Thursday, May 08, 2008
The Middle East and Barack Obama
1) Hamas Leaders endorse Barack Obama http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/04/020315.php On Sunday, Aaron Klein and John Batchelor interviewed Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Prime Minister of Hamas, on WABC radio. The interview produced a scoop which, for some reason, has not been widely publicized: Hamas has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Yousef said, "We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." Why? "He has a vision to change America." Maybe Yousef has some insight into what Obama means by all these vague references to "change." Of course, Hamas's taste in American presidents is suspect. Yousef also described Jimmy Carter, who was about to pay a call on Hamas when the interview was taped, as "this noble man" who "did an excellent job as President." Yousef was asked about Obama's condemnation of Carter's visit with Hamas, but didn't seem troubled by it. Hamas, he says, understands American politics; this is the election season, and everyone wants to sound like a friend of Israel. Nevertheless, he hopes that the Democrats will change American policies when they take office. 2) Another Obama Advisor with Anti-Israeli Views http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/03/another_obama_advisor_with_ant.html Ed Lasky American Spectator Earlier in the year, American Thinker published an article "Barack Obama and Israel" which wondered why Barack Obama seemingly had a proclivity to tie himself to people who have very problematic attitudes towards Israel. These included early supporter George Soros; billionaire foe of close ties between America and Israel; Zbigniew Brzezinski-who has an antipathy towards Israel that is well known and who has publicly supported the views of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer (as has George Soros) who feel America's Middle East policy is too influenced by what they disparagingly call the "Israel Lobby. Then there's "foreign policy expert" Robert Malley who has had a long history of anti-Israel advocacy; top foreign policy adviser, close personal friend and former employee Samantha Power whose views towards Israel include a call for halting all aid to Israel and transferring it to "Palestine:. She also has had a litany of anti-Israel policy proposals over the years. Power also was recently on a book tour where she complained that criticism of Barack Obama all too often revolved around "what is good for the Jews". Power also alluded to Americans who have vast financial power and criticized the role of these ominous people in the foreign policy debate (her defenders say she was referring to the oil industry but certainly other images can be evoked by many readers). Power recently resigned from the foreign policy staff in the wake of comments she made depicting Hillary Clinton as a "monster". However, some feel this "break" might be for show -- after all, she was a volunteer on his foreign policy staff and their relationship was a very strong one (including text messsaging at all hours of the day and night). Of course, Barack Obama's close friend and sounding board for the past twenty years, Pastor Jeremiah Wright's has also been subject to much controversy over the last two weeks. Wright has long advcated anti-American, anti-White, and anti-Israel views. These include calls for divestment from Israel, tying American support for Israel to 9/11, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, and the bestowing of an award by the Church's magazine to the most notorious anti-Semite in America , Louis ("Judaism is a gutter religion") Farrakhan. Now comes news of yet another close adviser to Barack Obama who has suspect views towards Israel and towards American Jews. Barack Obama's military adviser and national co-chairman Merrill "Tony " McPeak has recently been subject to some criticism regarding a variety of comments he has recently made. A few years ago he indicated that there was no reason an invasion of Iraq would not be a cakewalk. He earlier indicated that it might be desirable to have military bases in Iraq for many years (the campaign has distorted John McCain's own remarks speculating about that possibility). He has blamed George Bush for Iranian anti-Americanism and thereby ignored over 30 years of hostility and violence toward America through a series of American presidents, both Democrat and Republican. He insulted Bill Clinton by characterizing his remarks about the patriotism of candidates as being redolent of McCarthyism. Now comes more revelations concerning McPeak. In a breaking story in the American Spectator, Robert Goldberg writes that McPeak has a penchant for bashing Israel and making dark and ominous allusion to American Jews and Christian Zionists who support the American-Israel relationship. Merrill McPeak even charges that Americna Jews and Chriztian supporters of Israel are manipulating our Iraq policy to serve the interests of Israel. McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not going back to the 1967 borders as part of any peace agreement with Arab states. In 1976 McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs magazine questioning Israel's insistence on holding on to the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank.In recent years McPeak has echoed the Mearsheimer-Walt view that American Middle East policy is being controlled by Jews at the expense of America's interests in the region. In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the "lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that." The interviewer asked McPeak: "So where's the problem? State? White House?" McPeak replied: "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it. McPeak also claims that a combination of Jews and far right Christians are manipulating U.S. policy in the Middle East and he railed against "neoconservatives" who he said were "radical," not conservative like him.Was Barack Obama aware of the views of McPeak? After all, he appointed him to be his co-chair of the campaign and to serve as his chief military adviser. One would presume, or hope, that McPeak had been vetted. If Senator Obama becomes President, McPeak might very well be in line for an appointment as Secretary of Defense. Given the close ties between the defense forces of America and Israel, can the millions of supporters of this close alliance rest assure that McPeak will not seek to weaken this relationship and make Israel even more vulnerable to the enemies that surround her? One would like to know how Barack Obama assembled his team of advisers-who recommended McPeak, for example?This is the company Barack Obama keeps. Will his defenders yet again trot out the charge of "guilt by assocation"? There is a more important issue at stake; how good is the judgment of Barack Obama? 3) Obama Served On Board That Funded Pro-Palestinian Group http://www.jewishpress.com/print.do/30283/Obama_Served_On_Board_That_Funded_Pro%2DPalestinian_Group.html Aaron Klein Jewish Press JERUSALEM – Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe." (Obama has also reportedly spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps.) The co-founder of the Arab group, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was labeled a terror group by the State Department. Khalidi held a fundraiser in 2000 for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2001, the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, at which Khalidi’s wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to AAAN for $35,000 in 2002. Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000. The $40,000 grant from the Woods Fund to AAAN constituted about a fifth of the group’s reported grants for 2001, also according to tax filings. The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 made up about one-fifth of AAAN’s reported grants for that year as well. Headquartered in the heart of Chicago’s Palestinian immigrant community, AAAN describes itself as working to "empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities." Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled "The Subject of Palestine," that featured works related to what Palestinians call the "nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel’s founding in 1948. The theme of AAAN’s Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was "the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life ... under [Israeli] occupation ... home demolition ... statelessness ... bereavement ... martyrdom, and ... the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom." Another AAAN initiative, "Al Nakba 1948 As Experienced by Chicago Palestinians," seeks documents related to the "catastrophe" of Israel’s founding. Although AAAN co-founder Rashid Khalidi has at times denied working directly for the PLO, he reportedly served as director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, a period during which the PLO committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group. Khalidi’s wife, Mona Khalidi, reportedly was WAFA’s English translator during that period. Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991. During documented speeches and public events, Khalidi has called Israel an "apartheid system in creation" and a "racist" state. Critics have accused him of excusing Palestinian terrorism, a charge he denies. He dedicated his 1986 book, Under Siege, to "those who gave their lives ... in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon." While the Woods Fund’s contribution to Khalidi’s AAAN might be perceived as a one-time contact with Obama, there is evidence of a deeper relationship between the presidential hopeful and Khalidi. According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the senator first befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003; Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004. Asked during a radio interview with this reporter on WABC’s John Batchellor program about his 2000 fundraiser for Obama, Khalidi said he "was just doing my duties as a Chicago resident to help my local politician." Khalidi said he supports Obama for president "because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause." Khalidi also lauded Obama for "saying he supports talks with Iran. If the U.S. can talk with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, there is no reason it can’t talk with the Iranians." Concerning Obama’s role in funding AAAN, Khalidi claimed he "never heard of the Woods Fund until it popped up on a bunch of blogs a few months ago." He terminated the interview when pressed further about his links with Obama. Contacted by phone, Mona Khalidi refused to answer questions about AAAN’s involvement with Obama 4) McKook (Obama?) and the Jews http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/ In the wake of comments by Obama adviser Gen. Tony McPeak the other day, Robert Goldberg pulled some quotes out of the McPeak memory hole in a piece for the American Spectator: In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the "lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that." The interviewer asked McPeak: "So where's the problem? State? White House?"McPeak replied: "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."McPeak also questions whether some aren't more concerned with "the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest." It's been a while since a presidential adviser flat-out questioned the loyalty of American Jews, and yet Obama seems to surround himself with people who have crackpot views of "the Israel Lobby." Obama's got a pastor who draws a straight line between Zionism and racism--and he would no more disown him than he would his own grandmother. His pastor preaches that Israel is a "dirty word" and Obama denies that he attends a "crackpot church." And now he's got a military adviser who thinks America's Middle East policies are controlled by New York City and Miami voters (read Jews) with divided loyalties.A McCainiac writes us in response to the Goldberg piece: “I guess if it weren’t for those pesky Jews in New York and Miami, those radical neo-cons and crazy Rapturist Christains, we could get on with a McPeak (Obama?) Middle East policy that promotes American interests by undermining Israel. Is this Obama’s view or is this another adviser whose views are different from those of the candidate?” It's a fair question. 