Rabbi Larry Schlesinger believes, on balance, Barack Obama’s presidency was successful given the personal and geopolitical challenges he faced as the first black American president.
Schlesinger told 11th Hour that he disagreed with attorney Alan Dershowitz, who said he would be remembered as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever due to his “appalling” treatment of Israel.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say that President Obama’s foreign policy in general was a ‘failure,'” Schlesinger told the website. “After all, and despite the ISIS threat, our country has been at relative peace for the past eight years.”
Schlesinger said Obama’s policies toward Israel differed little from his predecessors, and he credits the Democratic president with steering the U.S. out of economic disaster.
“Over the past eight years and in line with previous administrations, the United States has continued its economic and military support of the State of Israel, which is the only stable democracy in the Middle East,” Schlesinger said. “Once all the dust settles, I think that President Obama will probably best be remembered for shepherding the country through the Great Recession that hit just months after he took office.”
He also disagrees that Obama should be blamed for an apparent breakdown in race relations.
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed quotes to Noam Chomsky)