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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama's kishkes

Writing in Real Clear Politics, Nathan Diament, the director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, tries to summarize what Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama was trying to accomplish here.
Obama seems to know that it is this deeper connection that is being looked for. Over the course of the long primary campaign, Obama appeared before American Jewish audiences in Illinois, New York, Ohio, Florida and elsewhere. And over the course of these meetings, Obama's positions did not change, but his rhetoric did. He moved from stating his policy positions rather simply, to placing them in a context of personal connection. He began to speak of how Israel and Zionism are "important to me personally" and relate to his personal "history of being uprooted;" he spoke of how Jewish thought "shaped my sensibility;" he told of his great uncle who was among American soldiers who liberated Jews from the Nazi death camps; and he spoke of knowing that he could come to be an African-American nominated for the presidency because of the deep Jewish involvement in America's civil rights movement.

Barack Obama was last under this microscope when he addressed the AIPAC policy conference in June. In the passage dealing with the challenge of Iran seeking nuclear weapons, Obama's prepared text read: "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Obama read that line, and then said: "everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon...everything." In doing so, Obama sought not to convey the substance of the statement, but that it was coming from somewhere deeper inside. While in Israel, Barack Obama will need to reveal more of what's in his kishkes if he wants to succeed Clinton and Bush in winning over Israel and her supporters in the United States.
I believe that Diament is correct. But to me, at least, if that's what Obama is trying to do, it's hopeless.

With so many flip-flops on so many issues, even if Obama really did feel Israel's security in his kishkes, I don't think anyone could tell. Does he really feel for Israel in his heart? Not being God, I cannot say no unequivocally, so let's just say that given his past I have my doubts and given how many other issues (think "surge in Iraq") on which he's flip flopped, I will continue to have my doubts regardless of what he says. That's why I cannot support him.


At 11:59 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Same here, Carl. One can't judge a man by what is in his heart. One can judge a man only by his deeds and by that yardstick, Obama comes up short.


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