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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama enters Israeli politics

Barack Hussein Obama, the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, entered Israeli politics today, saying that one need not be 'pro-Likud' to be pro-Israel.
"I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud ap-proach to Israel, then you're anti-Israel, and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel," leading Democratic presidential contender Illinois Senator Barack Obama said Sunday.

"If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress," he said.

He also criticized the notion that anyone who asks tough questions about advancing the peace process or tries to secure Israel by anyway other than "just crushing the opposition" is being "soft or anti-Israel."

Obama made the comments in a closed-door meeting with several members of Cleveland's Jewish community, who will be participating in the crucial Ohio primary to be held next Tuesday.
You may not have to be pro-Likud to be pro-Israel, but in Obama's case there are so many other reasons to doubt his commitment to the Jewish state that the criticism is in place.
Obama's criticism of Hillary Clinton for voting to classify the 'Guards' as a terrorist organization is just the latest in a series of actions that taken alone might not mean anything, but taken together point to a level of indifference and potential hostility to Israel not seen in the White House since the Carter administration. Those actions include the following:
  1. The dispatch of his chief foreign policy adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to Damascus yesterday, as reported in full by Debbie Schlussel, just the latest episode in his embrace of the State sponsors of terror in Iran and Syria.

  2. His continued embrace of Harvard radical Samantha Power, who in the aftermath of the phony 'massacre' in Jenin in 2002 was upset that the New York Times did not headline 'war crimes' after Human Rights Watch found that no 'massacre' occurred.

  3. His embrace of other foreign policy advisers who are known to be hostile to Israel, like Anthony Lake and Susan Rice, and the latent anti-Semite Robert Malley.

  4. His strong support for 'Palestinian rights,' which took a back seat out of necessity when he ran for the Senate from Illinois, a state with a relatively large and politically active Jewish population, but which is in all likelihood still a part of his political make-up and would be a part of White House policy in an Obama administration.

  5. His continued embrace of groups like the Sojourners and his choice of Jeremiah Wright as his pastor and religious adviser.

  6. His speech to the National Jewish Democratic Council about the need for a 'tough discussion' with Israel about working toward a 'two-state solution.'

  7. His apparent embrace of Latin American radical Ernesto Che Guevara, who in 1964 (before there was an 'occupation') denounced 'imperialist' support of Israel.
... with this much smoke coming out of Obama's campaign, there has to be a fire, and that fire doesn't love Jews or Israel.
The Post goes on to report that Obama is trying to defend himself against some of the criticism leveled above.
He also again noted his disagreement with some of the critical statements on Israel made by the pastor of his church, which he ascribed to the latter's support for the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa at a time that Israel continued to trade with the regime there.

"He is like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with," he said. "And I suspect there are some people in this room who have heard relatives say some things that they don't agree with, including, on occasion, directed at African Americans."

He concluded, "I understand the concerns and the sensitivities, and one of my goals constantly in my public career has been to try to bridge what was a historically powerful bond between the African American and Jewish communities that has been frayed in recent years."
Sorry, but that has to be done in public and not in private meetings. A public disavowal of Louis Farrakhan is also required before anyone in the Jewish community should even consider voting for Obama.

Ironically, Ralph Nader, who may yet prove to be Obama's undoing, is goading Obama to disclose his real position on Israel and the 'Palestinians:'
Also on Sunday, Ralph Nader, while declaring his third-party candidacy for the US presidency, attacked Obama for allegedly concealing his "pro-Palestinian" feelings.

"He's run a brilliant tactical campaign, but his better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself," Nader charged on NBC's Meet the Press. "He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state senate... Now he's supporting the Israeli destruction of the tiny section called Gaza with a million and a half people."

Nader called the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a "real off-the-table issue for the candidates," including Obama, whom he described as "the first liberal evangelist in a long time" to run for president.

"The guy doesn't know what he's talking about. He's got no credibility," an Obama campaign adviser said about Nader.

Obama's campaign on Monday responded to Nader's attacks on the senator's position on Gaza.

"Barack Obama's longstanding support for Israel's security is rooted in his belief that no civilians should have to live with the threat of terrorism," the campaign statement said. "In Gaza, Hamas continues to fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians every day, and that's why it is long past time that Hamas renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist and abides by past agreements."

Democratic National Committee consultant Matt Dorf, who also does Jewish outreach, also dismissed the Nader accusations as off the mark and meaningless.

"If he thinks there are voters out there to be had by demonizing Barack Obama's record, including on Middle East issues, he's going to find them," Dorf said. "Nader's going to get even less support than he got last time."
'Obama's longstanding support for Israel's security?' This one?


At 3:19 AM, Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

I'm sure you know even better than I do that the "I'm not anti-Israel, I just don't agree with the policies of Likud" trope is a _standard_ line of those who are, precisely, anti-Israel. I often really don't think they have the slightest idea what they are talking about. Or maybe, even worse, they really do think that they know what's best for Israel and that it involves being _more_ doveish than Israel is being already. For crying out loud. But for Obama to say that is pretty much for him to yell in easily interpreted code, "I am anti-Israel!"


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