(Apologies for a prolonged absence due to an unexpected health crisis. I expect a full recovery, and look forward to catching up on the many critical stories that Muzzlewatch is dedicated to covering.)
We may never know what Obama really thinks about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. At one time, he was known to be relatively balanced in his approach, but as his political ambitions grew, his positions on Israel/Palestine predictably drifted rightward.
Unable to escape the sneaking suspicion that Obama, who once said, “No one has suffered more than the Palestinians,” could never be a true friend of (the hawks of) Israel, he has predictably become the target of a nasty whisper campaign, in the form of an email. The email, which was sent to institutional Jewish leaders across the country and has blazed across the internet, relies on extreme anti-Muslim prejudices to paint Barak Obama as unfriendly to Israel, and hence the Jews:
Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level – through the President of the United States , one of their own!!!! Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?……
The actual source of the campaign remains a mystery–it is possible that Republican dirty tricksters have decided that Hillary Clinton would be easier to beat in a final matchup with a Republican candidate, but this is just conjecture.
Nonetheless, the increasing traction of the attack campaign prompted a letter from from seven Jewish Senators and a rare public statement from leaders of nine major Jewish organizations defending Obama:
As leaders of the Jewish community, none of whose organizations will endorse or oppose any candidate for President, we feel compelled to speak out against certain rhetoric and tactics in the current campaign that we find particularly abhorrent. Of particular concern, over the past several weeks, many in our community have received hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo mischaracterizing Senator Barack Obama’s religious beliefs and who he is as a person.
At the same time, a confidential memo questioning Obama’s support for Israel written by an American Jewish Committee staffer was leaked to the press. (The AJC stated that “no element” of the memo should be considered official AJC policy.)
In a tight race, every vote counts, so Obama has confronted the attacks on multiple levels. Hours ago, he directly responded to charges in an audio conference with Jewish media outlets. You can listen to it here. He also published an entire web page dedicated to answering the false charges.
He also released a seemingly gratuitous letter to the United Nations regarding their impending condemnation of the illegal and disastrous Siege of Gaza. The letter caused great anguish among peace activists, presumably, not because it demanded the UN also condemn the rocket assault on the residents of the working class town of Sderot, who have suffered mightily over the years from some 6,000 quassam rocket attacks, without benefit of substantive protection from their own government.
The ire was caused, rather, by Obama’s absurd assertion that a) Israel has any right whatsoever to engage in collective punishment of 1.5 million people, and b) his inference that doing so in any way serves to protect the people of Sderot. Far from it, Israel’s increased attacks on Gaza invariably lead to greater attacks on Sderot. Recently, Hamas offered an unconditional cease fire with Israel that would have dramatically improved the lives of Sderot’s residents, but Israel refused.
TAKE ACTION ON SIEGE OF GAZA HERE.
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