time Obama used the Alinsky phraseology of the world as it "is" versus how it "should be."|
In a May 2011 speech, Obama stated: "There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be."
In an April 2009 talk to a London girl's school, first lady Michelle Obama recalled that on her first date with Barack Obama, he took her to a "community meeting" and taught her about the world "as it is" and "as it should be."
"As he talked to the residents in that community center, he talked about two concepts," she stated. "He talked about 'the world as it is' and 'the world as it should be.' And I talked about this throughout the entire campaign."
Alinsky's ideology is not foreign to Obama. The politician started his career as an Alinsky-style community organizer in Chicago and taught the radical's tactics at the University of Chicago.
WND was first to report the executive director of an activist organization that taught Alinsky's tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama's 2008 campaign.
Jackie Kendall, executive director of the Midwest Academy, was on the team that developed Camp Obama, a two-to-four day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama's campaign. It trained volunteers to become activists to help Obama win the presidential election.
WND also reported the Woods Fund, a nonprofit for which Obama served as a paid board director from 1999 to December 2002, provided capital to the Midwest Academy.
Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization.
Also, in 1998, Obama participated in a panel discussion praising Alinsky alongside Midwest Academy's founder Heather Booth, an organizer and dedicated disciple of Alinsky.
The panel discussion following the opening performance in Chicago of the play "The Love Song of Saul Alinsky," a work described by the Chicago Sun-Times as "bringing to life one of America's greatest community organizers."
Obama participated in the discussion alongside other Alinskyites, including Booth, political analyst Aaron Freeman, Don Turner of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Northwestern University history professor Charles Paine.
"Alinsky had so much fire burning within," stated local actor Gary Houston, who portrayed Alinsky in the play. "There was a lot of complexity to him. Yet he was a really cool character."
In a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, Alinsky's son praised Obama for stirring up the masses at the 2008 Democratic National Convention "Saul Alinsky style," saying, "Obama learned his lesson well."
The letter, signed L. David Alinsky, closed with, "I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully."
'Communist fellow traveler'
Former 1960s radical and FrontPage Magazine Editor David Horowitz describes Alinsky as the "communist/Marxist fellow-traveler who helped establish the dual political tactics of confrontation and infiltration that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States."
Horowitz writes in his 2009 pamphlet "Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution. The Alinsky Model": "The strategy of working within the system until you can accumulate enough power to destroy it was what '60s radicals called 'boring from within.' … Like termites, they set about to eat away at the foundations of the building in expectation that one day they could cause it to collapse."