Barack Obama would like us to believe that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright who ranted anti-American profanities at the National Press Club was not the man he saw from the pews of his church for two decades.
He'd also have us believe that Weatherman terrorist bomber William Ayers, who played host to his first fundraiser and with whom he would later serve on a board, is just a "guy in the neighborhood."
Similarly, Obama would have us believe he doesn't accept the recent endorsement of his candidacy by Ahmed Yousef of the terrorist organization Hamas. John McCain, he said, had "lost his bearings" for asserting, "If Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly."
We have, and we hope the American people will as well.
Obama told CNN that McCain's remarks were "offensive" and that it was "disappointing" his Republican rival would engage "in that kind of smear . . . particularly since my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his."
Oh, really? If McCain's remarks were a "smear," senator, why did you tell the Atlantic magazine:
"It's conceivable that there are some in the Arab world who say to themselves, 'This is a guy who spent some time in the Muslim world, has a middle name of Hussein and appears more worldly and has called for talks with people, and so he's not going to be engaging in the same sort of cowboy diplomacy as George Bush." Except these people launch rockets at Israel and oppose its existence.
(By the way, isn't it funny how Obama can mention his middle name in a national forum when convenient, but if a Republican uses it, it's racist and offensive? Imagine the reaction if McCain had mentioned his legal name was Barack Hussein Obama or had made the above comments about Obama. When a warm-up speaker at a McCain event said "Barack Hussein Obama" repeatedly, media hell broke loose.)
If Obama's policy toward Hamas is different from McCain's, why did he have as one of his key Mideast advisers one Robert Malley, who disclosed to the Times of London that he'd been in regular contact with Hamas as part of his work for a conflict-resolution think tank similar to the one former President Jimmy Carter has?
Just as Obama disowned the pastor he said he could not disown after Rev. Wright's rants were hurting him politically, Obama has fired Malley — 48 hours after it was revealed Malley had met with Hamas on more than one occasion, something Obama has said that, as president, he would not do.
Malley got the boot shortly after this revelation and shortly after McCain raised the issue of Obama's endorsement by Hamas. Is Malley whispering in Obama's ear one of the reasons Hamas endorsed Obama? Does Obama want us to believe that, as with Rev. Wright, he also had no knowledge of Malley's views?
Malley was part of Bill Clinton's negotiating team at the 2000 Camp David talks, where Yasser Arafat turned down a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Soon after, Malley wrote a New York Times piece blaming Israel and the U.S. for the breakdown.
In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post co-authored by Arafat adviser Hussein Agha, Malley wrote: "A renewed national compact and a return of Hamas to the political fold would upset Israel's strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division."
So, according to Obama's former adviser, it's all Israel's fault, not the fault of those who want to make sure Israel, celebrating 60 years of existence, doesn't have a 61st birthday.
Perhaps that's why Malley, whose father Simon was a personal friend of Arafat's, wrote another op-ed in the Baltimore Sun titled, "Making the Best of Hamas' Victory." After Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in February 2006, Malley advocated international aid to the terrorist group's newly formed government.
Did Obama know about this before he brought Malley on board? Asked if the Obama camp knew about his contacts with Hamas, Malley said: "They know who I am, but I don't think they vet everyone in a group of informal advisers."
If Obama wants to be president, he'd better do a better job of both vetting and picking friends and associates, as well as pastors.
As we have noted, Obama also has links with Rashid Khalidi, who currently is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. Said, who is one of the leading anti-Israeli "intellectuals" of the 20th century and once worked with Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization, has branded Israel as an "apartheid system in creation."
In 2000, Khalidi and his wife held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, a social service group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi received a $40,000 grant from a local charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, when Obama, along with William Ayers, served on the fund's board of directors.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that Obama spoke at a going-away party in honor of Khalidi in Chicago in 2003. One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."
Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian activist from Chicago who helps run the Web site Electronic Intifada, says: "In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress, I heard him speak at a fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor." Abunimah says Obama called for a more "even-handed" — meaning less pro-Israel — policy in the Middle East.
So Obama's endorsement by Hamas is not all that surprising. The man who wants to be president has a consistent and disturbing pattern of associations with influence peddlers, racist preachers, terrorist professors and people who wouldn't mind if Israel just went away.
As John McCain says, the American people should make their judgments accordingly.