Obama's Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Positions

Where's Obama on Israel and the Palestinians? On both sides.

Since running for President, he's become an outspoken supporter of Israel. While in the Illinois legislature, he was a friend, supporter and beneficiary of Palestinians whose organizations trashed Israel.

Yesterday, when asked on the campaign trail about why he didn't denounce Louis Farakahn before he became an issue in the campaign, Obama said:

Obama reminded the crowd that he'd denounced his church’s praise of Farrakhan, saying, "I’ve been very clear about saying that was wrong. And nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have."

Jake Tapper of ABC News responds:

Really? No one? Elie Wiesel? Simon Wiesenthal? Alan Dershowitz? No one? Wow.


From the LA Times article linked above:

It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.

A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

....Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended. He and Khalidi have seen each other only fleetingly in recent years.

...And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed.

Then there's this:

Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian rights activist in Chicago who helps run Electronic Intifada, said that he met Obama several times at Palestinian and Arab American community events. At one, a 2000 fundraiser at a private home, Obama called for the U.S. to take an "even-handed" approach toward Israel, Abunimah wrote in an article on the website last year. He did not cite Obama's specific criticisms.

Abunimah, in a Times interview and on his website, said Obama seemed sympathetic to the Palestinian cause but more circumspect as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.

Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn't talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.

Obama denies saying "those words" to Abunimah. David Axlerod explains:

"He always had expressed solicitude for the Palestinian people, who have been ill-served and have suffered greatly from the refusal of their leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist."

One more example:

In 2000, the Khalidis 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 served on the fund's board of directors.

At Khalidi's going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. "You will not have a better senator under any circumstances," Khalidi said.

The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.

While some members of the Jewish community have praised Obama, others, as well as some Jewish leaders, are skeptical:

"In the context of spending 20 years in a church where now it is clear the anti-Israel rhetoric was there, was repeated, . . . that's what makes his presence at an Arab American event with a Said a greater concern," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director for the Anti-Defamation League.

To be fair, Obama has repudiated Wright's anti-Israel remarks.

In Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, Marcel Groen, the chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party had this to say at a "gathering of Jewish communal and organizational leaders in Philadelphia."

Jews "don't have the luxury to decide if someone may be OK down the road...We have one candidate we know, the other we don't," Groen said, referring to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

The highest ranking Jewish leader in PA is Governor Ed Rendell, who supports Hillary, as does Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

The way I see it: It's true that Obama has been a supporter of Israel since becoming Senator and especially since running for President. But, as a state legislator in Illinois, he more often expressed his support for Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel's militarism.

What will he do as President? Will he support one at the expense of the other or be committed to a two-state solution? Toss a coin, you have a 50% chance of being right.

Related: One reporter complains of the "tight rein" Obama's campaign is keeping on its staffers and surrogates when it comes to speaking about the issue. She asks,

Who else are the Obama powers hiding while there are still so many serious questions floating out there among Jews about the man who would be president?

Update: Comments now closed.

< Obama Purges 900 CA Delegates, Then Reinstates Many of Them | Philadelphia "Street Money" As an Issue in Primary Race >
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    wonder if he even has an opinion (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by DandyTIger on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:25:57 AM EST
    about anything really. I mean he may have had the pro Palestinian stance to get where he got in Illinois. Then he's switched to a pro Israeli stance for the Senate, and now presidency. I'm not sure we really know where he stands. And if you think about this pattern including Wright and most everything else, I really have no idea where he really stands on anything. He's a bit of a Zelig.

    I agree with you (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by MMW on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:09:45 AM EST
    The impression I get of Obama, is that the narrative he furthers of himself, is the picture of the man he would like to be, but not the man he is. I don't think he knows how to be the man in the narrative. He must recognize the impossibility of being Solomon in all things. But he lacks the courage to take a stand. He doesn't want Blacks saying, "you're not black" because they disagree and he doesn't want Whites saying "but you're black, what else would you choose".

    As a person of mixed race he has had to choose a side constantly with the opposite side condemning him for that choice. I think he learnt to say yes to all sides in order to make his life easier, to not deal with the displeasure.

    If you look at the recent 2006 elections, the Dems promised something and have yet to deliver it, but the electorate seems to have simply forgotten those promises. No ones feet are kept to the fire. Perhaps the Dem / Repub identities are too ingrained. As a Dem you automatically side with electing Dems or the nation will fall apart and the Repubs think the same. But neither have the courage of their convictions to abandon the identity. Obama realizes this and uses it. He lacks courage because he has never had to show it, and honestly, he won't have to show it now or later, because everyone will forget.

    So many here say they see his potential, that he is sooo talented, that he's just not ready. Where is the evidence? What is the achievement? I personally am yet to see any talent or potential. Anyone can read a speech written for them. Besides, I have never found anything remarkable in his speeches or his delivery of them.

    I guess if I want words there are some pretty good novelists around. I'll opt for them.


    I'm not sure if your (none / 0) (#101)
    by 1jpb on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:51:04 AM EST
    inquiry is earnest or rhetorical.  But assuming the former; he was an organizer on the streets, president of Harvard Law Review (HRC failed the bar in DC), civil rights attorney, taught constitutional law for ten years, wrote two books without ghost writers (unlike HRC and McCain), more experience and successful as a legislator than HRC, and has demonstrated better management skills than HRC or McCain on his campaign, which is the biggest management challenge any of these candidates have ever met.

    He's had the same philosophical approach since entering politics.  In a 1995 profile in The Chicago Reader, he said, "What if a politician were to see his job as an organizer, as part teacher and part advocate, one who does not sell voters short but who educates them about the real choices before them?"

    PS: He seems to be very involved in the writing of his speeches. I can see why you would assume otherwise since most politicians don't write there own material.  I'm sure you'll agree that this is a situation where BO's talent exceeds the capacity of most politicians (including HRC and McCain.)


    Whoa there (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by cal1942 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:24:11 AM EST
    "more experience and successful as a legislator than HRC, and has demonstrated better management skills than HRC or McCain on his campaign, which is the biggest management challenge any of these candidates have ever met.

    Obama was given legislative gifts in his last two years in the Illinois legislature, given credit for the work of others courtesy of his pal the Senate president.  His first six years, before Democrats got control, were ZERO.

    Management?  George W. Bush had well run campaigns in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004. You think that makes him a superior manager? Karl Rove yes, GW Bush no.

    David Axelrod managed Obama's campaign in 2004 and now in 2008.

    You actually think that the candidate manages the campaign?

    I really like this little bit ""What if a politician were to see his ... one who does not sell voters short but who educates them about the real choices before them?"

    Maybe Obama can "educate" we mere mortals about why his intent to confirm John Roberts was a wise real choice. His top Senate aide had to 'manage' that potential fiasco.

    Kool-Aid by the gallon.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#140)
    by MMW on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:16:41 AM EST
    I have nothing substantial to add to this response.