5) Obama Keeps Hiring Anti-Israeli Advisors http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/04/obama_keeps_hiring_antiisraeli.html Ed Lasky American Thinker Commentary Magazine's Gabriel Schoenfeld has noted that another Obama adviser, Joseph Cirincione, seems to have anti-Israel views. His senior aide on nuclear non-proliferation had denounced reports that North Korea had been helping Syria build a nuclear reactor and said such reports were nonsense and were, in part, promoted so as to derail talks with Syria. Cirincione had written after Israel's strike against the suspected Syrian nuclear plant that stories about it being a North-Korean designed and built plutonium reactor were a lie -- a fiction being spread just as reports had been spread before the Iraq War that misled the press regarding Iraq's program. Shcoenfeld writes: Who was behind this nefarious manipulation? It appears, wrote Circincione, “to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda.” What exactly was that political agenda? “[I]t appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement.” There was also a dose of Zionist mischief thrown in: “Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria.” Based on evidence shown to Congress yesterday, there is now incontrovertible proof that the building bombed by Israel was a plutonium-producing reactor that was geared toward the production of material for nuclear weapons -- exactly what Cirincionne had previously dismissed as lies, in part, cooked up by Israelis trying to influence America's foreign policy. This tendency to blame and castigate Israel was not the first time phenomenon for Joseph Cirincione. He seems to have a penchant for targeting Israel for opprobrium. In 2002, he wrote that Israel's possession of three diesel nuclear power submarines that can launch nuclear missiles complicates American efforts to restrain a nuclear arms race. He also claimed that the US Navy monitored the Israeli testing of a new cruise missile from a submarine in 2002 off of Sri Lanka, according to unnamed "former Pentagon officials". There is no verifiable proof that Israel launched such missiles, just a claim by Cirincione. He also blamed Israel for stoking an arms race that is creating a difficult situation not just for the United States, but also for preventing other nations that have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty from breaking away. Israel's has followed a principle of ambiguity regarding its nuclear program. Surrounded by an array of enemies that dwarf its own resources, Israel -- a nation founded after the Holocaust -- might reasonable be seen as needing such a nuclear force to protect its existence. It has been rumored that when Israel was on the brink of defeat during the Yom Kippur War , it made known that it might be forced to resort to a nuclear option. Cirincionne looks in askance at Israel's possession of such a deterrent and sees it as a problem for America and for the world. In 2006, he declared that Israel's raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor was a "failure". This was despite the stunning success of the daring raid (only one man died) in derailing Iraq's program. Years later, Dick Cheney thanked Israel for disabling Iraq's nuclear program, for if Osirak had been allowed to be completed, Iraq might well have had a nuclear arsenal during the Gulf War in 1991. Instead, Cirincione held that it sped-up the Iraqi program and led to a more devoted effort to secretly build nuclear capabilities. This, of course, paradoxically conflicts with his other belief that Iraq did not have such a nuclear program and that America should not have invaded Iraq absent such proof! He also is firmly against any type of strike against the Iranian nuclear weapons program. He is in favor of persuading Israel to give up its nuclear program which, as noted above, might be the only thing that can prevent Israel's destruction. One book reviewer noted that Cirincione's believes (as shown in his book, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons): Quite significantly, Cirincione thinks that Iran would also be encouraged to give up nuclear weapons building if it does not face a nuclear threat from what it considers to be its biggest enemy in the Middle East -- Israel. The nuclear balance in the Middle East is always going to be contingent on the political atmosphere in that politically and historically volatile continent, and Israel is a key player in these developments. While Israel giving up its nuclear program may sound utopian, Cirincione is optimistic that Israel with its vast and superior conventional forces could be encouraged to incrementally reduce or even eliminate its nuclear capability, perhaps starting by shutting down its production reactor at Dimona. Cirincione states: "The world does well to remember that most Middle East weapons programs began as a response to Israel's nuclear weapons," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nonproliferation at the liberal think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-author of its recent study, "Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security. "Everyone already knows about Israel's bombs in the closet," he said. "Bringing them out into the open and putting them on the table as part of a regional deal may be the only way to prevent others from building their own bombs in their basements." If this were not enough to give one qualms about the views of this important adviser to Barack Obama, Cirincione has expanded on these themes in a short article for The Globalist. He criticizes America for not publicizing Israel's weapons programs. He calls for an end of this practice.If you do not know much about Israel's programs, it is not surprising. Israel is never mentioned in semi-annual reports the U.S. Congress requires the intelligence agencies to prepare on "the acquisition by foreign countries during the preceding six months of dual-use and other technology useful for the development or production of weapons of mass destruction." The agencies provide their assessment of programs in Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan and others, but Israel (and Egypt) are omitted. This pattern is repeated across the board. For example, the 2003 report on the ballistic and cruise missile threat from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center lists 18 nations with missiles, including U.S. allies Bulgaria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Egypt — but not Israel. Yet, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and an array of medium-range missiles that could deliver them. He wants to put U.S. muscle behind a plan for seeking a nuclear-free Middle East region. This, of course, would be flexed against Israel. He wrote (in 2005) that Israel was never more secure from external threats and has less need for nuclear weapons than any time in its history. He calls for an "even-handed" approach toward nuclear weapons programs and calls for Israel's nuclear program to be "put on the table" as part of a regional deal to prevent nuclear proliferation. There are more such policy pronouncements by Joseph Cirincione. They all reveal a stunning naiveté regarding the nature of the regimes that are engaged in nuclear proliferation in the region. Pakistan and North Korea have engaged in a nuclear bazaar to sell nuclear technology; Iran has spent billions to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal; Syria is cooperating with North Korea (and probably Iran) on weapons of mass destruction . They all have monetary or geopolitical reasons to do so. Iran wants to be a hegemonic power in the region-and also may very well have theological "reasons" for developing nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein was a megalomaniac who wanted nuclear arms to expand his power. Yet somehow, Cirincione blames Israel for nuclear proliferation and seemingly wants to pressure Israel to shut down its nuclear program and strip itself of any nuclear weapons it may or may not have in its inventory. This man was chosen by Barack Obama to be one of his top advisers in the area of nuclear proliferation. He is also another in a disconcertingly long line of Obama advisers, who seemingly have an anti-Israel bias and who would be very willing to apply American pressure on our tiny ally to disarm itself in the face of its mortal enemies. Obama Advisor Blames US Jews for Lack of Mid-East Peace http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125688 by Avi Tuchmayer (IsraelNN.com) Once again, a furor surrounding US Presidential candidate Barack Obama has erupted, this time over a senior military advisor to the Obama campaign with a history of anti-Israel remarks. He has strongly criticized pro-Israel Jews in the United States for allegedly torpedoing peace efforts in the Middle East. In a 2003 interview with The Oregonian newspaper unearthed by The American Spectator magazine, General Merrill "Tony" McPeak, a former chief of staff in the United States Air Force who is a candidate for secretary of defense in a potential Obama administration, claimed that efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority failed because there is no US-written "playbook" to create peace. An interviewer asked General McPeak "So where's the problem? State? White House?" McPeak pulled no punches. "(The problem rests in) New York City. Miami. We have a large vote here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it…nobody wants to take on that problem. It's just too tough politically. So that means we can't . . . you can't develop a Middle East strategy. It's impossible," he said. Even prior to the Oregonian interview, McPeak was known as a long-time critic of Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights. In a 1976 article in Foreign Affairs magazine, he criticized Israel for refusing to withdraw from areas liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, even as he wrote poignantly about the vital security advantages Israel obtained by conquering those areas. "At the Suez Canal, Israel had the best 'tank ditch' in the Middle East. The Gaza Strip, long a nursery for Egyptian-supported terrorism reaching to within a few miles of Tel Aviv, had come under Israeli administration. On the Golan, Israel at last held the high ground. The bulge of the West Bank, an implicit threat that Israel would be cut in two, had been superseded by the line of the Jordan River. More important, the air threat to Israel had disappeared, at least for the moment. Tel Aviv had been 12 minutes flying time from Egyptian bases in the northern Sinai," he wrote. Yet the same article calls for an Israeli withdrawal from those areas, and seems to suggest that despite Israel's legitimate security concerns, "genuine security depends on regional accommodation, which the Arab states say cannot occur until all of the occupied territory is returned." Latest storm The storm surrounding McPeak is the latest in a series of anti-Israel revelations to tar the Obama campaign in recent months. Obama has long been a favorite son of left wing elements in the United States, but has been strongly criticized for failing to cut ties with radical preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright has called Israel a "racist country," said that "Israel" is a dirty word, and claimed US foreign policy was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Another anti-Israel activist, Arab-American Ali Abunimah, has claimed to know Obama well and to have met him on numerous occasions at pro-Palestinian events in Chicago. During his tenure as a junior air force commander, McPeak spent time in Israel and participated in joint exercises with the Israeli air force. He acknowledged that he enjoyed his experiences here, "but that's maybe the more cosmopolitan, liberal version of the Israeli population," he added. Zionist Canard McPeak also charged Jews and Christian Zionists with dual-loyalties, and said that concern for Israel manipulated American foreign policy in Iraq. "Let's say that if one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq," he said. 6) Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obamamideast10apr10,0,7297945,print.story They consider him receptive despite his clear support of Israel. By Peter Wallsten Los Angeles Times Staff Writer April 9, 2008 CHICAGO — It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York. A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking. His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world." Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended. He and Khalidi have seen each other only fleetingly in recent years. And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say. Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed. At Khalidi's 2003 farewell party, for example, a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace." One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology." Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground. But his presence at such events, as he worked to build a political base in Chicago, has led some Palestinian leaders to believe that he might deal differently with the Middle East than either of his opponents for the White House. "I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates," said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine, referring to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began after the 1967 war. More than his rivals for the White House, Ibish said, Obama sees a "moral imperative" in resolving the conflict and is most likely to apply pressure to both sides to make concessions. "That's my personal opinion," Ibish said, "and I think it for a very large number of circumstantial reasons, and what he's said." Aides say that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans reflect only his ability to interact with a wide diversity of people, and that his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been consistent. Obama has called himself a "stalwart" supporter of the Jewish state and its security needs. He believes in an eventual two-state solution in which Jewish and Palestinian nations exist in peace, which is consistent with current U.S. policy. Obama also calls for the U.S. to talk to such declared enemies as Iran, Syria and Cuba. But he argues that the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, is an exception, calling it a terrorist group that should renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist before dialogue begins. That viewpoint, which also matches current U.S. policy, clashes with that of many Palestinian advocates who urge the United States and Israel to treat Hamas as a partner in negotiations. "Barack's belief is that it's important to understand other points of view, even if you can't agree with them," said his longtime political strategist, David Axelrod. Obama "can disagree without shunning or demonizing those with other views," he said. "That's far different than the suggestion that he somehow tailors his view."But because Obama is relatively new on the national political scene, and new to foreign policy questions such as the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides have been looking closely for clues to what role he would play in that dispute. And both sides, on certain issues, have interpreted Obama's remarks as supporting their point of view. Last year, for example, Obama was quoted saying that "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people." The candidate later said the remark had been taken out of context, and that he meant that the Palestinians were suffering "from the failure of the Palestinian leadership [in Gaza] to recognize Israel" and to renounce violence. Jewish leaders were satisfied with Obama's explanation, but some Palestinian leaders, including Ibish, took the original quotation as a sign of the candidate's empathy for their plight. Obama's willingness to befriend Palestinian Americans and to hear their views also impressed, and even excited, a community that says it does not often have the ear of the political establishment. Among other community events, Obama in 1998 attended a speech by Edward Said, the late Columbia University professor and a leading intellectual in the Palestinian movement. According to a news account of the speech, Said called that day for a nonviolent campaign "against settlements, against Israeli apartheid. The use of such language to describe Israel's policies has drawn vehement objection from Israel's defenders in the United States. A photo on the pro-Palestinian website the Electronic Intifada shows Obama and his wife, Michelle, engaged in conversation at the dinner table with Said, and later listening to Said's keynote address. Obama had taken an English class from Said as an undergraduate at Columbia University. Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian rights activist in Chicago who helps run Electronic Intifada, said that he met Obama several times at Palestinian and Arab American community events. At one, a 2000 fundraiser at a private home, Obama called for the U.S. to take an "even-handed" approach toward Israel, Abunimah wrote in an article on the website last year. He did not cite Obama's specific criticisms.Abunimah, in a Times interview and on his website, said Obama seemed sympathetic to the Palestinian cause but more circumspect as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn't talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.Obama, through his aide Axelrod, denied he ever said those words, and Abunimah's account could not be independently verified. "In no way did he take a position privately that he hasn't taken publicly and consistently," Axelrod said of Obama. "He always had expressed solicitude for the Palestinian people, who have been ill-served and have suffered greatly from the refusal of their leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist." In Chicago, one of Obama's friends was Khalidi, a highly visible figure in the Arab American community.In the 1970s, when Khalidi taught at a university in Beirut, he often spoke to reporters on behalf of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. In the early 1990s, he advised the Palestinian delegation during peace negotiations. Khalidi now occupies a prestigious professorship of Arab studies at Columbia. In 2000, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, a social service group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi received a $40,000 grant from a local charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, when Obama served on the fund's board of directors. At Khalidi's going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. "You will not have a better senator under any circumstances," Khalidi said.The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.Though Khalidi has seen little of Sen. Obama in recent years, Michelle Obama attended a party several months ago celebrating the marriage of the Khalidis' daughter.In interviews with The Times, Khalidi declined to discuss specifics of private talks over the years with Obama. He did not begrudge his friend for being out of touch, or for focusing more these days on his support for Israel -- a stance that Khalidi calls a requirement to win a national election in the U.S., just as wooing Chicago's large Arab American community was important for winning local elections.. But he added that Obama, because of his unusual background, with family ties to Kenya and Indonesia, would be more understanding of the Palestinian experience than typical American politicians."He has family literally all over the world," Khalidi said. "I feel a kindred spirit from that." 7) Barack Obama and Israel http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obama_and_israel.html By Ed Lasky The ascent of Barack Obama from state senator in Illinois to a leading contender for the Presidential nomination in the span of just a few years is remarkable. Especially in light of a noticeably unremarkable record -- a near-blank slate of few accomplishments and numerous missed votes. However, in one area of foreign policy that concerns millions of Americans, he does have a record and it is a particularly troubling one. For all supporters of the America-Israel relationship there is enough information beyond the glare of the klieg lights to give one pause. In contrast to his canned speeches filled with "poetry" and uplifting aphorisms and delivered in a commanding way, behind the campaign façade lies a disquieting pattern of behavior. One seemingly consistent theme running throughout Barack Obama's career is his comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates. This ease around Israel animus has taken various forms. As Obama has continued his political ascent, he has moved up the prestige scale in terms of his associates. Early on in his career he chose a church headed by a former Black Muslim who is a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-Semitism. This church is a member of a denomination whose governing body has taken a series of anti-Israel actions. As his political fortunes and ambition climbed, he found support from George Soros, multibillionaire promoter of groups that have been consistently harsh and biased critics of the American-Israel relationship. Obama's soothing and inspiring oratory sometimes vanishes when he talks of the Middle East. Indeed, his off-the-cuff remarks have been uniformly taken by supporters of Israel as signs that the inner Obama does not truly support Israel despite what his canned speeches and essays may contain. Now that Obama has become a leading Presidential candidate, he has assembled a body of foreign policy advisers who signal that a President Obama would likely have an approach towards Israel radically at odds with those of previous Presidents (both Republican and Democrat). A group of experts collected by the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz deemed him to be the candidate likely to be least supportive of Israel. He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community. Joining Trinity United Community Church: Even though his father and stepfather were both Muslims and he attended a Muslim school while living in Indonesia, suspicions based on his days as a child are overheated and unfair. Still, his full name alone conveys the biographical fact that he has some elements of a Muslim background. Saul Alinsky, whose philosophy infused community organizing in Chicago, emphasized the importance of churches as a basis for organizing. There are literally hundreds of churches on the South Side of Chicago that Obama could have chosen from. He selected one that was headed by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior. The anti-Israel rants of this minister have been well chronicled. Among the gems: " The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism." Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Pastor Wright is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan (who called Judaism a "gutter religion" and depicted Jews as "bloodsuckers") and traveled with him to visit Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, archenemy of Israel's and a terror supporter. Most recently, as head of the UN Security CouncilGaddafi prevented condemnation of attacks against Israel. As Kyle-Anne Shriver noted, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala at the United Church of Christ. Wright routinely compares Israel to apartheid South Africa and considers blacks "The Chosen People". Wright sees his role not just as a religious counselor but also as an educator and political activist. Tucker Carlson of MSNBC has called Pastor Wright a total hater and wondered why the ties that bind Obama to Wright have not been given greater scrutiny. Mickey Kaus of Slate has also wondered when the ties between Obama and Wright will receive more criticism, given Wright's seeming bigotry, which is in contrast to the soothing melody of unity that Obama has trumpeted on the campaign trail. Some in the media have taken notice. The New York Times did have one front-page article on Wright by Jodi Kantor in which Wright was quoted as saying that should more information come to light about himself, "a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell". After the article came out Wright attacked Jodi Kantor, referring to her Jewish heritage in a way that might create discomfort. This fear is why Pastor Wright was disinvited at the last minute from appearing with Obama when Obama announced his run for the Presidency. Wright admitted in a PBS interview that he understands this distancing from the Obama campaign since "he can't afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the Israel" Wright has been disappeared by the campaign; Obama has replaced him with high profile white ministers who do not preach the racial exclusiveness and racial superiority that is a hallmark of Jeremiah Wright; however, they seem to share an anti-Israel bias. Fortunately, bloggers and others have started to note the views of Pastor Wright (which also include an unhealthy does of racial exclusiveness, in Tucker Carlson's words) and . Finally these views may be crossing over to major media outlets. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen published a recent column that criticized the award to Louis Farrakhan of the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award -- an award that supposedly was granted to a man who "truly epitomized greatness". As Cohen noted, Farrakhan is not only a race-baiter but also an anti-Semite and a promoter of anti-Semitism. He falsely accused Jews of cooperating with Hitler and helping him create the Third Reich, has slandered Jews by his insistence that Jews have played an inordinate role in victimizing African-Americans (he has also called Jews "bloodsuckers"). Cohen questions why Obama has stayed steadfast in his allegiance to Pastor Wright over the years. Obama has called Wright his spiritual mentor, his moral compass and his sounding board. He was the man who gave Obama the term, "The Audacity of Hope" after all. He was also the man who told Obama that there are more black men in prison then in colleges -- a statement that Obama parroted until he was told that it was false. What other "facts" has Wright taught Obama? Has he taught Obama to blame 9/11 on America because of our foreign policy? Nevertheless, an Obama spokesman told the New York Times he is proud of his pastor and his church.The church also is the largest recipient of Obama's charitable donations. The pastor married Obama and his wife Michelle and baptized his two daughters. Obama has shown continued allegiance to a man who preaches racial exclusiveness, the superiority of black values over white middle-class values, and whose teaching contains anti-Israel diatribes. All these are sharply at variance with what Obama himself preaches on the campaign trail. One should also note that the governing body of the United Church of Christ has taken a series of anti-Israel actions over the years. A broad coalition of Jewish groups have rebuked the Church for these actions Has Obama, the most famous and prestigious member of the Church and an inspiring orator who can move millions, taken steps to work with his church to moderate its anti-Israel invective? No. He has been honored repeatedly by the church and has been its keynote speaker at various national assemblies. Has he called for change in the anti-Israel approach of the church? No. For those who claim that Obama is the next JFK (an absurd claim and an insult to a revered President that was skewered recently) he is certainly not a Profile in Courage. David Axelrod is Obama's chief political adviser, he is also the man who always comes out to explain that Obama (the master orator) did not really mean some of the offensive off-the-cuff statements he has made about Israel on the campaign trail (see below). Axelrod has also come out with the typical bland statements that Obama does not agree with all the things that Wright says and does. This is a lame defense. Recall, this is a church and a pastor who Obama has relied upon to shape his views, to be his sounding board; the church is the largest recipient of his charity dollars; he proudly states that he admires the church and Jeremiah Wright, Junior. He prayed with Wright before he announced his candidacy for President. He is a beacon for Obama. If a white candidate belonged to a church where the minister promoted an anti-black, anti-Semitic theology he would be roundly subject to criticism (assuming his candidacy would even be viable in the face of this background). Why should Obama get a pass? George Soros: As Obama took steps toward the United States Senate he found a very powerful sugar daddy who would help fund his rise: George Soros. The billionaire hedge fund titan began supporting Obama very early -- as befits a legendary speculative investor or always looking for opportunities. Obama coveted support from George Soros and Soros responded -- along with many family members and probably the Soros ring of wealthy donors. Soros even found a loophole that allowed him and assorted family members to exceed regular limits on campaign contributions. Soros is also a fierce foe of Israel, for years funding groups that have worked against Israel. He is also a man who has flexed his political muscle as a major funder of Democrat candidates and a slew of so-called 527 groups that are active in pushing their agendas (a reliance on international institutions, defeat of Republicans, Bush-bashing, Israel-bashing). He has also openly proclaimed his desire to break the bonds between America and Israel and has written of his desire to erode political support for Israel. Soros also called for concessions to Hamas -- a terror group that has killed many innocent people and that has called for the destruction of Israel. When this came to light, some leading Democrats personally denounced Soros; Obama had a spokesman issue this rather bland statement: "Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions," a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. "But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree. Sound familiar? It is similar to the response the Soros campaign has given regarding Obama's close relationship with Pastor Wright.This mild reproach did not prevent Obama from appearing a few weeks later with George Soros at a fundraiser. Soros invests when he sees a large return as likely; he proverbially "broke the Bank of England" a few years ago speculating on the pound. Does he intend to break the American-Israel alliance? "Blood on their hands" Nor did anti-Semitism of another fundraiser seem to ruffle Obama or his campaign. A fundraiser was held at the home of Allan Houston, formerly of the Knicks, and a man who had previously very publicly proclaiming that Jews had Jesus' "blood on their hands" and were "stubborn". The American Jewish Congress protested and noted that Obama would not take any money from someone who had expressed the same sort of remarks about African-Americans. The very same spokesman who addressed the Soros controversy blithely dismissed the concerns of the Jews and said the campaign would not return the money or reject any of the contributions made by Houston. Obama has been a Senator for only a couple of years. His supporters will point to a string of votes that are supportive of the American-Israel alliance (foreign aid, for example). These generally are not controversial and routinely pass by large margins, precisely because they support an ally and serve American interests. But there are grounds to doubt Obama's seriousness on the issue. He has openly advocated outreach towards Iran, a state that makes clear its genocidal intentions towards Israel, funds Hezbollah and terrorism against America, Israel, and Jewish targets around the world. Obama has seemed to excuse attacks against Americans by Iranian-supported terror groups because we have provoked Iran by trying to liberate Iraq (we are in their neighborhood) or as Barack has put it, Iraq is under occupation by America (which makes one wonder how he feels about Israeli settlements). Furthermore, there already are targeted sanctions in place now. They can be employed against Iranians and Iranian groups identified as being terrorists or terror groups. Yet when Congress voted to identify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terror group-thus making it susceptible to sanction-Barack Obama was not just AWOL (as has been widely noted, Obama has a history of missing votes and avoiding unpleasant decisions) but harshly attacked his political opponents for voting to so designate the Guards as a terror group. This is absurd: the Guard has been implicated in terror attacks against Americans in Iran, Argentinean Jews in bombing attacks in Buenos Aires, and has bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon. Designating this group as terrorists is crucial in weakening its power. Yet, Obama objected to characterizing them as terrorists. That does not bode well for how seriously a President Obama would deal with Iran or how supportive he would be of our ally.Obama has called for withdrawal from Iraq, which would destabilize the region and lead to a further expansion of Iranian power. He also introduced a Senate Resolution on Iran that strips President Bush of the authority to take military action against it. . Unilateral nuclear disarmament for Israel: Obama has also called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world and said that America, by not openly leading a campaign to end nuclear weapons is "giving countries like Iran and North Korea an excuse." This is naïve beyond belief and is identical to arguments made in the Arab world that justify their pursuit of nuclear weapons because Israel has nuclear weapons. We all know how such a program would operate in the real world: Western, open nations such as Israel would be stripped of the capability of nuclear weapons; dictatorships, such as Iran, would continue to operate their secret programs. Israel's nuclear arsenal has helped offset the strategic peril that comes from being surrounded by much larger nations openly declaring their goal of its destruction. Obama's call would unilaterally work to disarm Israel. Pressuring Israel: Obama has also blamed that "our neglect of the Middle East Peace Process has spurred despair and fueled terrorism" implicitly blaming Israel for terrorism and a sign that a President Obama would pressure Israel. Obama seems to ignore the roles that schools play in the Middle East in the teaching of hatred; the roles of mosques and Imams in stoking terrorism; the glorification of violence and martyrdom in the media; the role of jihad in the Koran. He also was the only Democratic Presidential aspirant to sign a Senate Resolution that would ban the use of cluster bombs. These are the types of weapons used by Israel to counter massed attacks by Hezbollah, and are vitally important to her security; Hezbollah also used the same type of weapons. Does anyone think Hezbollah will refrain from using these weapons? How about suicide bombers who rely on similar types of "ordinance' to inflict mass casualties among