Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin resigned his membership from Woodmont Country Club after a reported controversy over whether Woodmont would offer President Barack Obama an honorary membership.
The New York Post reported that some members from the predominantly Jewish Rockville country club do not want Obama to become a member because of his administration’s stance on Israel.
“Whether that’s a fact or not, it has put a stain on the country club this – wonderful institution,” Slavin said.
Slavin, who said he has been a member of Woodmont his entire life, sent the club his letter of resignation Monday because the club would not clarify its stance on the controversy.
Club General Manger and CEO Brian Pizzimenti did not respond to a request to comment by press time, but in a private letter he sent to members of the club, Barry Forman, club president, said it is club policy not to comment on issues related to membership.
While Woodmont has offered honorary membership in the past, Forman said it discontinued the practice and that the club has not received a membership application from Obama.
“First, the Club has not received a request or an application for membership from the President,” Forman wrote in the letter. “Second, over 30 years ago, Woodmont discontinued the practice of offering honorary or complimentary memberships, and the current Club leadership has no intention of deviating from that policy.”
But Slavin said Forman’s letter is not enough and that he resigned because the club did not clarify if Obama was welcome to join even without an honorary membership.
The Post reported that some members of Woodmont were specifically angry at the United States’ decision to abstain from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The U.S. abstention from the vote allowed the resolution to pass, angering some at the club, according to Slavin.
“The storyline out there that needs to be addressed is that Woodmont Country Club is blackballing President Obama,” Slavin said.
Woodmont, located on 1201 Rockville Pike, was founded in 1913 by
Jews after they were rejected by other country clubs because of their religious identity.
“People judge me on my affiliation, and I can’t be affiliated with a place that has perhaps disrespected one of the greatest presidents ever,” Slavin said.