    If some supporters would only stop and pay some semblance of attention to actual facts, perhaps Obama could have educated someone. As is, he has not educated his newly minted political supporters in the issues facing this country, or his policy proposals, much less for those who refused the chalice.



    More legislative accomplishments? (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Radix on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:57:31 AM EST
    Not according to factcheck.org. Perhaps if Obama did have a ghost writer, or proof reader, he wouldn't have written about being conceived at Selma or his father being airlifted by the Kennedy's? And those groups he organized were already organized, he just joined the party after all the heavy lifting was done.

    I'm a supporter of Palestinian rights (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Prabhata on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:26:42 AM EST
    Because the Palestinian issue is only a small issue, and Obama has not been open about supporting the Palestinian cause, I don't believe he has the spine to do the right thing.  BC demonstrated a desire to find a solution, and I think HRC will also do some heavy lifting to get the Israelis to stop their settlements in occupied territory to move towards a workable solution.

    I am too (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by tree on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:50:33 AM EST
    and if I thought that Obama was going to be more even-handed in dealing with Israel it probably would have been enough to make me an Obama supporter, despite my other misgivings about him. But everything that he has done since reaching the US Senate and running for President indicates to me that, just as Stellaa said, he's thrown the Palestinians under the bus in his quest for higher office. He's tried to position himself to the right of Clinton on Israel and there's no indication that he will change his stripes if he gets elected. He knows he'll face a lot of opposition if he tries to push Israel for some equity, or if he tries to withhold US aid, or even threaten such an act, to get Israel to end the 40 year long occupation, or even to stop the continual settlement building. He won't buck the status quo, sad to say.

     He's obviously learned the lesson of Howard Dean, who called for the US to be "even-handed" and was nearly universally condemned by every other politician. Its a very sad fact of US politics, but there it is.


    update, read Jeralyn's response (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:34:28 AM EST
    I see your point, that his more recent stance is a matter of convenience.

    Well...I concede the point.  At the same time, the quotations offered demonstrate the minefield.  Abe Foxman and Groen certainly know that Hillary will toe their line.  Not so sure about Obama.

    If this is the litmus test, he needs to pass it.  If it is not, he needs to shun it.

    At the same time, I'm looking for any type of criticism about the fact that Hillary apparently passed the litmus test rather easily, and that this topic is worthy of further discussion.

    In short, Obama's apparent wishy-washiness on this issue is only fair game if HIllary's absolutism on this issue is  as well.  It is not good to pander, but if Jeralyn's critique is correct, both are doing it, to the same people, just Obama is more ambivalent about it.

    Not a strong critique of Obama in my opinion, more a testament to the very narrow range of views regarding Israel that are allowed by our politics, both Dem and GOP.

    so wishy-washiness is bad and consistency is bad (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by DandyTIger on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:44:35 AM EST
    I'm confused by your statement:
    In short, Obama's apparent wishy-washiness on this issue is only fair game if HIllary's absolutism on this issue is  as well

    In other words, one candidate changing opinions depending on the audience is only fair game for critique if the other candidate who is consistent on an issue is equally critiqued. Perhaps you mean not for any random issue but just this very loaded and troubling issue.

    thanks (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:46:31 AM EST
    I see your point, that his more recent stance is a matter of convenience.

    That's what it seems like to me from reading the news articles about what he's saying now and what's he's said/done in the past.

    Since I haven't read any news reports critiquing Hillary's inconsistency on the issue, it wasn't a topic in this post.

    I write frequently that my greatest problem with Obama is trying to figure out where he really stands. I read countless articles and then do Lexis searches going back to the early 90's, and I really can't tell because he morphs from absolute positions to modified ones which carve out exceptions or clarify to a degree where the original statement no longer holds.

    My bottom line, as I also say (probably ad nauseum) is "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't and I'm not buying a pig in a poke."  As to McCain, of course he's better and if he's the nominee I'll vote for him, cross my fingers and hope for the best. But as to who the nominee should be, I'll take the candidate whose views I have followed since the 1990's and whose positions on issues, while they may not match mine in many respects, are consistent, well thought out and borne of experience.


    the "he" is Obama (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:53:00 AM EST
    of course Obama is better than McCain and I will vote for Obama if he's the nominee. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    I agree (none / 0) (#108)
    by bjorn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:07:03 AM EST
    and will also vote for Obama if he wins.

    I trust HRC more than BO (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Prabhata on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:37:19 AM EST
    to find a solution between the Palestinian and the Israelis.  I don't believe BO has the temperament to get into that morass.  HRC has the temperament to push and get the process done.  She'd be the type to tell Israel, no more money for you unless you behave.

    Precisely (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:40:37 AM EST
    Obama is a pleaser.  He will not do anything that makes people not like him, so he will never do the hard things.  It's that simple.  

    Obama... (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by OrangeFur on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:47:18 AM EST
    ... is deeply afraid of taking any position that might offend anyone. Unless those anyones aren't too large in number.

    I can't think of a single stand he's taken that might be unpopular. His waffling is getting almost comical.

    (Before you ask, I can think of at least one for Hillary Clinton--mandates for health care. Clearly not popular, but the right thing to do.)

    She usually lays out solutions/ideas (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:24:12 AM EST
    so she doesn't always have to take a hard stand that might offend. She considers both sides and knows how to leave herself space, knowing situations can change. If you compare their words (lol!~) she usually phrases a position/stand, but leaves the door cracked just in case. He always (imo) sounds like he's putting everything on the table for now, without taking an actual position.

    His table is getting full. And she's just one Wonky B ;)


    This is a case where some inconsistency (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by RickTaylor on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:56:23 AM EST
    is a virtue. It's a given that candidates with a serious chance to be elected President are going to pander to the Israeli lobby. Clinton has made speeches to AIPAC saber rattling at Iran ("no option can be taken off the table") that have worried me, even as they weren't seen as bellicose enough by those attending.

    That Obama has been inconsistent gives me hope that he at least understands Palestinian interests and the U.S. may turn out to again become an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. If not, well, he won't be much different than other politicians in this area. But then I've never denied Obama was anything other than an extremely talented ambitious politician, and appealing to different groups with contradictory demands is something successful politicians do.

    Just to add, this is similar to the dynamic (none / 0) (#35)
    by RickTaylor on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:35:40 AM EST
    with Cuba, which is far more black and white. Our ongoing boycott of an island nation that is not threat to us is simply a crime. Yet no one who wants to run for President and have a chance of winning can say that. This article from Hillary Clinton's website argues that she has been more consistent in her opposition to ending the embargo.  And Obama has obviously toughened his stance, as opposing the cuban blockade without conditions is simply untenable for any mainstream politician. But again, this is not area where I'd consider consistency a virtue, and I'm glad that in the past he has supported normalization of relations when it was politically tenable for him to do so, and that, unlike Hillary Clinton, he has stated he is at least willing to negotiate with Raul Castro.