civilians? Once again, high-minded rhetoric conceals an agenda of unilateral disarmament of the Jewish state. Advisors: Every Presidential candidate assembles a foreign policy team of advisers. A glimpse into the makeup of Obama's team has leaked to the media. Martin Peretz of The New Republic -- a supporter of Obama and of Israel -- had this to say about Obama's Foreign Policy team: "I have my qualms, as you may know, about Barack Obama, and most especially about what his foreign policy might be. If elected (and actually before he were to be elected), the first decision he would have to make would be who would represent him in the transition to power from early November to January 20. And, frankly, I get the shudders since he has indicated that, among others, they would be Zbigniew Bzrezinski (I don't know much about his son, listed as Mark, but I can guess), Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Robert O. Malley." Lake and Brzezenski both earned their spurs in the Carter Administration. The Carter era led to the fall of the Shah of Iran (a stalwart ally of both America and Israel), which gave birth to the Iranian revolution. We all know how well that has turned out. Jimmy Carter, of course, has led a very public campaign of vilification against Israel-defaming it as an apartheid state (a view that Obama's Pastor would concur with). Anthony Lake has been all but retired for the last dozen years-living on a farm in the Berkshires. This makes one wonder what he is bringing to the table, other than his Carter-era pedigree and beliefs. He has been reactivated though-one of his roles seems to be as ambassador to the Arab-American community . The appointment of Brzezenski elicited much dismay among supporters of Israel since Brzezinski is well known for his aggressive dislike of Israel. . He has been an ardent foe of Israel for over three decades and newspaper files are littered with his screeds against Israel. Brzezinski has publicly defended the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis that the relationship between America and Israel is based not on shared values and common threats but is the product of Jewish pressure. Brzezinski also signed a letter demanding dialogue with Hamas-a group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and is filled with threats to Jews around the world. After Hezbollah launched attacks against Israel in the summer of 2006, murdered Israelis and took hostages, Israel tried to get its citizens back by moving into Lebanon. Warfare resulted. Brzezinski wrote that Israel's actions amounted to the "killing of hostages" (the hostages being Lebanese caught in the battles). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/zbig-brzezinski-israel_b_25821.html Brzezinski's son, Mark, is also on Obama's foreign policy team. Evidently the apple does not fall far from the tree. Mark recently co-wrote an op-ed advocating that America forge ties with Iran.Susan Rice was John Kerry's chief foreign policy adviser when he ran for President. One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride "roughshod" over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice. Drilling down further we have Robert Malley. He was part of the American negotiating team that dealt with Yasser Arafat at Camp David. He has presented a revisionist history of those negotiations since then: presenting a view that blames Israel for the failures of the negotiations. His version has been radically at odds with the views of Americans and Israelis (including the views of American Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross-also an adviser to Obama- and President Clinton). He has spent years representing the Palestinian point of view, co-writing a series of anti-Israel articles with Hussein Agha-a former Arafat adviser. Palestinian advocate. These have appeared in the New York Review of Books a publication that has served as a platform for a slew of anti-Israel advocates from Tony Judt to the aforementioned George Soros to the authors of the Israeli Lobby book Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. Malley has also called settlements "colonies" -- implicitly condemning Israel as a "colonial" state. His writings have been so critical of Israel that the media-monitoring group CAMERA has a "dossier" on him. (CAMERA also has a listing for Brzezinski). One well-regarded blogger, Rutgers Professor Judith Apter Klinghoffer believes this adviser was Ivo Daalder, who was quoted throughout the article and who is one of the foreign policy advisers to Barack Obama. Professor Klinghoffer is skeptical about Daalder and his feelings towards the American-Israel relationship. . A snapshot of Daalder's views: He has, like Obama, singled out Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz as being responsible for manipulating the levers of power to serve the interests of other countries (it bears reiterating, Perle had no official position in the Administration; Bush, Powell ,Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice-those were the decision-makers). Daalder has seemingly advocated talks with Hezbollah, Syria, Iran. Daalder stated that Israel's bombing of Qana (an attack targeting Hezbollah missile placements that resulted in civilian death) in the war against Hezbollah imperiled Israel's claim to the moral high ground. These and assorted other positions lend credence to Professor Klinghoffer's view.Scott Lasensky has also been appointed a foreign policy adviser to Obama. This step should also be viewed with a gimlet eye. In a book to be published this month, he and co-author Daniel Kurtzer write glowingly of the George H.W. Bush and James Baker's approach towards dealing with Israel, but faulted Bush and Baker for inadequately derailing the pro-Israel lobby which was more skeptical of the push against Israel into Yasser Arafat's arms. He has called for Islamists and Hamas to be brought into the "peace process," before this Mideast moment slips away.He has called residents of Israeli settlements "obstructionists" He has been given the stamp of approval by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a notoriously harsh anti-Israel group . He was also used by CNN's Christiane Amanpour to castigate Israel in her widely criticized CNN's Jewish Warriors "documentary" -- a documentary that has been heavily criticized for its bias and factual errors) Lasensky has been hosted by the activist group Brit Tzedek v'Shalom and will be hosted by Americans for Peace Now , both of which groups have been highly critical of Israel over the years. He has recently called for aggressive American involvement in pushing for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians -- calling for the end of the incremental approach (which is "trust but verify" approach meant to test each side's honesty and ability to bring about peace). Abolishing it would be a foolish and potentially disastrous leap of faith into the unknown. He has called for engagement with Iran. The group for which he works, the Unites States Institute of Peace, was the key organizer of the Iraq Study Group that produced a report that has very troubling recommendations concerning Israel (James Baker, whose approach towards Israel Lasensky admires, was one of the two people who headed the Iraq Study Group). Obama supporters might counter that Obama has a wide range of foreign advisers and seeks input from people with a variety of views. Most likely, Dennis Ross-with deep ties to the American Jewish community-will be headlined in this argument. However, it is unclear what role Ross has on the team. He is clearly angling to join what may be the next Administration in the White House. How likely is it that Ross, who served the Clintons (now Obama's opponents), will hold sway against the triumvirate of key Obama heavyweights: Lake, Brzezinski, and Susan Rice? Obama and John Bolton: Conversely, Obama actively opposed the nomination of John Bolton as our Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton's track record in support of Israel is impressive.As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton took started a new project, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), that has played a very important role in preventing hostile nations (including those in the Arab world) from developing weapons of mass destruction. Boats were interdicted on the high seas, for example, when suspicions arose that they carried suspect cargoes. The PSI was also responsible for helping to put an end to Libya's nuclear program, which led to the unraveling of the A.Q. Khan nuclear weapons black market that has imperiled our friends in the region (and ourselves). While at the United Nations, Bolton was a stalwart defender of American interests and those of our allies. He was also a firm supporter of Israel (next to Patrick Moynihan, probably one of the best) -- a thankless task given the pervasive anti-Israel bias at the UN.Bolton has continued to support the American-Israel relationship after leaving government service -- for example, writing a series of op-eds, the latest of which support Israel's decision to bomb the likely nuclear plant in Syria. Regardless of Bolton's evident talents and drive, Obama worked to derail his career. Was it his views that Obama objected to? Speeches and public remarks: There are those willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and rely on his speeches to give comfort. Most recently, the New York Sun took excerpts from a speech he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago last march. I was there, just a few yards in front of Barack Obama. His speech was desultory and lacking the spirit and energy that are a trademark of the gifted oratory of Barack Obama. He clearly seemed to be going through the motions. The content of his speech gave many listeners qualms, including me. Others have their suspicions about whether Obama truly believes what he is saying in his speeches before groups supportive of the American-Israel relationship. I think a more accurate reflection of these feelings and ideas are found in unscripted, off-the cuff remarks. As Michael Kinsley wrote, a "gaffe is a mistaken utterance or action which actually reveals what a politician truly believes". Obama has a record of off the cuff remarks that are disconcerting. There is, of course, his well-known remark in Des Moines that "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people" (which sounds like Pastor Wright is being channeled) that created controversy. He later tried to revise history by insisting he had said "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership". However, the well-respected Fact.Check.org and the Des Moines Register newspaper (which has an audio record) dispute Obama's "redo". He also has objected to Israel's security fence that has all but ended the suicide bombing campaigns that killed so many innocent people. In an interview in 2004 he stated: "...the creation of a wall dividing the two nations is yet another example of the neglect of this Administration in brokering peace." There are not two nations (at least yet) and the security fence is not a wall, it is a fence (only a small percent, less than 5% can be considered a "wall" and that is only because of space constraints and the desire to prevent sniper fire from the Palestinians). His use of the term Cycle of violence" has caused ripples of concern for its intimations of moral equality between the Palestinians and Israelis; as has his elevation of "cynicism" as a core problem in the Middle East, rather than say, terrorism. At an anti-war rally he stated that he was "Opposed to the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in the administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throat" . This is disturbing. Obama ignored the role of Colin Powell, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and other movers and shakers in the Administration. But Perle (who