Barack Obama may say that Israel has no better friend than himself, but Jesse Jackson begs to differ. Amir Taheri wrote in yesterday's New York Post that Jackson hailed a new era in American foreign policy, where the "Zionists" would no longer control American action:
He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.
Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
This is the usual Jewish-cabal conspiracy-theory claptrap. America has always pursued its own interests in the Middle East. Not surprisingly, our interests have coincided with those of the only democratic nation in the area. We have allied with Israel because Israel is a reliable ally, not run by religious extremists and not funding terrorists, either officially or unofficially.
For some reason, Jackson sees this policy as undesirable. He wants us to repair our relations with Islamic countries, apparently at Israel's expense. Does Obama see foreign policy through the same prism as Jackson? The campaign issued a statement in response to Jackson's outburst:
"Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama's views on Israel and foreign policy," Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement. "As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship … As president, he will ensure that Israel can defend itself from every threat it faces, stand with Israel in its quest for a secure peace with its neighbors, and use all elements of American power to end Iran's illicit nuclear program."
Ooooo-kay. Certainly, we'd hope he would, but his record seems somewhat spotty on the whole strong-friend-to-Israel thing. Let's recap:
- Jeremiah Wright — His pastor for 20 years and a man to whom Obama gave over $26,000 in 2006 alone, Wright has feted and honored Louis Farrakhan, a virulent anti-Semite. Wright also believes that the government created HIV as a genocidal tool aimed at people of color, and that America deserved what it got with 9/11. Wright has also reprinted Hamas propaganda in the church newsletter on several occasions.
- William Ayers — The former Weather Underground domestic terrorist employed Barack Obama at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Obama served with him on the board of the Woods Foundation, during which time both of them gave $75,000 to Rashid Khalidi, a Yasser Arafat toady.
- Robert Malley — One of Obama's foreign policy advisers, Malley resigned from the campaign after reports that he met with Hamas surfaced earlier this year. Malley has a history of opposing Israel; in the Clinton efforts to achieve a peace settlement, he was the only American adviser to blame Israel when Arafat refused to accept 95% of what he'd demanded in the final settlement.
Maybe we could believe Obama when he says that an Obama administration would put our democratic allies ahead of the kleptocracies and worse in the Middle East if he hadn't spent so much time with people who feel the opposite, and have acted on those feelings. His only actions on record have been to hire Malley and give money to Khalidi. What does that say about Obama that Jackson didn't get right?