    That's the problem with Obama, (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by FlaDemFem on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:39:25 AM EST
    every thing he says and does is because
    was politically tenable for him to do so
    When is he going to stand on a principle?? Of any kind? When is he going to tell us what HE thinks, rather than what he thinks we want to hear. When is he going to be anything other than a flag in the wind, flapping in the direction of the strongest wind???

    Is this a behavior pattern? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:15:56 AM EST
    At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.

    Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn't talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.

    I'm sorry, but I have no confidence in him and what he will do. Coin tosses are for Iowa caucuses.

    Oh really? (none / 0) (#138)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:16:17 AM EST
    "Coin tosses are for Iowa caucuses"  Care to explain your flippant comment any further?

    'Cause sure as heck don't know ANYONE who decided their choice at the caucus with the flip of a coin.

    Maybe I shouldn't expect any better from someone from NY.


    indeed. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by cpinva on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:06:30 AM EST
    Will the real Obama please stand up?

    more to the point, is there a real obama? rezko, wright, radical arab/palestinian activists, oh my! none of whom he seems to recall seeing or hearing anything adverse about, in the time he associated with them.

    sen. obama is very quickly becoming "the man who wasn't there".

    Name one issue (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:40:52 AM EST
    where Obama has demonstrated a consistent position based on principle without nuances.  BTW I don't necessarily think he does it in a calculating way.  I think in large part that is his personality.  Like Bill Clinton, he wants to be liked.  This leads to bargaining and triangulation.  This also makes him vulnerable to bad advice.

    Yes, on paper (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by BarnBabe on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:01:59 AM EST
    He does sound like a person with a genuine heart for helping people just by the record you mentioned. But then why did such a concerned person not know that his friend was a slum lord in his own district? That is pretty hard to miss.

    I see a problem because we do not really know based on his record because his record says one thing and for all we know it was all based upon calculation. Politicians are all calculating. I just want to know what his true in the heart beliefs are. If his record shows Pro Israel, but in his heart he is the opposite, what will his final stance be as a POTUS. His record of not quiting Wright's church is suspect. Oprah did. BHO knew it was a problem and took no action except to try & distance himself. That is the problem. If Wright was his mentor, and that is on his record, is this how he truly believes in his heart but says not? We just don't know and I do not want to take the chance. And if you think we are being tough on him, just wait for the stuff that the GOP will fling. It will make us look like we were throwing cotton balls.

    Here's the problem (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:57:56 AM EST
    Many of the things he's done are obviously political positioning to win the election. I bow to reality in that case you can't change nothing if you can't get political power.


    Back to Obama though I don't get how people can say they don't know what he's about. He put all his policies upon his website. You don't even have to go digging but if you want you can.

    If you acknowledge that he's taken positions (many positions even) to "win an election", then what help are the positions on his website?  How can I believe that those aren't just positions he's taken to "win an election"?  

    As I said up above, the Israel issue is not make or break for me, but it's pretty clear he's pandering.  If he's pandering on this, it's possible that he's also pandering on an issue I do care about.  

    As Jeralyn says, Clinton has a long record to see where she stands.  Obama doesn't and what record he does have would undercut many of his arguments (namely, that he's anti-war, but he never lead that fight in the Senate or even voted to cut off funding until he started to run for president).

    More echoes of Bush in this quote, (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by MarkL on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:45:17 AM EST
    for me. The delusional self-aggrandizement in his statement about being the fiercest critic of anti-Semitism typifies Obama to me.
    He routinely compares himself to great figures in history, with so little reason.

    He said the same type of thing (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:57:43 AM EST
    about himself and GBLT issues in the interview with the Advocate discussed yesterday.

    So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history.

    BS is a kind word for what this man is slinging.


    Obama could be right... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by ahazydelirium on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:31:15 AM EST
    ...if you forget that Hillary was the first and only First Lady to march (not just once but several times) in a gay pride parade.

    ...if you ignore the fact that Obama refused to have his photo taken with Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco who handed out marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004 in defiance of law.


    What?! {deep breath} (none / 0) (#142)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:27:57 AM EST
    Ok, this goes along with his stance he is more knowledgeable on FP than the other 2. More BS.

    Obama = Kerry? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by bjorn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:05:53 AM EST
    I am not trying to be snarky, but you said:

    "What I have seen in his positions is that they are complicated as fitting to some of the complex questions we are facing."

    As I recall this was Kerry's argument for all his flip-flopping.  He wasn't a flip flopper it was just that things are complicated!  And it is probably true, but we know now it does not sell in an election.  So if Obama is trying to nuance and position himself by saying things are complicated, he is going to lose.  Bush taught us something, be consistent, follow your principles.  Of course, he forgot about the part where you admit mistakes.  But honestly, what are Obama's principles on Palenstine and Israel?  What are his principles on any issue?

    Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by AF on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:09:36 AM EST
    Is a pretty great position to have, if you ask me.  

    Much more to the story. (5.00 / 0) (#124)
    by 1jpb on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:36:54 AM EST
    Haaretz Columnist: "Obama Passed Any Test Anyone Might Have Wanted Him To Pass. So, He Is Pro-Israel. Period."

    New York Sun: Obama's "Commitment To Israel...Is Quite Moving" Which "Israel's Friends In America...Can Warmly Welcome."

    Friedman: All The Candidates "Have Demonstrated Their Support For A Strong US-Israel Relationship."

    Wexler: Obama Has "An A-Plus" On Israel.

    Cohen: Obama "Feels Israel In His Kishkas."

    Pinkas: "If Barack Obama Is Not 'Pro-Israel,' Then Neither Are Most Israelis."

    Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf: Obama "Offers What America, Israel, And The Jewish Community Need."

    -2000: Obama Said That The US Must Be Israel's Ally In Her Quest For Peace And That "Israel Can Take Risks For Peace Only Because Of Unwavering American Support."

    -2002: Obama Passed A Resolution That Condemned Terrorist Attacks Against Israel; Called On Arafat To Put An End To Terrorist Attacks "Which Emanate From Areas Under His Jurisdiction."

    -2002: Obama Voted To Allow The State Of Illinois To Invest In Israeli Bonds.

    -2004: Obama Said "Our First And Immutable Commitment Must Be To The Security Of Israel."

    -2006: Obama Cosponsored And Passed A Resolution Endorsing Israel's Right To Self-Defense And Condemning Hamas And Hezbollah.

    -2006: Obama Cosponsored And Passed The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act Which Would Discourage International Aid To Hamas Unless It Recognizes Israel, Disarms And Renounces Violence.

    -2007: Obama Spoke With Prime Minister Olmert As Annapolis Talks Began, Reiterated His Commitment To Israel's Security As The Basis For Peace Negotiations

    -2008: Obama Said Israel Was Among America's "Most Important Allies And Their Security Is Sacrosanct."

    More details can be found.

