Monday, July 20th, 2009
Here’’s an item from the Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2008, during the campaign: “Even as he won support in Chicago’s Palestinian community, Obama tried to forge ties with advocates for Israel. In 2000, he submitted a policy paper to CityPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee, that among other things supported a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a position far out of step from that of his Palestinian friends. The PAC concluded that Obama’s position paper “suggests he is strongly pro-Israel on all of the major issues.”
Obama’s campaign volunteers within Jewish organizations and the Jewish media pointed to endorsements such as that one, endorsements over the course of seven years, to assuage Jewish fears about Obama.
Now here’s an item from this week: Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department to be scolded because Jews were building a house in Jerusalem.
Obama’s supporters often said “Bush lied.” Did Obama lie? When he was telling Jewish audiences for the better part of seven years that he believed in a united Israeli Jerusalem, did he mean it? Or can we trust Ali Abinemeh, editor of Electonic Intifada who wrote in March, 2008:
“Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
“As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, ‘Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, ‘Keep up the good work!’”
Clearly, Obama wasn’t being upfront. He said so himself. Either he was telling lies to the Jewish PACS or he was telling lies to American Palestinians. And most Jewish journalists and most Jewish leaders were OK with that. They wanted him to win anyway. They exerted more energy debunking anonymous e-mails about Obama than they did on examining and publicizing Obama’s habit of saying one thing to Zionists and another thing to anti-Zionists, such as his friends at Electronic Intifada. Now that he’s president he’s finally being upfront. Most Israelis don’t like it. Most American Jews don’t care.