never even served in the Administration) and Wolfowitz (who was a Deputy Secretary) have been lumped together by many anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists as Jews who led us into the Iraq War to serve the interests of Israel. Who has Obama been listening to? His moral compass, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior?There are other remarks of Obama's that have struck others as being less than supportive of Israel. . Among them are words that put the onus on Israel to change the status quo in its relations with the Palestinians. He was the only candidate at the National Jewish Democratic Council conference that burdens Israel with that role.There are grounds to be concerned that he would discard the "Road Map" that provides guidelines for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He has stated that the "Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart." The Road Map places obligations on both sides to take steps simultaneously on the road to peace. Israel is explicitly not obligated to take the first steps. This confirms the views he expressed to the NJDC that he would place the onus on Israel in future peace negotiations. .Shmuel Rosner, the Washington correspondent of the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noted that that the prediction that Obama would be least favorable of any of the candidates toward Israel may partly be due to the fact that his "supporters come mainly from the left-wing of the Democratic Party and from the African-American community -- from constituencies which are traditionally not that supportive of Israel".But Obama has on his own volition assembled his networks of friends, mentors, financial supporters and foreign policy advisers. In his judgment -- a judgment that he regularly trumpets as being superior to others - these people are worthy of advising him. There are among those friends and advisers key people who seem to display a great deal of antipathy towards the American-Israel relationship. These are the constituencies and associates that should warrant concern among all those who care about a strong American-Israel relationship. His electoral success will send a message to all future politicians that they can willingly ignore the views of those Americans who value a close relationship with the sole democracy and our only true ally in the Middle East. We may see the ramifications of Obama's ascent in the years yet to come. Related AT articles: Barack Obama's Middle East Expert The Audacity of Questioning Obama's Commitment to Israel Samantha Power and Obama's Foreign Policy Team 9) Barack Obama blasts pro-Hamas Op-Ed http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1205420759325&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Ron Kampeas/ JTA , THE JERUSALEM POST Sen. Barack Obama says that a pro-Hamas op-ed printed in his church's bulletin was "outrageously wrong." In an issue dated July 22, 2007, in a section titled "Pastor's Page," the Trinity United Church in Chicago reprinted an article by Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzook. The article, which originally appeared as an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, justifies the Palestinian terrorist group's denial of Israel's right to exist. The church's pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr., who retired this year, has stirred controversy for Obama's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination with statements likening Israel to colonialists and blaming attacks on the United States in part on its support for Israel. In slamming the Hamas piece, Obama noted that he strongly rejects some of his longtime pastor's views. "I have already condemned my former pastor's views on Israel in the strongest possible terms, and I certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin," Obama said in a statement e-mailed to JTA late Thursday. "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor." The reports about the church bulletin and Obama's response come just days after intensifying focus on Wright's controversial anti-American statements prompted the Democratic candidate to deliver a major speech on race relations in America. In the speech, Obama, a senator from Illinois, condemned Wright's most inflammatory comments but said he would not "disown" the man who inspired him to embrace Jesus. The WorldNetDaily report ran under the headline "Obama church published Hamas terror manifesto." One line in the op-ed directly defended strikes against Israeli targets: "Hamas," Marzook wrote, "has never supported attacks on Westerners, as even our harshest critics will concede; our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it - a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention." Dov Hikind, a New York state assemblyman, issued a news release condemning Wright and calling on Obama to sever his pastor and his church. This week, the Obama campaign circulated a photograph of former president Bill Clinton shaking hands with Wright at a September 1998 event for religious clerics, which was held the same day the Starr Report on Monica Lewinsky was made public. 10) Speaking truth to Power http://sandbox.blog-city.com/speaking_truth_to_power.htm posted Monday, 3 March 2008 Samantha Power is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, and she has a professorship at Harvard (in something called "Global Leadership and Public Policy"). She is also a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. This isn't an honorific: she has worked for Obama in Washington, she has campaigned for him around the country, and she doesn't hesitate to speak for him. This morning, the Washington Post has a piece on Obama's foreign policy team, identifying her (and retired Maj. Gen. Scott Garion) as "closest to Obama, part of a group-within-the-group that he regularly turns to for advice." Power and Garion "retain unlimited access to Obama." This morning's New York Times announces that Power has an "irresistable profile" and "she could very well end up in [Obama's] cabinet." She also has a problem: a corpus of critical statements about Israel. These have been parsed by Noah Pollak at Commentary's blog Contentions, by Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr at American Thinker, and by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line. Power made her most problematic statement in 2002, in an interview she gave at Berkeley. The interviewer asked her this question: Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine-Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide? Power gave an astonishing answer: What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line. Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat” [Sharon-Arafat]. I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention.... Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced. “ It isn't too difficult to see all the red flags in this answer. Having placed Israel's leader on par with Yasser Arafat, she called for massive military intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, to impose a solution in defiance of Israel and its American supporters. Billions of dollars would be shifted from Israel's security to the upkeep of a "mammoth protection force" and a Palestinian state—all in the name of our "principles." This quote has dogged Power, and she has gone to extraordinary lengths to put it behind her. Most notably, she called in the Washington correspondent of the Israeli daily Haaretz, Shmuel Rosner, to whom she disavowed the quote: Power herself recognizes that the statement is problematic. "Even I don't understand it," she says. And also: "This makes no sense to me." And furthermore: "The quote seems so weird." She thinks that she made this statement in the context of discussing the deployment of international peacekeepers. But this was a very long time ago, circumstances were different, and it's hard for her to reconstruct exactly what she meant. It must be awful, at such a young age, to lose track of why you recommended the massive deployment of military force, and not that long ago. So let me help Samantha Power: I can reconstruct exactly what she meant. Power gave the interview on April 29, 2002. This was the tail end of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, Israel's offensive into the West Bank in reaction to a relentless campaign of Palestinian suicide bombings that had killed Israeli civilians in the hundreds. The military operation included the clearing of terrorists from the West Bank city of Jenin (April 3-19). At the time, Palestinian spokespersons had duped much of the international media and human rights community into believing that a massacre of innocent Palestinians had taken place in Jenin. It had not, but the name of Israel had been smeared, particularly in academe. At Harvard, pro-Palestinian activists canvassed the faculty for support of a petition calling on Harvard to divest from Israel. (It was published on May 6.) Power at the time was executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which she founded in 1999. In 2001, she had recruited a celebrity director for the Carr Center: Michael Ignatieff, a Canadian intellectual and journalist who, like herself, had come to prominence writing about atrocities in the Balkans and Africa. A profile of Ignatieff in March 2002 described the division of labor in the Carr Center: "He shares administrative responsibilities with Samantha Power, the center's executive director. The division of labor works wonderfully, he says: 'She does all the work.'" Power later told a Canadian journalist that "their social relationship was based on three Bs: baseball, bottles and boys. They talked about the Boston Red Sox, of whom she is a fanatic supporter; they spent evenings together 'yelling and laughing' over bottles of wine, and she found him a kind and sympathetic confidant when it came to affairs of the heart." 12) A spry Farrakhan sings Obama's praises Associated Press, by Sophia Tareen February 25, 2008 In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better. The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator. 13) Ralph Nader Calls Out Obama's "Pro-Palestinian" Past Washington, D.C. (February 25, 2008) -- After remarks made by Ralph Nader yesterday on "Meet the Press," Matt Brooks said, "Ralph Nader added to the debate on Senator Obama's views on Israel and the Middle East and raised serious doubts and questions about the true leanings of Senator Obama on these important issues." During his interview on "Meet the Press," Nader said that Sen. Obama had reversed his positions on Israel. Nader said Sen. Obama's "better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself" and that Sen. Obama was "pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate" and "during the state Senate." Sen. Obama has caught criticism for pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel statements and sentiments before. In March 2007, Sen. Obama was criticized for saying that "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians." Obama has also been criticized for stocking his campaign with several controversial advisors including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Malley, Samantha Power and Susan Rice. "People should be very skeptical of Barack Obama's shaky Middle East policies. When a long-time political activist like Ralph Nader, with a well-documented, anti-Israel bias, claims that Senator Obama shares this anti-Israel bias, that is alarming." 14) Obama in his own words on unilater nuclear freeze: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl32Y7wDVDs&eurl=http://www.redstate.com/ 15) 'Barack'-Lash By Jews: Dovhttp://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/03032008/news/columnists/barack_lash__by_jews__dov_100265.htm By FREDRIC U. DICKER March 3, 2008 -- BROOKLYN Assemblyman Dov Hikind yesterday predicted that Jewish voters would make "a mass movement toward Sen. McCain" if Barack Obama knocks Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race in tomorrow's critical Democratic primaries. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew whose Borough Park district includes the largest Hasidic bloc in the United States, blasted Obama for what he called his half-hearted support of Israel and his ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who has repeatedly praised anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has endorsed Obama. Hikind, a Democrat who has yet to endorse a candidate for president, said Obama had not satisfactorily distanced himself from Wright, his Chicago-based personal pastor, noting, "This is a man who thinks Farrakhan is a great guy and God's gift to the world." Hikind went on, "Obama has said that you can be a supporter of Israel even if you're for giving up land to the Arabs, which is true - but for a guy running for president to take a position like this in advance of getting into office, combined with everything else going on in the Middle East, that scares the hell out of me. "There are a hell of a lot of Jews who are concerned about these issues, and they go way beyond Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, people I describe as conservative Reagan/Giuliani Democrats," said Hikind, who backed Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. Hikind's warning about Jewish concerns over Obama are being widely but privately voiced among top New York Democrats. "There is anxiety, there is concern, on the part of a lot of important Jewish Democrats in New York," one of the state's most influential Democratic activists told The Post. Hikind, meanwhile, said he believed last week's controversy over Obama appearing in Somali garb during a visit to his father's native Kenya would have no impact on Jewish voters. "Something like that by itself doesn't mean anything," he said. Obama, who has repeatedly condemned Farrakhan for making anti-Semitic remarks, rejected his endorsement under pressure from rival Hillary Rodham Clinton during a debate last week. But while Obama has pushed Wright into the background of his campaign, Obama remains a member of his church. 16) Obama's Church founded on radical creed http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080401/NATION/766118950/1001 April 1, 2008 By S.A. Miller - The church where Sen. Barack Obama has worshipped for two decades publicly declares that its ministry is founded on a 1960s book that espouses "the destruction of the white enemy." Trinity United Church of Christ's Web site says its teachings are based on the black liberation theology of James H. Cone and his 1969 book "Black Theology and Black Power." "What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love," Mr. Cone wrote in the book. Mr. Cone, a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, added that "black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy." Mr. Obama's campaign, which for weeks has weathered criticism about inflammatory racial language by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. at Trinity, said the candidate "vehemently disagrees" with those tenets. "It's absurd to suggest that he or anyone should be held responsible for every quote in every book read by a member of their church," said Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin. "Barack Obama is not a theologian, and what he learned in church is to love Jesus Christ and work on behalf of his fellow man, regardless of race, class or circumstance. This is a faulty and disingenuous approach to a church, and a flawed way to judge a candidate," he said. For years, Mr. Wright delivered sermons and endorsed articles in the church bulletin that called the United States and Israel racist regimes. The bulletin's "pastor's page" included essays that said Israel and South Africa "worked on an ethnic bomb that kills blacks and Arabs," compared Israel to Nazi Germany and quoted leaders of the terrorist group Hamas calling Israel a "deformed modern apartheid state." In a bulletin last year, Mr. Wright lashed out at the news media for scrutinizing the church, blaming "racist United States of America" and "white arrogance" for distracting the country from more important issues, such as the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina victims. The church declined to comment for this article, but the Rev. Otis Moss III, the church's junior pastor, who took over for Mr. Wright, wrote in the bulletin in October that media conglomerates "operate with contempt and disdain for the black community, women, and people of the African Diaspora." 17) Obama and Chicago Mores http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB120450564143806509.html By JOHN FUND March 3, 2008; Page A17 The London Times reports that, three weeks before the land transactions, Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi billionaire living in London, loaned $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, who was his Chicago business partner. Mr. Auchi's office says he had "no involvement in or knowledge of" the property purchase. Mr. Auchi is a press-shy property developer (estimated worth: $4 billion) who was convicted of corruption in France in 2003 for his involvement in the Elf affair, the biggest political and corporate fraud inquiry in Europe since World War II. He was fined $3 million and given a 15-month prison term that was suspended provided he committed no further crimes.Mr. Auchi was also a top official in the Iraqi oil ministry in the 1970s. He has for years vigorously denied charges he had dealings with Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. However, an official report to the Pentagon inspector general in 2004 obtained by the Washington Times cited "significant and credible evidence" of involvement by Mr. Auchi's companies in the Oil for Food scandal and illicit smuggling of weapons to the Hussein regime. In 2003, Mr. Auchi began investing in Chicago real estate with Mr. Rezko. In April 2007, after his indictment, Mr. Auchi loaned another $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, a loan that Mr. Rezko hid from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office. When Mr. Fitzgerald learned that the money was being parceled out to Mr. Rezko's lawyers, family and friends, he got Mr. Rezko's bond revoked in January and had him put in jail as a potential flight risk. In court papers, the prosecutor noted that Mr. Rezko had traveled 26 times to the Middle East between 2002 and 2006, mostly to his native Syria and other countries that lack extradition treaties with the U.S. Curiously, Mr. Auchi has also lent an unknown sum of money to Chris Kelly, who, like Mr. Rezko, was a significant fund-raiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (himself under investigation by a federal grand jury as an alleged beneficiary of the Rezko shakedowns). Mr. Kelly is himself under indictment for obstructing an IRS probe into his activities. Mr. Obama says he has "no recollection" of meeting Mr. Auchi during a 2004 trip the billionaire made to Chicago, and no one believes he knew of his background. While his name will come up in the trial as a beneficiary of Rezko donations (since donated to charity), Mr. Obama will not be called to testify. There may be nothing more in Mr. Obama's dealings with Mr. Rezko beyond an "appearance of impropriety." Still, Mr. Obama does have an obligation to explain how he fits into Chicago politics. David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's Karl Rove, is a longtime spoke in the Daley machine that's dominated Chicago for a half century. Gov. Blagojevich, also part of the machine, shared key fund raisers with Mr. Obama."We have a sick political culture, and that's the environment Barack Obama came from," Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, told ABC News. He notes that, while Mr. Obama supported ethics reforms as a state senator, he has "been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic politicians." Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11 21) Is Obama committed to Israel's survival? http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/04/is_obama_committed_to_israels.html By Bruce Walker Is Obama committed to Israel's survival as a Jewish state? The question is serious and the answer may be chilling. The senator himself has not spoken ill of Israel nor has he made anti-Semitic statements, but it is quite unlikely that a candidate as clever as he would tip his hand on something that vital. Consider, though, all the influences on the life of Barack Obama. He has felt comfortable in the company of angry blacks who form the core of anti-Semitism in modern America. Jeremiah Wright is symptomatic of the sort of aggrieved, irrational black agitator who seriously believes that Jews are a major obstacle to the advancement of blacks and other oppressed minorities around the world. But Reverend Wright is only one example. Cynthia McKinney seriously proposed that Jews did not show up for work in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 because of some prior cabalistic warning. Nurtured black rage led to the 1991 murder in Crown Heights of an Australian Jew, Yankel Rosenbaum, whose sole offense was being a Jew in the wrong part of New York. Louis Farrakhan, of course, has spread lies about Jews, but even more "mainstream" black leaders like Jesse Jackson have shown clear dislike of Jews. For a black presidential candidate like Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Michael Steele or J.C. Watts, the question of loyalty to our loyalist ally in the world would not be an issue. These black leaders have clearly and emphatically rejected the sort of hatred that Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan embrace. It is doubtful whether those radical blacks would endorse Rice or Steele or Watts for president, if Republicans nominated them. But Obama has chosen to associate himself with the embittered and resentful branch of black politics. Unless he believes its calumnies about America and Israel, why did he link himself to this sort of hatred? But it is not just the black rage school of politics that raises questions about Obama and Israel. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, is another piece of the Obama puzzle. Although much has been made of his middle name, Hussein, over which Obama has no control, more important is the fact that Obama's mother chose to marry two Muslim husbands both of whom were from Third World nations. Considering that she was a champion of women's rights and that Islam is notoriously misogynist, this is extraordinary. We hear of Muslim women seeking asylum in America and the West, but not of Western feminists marrying Muslim men and then living in the Muslim world. What could have motivated her except the conscious rejection of Western values, something that Obama's mother had very much in common with Jeremiah Wright? Is it worth noting that among the outrageous statements of Wright, one was that Islam and Christianity had much more in common than most people thought? (A preposterous lie, but one that conforms to a minister who could blame Israel for being a racist state.) Obama also chose to marry a woman who seems to be filled with rage and anger at America. Those who hate America irrationally almost also hate Israel irrationally, and vice versa. The same resentment at successful peoples, the same rejection of Judeo-Christian values, the same nursing of past wrongs into a sort of fetish or cult draws people into the maelstrom of hating America, hating Israel, hating Christians and hating Jews. The involuntary influences in the life of Obama, having a mother attracted to Muslim men and who initially sent her son to a Madrasah, and the choices that he made as an adult, marrying an angry black woman who feels America is bad and attending a church where the preacher excoriates Israel from the pulpit and honors odious anti-Semites - these together paint a very worrisome picture of Obama and Israel. What would President Obama do if the survival of Israel were threatened? In the past the question was not as crucial as today. Europe, cowed by its growing and militant Muslim communities and removed by more than six decades from the horrors of the Holocaust, seems truly indifferent to Israel. In 1973, when the oil boycott smacked Europe, the Dutch, whose citizens remembered what had happened to Dutch Jews twenty-eight years earlier, rode bicycles to demonstrate their independence from Arab threats. In 2008, does anyone believe the Dutch would do the same? Not only has Europe lost its nerve, but the threat to Israel is no longer an Arab threat but rather a Muslim threat. In 1973, the last time Israel faced a very serious threat, the Shah of Iran was in power, and his nation had good relations with Israel. Radical Islam, with its attendant hatred of Jews and Christians, was not ascendant in the Indian Ocean basin as it is today. Today, more than any time in the last sixty years, the two real allies against radical Islam are its principal victims - Israel and America. If America does not play its role in this alliance seriously, then the fate of Israel is in genuine peril. Today, unlike yesterday, America and Israel cannot afford a president whose support of Israel is not complete and absolute. We cannot afford a president who thinks that chatting with governments whose official media spews the most absurd and despicable lies about America and Israel is a serious exercise in diplomacy. We must, instead, have a president certain that America and Israel are the good guys and that the triumphant of these nations - with as little violence as possible - is the only sure answer to peace. Is Obama this sort of president? Nothing suggests he is and everything suggests he is not. 22) Losing (some) Jewish votes Peter Wallsten has a really well-reported piece this morning on Obama's relationship with Palestinian activists in Chicago, and his friendship in particular with Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi. The story doesn't provide any evidence that Obama ever expressed anti-Israel views, and in more recent years he's been very publicly pro-Israel, as his campaign reasserted in response to the piece. But it does place him at events at which Israel is accused of "apartheid" and details his friendly relationship with Palestinian activist, and Columbia University professor, Rashid Khalidi. At this point, I'd say the damage to Obama with a segment of the Jewish community is probably going to be very hard to reverse. This isn't a huge percentage of the vote of a community that doesn't exist in big numbers in most swing states anyway. But for pro-Israel Jews who, say, know of Khalidi and consider him a hostile figure, and for the people in their communities who listen to them, the damage that comes with Obama's Hyde Park milieu is going to be very, very hard to repair. "There is a segment of the pro-Israel community in which skepticism of Barack Obama is only rising," said the unaligned Democratic consultant Ken Baer, who follows Jewish politics closely, and whom I called this morning to talk about the story.Obama is fighting very hard, and early, for the Jewish vote, and it's not a monolithic community. It's also not present in large numbers in most swing states. The Jewish vote matters a lot in Florida (which some think is now safely Republican anyway); it matters less, but a bit, in Ohio, where several thousand votes can make a big difference.The best Republican year with Jews was 1980, when Reagan had a lot of things going for him, and Carter had inspired a lot of Jewish enmity. Carter got 45%; Reagan 39%; Anderson 14%.I'd imagine that's probably a floor beneath which it would be quite hard for Obama to fall in a much better Democratic year, and a generation later. And, while we're doing the electoral math, the perception that he's friendly to Palestine may help Obama with Arab voters in Michigan and elsewhere, if they were inclined to vote Republican. Anti-Israel Director Michael Moore endorses Obama The Associated Press reported yesterday that Moore endorsed Sen. Obama in a 1,100-word posting on his Web site. Moore wrote, "Can you do me a favor? Will you please cast my vote - and yours - on Tuesday for Senator Barack Obama?" "Michael Moore has consistently expressed views that are radically anti-American and anti-Israel. Michael Moore has placed a disproportionate blame on Israel for the Palestinian's use of terror and violence and calls Americans an 'ignorant people,' said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks. "Senator Obama must reject Moore's endorsement. We call on Barack Obama to reject his endorsement to show Michael Moore that this kind of hateful rhetoric will not be tolerated." Anti-American and Anti-Israel Statements by Michael Moore "Hey, here's a way to stop suicide bombings - give the Palestinians a bunch of missile-firing Apache helicopters and let them and the Israelis go at each other head to head. Four billion dollars a year to Israel - four billion dollars a year to the Palestinians - they can just blow each other up and leave the rest of us the hell alone." -- Michael Moore Moore dedicated his book, "Dude Where's My Country?" to Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement volunteer who was killed when she climbed in front of a Caterpillar bulldozer that was destroying tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to illegally smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza. In 1990, speaking before the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Moore announced that he would refuse to attend a screening of his movie, "Roger and Me," which was being held in Jerusalem. He was quoted as saying that he would not attend until Israel ceased to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. (Arab American News, 1990) Moore tried to prevent Fahrenheit 9/11 from being shown in Israel. (New Yorker Magazine, February 16, 2004) In an open letter to the German people in Die Zeit, Moore asked, "Should such an ignorant people [as the United States] lead the world? Don't go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way." (David Brooks in the New York Times, June 30, 2004) For additional statements by Michael Moore on Israel and America, please 23) JIMMY'S HA-MESS http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222008/news/nationalnews/jimmys_ha_mess_107529.htm THUGS RATTLE BOAST OF 'SUCCESS' By ANDY SOLTIS 'I did the best I could on that. They turned me down.' - Jimmy Carter on his failure to persuade Hamas to halt rocket attacks and free a captured Israeli soldier. April 22, 2008 -- Former President Jimmy Carter wound up his controversial Mideast jaunt by declaring partial success - but Hamas officials quickly undermined his claims. Carter said Hamas' top official, Khaled Meshaal, told him he was ready to accept Israel's right to "live as a neighbor next door in peace" to a Palestinian state comprising land Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. But Meshaal, who lives in Damascus, Syria, appeared to restate Hamas' previous position without softening its demands - or renouncing terrorism. "We agree to a state on pre-'67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital with genuine sovereignty without settlements, but without recognizing Israel," he told reporters. Israel and the United States shrugged off the claim of a peace breakthrough. "I think you can take it with a grain of salt. We have to look at the public comments, and we also have to look at actions, and actions speak louder than words," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that rocket attacks on Israel continue from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. "Israel sees no change in Hamas' extremist positions," the spokesman said. Carter acknowledged he wasn't negotiating on his nine-day Mideast tour "because I can't talk to Israeli officials," who have snubbed him. Instead, he said he asked for Hamas to make a gesture to show its peaceful intentions by declaring a 30-day halt to cross-border rocket attacks and freeing a captured Israeli soldier. "I did the best I could on that," he said in Jerusalem. "They turned me down." Meshaal did offer a conditional 10-year cease-fire. But a Hamas spokesman, Abu Jandal, told a Palestinian newspaper that the group would launch fiercer attacks on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip than the recent ones that have killed five Israelis. Another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that even if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, those lines would be "transitional." He left open the prospect of Hamas still seeking all Israeli land as part of its state. Carter said the Hamas officials he met "didn't say anything about 'transitional.' " In the past, Hamas officials have said they would establish a "peace in stages" if Israel were to withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. Obama’s Radioactive Potato 04.24.2008 - 4:11 PM Was North Korea helping Syria build a plutonium-producing reactor? The emerging consensus in the intelligence world is that it was. Indeed, the evidence, now including videotapes taken inside the facility before it was obliterated by Israeli jets last September 6, appears almost unequivocal. It is therefore fascinating — and disturbing — to recall the alacrity with which Joseph Cirincione, Barack Obama’s top expert on matters nuclear, the author of a book called the Bomb Scare, was so quick back in September to dismiss the report as “nonsense.” To Cirincione, writing on the blog of Foreign Policy Magazine, the stories surrounding surrounding the Israeli strike, namely that North Korea was building a Yongbyong-type plutonium reactor not far from the Euphrates River, was nothing more than a lie. It was a reprise, wrote Cirincione, of the way in which administration officials “misled the press” in the run-up to the second Gulf war. Who was behind this nefarious manipulation? It seems, wrote Circincione, “to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda.” What exactly was that political agenda? “[I]t appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement.” There was also a dose of Zionist mischief thrown in: “Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria.” Along with Israel and the American hardliners, another villain in Cirincione’s take is the American press, which treats “selective leaks” from the administration “as if they were absolute truth.” Indeed, the lazy reporters pushing the story appear not “to have done even basic investigation of the miniscule Syrian nuclear program.” All told, the “misleading story” of North Korean nuclear proliferation “will now enter the lexicon of the far Right” and “attempts to negotiate an end to North Korea’s program are bound fail in the face of such duplicity, etc., etc.” In writing all these things, Cirincione sounds remarkably similar to Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations. “There was no Syria-North Korea cooperation whatsoever in Syria. We deny these rumors,” Bashar Ja’afari said yesterday. Cirincione’s instant dismissal of the Syrian-North Korean nuclear axis raises a number of interesting questions. One of them is: has Cirincione changed his mind in light of the latest intelligence? A second: is he going to be the official called by Obama at 3AM when an intelligence cable comes in reporting that North Korea has shipped nuclear materials somewhere else? A third: why are so many of Obama’s advisors so prone to blame, in whole or in part, the machinations of Israel for the problems of the world? See here and here and here. A fourth: Is Joseph Cirincione going to go the way of Samatha Power and get dropped from the campaign like a radioactive potato.