    And there has been a similarly detailed response to any anti-BO article in WaPo or NYT.  Just go back through each month.

    Thanks for doing the research! (none / 0) (#127)
    by 1jane on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:46:08 AM EST
    I did nothing (none / 0) (#133)
    by 1jpb on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:58:37 AM EST
    but go to the BO website.

    I put the link at the bottom.


    I'm really confused (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Jgarza on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:10:34 AM EST
    as to the supposed "wishy washiness." Obama has a record, its pro Israel, clearly he is a diplomatic person.  Seems like this is just an attempt to raise questions about a really loaded issue.  

    Frankly pushing the idea that you can't ever have been seen with someone who isn't completely pro-israel, or you are wishy washy, is the kind of political litmus test that will make substantively dealing with Israeli Palestinian problem impossible.

    This is so dissapointing (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by fuzzyone on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:56:46 AM EST
    The way I see it: It's true that Obama has been a supporter of Israel since becoming Senator and especially since running for President. But, as a state legislator in Illinois, he more often expressed his support for Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel's militarism.

    There is absolutely nothing inconsistent in these positions.  For a liberal blog to suggest there is is just stunning.  I am a Jew who supports Israel.  Its a country I love and feel a deep connection to.  The blind support of Bush and AIPAC are not beneficial to Israel.  There needs to be a two state solution and the U.S. needs to be an honest broker between the sides.  I think Bill Clinton came very close and George Bush has destroyed the ability of the U.S. to fill that honest broker role.  I would hope that either dem would restore it and everything I see here makes me think Obama would.

    Israel is safe (3.66 / 3) (#1)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:14:48 AM EST
    Obama threw the Palestinians under the bus with Grandma.  No way will his handlers and donors have it any other way.  I read the EI stuff months ago.  It's clear that he will now be more pro Israel in order to prove that he is pro Israel.  Whereas I think Hillary could have been a better broker for ME peace.  

    Why do you think (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:17:13 AM EST
    he will stay pro-Israel after the election?

    Well...it's why I don't agree with Kerry (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:24:04 AM EST
    He is not a black or different president, he is an America president.  American interests don't get diluted that easily.  He will play the game and he will have to play it harder to prove that he is with the program.  

    Whereas Hillary, has a track record and I think she could have been a better broker for peace.  Maybe I am wrong.  But, I get more scared by people who have to prove they are macho or loyal, the get more extreme.  


    Makes sense to me (none / 0) (#54)
    by stillife on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 05:43:23 AM EST
    Sort of like Nixon with China - they said a Democratic President couldn't have done that.

    However, I'm not exactly pro-Zionist. I know many people who are and from what I hear, they don't hae confidence in our theory.


    Israel and US imperialism (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Andreas on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:41:18 AM EST
    Israel and US imperialism are linked since many years. There is currently no reason why this would change.

    This does not imply that US imperialism does not and will not act against the interest of Jews.


    Yes. (none / 0) (#85)
    by ctrenta on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:06:07 AM EST

    Look at how much clout the Israeli lobby has in America. Look how much military aid the U.S. government approves and sends to Israel. It doesn't matter if it's Obama or HRC. Both will favor Israel's needs at the expense of Palestine's. Same as it always was.

    Absolutely right..... (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:45:09 AM EST
    Take your pick out of the 3 stooges, all will continue to arm and send fat checks to Israel...to our detriment and the detriment of peace.

    Absolutely right... (none / 0) (#103)
    by workingclass artist on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:57:23 AM EST
    Don't kid yourself....Hamas does not want peace. They are currently running the show.

    Obama launches Hebrew blog (none / 0) (#147)
    by Josey on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:36:31 AM EST
    What about Samantha Power? (none / 0) (#61)
    by Joan in VA on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:22:06 AM EST
    She will be back in his administration. She is very pro Palestinian and she wants much more U.S. involvement there than I would want. She seems very antagonistic towards Israel.

    Yikes... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:03:43 AM EST
    Since when has TalkLeft become the haven of zionism?  Folks, this is a complex issue and both sides deserve a fair shake.  Of course Obama wants to help out Palestinians.....who wouldn't...Israel perpetuates what amounts to apartheid.

    apartheid? (1.00 / 0) (#92)
    by angie on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:25:16 AM EST
    The use of this word to describe Israel's actions shows a complete lack of understanding of the complex issues you mention.  Whether you are pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine, such a characterization is grossly inappropriate and inexcusable.  

    No, it's not (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:27:49 AM EST
    Jimmy Carter has used the word apartheid, and I'm not uninformed, but you wouldn't be able to judge that over the internet.

    You can argue that you disagree with the characterization, but it's flat out wrong to say that it necessitates a misunderstanding of the issue--because there are informed persons who characterize it as such at very high levels.

    I agree with Daedalus on this. (none / 0) (#95)
    by MarkL on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:29:38 AM EST
    Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is an ongoing crime against humanity.
    Of course the terrorist acts against the Israelis are also an abomination.
    After 8 years spent suffering the effects of Bush's destructive incompetence, maybe both sides will
    be ready to work with the new President to reduce conflict. I have no idea how, though.

    Yes, Apartheid (none / 0) (#122)
    by Andreas on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:35:15 AM EST
    This Wikipedia page perhaps answers some questions:

    Allegations of Israeli apartheid


    Yes, Apartheid... (none / 0) (#131)
    by workingclass artist on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:55:07 AM EST
    Read it and it is not the same. Sorry but Israel is a different case and South Africa A. was not surrounded by hostile nations who express intent of annialating th Israeli state. B. South Africa was not a state created by UN charter. C. Missles were not lobbed into town.D. Sout Africa was not torn between religious factions and extremists. Perhaps if the Palestinians were to come up with their own Mandela things could move forward, No?

    Yikes (none / 0) (#96)
    by workingclass artist on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:36:39 AM EST
    I don't rememer the African National Congress shooting MISSLES over to the center of Johannesburg from Soweto... The comparison is not a very valid one. South Africa was not in a seige state, but hey...it plays well to the intended audience. Next they will be calling this a Palesinian Holocaust.

    This is a complicated problem with alot of issues to consider.
    Here's one how would you feel if Washington D.C. was split down the middle so that 1/2 could become a capital for say the New Country of Virginia ? Palestinians will not negotiate unless they have Jerusalem as a capital which is geographically impractical. Carter knows this and said a provacative statement to promote his book.

    Wow (none / 0) (#3)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:23:05 AM EST
    Wow, this post scares the crap out of me.

    With regard to TL and Jeralyn.

    Are you really saying that someone who has an ounce of sympathy and understanding of the Palestinian situation is somehow not fit to be president?

    As Matt Yglesias often points out, the spectrum of views about Israel is far more dynamic, open, and honest among Israeli Jews than it is amongst American politicians.

    This post, and your initial comment, are really saddening.

