WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is expected, like his predecessors Bill Clinton and George Bush, to throw the traditional White House Hanukkah party, but unlike Clinton and Bush, he has decided to scale back on the festivities – only 400 people were invited, compared with 800 last year.
Obama will light the traditional first candle of Hanukkah on Friday. Five days after that – on Wednesday – he will host the White House Hanukkah party, but given the financial crisis, he has decided to cut back on the guest list.
Former US President George W. Bush's Jewish Liaison Tevi Troy slammed the decision in a JTA article titled "Obama must beware of the Chanukah snub," claiming Obama's attitude towards Jews has taken a turn for the worst, causing tensions in US-Israel relations.
"While the size of the party may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, even some of Obama’s supporters may see it in the context of this longer train of politically tone-deaf decisions," he wrote.
National Jewish Democratic Council Chairman Ira Forman, however, said that is was improper to discuss the extent of a guest list to a White House party, in the midst of a financial crisis.