President Trump won’t have to give Barack Obama the locker next to Bill Clinton’s at Trump National after all. From the New York Times today:
By MARK LANDLER JAN. 23, 2017
WASHINGTON — For weeks, the members of an exclusive, mostly Jewish country club in the Maryland suburbs of Washington have been entangled in a bitter dispute over whether to exclude former President Barack Obama, who has played golf there, because of Mr. Obama’s policies toward Israel.
On Monday, the management of the club, Woodmont Country Club, sought to put an end to the rancor, sending a letter to members notifying them that it had invited Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, to join as “special members.” Under those terms, the former first couple would pay dues and other fees but would be spared the $80,000 initiation fee. …
The club initially declined to comment, saying it did not discuss membership deliberations. But with news of the dispute spreading to Israel and Britain, the board of governors and executive committee felt obliged to deal with it. After lengthy debate, Mr. Forman said in his letter, the club decided to send Mr. Obama a formal invitation to join.
Mr. Forman invoked the club’s heritage as a place that welcomed Jews when they were excluded by other clubs in the nation’s capital, and noted that its membership had become more diverse in its 103-year history. He acknowledged the rift that the prospect of Mr. Obama’s membership had caused.
… As it happens, the former president has been playing golf in Rancho Mirage, Calif., since he relinquished the presidency to Donald J. Trump on Friday. …
While in the White House, Mr. Obama played most of his golf at a course at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Occasionally, he tried other private clubs in Washington, some of which were historically exclusive. Some Jewish leaders exulted in the prospect of him joining a club that was started to serve people rejected by those other social bastions.
That’s why Jewish country clubs were famous for immediately letting in lots of Italians, Poles, French Canadians, blacks, Japanese, Mexicans, American Indians and all the other people discriminated against by WASP country clubs. For example … well … hmhhhmmhmm … actually I can’t think of any examples.
Oh, wait: here’s an example: Hillcrest, the Hollywood moguls’ country club, let in Danny Thomas, when he was one of the top television stars and most admired philanthropists in the country, after only about 30 or 35 years of being 100% Jewish.
Or here’s another example of the open-armed love of diversity for which Jewish country clubs were so famous: After WWII, the German Jewish Century Club in Westchester County started letting in Russian Jews after merely a couple of generations of blackballing every single one of them who tried to sneak in.
You almost might think from the historical record that Jews kind of liked having their own country clubs, just like the WASPs liked having their own.
But, of course, no, it couldn’t possibly be true that Jews tend to be kind of like everybody else when it comes to being somewhat ethnocentric. It’s unthinkable that rich golfing Jews ever had any agency.