    Absolutely not (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:26:18 AM EST
    I said nothing of the kind. Nor did I express my own views of Israel and Palestine. I am writing about news reports showing his inconsistency and questioning whether his current support for Israel is a product of his run for President or are his true beliefs.

    it's not inconsistency. (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by selise on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:42:12 AM EST
    The way I see it: It's true that Obama has been a supporter of Israel since becoming Senator and especially since running for President. But, as a state legislator in Illinois, he more often expressed his support for Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel's militarism.

    jeralyn - imo, this is the problem. you are equating support for palestinian rights and opposition to israeli militarism as the opposite of support for israel.

    nothing could be further from the truth.

    and even worse - this is the kind of false choice the right in the usa makes: that support for iraqi rights and opposition to american militarism is anti-americanism.

    i hope you will reconsider your amplification of right wing frames.


    It's Deeply Troubling, jeralyn (none / 0) (#70)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:06:05 AM EST
    We should not excoriate our politicians who seeks to give Palestinians a fair shake but are cognizant of the political ramifications of doing so during election season.  It's a political reality--furthermore, your post itself offers the rationale for Obama's seeming timidness in addressing this issue forthrightly (namely, that he will be smeared as a Muslim.)

    Ah (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:51:18 AM EST
    So that's the latest excuse.  Obama can't show leadership because he's in the middle of an election.  Well if he were elected, he'd be up again in four years.  So could we expect that he would not show leadership in that time as well?  

    I'm sick of guessing where this guy might be if he wasn't "forced to lower himself into the squalor of presidential politics".  

    The Israel issue is not make or break for me.  And I know enough about Washington to know that presidential politics requires a more pro-Israel stance.  That's what he's doing.  And guess what?  It's makes him a typical politician!

    He's not special, he's pandering.  If you don't like this particular pander, you should tell the campaign.  But you shouldn't criticize folks who aren't willing to play WORM.


    I don't expect to concede a point. (none / 0) (#91)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:24:21 AM EST
    But, first, he has shown leadership on this issue.  The media, as you may recall, jumped all over him for acknowledging Palestinian suffering.  Second, Senator Clinton hasn't stepped up to the plate on this one either--and I don't expect her to.  It's not a "winning issue", and I'm just as cynical as anyone when it comes to the P/I conflict.  That doesn't mean Barack Obama isn't "special".  And that he's "special" doesn't mean he never "panders".  (For what it's worth, pandering is not the same thing as avoiding a touchy issue.  There is a difference.)

    It's part of pattern (none / 0) (#109)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:08:08 AM EST
    This issue, every issue.  When is he taking unpopular positions?  you claim he made a statement about Palestine that the media jumped on him for.  Maybe he did for one second but when there was heat he immediately backed away!  

    Reading the Huff Post comments on purging the delegates was a real eye opener for me.  Everyone was willing to excuse the campaign's actions by saying that 1) it was Hillary's fault, 2) even if it was politics, it wasn't obama himself and 3) even if it was Obama, he just has to lower himself to win, but then things will be super.  No.  Really.  Because he's the one.

    At what point does it become, "I don't like his position/actions and will not contort reality to make him something that he clearly is not?"  Does that point even exist?


    No. (none / 0) (#114)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:15:13 AM EST
    And that's why some call them cultists.

    Realism about their candidate is not allowed. It's racist, it's Hillary's fault, or it's destructive to the Democratic Party. Take your pick of all three reasons, or apply them all together. They all seem to alleviate any possible objections.

    I will clearly state my reservations about Hillary and FP. She is too hawkish for me. Unfortunately, Obama is just as hawkish. Given my choice of two hawks, I prefer the person who actually took a stand on the AUMF and the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, and who has backed up her words with actions.


    Why isn't this (none / 0) (#90)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:21:25 AM EST
    an example of "doing and saying anything to get elected".  I don't have a problem with Obama's tactics.  I understand why he is using them.  The part I don't understand is his negative personal attacks on others for doing the same thing.

    Doing or Saying "Anything"? (none / 0) (#93)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:26:18 AM EST
    Because he's backed off a touchy issue that the media jumped down his throat about when he stood up for Palestinian rights?  He can't do any good in the conflict if he doesn't get elected.  I don't think this is doing or saying "anything"; it's hardly the worst crime in a politician's playbag to downplay previous statements.

    The comparisons to what Clinton has done on this one issue are not apt.  I'm not going to play the game of who has done what to get elected, but on this issue, it's not a fair comparison.

    I'm picturing you (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:48:58 AM EST
    as a human pretzel by now, with these contortions.

    We get it.  Obama is playing old-style politics.  But we also get that it's hypocritical for him to do so, claiming not to be an old-style pol.  Do you?


    Blah (none / 0) (#106)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:04:38 AM EST
    I wouldn't call it "old style".  That's too simple of a statement, and it obfuscates some very real changes he's implemented.

    The bottom-up participation and fundraising is important to note (he's not alone in this regard among Dems, btw, just pointing it out.)  He's also taken some very unpopular stances that defy an "old style" classification.

    Is he completely free of politicking?  Of course not.  I've never claimed this.

    Really? (none / 0) (#119)
    by Nadai on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:28:47 AM EST
    What unpopular stances would those be?  And what exactly is an "old style" classification?

    Both good questions (none / 0) (#125)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:41:31 AM EST
    But it's really getting beyond the scope of this post.  Unpopular stance that does pertain to this post was his acknowledgment of Palestinian suffering.  Ditto his desire to sit down with heads of states from the "axis of evil" powers.  Those are unpopular are they not?

    As far as the "old style", I'm not quite sure it can be summarized easily, and I think it's a silly thing to bicker about.  

    Pols Are Pols (none / 0) (#143)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:29:56 AM EST
    Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who had the courage to call for a Palestinian state during her days as first lady, has become a pro-Israeli hawk ever since she ran for the Senate in 2000.



    It isn't just this one issue (none / 0) (#123)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:35:37 AM EST
    It's every issue I can think of.  Guns, anti gay clergy, choice, reverend wright, trade, health care, and on and on.  Obama always frames things so as to have it both ways.  It may or may not be good politics (people may catch on after a while) but it isn't new poliics.

    You're dead wrong. (none / 0) (#126)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:44:29 AM EST
    Let's talk about anti-gay clergy:  he's several times rebuked anti-gay attitudes to church-goers.  His own church is incredibly pro-gay.

    Let's talk choice:  when has he ever been anti-choice?

    Let's talk health care:  Disagree with his stance on mandates, but how is this "having it both ways"?

    let's talk guns: He's been pretty clear that he favors stronger gun control, but it's not a political reality at the moment.  That seems straightforward to me.

    Contrast this to someone who really does want it both ways--John McCain, who told 60 minutes that "water-boarding" is torture but then voted against a bill prohibiting it.  Ditto for McCain's lobbying ties.  Ditto for McCain's abortion stances.....the list goes on.

