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Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't believe Obama on Hamas

At The American Spectator, Philip Klein explains why it's legitimate to question Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama's position on Hamas (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
WITH THIS PAST as prologue, many of the statements (or omissions) Obama has made on the campaign trail raise questions about his true stance on Israel.

When Obama said, "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people," did he really mean as he later clarified, that nobody was suffering more from the failure of the Palestinian leadership? Or was he trying to start a "conversation" about whether the U.S. is too focused on Israeli suffering, and not enough on the suffering of the Palestinians?

When he was asked by Brian Williams in a debate last year to name the top three allies of the United States, why did he filibuster the question without naming Israel?

When he said in February, "I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, then you're anti-Israel, and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel," what did he mean by "pro-Likud"?

There is an active strain within the liberal foreign policy community that believes that since Hamas was democratically elected and controls Gaza, any peace process would have to include talks with their leaders. When Carter met with Hamas last month, Obama was slow to criticize the former president. "I'm not going to comment on former President Carter," Obama said at first. "He is a private citizen, and you know, it's not my place to discuss who or -- who he shouldn't meet with." (Obama, interestingly, didn't employ the private citizen dodge when he called on NBC to fire Don Imus last year in the wake of the controversy over the radio show host's racially insensitive remarks.)

While Obama did eventually criticize Carter's trip, it was only after much prodding, and he still didn't consider the question important enough to disrupt his waffle-eating experience.

On a number of other issues, there has been a pattern of Obama saying one thing on the campaign trail that was undercut by his advisers. We saw that when his economic adviser assured the Canadians that Obama wasn't really serious about the anti-NAFTA rhetoric he was spewing in Ohio.

We saw that when former adviser Samantha Power, speaking of Obama's plans to withdraw troops out of Iraq, said Obama wouldn't "rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate." And now we have Obama's public opposition to Hamas undercut by the fact that an adviser is meeting with them.

SO IS IT REALLY a stretch to wonder whether Obama would eventually support talks with the terrorist group, despite his public pronouncements to the contrary?

This is not a theoretical matter. Ahmed Yousef, the same Hamas adviser who said that the terrorist group supports Obama, wrote a Washington Post op-ed last June arguing for engagement with Hamas.

The group is obviously embarking on a strategy, similar to the one Arafat pursued during the Oslo peace process, of making public overtures of peace abroad, duping naive Western leaders into granting them legitimacy and the financial aid that comes along with it, while continuing to support terrorism at home. Clearly, Hamas views Obama as an easy mark.

The interesting thing about Obama's candidacy is that his lack of experience, and the mixed messages he sends, enable close observers to come to drastically different conclusions as to what kind of policies he would support as president.

Michael Lerner, editor of the left-wing Jewish magazine Tikkun, said, "Based on my conversations with Obama, I have a very strong belief that he shares the Tikkun perspective..." But the staunchly pro-Israel Marty Peretz assured "friends of Israel" that they could trust Obama.

Abunimah, the Palestinian activist from Chicago, is disappointed that Obama has sold out to the pro-Israel Lobby, while Hamas adviser Yousef chalked up Obama's pro-Israel statements to election year posturing, and declared that the terrorist group still wants him to win.

Obama is running for the most powerful job in the world without much of a public record of which to speak. Yet those who demand to know a little bit more about the candidate by scrutinizing his statements and relationships are arrogantly dismissed as engaging in "smears" and being divisive for refusing to simply take him at his word.
It's a shame that Obama has apparently gotten through the Democratic primaries without his true stance on the issues being fleshed out. Hopefully, they will be fleshed out enough by the Presidential elections to send him reeling in ignominious defeat.


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