The “Distraction” of Questioning Senator Obama’s Commitment to Israel


Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama casts a shadow on the Israeli and American flags while speaking at an event to honor the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence in Washington.
Mark Wilson – Getty Images

Jewish-Americans have long had a love affair with the Democratic Party. Aside from the “black vote”, Jews overwhelmingly are liberal and vote Democrat. Despite the fact that the Bush Administration has probably been the most pro-Israel American Administration in history, both Gore and Kerry received a sizeable majority of votes from the coveted “Jewish vote” in the last two elections. Why? Why do they continually vote against their group identity self-interest?

According to his campaign website, Senator Obama

has traveled to Israel and witnessed Israelis’ determination in the fight against terrorism and their yearning for peace with their neighbors. His commitment to Israel’s security, to the U.S.-Israel relationship, and to Israel’s right to self-defense has always been unshakable. Demonstrating his personal connection to Zionism and understanding of Israel as the homeland Jews longed for, Senator Barack Obama has stated that it must be preserved as a Jewish state. He will work tirelessly to help Israel in its quest for a lasting peace with its neighbors, while standing with Israel against those who seek its destruction.

Why is it, like so many other things, does Senator Obama’s history not appear to support the political campaign rhetoric?

As Professor Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel, puts it, certainly Jewish-Americans should not be voting based upon

“which party or which candidates support Israel more enthusiastically. They should vote based on more general considerations about what is best for America, the world and the values that they hold dear.”

Of course support for Israel, an unwavering pro-American Democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East, IS in America’s best interest. Most conservative Republican voters recognize this; many in the Democratic Party, however, in Jimmy Carter-esque fashion, find themselves harshly critical of Israel, reverting to moral relativism and worse when it comes to the Palestine-Israel conflict and American foreign policy as it relates to that.

Even Hamas knows this.

Ben Shapiro:

Obama’s foreign policy advisors have been almost uniformly anti-Israel. Samantha Power, one of Obama’s earliest supporters, has suggested that American troops be placed on the ground in Israel to protect Palestinian Arabs against “human rights abuses.” Power was a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama until she was forced to resign after calling Senator Hillary Clinton “a monster” in March 2008.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, serves as a foreign policy advisor to Obama. He believes that the Jewish lobby forces America into pro-Israel policy, and he defends Carter’s anti-Semitic book, “Peace, Not Apartheid.”

General Merrill McPeak, Obama’s campaign co-chair, agrees with Brzezinski that the Jewish lobby, based in “New York City, Miami,” controls America’s Middle East policy.

Robert Malley, who served on President Clinton’s National Security Council, has stated that America ought to simply impose its Middle East solution on Israel. He served as an advisor to Obama until the media discovered that he was holding regular meetings with Hamas.

Obama’s friends, too, are far too anti-Israel for comfort. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor of 20 years, has blamed America’s pro-Israel policy for 9/11. Wright is close with notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who has proclaimed Obama “the Messiah.”

Obama is also friends with former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi, an ardent foe of the Jewish State. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama in 2000. In 2003, he told a Palestinian Arab crowd, “You will not have a better Senator under any circumstances.”

Obama himself has demonstrated his ambivalence about Israel. Before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in July 2008, he stated that he supported an undivided Jerusalem. After pressure from Palestinians, he backtracked within 24 hours. He also declares that he will meet the leaders of Iran without preconditions, despite the fact that Iran wishes to turn Israel into radioactive wasteland.

Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky pieced a great American Thinker article covering Samantha Power and Obama’s Foreign Policy Team. Please read it.

Within the past few days, renewed interest and controversy in a Los Angeles Times article by Peter Wallsten has erupted into criticism and pressure for the LA Times to release a video tape that purports to show Senator Obama toasting a tribute to his pal, Rashid Khalidi who has called Israel a “racist state”; who has said of Senator Obama, that he is “the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.”

