Thursday, October 30, 2008
Will Barack Obama support Israel?
Exclusive: Michael Evans looks at Carteresque worldview of candidate’s record, advisers
Posted: October 28, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
By Michael Evans
Barack Obama’s campaign cries of “change” mimic those of Jimmy Carter’s campaign rhetoric in the 1970s. Carter chose the shah of Iran, one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East, as his scapegoat for change. I can only stand and wonder which American ally will take the brunt of Obama’s presidential aspirations. Our only real ally in the Middle East is Israel; if elected, would Obama sell Israel down the river just as Carter did the shah of Iran?
Early in his presidential campaign, Barack Obama added former Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to his own list of “advisers.” Brzezinski, of course, got himself into trouble early in his role as adviser when he published an essay in the summer issue of the journal Foreign Policy, defending a controversial new book about the power of the “Israel Lobby” in American politics. One of Brzezinski’s first jobs as adviser was to defend Obama’s plan, if elected, to meet with Iran and Syria: “What’s the hand-up about negotiating with the Syrians or Iranians?” asked Brzezinski. “What it in effect means is that you only talk to people who agree with you.” People who agree with you? I, for one, would like to know just why Obama would want to talk with Iran’s president who denies the Holocaust, has called Israel a “stinking corpse” and vowed to wipe it off the map.
Another man from whom Obama sought advice was Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund. Cirincione is said to have decidedly anti-Israel leanings. Ed Lasky, writer for American Thinker, wrote that Cirincione was “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.”
I might also add here that Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef seemed delighted with Mr. Obama: “We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections.” Obama also drew a pseudo-endorsement from Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani during a stop-over in Bahrain. Larijani purported that “Iran would prefer Democrat Barack Obama in the White House next year.” Larijani also dismissed any idea that the U.S. would attack Iran. “We are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational, even though we know American policy will not change that much.”
(Column continues below)
Now, why do you suppose a terrorist organization or a rogue state would support one candidate over another? Could it be the knowledge that one candidate is likely to be more anti-Israel than the other? Or that one candidate would respond to terrorism more forcefully than another?
During a speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in June 2008, Obama “clarified” some of his earlier statements: Yes, he is “still in favor of meeting with Iran’s leaders … but (clarification) only at the suitable levels and at a place and time” of his choosing. He favors a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq … but (clarification) it must be gradual. He prefers diplomatic and economic pressure … but (clarification) says the military option “should be left on the table.” After all, one must be willing to “clarify” to achieve the highest office in the land.
How committed is Obama to Israel’s security? He promised the members of AIPAC a “Palestinian … state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper … [and] Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided … [but that the final solution for Jerusalem] must be negotiated between the two parties [Israelis and Palestinians], an agreement that they can both live with.” How can this be, when the Palestinians have demanded again and again that Jerusalem must become the capital of any Palestinian state?
In his formative years and with a myriad of churches from which to choose, Obama aligned himself with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., a man he calls his spiritual mentor. Wright’s stance regarding Israel and the Jews became well-known during Obama’s campaign. The pastor, a black Muslim sympathizer, is riddled with anti-Semitism. He has “damned” America from the pulpit, and his diatribe following 9/11, an event Wright labeled as “chickens coming home to roost,” was particularly offensive and provoking. He insinuated that the horrific assaults were godly revenge for America’s many failures at race relations.
Wright embraces what is called “black liberation theology,” a tenet that is often associated with the racial supremacist Black Power movement of the 1960s. Rev. Wright openly supported Louis Farrakhan, supreme minister of the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan has labeled the Jews “bloodsuckers” and openly endorsed Obama’s presidential bid (which Obama publicly rejected.) Farrakhan has likened Obama to the forerunner of the Messiah, and points as proof to the candidate’s mixed-race background.
Was it from his own experience that Obama articulated one of the bigger gaffes of his campaign? He was overheard saying of the people of Pennsylvania, “And it’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them. …” Obama was referring to the Bible-believing, working-class voters. Does he feel the same way about Israel?
In the first World Policy Forum, held at a French lakeside resort, the Rev. Jesse Jackson promised “fundamental changes” in U.S. foreign policy; the most important change would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end.
Jackson told author and journalist Amir Taheri that he believes although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” will remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House. “Obama is about change,” Jackson told Taheri in a wide-ranging conversation. “And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it.” And, in fact, Jackson told me at the White House Middle East Peace Summit in 1993 that the multitudes of problems in the Middle East were caused by the Jews.
On foreign policy issues, Obama’s call to eradicate nuclear weapons worldwide would leave the West and Israel at the mercy of unscrupulous, hate-filled leaders in countries such as Iran and Syria. Those nations would simply go further underground and continue the secret production of nuclear arms. A part of Israel’s firewall against the launch of a globally inclusive attack is its nuclear arsenal. Obama’s plan would effectively disarm Israel, while making it impossible to police the Irans of the world. Has he considered the danger of beating our collective swords into plowshares? That would leave the world even more vulnerable to those who don’t follow suit, who, instead, keep their swords at the ready.
Jimmy Carter felt that talking with our enemies, i.e. Ayatollah Khomeini, in the name of human rights while castigating pro-American allies such as the shah of Iran would make the world a better place. Apparently, Mr. Carter still feels that way. He considers Israel an apartheid state and sees Hamas and Hezbollah as human rights movements that need only economic support and understanding rather than as terrorist organizations. Does Barack Obama embrace Carter’s liberal worldview?