Monday, September 15, 2008

Has Obama's Wooing Won YOU Over?

Refreshing our memories . . .

. . . third-party candidate Ralph Nader handed the GOP ammunition, stating on Meet the Press that Obama’s “better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself.” Nader claimed Sen. Obama was “pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate” and “during the state Senate” - but had changed his tune once he set his sights on Washington - remarks that Republicans immediately seized on as revealing Obama’s true sentiments on Israel.

Moreover, Obama knew he needed to take a forceful stand to counteract the impact of the photograph of Obama in Muslim garb, and perhaps most troubling for his campaign, the unwelcome endorsement of National of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan, a friend of the controversial pastor of Obama’s church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The results of his decision to personally work to win over the Jewish community has thus far met with only mixed success. A closed-door meeting with 100 Jewish leaders in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday to address some of the concerns of the Jewish community had been designed to reinforce his commitment to Israel.

Instead, some of his statements in the forum raised concerns, notably when he was quoted as saying :

“I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, then you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel… If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress.”

In a column responding to Obama’s comments, Philadelphia Jewish Exponent editor Jonathan Tobin succinctly summed up the problems that Israel and its supporters had with the remark.
He said that they reflected the:

“old paradigm of American Jews being split along pro-Labor and pro-Likud lines in their affection for Israel. That may have once been true, but it’s an outdated way of looking at things. In the wake of the collapse of the Oslo process, most Israelis and American Jews realize that such a division is meaningless. Both the left and the right in Israel have failed - and almost everyone knows it. Israelis want peace and are willing to make sacrifices for it, yet they no longer blindly trust in the peaceful intentions of their antagonists.

Obama needs to drop this line, especially since, if he’s elected president, the odds are that he may have to work with a Likud prime minister of Israel named Benjamin Netanyahu some time during his term of office.”

Now, in his latest attempt to woo the Jews, Obama offered the highly influential daily Yediot Aharonot his most forthright public remarks thus far.

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