More on Khalidi, via American Power:

note futher this section on Khalidi from Discover the Networks:

Khalidi’s involvement with the Palestinian cause goes beyond mere support. News reports – including a 1982 dispatch from Thomas Friedman of the New York Times – suggest that he once served as Director of the Palestinian press agency, Wikalat al-Anba al-Filastinija. Khalidi’s wife, Mona, was reportedly the agency’s main English-language editor between 1976 and 1982. Khalidi so strongly identified with the aims of the PLO, which was designated as a terrorist group by the State Department during Khalidi’s affiliation with it in the 1980s, that he repeatedly referred to himself as “we” when expounding on the PLO’s agenda. Additional evidence of Khalidi’s intimacy with the PLO can be seen in his involvement with the organization’s so-called “guidance committee” in the early 1990s.

Khalidi’s 1986 book, Under Siege: P.L.O. Decision-Making During the 1982 War, was dedicated to Yasser Arafat. Opening with a glowing tribute to anti-Israel fighters (“to those who gave their lives during the summer of 1982 … in defense of the cause of Palestine and the independence of Lebanon”), the book offered an airbrushed account of PLO-instigated violence against Israelis and Lebanese. By contrast, Syria’s brutal occupation of Lebanon elicited no criticism from the author.

Now check out Scott Horton’s description of Khalidi at Harper’s:

Rashid Khalidi is an American academic of extraordinary ability and sharp insights. He is also deeply committed to stemming violence in the Middle East, promoting a culture that embraces human rights as a fundamental notion, and building democratic societies. In a sense, Khalidi’s formula for solving the Middle East crisis has not been radically different from George W. Bush’s: both believe in American values and approaches. However, whereas Bush believes these values can be introduced in the wake of bombs and at the barrel of a gun, Khalidi disagrees. He sees education and civic activism as the path to success, and he argues that pervasive military interventionism has historically undermined the Middle East and will continue to do so. Khalidi has also been one of the most articulate critics of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority—calling them repeatedly on their anti-democratic tendencies and their betrayals of their own principles. Khalidi is also a Palestinian American. There is no doubt in my mind that it is solely that last fact that informs McCarthy’s ignorant and malicious rants.

Horton’s criticizing Andrew McCarthy’s essay, “The L.A. Times Suppresses Obama’s Khalidi Bash Tape.”

Horton is a perfect example of the views of those on the relativist-left toward American foreign policy, Israel, and Palestianian terrorism: Comfort and aid to the enemies of the United States is perfectly legitimate, especially when their friends wrap their hostility to the U.S. in quasi-legitmate theories of a post-colonial American-Israeli alliance to dominate the Middle East and oppress the refugees of the founding of the Jewish state.

The LA Times, thus far, refuses to even release a transcript of the video, even though a transcript would be a good compromise to their stated reasoning of protecting the identity of their source.

Doug Ross:

I received a tip from a person who has provided useful, accurate and unique data from LA before (e.g., “All six of CNN’s ‘undecided voters’ were Democratic operatives”). Take it for what it’s worth, but I believe this person is on target.

Saw a clip from the tape. Reason we can’t release it is because statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. He congratulates Khalidi for his work saying “Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine” plus there’s been “genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis.”

It would be really controversial if it got out. Tha’s why they will not even let a transcript get out.

Hearing it and seeing it would certainly have a much more dramatic effect than simply reading about it. Perhaps enough to influence an election. Is the LATimes withholding the tape due to journalistic integrity? Or is it partisan journalism, which includes the endorsement of a Senator Obama presidency?

Some are wondering, if the tape is so damaging, and it was known about back in April, why Hillary Clinton did not bring pressure to bear on the Times during the long Democratic primaries. I think it might have to do with the fact that since Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend saw fit to pardon a Weather Underground terrorist, Senator Clinton didn’t have the political ground to stand on in being the one to connect Senator Obama to radical activists.