    That is not how I read it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:26:56 AM EST
    I read it as the transformation of Obama.  He started as one thing and then went 360 degrees the other way.  That is what I find actually disturbing, particularly for the Palestinians.  

    But that;'s not what he is doing (none / 0) (#45)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:54:58 AM EST
    He is not expressing any sympathy for the Palestinians now.  He seems to have temporarily (I hope) shoved them in the closet.  Gun control is another issue where he has tried to have it both ways.  His positions appear poll driven which is ironic because that was a big complain about Hillary.  I read somewhere that Obama has more people polling than Hillary.  I don't know if it is true.

    Re: Palestinians (none / 0) (#71)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:07:30 AM EST
    I recall one very strong instance where he showed support for the Palestinians and was flogged in the media.  There's a political reality to this issue, and you can't have it both ways.  He supports them, on the "down-low", because to do otherwise would invite all sorts of smear-tactics.  That's the best we're going to get from a politician with the middle name Hussein.  

    I understand why he is doing it (none / 0) (#86)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:07:21 AM EST
    but that is just politics as usual.  Where is the change?

    Any politician who ever makes the change claim. (none / 0) (#110)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:08:47 AM EST
    Will be held to a ridiculously high standard.  Of course he "plays politics", but that in itself doesn't mean he hasn't implemented change.  This discussion will is too long for an internet forum, and I'm sure there will be books in the future analyzing this very topic.

    Just give me one example (none / 0) (#128)
    by Manuel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:50:53 AM EST
    of where Obama has implemented fundamental change from "politics as usual".  I am not holding him to a very high standard.  It is Obama who holds others to a high standard he himself can't meet.  That is his problem and unless he tones that down he is going to have a problem in the GE if he is the nominee.  Of course, McCain will have a similar proble with straight talk (and will be hammered for it).

    Obama's support for Palestinians (none / 0) (#97)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:37:11 AM EST
    Letter to the UN supporting Israeli actions in Gaza.  Gee, HRC did not even go out of her way like this to support what Israel is doing in Gaza.  

    Pro Israel (none / 0) (#9)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:28:17 AM EST
    What does that exactly mean?  

    This post seems to mean that it cannot be anything other than anti-Palestinian.

    A very narrow view, one that many  Israelis and Jews do not share.

    A two state situation requires a breakdown of notions such as "pro Israel" and "pro Palestinian" into a larger discourse that involves peace, reality, and what might...might work.  So far, all is elusive, but it is safe to say that the major antagonists are not going away, so something needs to be done to move (however slowly) towards compromise.

    Pro-Israel does not mean pro-settlement, or pro-invade Lebanon, or pro-invade Iraq.  It means trying to achieve peace.

    That's exactly the question I asked (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:30:57 AM EST
    Will he be pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian or work towards a two state solution? As I said, toss a coin.

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:35:45 AM EST
    He will go out of his way to prove his pro Israel stance and therefore will not be effective in getting a resolution.  That is why I preferred Hillary on this issue.  

    He Is Not Right Wing Like Bush (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:37:53 AM EST
    Is being pro Israel automatically indicate being anti-Palestinian or vice versa. Many jews in Israel are sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians and protest against their own right wing government policies. Are they anti Israel?

    Seems to me that if he shows support for both Israelies and Palestinians,  that is a good thing.


    perhaps if he did, but he doesn't (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by DandyTIger on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:49:19 AM EST
    He now pretends he never said any of those things and has only ever been on the pro Israel side (like silly says, whatever the heck that means). So it isn't that he has been brave and above politics and has said there are two sides to be listened too, and two states to be made, and fault on both sides. No, he hasn't said that at all. He has said what he needs to say to whatever audience he's with. In other words, he's a typical slick politician.

    but that's not what he's doing (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:51:51 AM EST
    He is now showing one-sided support for Israel. In the past, he favored Palestinians. It would be great if he just came out now and said he is committed to a two-state solution that is fair to both sides. But instead, presumably because he wants the Jewish vote, he's catering to them for it. When he needed the Palestinian and Arab support -- when he ran for the state legislature -- he expressed his alliance with them. Will the real Obama please stand up?

    Not Hardline (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:05:24 AM EST
    It would be great if he just came out now and said he is committed to a two-state solution that is fair to both sides.
     Or Peace? A two state solution is not a good thing from what I can tell.

    If it is true that the both the Palestinians and the Israelies find him favorable why is that a bad thing?

    From the Jerusalem Post:

    Even as he repeatedly stressed his support for the US-Israeli alliance as the unshakable starting point of his approach to the Middle East, Obama insisted that both the Israelis and the Palestinians must be accountable in progressing.

    "I don't consider myself in any camp other than the common sense camp," he said, when asked if he favors those who see the Israel alliance as uppermost or those who advocate greater balance. "It is dangerously simplistic to think that our only options with respect to US foreign policy are to be unquestioning in our approach to Israel-Palestinian relations or alternatively to fail to recognize the special relationship and the historic friendship and bonds that exist between the United States and Israel."


    The US role "requires listening to both sides and talking to both sides, that requires that we don't dismiss out of hand the concerns of the Palestinians," Obama said. "Because there's no way we can move forward in those negotiations without at least understanding their perspective."

    "two state solution not a good thing" (none / 0) (#135)
    by rilkefan on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:05:56 AM EST
    Really? It's that or bloodshed to make Iraq look like Indiana.  Obama's rhetoric has shifted, but not from anywhere near there.

    I Think It Is Not Good (none / 0) (#152)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:47:26 AM EST
    It will essentially create a walled city to the benefit of Israel. The Palestinians will suffer as much or more than they do now and it will not be fair.  

    Both can live in peace one state. Equal rights are the key. It would lead to long term stability in the region while a two state solution would fuel an endless war.

    Meron Benvenisti, the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, has pronounced the two-state approach "inapplicable" to the problem of Israel and Palestine and is calling for a single binational state based on Arab-Jewish equality. In the United States the historian Tony Judt, declaring the Middle East peace process a dead letter in The New York Review of Books, says that the very idea of a Jewish state has become an "anachronism" in a multicultural world in which citizenship is increasingly separated from race, religion and ethnicity. "In today's 'clash of cultures' between open, pluralist democracies and belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno-states," he adds, "Israel actually risks falling into the wrong camp."

    Daniel Lazare


    Wildly overstated (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by rilkefan on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:20:56 AM EST
    He's for a two-state solution.  He's for the mainstream American position, which is not one-sided for Israel - WJC was an honest broker working for the benefit of both sides.  Obama's rhetorical emphasis may have shifted slightly, a matter of overriding interest to those who parse every statement on this issues for purity, but claiming him to have been allied with one side or the other is unreasonable.  HRC gets the same thing from the CDS crowd on this issue - "she's a neocon" etc.

    I always think of the movie (none / 0) (#21)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:54:38 AM EST
    Chinatown, where Faye Donway is crying:  "she's my sister, she's my daughter, she's my sister, she's my daughter".  

