Thursday, February 22, 2018
It’s Inauguration Week, And Biggest DC Story May Be Obama’s Country Club Controversy

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 16 (DPI) – It hasn’t hit the network news, or even The New York Times – yet – but today’s “local” story in The Washington Post will likely get big treatment in the days ahead, especially if Barack Obama winds up being denied membership to a Maryland country club.

Turns out that a longtime prominent member of the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville resigned this week as the club’s predominantly Jewish membership debated the soon-to-be-former president’s candidacy for membership to the golf club.  Many members oppose admitting him because of his poor relations with the Israeli government and his criticism of some of its policies.

Obama, of course, while supportive of Israel for much of his presidency, fell out with Israel President Benjamin Natanyahu in recent years. And things have really worsened since the recent UN vote on Israeli settlements, which the Obama administration chose not to oppose.

The steady turn to the right by the Israeli government in recent years has divided American Jews, and the matter of an American ex-president’s golf club membership looks small compared with the many complex issues underlying those tensions.

Moreover, prestigious clubs of all types deny membership to notables, including prominent public figures, for many reasons, but such matters are usually handled discreetly and out of the public eye.

Of course, the member who resigned, Jeffrey Slavin, is involved in Maryland Democratic politics – he’s currently a mayor of a nearby town – so his gesture may simply be a publicity stunt to advance that career. The attendant stories, though, certainly hurt the popular outgoing president.

So far, the story has appeared in local publications and web sites, and DC readers, not surprisingly, have weighed in. Among the most popular comments on today:

Really? Denying in advance membership to an African-American lawyer, a good golfer, a responsible citizen, able to pay the membership fee, with a reasonable employment record would also seem to put at risk whatever tax exempt status the club currently enjoys. As a member of the tribe, I also find despicable the outrageous action by those who would preemptively announce their opposition to anyone’s membership on the basis of a political agenda without discussion and due consideration. One reason I am unwilling to join these clubs – and I can afford it – is that they are by their very nature discriminatory, tiresome little enclaves whose members derive their life’s meaning not from who they associate with but by who they would keep out. I’ll play the public courses. Somehow my life will not be the poorer for it. Mazel tov Mr. Slavin. A lesson well learned and acted on.

As a Jew and a longtime supporter of Israel, I applaud Slavin’s show of courage. Obama is a man of honor, and was/is a great President. Don’t forget, he gave Israel the largest military aid package in history.

The most pretentious place in all of Montgomery County. After 9/11, they requested additional security because they felt their members could be targets because of their wealth and social status. News flash to Woodmont members: You’re not as important as you think. Five bucks says that Obama joins Congressional or Avenel and that Woodmont wasn’t even on his radar…just on the radar of a bunch of self-absorbed members.

Wow. Does every potential member face this kind of litmus test or is this just grand-standing on the part of some seeking their 15 minutes of fame? If the Jewish members of the club checked Obama’s record with Israel, they’d find the highest level of financial and military support to date. Get a grip, folks, not just on your golf clubs. This protest is making you look petty and querulous.



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