Hugh Hewitt:

Which brings us to the Khalidi-Obama tape and the decision of the Los Angeles Times to suppress it. This is an astonishing moment in the history of journalism. In the last presidential campaign, an arm of MSM attempted to influence the race by inventing a major story. This time, a different arm is influencing the race by censoring the news.

Times‘ owner Sam Zell and every single editor and reporter at the paper are thus now complicit in a decision to manage the news so that voters are not informed of all that might influence their choice of president. The videotape might be as bland as skim milk, or as incendiary as even the most inflammatory Jeremiah Wright sermon, but the content doesn’t matter. The paper is suppressing the news and using Orwellian language to claim otherwise. The silence from other MSMers tells us all we need to know about their commitment to the mission of getting important facts before the public.

Imagine that the tape is of the sort as to tilt the election to McCain, but because of its suppression by the Times, Obama is elected. The paper then “owns” everything that follows on Obama’s watch. This is of course true for the author of every partisan action that yields a decisive influence on an election, but it is an unprecedented position for an alleged newspaper to be in. Newspapers thump their chests when state secrets are revealed, claiming the need of the public to know even at the risk of damaging national security. What a turnaround to be wholly and irrefutably exposed as a mere agent in a presidential campaign rather than the guardian of the public’s interest in truth.

When the Times published stories on the SWIFT program used to track terrorist financing, I interviewed the Times’ D.C. bureau chief, Doyle McManus. Here’s the core of that interview:

HH: Is it possible, in your view, Doyle McManus, that the story will in fact help terrorists elude capture?

DM: I did…I neither believed it nor disbelieved it. I would believe I took that seriously. It’s impossible for me to evaluate independently to what degree…whether the potential assistance to terrorists…I think they actually didn’t argue that it would help terrorists. They argued that it would disadvantage, or make more difficult, counter-terrorist programs. But that’s probably a distinction without a difference. What…would that be momentous? Would it be marginal? I don’t know.

HH: Is it possible, in your view, Doyle McManus, that the story will in fact help terrorists elude capture?

DM: It is conceivable, yeah, although it might be worth noting that in our reporting, officials told us that this would, this disclosure would probably not affect al Qaeda, which figured out long ago that the normal banking system was not how it ought to move its money, and so turned to other unofficial and informal channels.

HH: The terrorist Hambali came up. He was captured in August of ‘03, mastermind/financier of the Bali bombing. Are you familiar with Hambali?

DM: I am.

HH: And did they alert you to the fact that they believe that Hambali was captured as a result of this SWIFT program?

DM: They did not. The first I knew of that was when I read it in the New York Times.

HH: Is it possible now that whoever was familiar with what Hambali did, those terrorists in Southeast Asia, could just simply reverse engineer his financing, and figure out what they shouldn’t do now?

DM: Well, I suppose it’s possible, except in effect, what we’re talking about here is the simple question of whether international banking transmissions are monitored….

The Times was willing to run the risk of informing terrorists about efforts to capture them, but is refusing to inform the American people about relevant, indeed, potentially decisive facts on the eve of an election.

Mainstream media which purports to be objective is not to be trusted.

Senator Obama’s political rhetoric to woo voters is also not to be trusted. In a number of ways, he has carefully crafted his centrist image to not reflect his dalliance with radical ideology and past alliance with radical activists. Given the company he keeps, his selection of foreign policy advisors, what would an Obama Administration and Cabinet appointments look like?

Obama obfuscates the obvious: He is no staunch supporter of Israel. At best, he’d reflect a second Carter term.

Investor’s Business Daily Editorial:

Obama’s deception reminds us of the way that Arafat tolerated Israel when talking to the Western media, but had the tongue of a terrorist when speaking in Arabic to radical Palestinian elements. Arafat said what he needed to say to keep his position of power. Obama will say anything to get elected, and then do another to achieve his goal of cutting off oxygen to Israel, the only freely elected government and U.S. friend in the region, outside of the newly formed Iraq.