    I think this is the biggest problem I have with him.  There is no there, there.  


    at least Faye's character was telling the truth (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by DandyTIger on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:58:25 AM EST
    in that she was both her sister and her daughter.

    Funny thing is, I can handle a typical politician who needs to avoid saying too much or specifics as long as I have a good feel what they really think. But I have to say, I honestly have no idea what Obama stands for on many of the big issues including Choice. If he turned out to be a right wing fundy, I really wouldn't be shocked. And that's a bit scary.


    I don't trust him on women's issues (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:28:52 AM EST
    at all. He has not given me confidence in that area  and it's gone downhill since the primaries started. He just doesn't seem to recognize gender issues. In one debate, both Clinton and Edwards had to stress gender after something he said. How often do you here him mention it? Especially when he's talking about equality and manages to say race, religion and region . . .

    Two-State Solution (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:37:22 AM EST
    It would be great if he just came out now and said he is committed to a two-state solution that is fair to both sides.
    Evidentially he is for a two-state solution:

    On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more specifically, the Obama campaign has been very clear about its support for the two-state solution but has been vague on how to reach it. Ironically, Obama was the most forthcoming when speaking to 100 members of Cleveland, Ohio's Jewish community, as reported in The New York Sun on Feb. 25.



    offensive positions (none / 0) (#24)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:59:13 AM EST
    I agree with you OrangeFur, but the response to that is Hillary appears willing to appeal to groups of interests (not special interests, just interests, they all mean the same thing) that Obama supporters such as myself find troublesome.  Obama does not want to offend, but the flip side is, he alienates traditional constituencies by not completey adopting their views, which, in its own way, is a pretty strong thing to do.

    As I stated earlier, being super pro-Israel (as in, support Israel no matter what thier policies) seems to be some sort of litmus test.  People who talk about the Palestinians are labeled anti-Semitic, etc. (not by Hillary or her supporters, but by the discourse in general).

    So too with things such as flag-burning amendments, Cuba, hawkishness in general, a pro use of military force attitude, and a general unwillingness to engage our "enemies" through diplomacy (Iran, N. Korea, etc.).  Obama seeks not to offend.  Hillary seeks to underscore her support for some rather entrenched interests that don't exactly move our ability to solve problems forward.  So, again, I accept your point.  But I also have problems with Hillary being so pro military, so confrontational, and simply so old school in the bad way about how to address those in the world who disagree with us.

    I am sick of tough talk and trying to prove that you are more willing to kill people or go to extremes in order to enforce your will.  Hillary is more in this mold, and I don't like it.  At the same time, I understand that she, as a woman, and as Bill's wife, is under incredible pressure to prove her "masculine" chops.  It isn't fair.  At the same time, she is more hawkish than Obama, and that is a really big sour point for this guy, as I just don't see what being willing to use force, kill people, or deploy or military in response to international situations really gets us.  Obama brings the temper and outlook that makes it clear that military action is always the last resort, and therefore makes him, in my mind, more credible, both when trying to solve problems, and also if and when military action is required.  It is his last resort, not at the top of his diplomatic tool list.

    That's the talking points (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Edgar08 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:08:22 AM EST
    It's BS.

    Clinton will have more diplomatic success simply because she has a more competent understanding of what Diplomacy is.


    clarification (none / 0) (#28)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:09:32 AM EST
    Jeralyn, are you saying you would vote for McCain if Hillary is not the Democratic nominee?

    I just need to make sure I understand this is no uncertain terms.

    I'm referring to post #17 (so far as I can tell).

    I had to read it a couple times (none / 0) (#31)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:17:14 AM EST
    I think it was, if it was McCain or Obama, Obama was the vote.

    I expressly said (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:51:32 AM EST
    if Obama is the nominee, I will vote for him, keeping my fingers crossed that he will do the right things.

    Actually, I used the word "he" for Obama (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:53:57 AM EST
    I'll vote for Obama if he's the nominee.

    McCain typo by Jeralyn (none / 0) (#32)
    by silly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:17:45 AM EST
    I think you meant Obama in comment #17, not McCain.

    I'm pretty confident in this.

    Well... (none / 0) (#47)
    by BrandingIron on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:15:25 AM EST

    Can't he be both, or do you have some sort of aversion to evenhandedness or nuance?

    Ask a strict Zionist if you can be both...I don't think they'll say you can (I used to argue with one all the time...he was terribly, terribly anti-Palestine).

    It would be nice if that kind (none / 0) (#52)
    by JoeA on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 05:40:50 AM EST
    of mentality was not a litmus test for the US presidency.

    The fact that Obama has to soft pedal any kind of "even handedness" or admission that the palestinian people are humans too is a shame.


    He doesn't have to soft pedal. (none / 0) (#59)
    by magisterludi on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:55:53 AM EST
    He chooses to, as it is politically safer. Pretty much the way he's run his whole campaign.

    Oh, I forgot the meme. He's just equivocating now so he can win. Once elected he'll clue us all in as what his policy really is, and not just on the Mideast conflict, but Iraq, "free' trade, women's rights, the economy, climate change, etc.


    term of art (none / 0) (#113)
    by rilkefan on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:12:22 AM EST
    See below re "even-handed".

    Sort of a pattern isn't it? (none / 0) (#57)
    by lilburro on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:23:29 AM EST
    Private progressive views, public centrism.  Are we really supposed to believe that once elected Obama will spread the private views he has been so unwilling to take a firm stand on in national life?  The answer is no, but the progressive trojan horse lives on.

    Me too (none / 0) (#58)
    by koshembos on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:26:12 AM EST
    I am a strong supporter of Israel; I am a strong supporter of Palestine. As a matter of the fact, any other option is bad for both peoples.

    Changing hats for political expediency (none / 0) (#64)
    by Saul on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:42:25 AM EST
    is the main reason I started have doubts about Obama. You don't have to be a expert in politics to know that Obama started courting the Jewish agenda so as not to offend them and to get their votes.  I have no respect for someone that truly believes in something like he had for the Palestinian cause then makes a 180 degree turn in order to satisfy another group for political expediency.  When he boast of being against the war from day one with his anti war speech but then when he became U.S. senator said I better vote for the funding of the war because if I run for president I will  be looked at as unpatriotic and I cannot loose votes from those who will look at me as unpatriotic. When he gave the race speech after the Wright incident he gave that speech to quell a scandal and  in hopes  not to loose votes from the white community.  His holier than thou, I am going to be the that different politician as compared to my opponent went out the window quite some time ago.

    Nobody has spoken out more fiercely (none / 0) (#66)
    by MarkL on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:56:48 AM EST
    to defend Obama from unfair attacks... starting.. right.. NOW!

    I'm sure glad he won't say anything to win!

