http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01 ... ack-obama/
Resignation and divisions at exclusive Maryland golf club over Barack Obama membership – and his Israel policies
Barney Henderson, new york
17 JANUARY 2017 • 10:30AM
It was founded more than century ago as a refuge for Jewish American golfers being discriminated against, but now a Maryland country club is facing its own exclusion row over whether to admit Barack Obama.
Several members at the exclusive Woodmont Country Club have said an application by the outgoing US president, a keen golfer, to join the historically Jewish club should be rejected because of his Israel policies.
Other members have spoken out about the apparent discrimination within the club, with one lifelong member, a local mayor, resigning in disgust.
Citing Mr Obama's decision last month to abstain from a UN security council resolution criticising Israeli settlements, members have said he could "destroy" the club, where he played four times during his presidency.
Faith Goldstein wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post: “He has created a situation in the world where Israel’s very existence is weakened and possibly threatened... He is not welcome at Woodmont. His admittance would create a storm that could destroy our club.”
Marc B. Abrams, a lawyer, said it was “inconceivable” that Mr Obama could be welcomed as a member due to his position on Israel.
Explaining his decision to resign from the club, Jeffrey Slavin, a mayor in Montgomery County, wrote in an email to the general manager: “I can no longer belong to a community: Where Intolerance is accepted; Where History is forgotten; Where Freedom of Speech is denied; And where the nation’s first black president is disrespected.”
He later explained that "unless someone did something bold, the club would do nothing”.
Mr Obama was widely criticised by Israeli officials following the UN vote for "abandoning the Jewish state".
"It was to be expected that Israel's greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN's relationship with Israel," Danny Danon, Israel's UN ambassador, said at the time.
Barack Obama's motorcade arriving at Woodmont Country Club CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
A spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, accused the Obama administration of "colluding" with the UN, adding that the prime minister was looking forward to working with Donald Trump, the president-elect.
Members of the golf club were said to have been offended further by a speech by John Kerry, Mr Obama's secretary of state, at the end of last month.
Mr Kerry accused Mr Netanyahu of standing in the way of peace in the Middle East.
“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” a source told the New York Post.
An unnamed official from a Jewish organisation in Washington reportedly said: "Can you imagine how angry I would be if I had paid $80,000 to have to look at this guy who has done more to damage Israel than any president in American history?"
There was no comment from Barry Forman, the club president.
It is unclear whether Mr Obama is even intending to apply to become a member of the club, which charges an $80,000 initiation fee and nearly $10,000 in annual fees.
However, several reports have stated it is his course of choice in the Washington DC area once he vacates the White House later this week and moves in to a rented house in the Kalorama suburb, north of the capital.
The club was founded by the Jewish community in 1913, at a time when Jewish golfers were routinely rejected from other courses in the area.
“Woodmont was a place you could go when you weren’t welcome anywhere else,” Mr Slavin said. “There are so many ironies here."