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To understand the answer to Why…., one only needs to review available historical documentation. Like, the book of Kings, etc. Before, and after Solomon, there have been real problems in the leadership selection department. See Einstein’s definition of insanity, where consistency is not always a virtue.

I wasn’t aware Carter had a second term 🙂

You can rest assured if Obama says the sky is blue, that it’s probably raining. Where is medical records, birth certificate, so much withheld, WHY.

Elect Hussein O, say goodbye to Israel as free nation. That’s just the way it is, “Should the political tide change, I will stand with Islam.” BHO

Sources: Sarkozy views Obama stance on Iran as ‘utterly immature’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is very critical of U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama’s positions on Iran, according to reports that have reached Israel’s government.

Sarkozy has made his criticisms only in closed forums in France. But according to a senior Israeli government source, the reports reaching Israel indicate that Sarkozy views the Democratic candidate’s stance on Iran as “utterly immature” and comprised of “formulations empty of all content.”

2008. The year The One (Barack Obama) … Lost.

Obamalies or Lies Obama Tells

So everyone wants to see the tape just *in case* there’s a reaction shot of Obama during some anti-Israeli comments? Despite repeated statements by multiple people that Obama doesn’t share those anti-Israeli views? And what if there isn’t anything conclusive? Will a blogger modify the video so that there IS something damning? Sure, the MSM might debunk it, but the wingnuts on both sides that hang out in the blogosphere don’t seem to care about real journalism anyway. Both sides are already making up and perpetuating garbage…if it generates page views, it’s news!

But all that aside…should every action by Palestinians be damned just because the US needs an ally in the Middle East? What would YOU do if you had been displaced from your home?

You can understand a persons motivations for doing something vile without condoning it. Damning them for their actions and refusing to try and understand them only leads to a repeat of the actions. You’ve got to try and understand the motivations on BOTH sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict there if you’re going to try and reach a resolution. But reaching that understanding requires interaction on some level.

I would much rather have a president that has been exposed to many different ideas, even those I don’t agree with, than one who is secluded and influenced only by like-thinking individuals. Not everything is right or wrong, yes or no, black or white. I can see how as a nation we’ve started to think that way based on the last 8 years, and it saddens me.

Is Obama running for President of the United States or of Isreal? I didn’t realize Country-First refered to Isreal. Thanks for letting me know, all you real patriots. And to think Obama could bring about the destruction of Isreal is completely bonkers, totally not rational. Man, talk about dillusion and fear mongering…

Isreal will still exist long after an Obama presidency. You think otherwise? I’ll bet money on it (but then I actually believe what I say, I’m not just saying it to stoke up fear). Any takers?

And we’re supposed to care what the Frenchy President married to the anorexic model thinks about our choice for President. I don’t. But maybe that allegiance follows the first.

And here we have the McCain campaign basically running against the Bush legecy, yet this is the comeback-“It saddens me that YOUR side of the political aisle has so divided this country.” It’s classic projection, classic. So you are, what am I?

“Yes it saddens me too. It saddens me that YOUR side of the political aisle has so divided this country.”

First, I don’t have a ‘side’ of the aisle. I’m registered as in independent.

Second, I REALLY wanted to vote for McCain earlier this year, and even more so in 2000. I think we’d have been a lot better off if McCain had gotten elected, because maybe he could’ve stood up to the elements of his party and the government that have dragged us into the mess we’re in right now. But his choice of running mate to satisfy the more extreme elements of his party coupled with the vomit-inducing campaign he’s allowing to be run in his name has changed my mind.

Third – the people surrounding Obama with differing ideas, to name just a few:

Austan Goolsbee – “Those who know Goolsbee…describe him as a committed centrist.” “Like most other economists, he’s on record as favoring some things that few Democratic politicians would want to defend”

Jeffrey Liebman – “Like Goolsbee, Liebman is known as an academic economist with a centrist streak.”