    Any chance for peace (none / 0) (#75)
    by cannondaddy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 08:25:02 AM EST
    will require facilitating both sides.  I would consider myself overwhelimingly pro-Isreali, but the Palestinians have legitimate greivances that need to recognized.

    Good for Abunimah (none / 0) (#87)
    by ctrenta on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:08:18 AM EST

     >>> Obama denies saying "those words" to Abunimah. <<<

    Good for Abunimah for holding Obama to his words. A good journalist always does that.

    Obama (none / 0) (#88)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:08:26 AM EST
    has shown a distressing tendency to talk out of both sides of his mouth on many issues. This is just one more to add to the column.

    Just a comment on terminology (none / 0) (#111)
    by rilkefan on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:08:51 AM EST
    As I understand it "even-handed" is often a term of art in discussing this issue - it is associated with the Palestinian viewpoint and rhetoric.  It does not necessarily mean "even-handed from the perspective of the fixed stars".  So if Obama used the term, it can be interpreted as a dog whistle.

    More important to evaluating where he stands or has committed himself to standing would be his position on the Clinton Parameters.  I don't know if he's committed himself there.

    Thread Cleaned (none / 0) (#118)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:24:27 AM EST
    of insults and off topic comments. The topic is what are Barack Obama's positions on Israel and Palestine and have they been consistent. It is not what you think his position should be or what your positions are or what others' positions are.

    United Jewish Commun Event (none / 0) (#148)
    by waldenpond on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:38:39 AM EST
    Here's a small piece on the representatives of the 3 candidates...  by Dana Milbank "The audacity of Chutzpah'   I got from the article that the audience was not very happy with the tone of Obama's representative which could be why there is not clear language from Obama.



    Not sure of the point of this post (none / 0) (#121)
    by AF on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:34:22 AM EST
    If the point is that Obama is less hard-right on Israel than Hillary, that is true.  But it's surprising to see that lodged as a criticism on a liberal blog.

    If the point is that Obama is wishy-washy on the issue, that is unfair.  It is a complex and volatile situation.  Expressing support for both Israeli and Palestinian interests is not pandering, it is diplomacy.

    the point (none / 0) (#137)
    by rilkefan on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:11:16 AM EST
    The rhetoric around this issue is highly charged.  Dog whistles everywhere, or heard everywhere.

    And note that liberal opinion on this question runs the gamut from "it's Israel's problem if it gets pushed into the sea" to "when the Palestinians all stop targeting schoolkids we'll start negotiating".


    I don't know if he's flip flopping (none / 0) (#134)
    by Edgar08 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:04:50 AM EST
    Or at the very least being more one thing than the other per his political aspirations.  But then who doesn't moderate their position I guess?  The question is does it reach the level of Romney-ism.  Was he so pro-Palestine as a local polician that it renders his now more pro-Israel position uncrediible?  I don't think so.

    I do know one of my first frustrations with the Obama movement is that when Clinton said "no options can be taken off the table" she was a warmonger, and when Obama said "no options can be taken off the table" he was a master statesman seeing all sides of the issue and bringing people together.

    Of course this phenomenon has now reached a point where it is utter self-parody.

    Only the pre-initiated can stomach it.  Everyone else is puking their guts out.

    Shocking that you deleted my comment (none / 0) (#139)
    by flyerhawk on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:16:37 AM EST
    Really I didn't see that coming.  Much easier to delete the comment than defend your dubious actions.  If you think the Erick Erickson reference was unreasonable perhaps you shouldn't post right wing hit pieces as legitimate news.

    For those who might care on this site,  the LA Times article is a straight hit piece.

    Peter Wallsten was looking for dirt.  He went to such notable sources as Debbie Schlussel who is none too pleased that he used her smears without appropriate accreditation.  Debbie apparently doesn't realize that if Wallsten had cited her, he would have lost just about all credibility.   Well he would have lost all credibility with people that actually care about their integrity.

    that's your view (none / 0) (#150)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:41:09 AM EST
    It was a news article, not an op-ed. Your first comment was objectionable. This one I'll let stay, but Debbie whoever is not the issue, Obama's positions on the issue is.

    This is (none / 0) (#141)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:27:52 AM EST
    the kind of stuff that causes huge general election problems. He has a record that he's pretending not to have. You can't be all things to all people.

    Links from instapundit (none / 0) (#146)
    by indy33 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:33:16 AM EST
    Sanwiched between a story about how the surge is great and Petraeus is a hero and its the democrats who have sold their soul on defeat in Iraq and a story about how liberals are the ones ruining the enviroment is this story from TALK LEFT, with a link proving Im sure to that great guy Glenn Reynolds that even liberals think Obama is a Palestinian sympathizer. How many times do stories from here need to be linked up to ultra right-wing blogs before the community here starts questioning what effect this is having on our chances in the fall. I know that some here are all about Hillary or no one but I dont think everyone is.I personally hope Obama takes a more pragmatic approach to Palestine , which I know many on the left agree with. People who read instapundit arent going to understand that the argument here is about clearing up his stance and nuance. They will see it as an attack by liberals against Obama for not being pro-Israel enough. Fuel for their fire in my opinion.

    how they take it (none / 0) (#149)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:39:13 AM EST
    isn't important. It's important that we know where he stands and whether what he states now is what he will hold to when President, or whether his current stance is one of political expediency. The time to decide what you believe about his position and consistency is before the nomination process is over, not after.

    Comments closing (none / 0) (#151)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:42:45 AM EST
    I don't intend to spend my day monitoring the hate filled comments here. As all points of view on Obama's point of view have been expressed, and that was the sole topic, I'm closing comments.

    I had many serious (none / 0) (#153)
    by facta non verba on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:49:47 AM EST
    foreign policy disagreements with Clinton 42 but one area where he was remarkable was on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He came very close to a comprehensive peace treaty because he worked tirelessly for it. It's not that he alone deserves this credit because it was a concert of action by the Norwegians, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Irish, the Dutch, the Germans, even the South Africans but it is undenialble that William Jefferson Clinton worked hard on this issue and force both the Israelis and the Palestinians to at least meet face to face. It is going to require that sort of effort again. Hillary Clinton is the best person to effect such an effort and she will do the same on Iraq. Like her husband, she is a tireless policy wonk. I don't always agree with them on policy initiatives but to be frank they actually achieve things. They get the job done.

    I only just discovered this link but (none / 0) (#155)
    by RickTaylor on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:38:34 PM EST
    it supports your point. Obama denouncing Carter for meeting wtiha Hamas leader. I cant' say I'm happy about that:

    "Sen. Obama does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with [a meeting with exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal] because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements," a spokesman for the Obama campaign said. "As president, Obama will negotiate directly with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas."

    the Lobby (none / 0) (#156)
    by bernarda on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 09:51:24 AM EST
    I made a couple of comments about AIPAC that have disappeared. Frankly, it is hard for me to imagine how an interview with historian Tony Judt could be offensive.