Christina and David Romer – “At the same time that Obama is calling for higher income taxes on people making $250,000 or more, the Romers have found that tax increases are generally bad for economic growth” (I’m glad someone will be there to counsel him on the negative impacts of tax increases so he can make an INFORMED decision.)

“Mainstreamers.” “Centrists.” “Non-ideologues.” These words tend to pop up in descriptions of Obama’s security and intelligence advisers –”

(all of these quotes taken from an exhaustive discussion of Obama’s advisors at

Fourth – You want to point the finger at Democrats when it comes to division? Obama is at least talking up the notion of unifying the country, talking about hope, talking about positive change. Even if it is a bunch of hot air, at least it’s a positive message. The Republican message appears to be full of hyperbole intended to scare people away from choosing Obama. What is more divisive?

Fifth – I really like the layout of your site, and I’ve been looking for a decent blog to follow to try and have some real, intellectual conversation. I’m afraid I’ve not found that here. You might consider not jumping all over first-time posters if you want to maintain and build a readership.

Sorry about not being able to read. I guess if Alan Dershowitz says so, that’s enough for some. Still I don’t see Obama as much of a threat to Isreal. And those pesky anti-Israel Democrats, like Democrat Senators Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders…. Not sure I’m buying that they are overly critical of Israel. What is considered harshly critical anyway? Any critism? I’ve harshly criticized my friends, that’s what friends do.

Carter got the sides to talk, helped Egypt and Israel sign a peace treaty, that’s something. Yet that is the dread it is feared Obama will bring? That’s the threat? I keep hearing it said that Obama will be like Carter, and that he will bring about destruction in Israel, the end of the America we know, rioting in the streets, Socialism, and more. Which is it? I don’t remember those things from the Seventies?

The only accepted way for the United States to interact with Israel, in the conservative Republican view, is with no accountability, no critism, no restraint, no expectations, simply let whatever Israeli leader is currently under investigation in his own country call all the shots. And until Obama agrees to that, he is no friend of Israel, hence no friend of America. So if you want Israel to do whatever the heck they want, don’t vote for Obama. You’re dressing up your fight with a liberal Democrat as Israel’s fight for survival, that’s not very kosher.

And of course it was politically expedient for McCain to distance himself from Bush, he’s not crazy. I’d suggest others do the same.

Forrest, INRE your comment:

the MSM might debunk it, but the wingnuts on both sides that hang out in the blogosphere don’t seem to care about real journalism anyway. Both sides are already making up and perpetuating garbage…if it generates page views, it’s news!

Possibly the saddest state of affairs is most of the indepth analysis and exposure of facts – right along with the smut – has been done by bloggers and citizen journalists. It was the blog false charges of Palin being some sort of prim, restrictive schoolmarm who was against birth control that led to her membership in the Feminists for Life becoming public. (yes, there are feminists who believe you shouldn’t have to choose between career and family, and that abortion isn’t the only answer)

It’s been the citizen media doing the job of what the MSM should have been doing, vetting Obama. The MSM spent plenty of time with negatives on Hillary… everything on discussing whether it would be a co-Presidency to her cleavage or pantsuits. Chicago Annenberg Challenge? Obama’s only “adminstrative experience” which he never discusses? Nary a word from the MSM on that one. It took a liberal Santa Clara attorney to start that ball rolling. And he remains the quintessential expert on it to date… with Stanley Kurtz a close 2nd.

But then a free press will always have both facts and garbage. At least with the blogosphere, it is a debate the nation can participate in. Until the Info Age, we were basically indoctrinated with whatever the MSM media wanted to spew daily, and we had little way of learning anything different.

Now, as we see, the MSM are probably the least researched and educated sources … and they have been in control of educating the US electorate. This season, they have proven they are just plain an embarrassment to the ethics of journalism.


Brian, I agree that Israel will likely survive any US presidency…. unless the unthinkable happens with Iran. Personally, I doubt Obama will be able to advance any peace in that region… just as POTUS predecessors. One major difference has been that Israel and Syria have been in negotiations with the past year. Then again, after their recent election, one has to see if the new leadership works the same way.

But the hatred in the region lies deep, and thru centuries. Obama will not “heal”, and it’s also doubtful he can “destroy” unless the US totally abandons Israel. As the prime functioning democracy in the region, the US should be shamed if they do not support free countries against despots and int’l jihad movements.

Thus there is no sense to your “Country First” comment and Israel. To put “country first”, events that can affect our national security – not only today, but in the future – are of course demanded of a POTUS. Unfortunately, Obama has never demonstrated the “character, courage and decisive actions” required to tackle this job.

And we’re supposed to care what the Frenchy President married to the anorexic model thinks about our choice for President. I don’t. But maybe that allegiance follows the first.

Leaving aside your own less than stellar representation of the high road, more moral Obama supporter by your snide remarks for people you don’t know, I agree that my opinion for POTUS does not rest on what Sarkozy thinks.

And since you took the “are we supposed to care?” route, I suggest you apply that to the various endorsements of Obama you all like to tout as well. And that includes all of Europe, whom we are told are just totally in love with Obama.

I’ve said this before on this site, and I’ll repeat it here. I don’t care if George W. Bush himself endorsed Obama. It would not change my opinion of “that one” as a leader who would take this country over the economic cliff into socialism… or, for the hypersenstive and PC crowd… Europeanization.

I would not change my opinion of Obama if George W. Bush endorsed Obama either, Mata Harley, and not even if the Pope endorsed him!

Wordmsith, this post is excellent, and it is indeed obvious why the Los Angelels Times won’t release the tape. It doesn’t surprise any of us, I’m sure. I think it’s backfiring on them though. It’s probably being discussed more precisely because they won’t release it. The video may be damning indeed, but so what? So are all of Obama’s other associations and many Americans simply ignore them. They would probably also ignore anything on that tape. They may do more wondering about it if it’s not released. People are very strange indeed. 🙂

Again, great post!

“They may do more wondering about it if it’s not released.” (Gayle)

Right on the dot. I know that all my Jewish friends in New-York thinks this way. If they don’t want to release it, it must be terribly wrong for Obama’s image. I think that Obama will lose all the Jewish vote, because of the Los Angeles Times. Bravo!

Brian Miller,

What you do not understand is that Obama is for Palestinians, he likes the Hamas. But Hamas is a terrorist party who hates Israel and the United States. Don’t you remember seeing the Palestinians dancing in the streets when the WTC was crashed? What’s the matter with you?

Israel is the most legitimate country in this World. Their country was given back to them by UN, when UN was still an honorable organisation in 1948. Israelis turned that desert area into a magnificent country with their love and effort. They have never kicked the Palestinians out; on the contrary, they asked them to stay. It is the Arab league who asked Palestinians to leave so they would fight Israel and throw it to the sea. But, Israel won that war and they stayed there. Israel is the only peaceful democracy in that region, it is an ally and it wants peace. But the hateful Palestinians do not want their own country; they want all the land for their country. They keep launching rockets on civil Israelis daily. And Israel shouldn’t defend herself? What is that bullshit? Israel is very decent and all the anti-Semites like you keep criticizing her constantly.

Obama will lose the Jewish vote, believe me. And that’s fine with me, Obama do not like Israel, he is just pretending he does, because he is a complete fraud and he wants the vote of the Jewish people, but he won’t get them, they are not stupid. As a matter of fact, they are very brilliant. Just look at all the Nobel prices this country gets each year.

Obama’s positions on the Jewish state seem to change depending on who is listening.

So how do we know what he REALLY believes?

I’d say the mutual friendship with the jew hating Rashid Khalidi and the praise Obama heaped on him reveals the REAL OBAMA.