4 thoughts on “Obama on Israel”

  1. On Page 2:

    It is true that my Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who will be retiring this month, is somebody who on occasion can say controversial things.

    Now, observe a true master of obfustication in action. This tepid little pussy-foot “admission” will be followed by no less than nine qualifying excuses, a coupling of Israel with South Africa, an oh-so-nice implication of Jewish racism, and something (#6) that an intemperate person like Senator Clinton might call a god-damned lie.

    (Actually the admission already has a qualifier sandwiched into it – He’s retiring so it’s not like he’s going to be any kind of future problem and it’s really silly for me to even have to mention this, isn’t it? – but let’s call the first one a freebie.)

    Here we go:

    1. “Most of them by the way are controversial directed at the African American Community and calling on them start reading books and turn off the TV set and engage in self help.”

    2. “And he is very active in prison ministries and so forth.”

    3. “It is also true that he comes out of the 60s; he is an older man. That is where he cut his teeth.”

    4. “That he has historically been interested in the African roots of the African American experience.”

    5. “He was very active in the South Africa divestment movement and you will recall that there was a tension that arose between the African American and the Jewish communities During that period when we were dealing with apartheid in South Africa, because Israel and South Africa had a relationship at that time.”

    Now that’s five excuses so far, and already he’s cut Israel and American Jews in for a share of the blame. And he’s just warming up.

    6. “He does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan.”

    7. “But I have never heard an anti-Semitic made inside of our church. I have never heard anything that would suggest anti-Semitism on part of the Pastor.”

    8. “He is like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don’t agree with. And I suspect there are some of the people in this room who have heard relatives say some things that they don’t agree with. Including, on occasion directed at African Americans that maybe a possibility that’s just – I am not suggesting that’s definitive.”

    Stereotypical Jewish Liberal Guilt off the leeward bow, Captain. Shall we treble-shot the guns and lay across their stern?

    9. “And as I said that last point I would make is that you know my Pastor is going to be retiring over the next month.”

    That was a freebie until he repeated it.

  2. Obama is an obfuscater – but his defense may hold up. Amidst the obfuscations and shifting of blame, one can parse a coherent defense:

    * I don’t always agree with this guy.
    * He has never said anything anti-Jewish in church, and I’ve stood up publicly against anti-Jewish bigots like Farrakhan.
    * And I’m not going to kick a guy who’s about to retire, just because I’m running for President.

    Now, the second assertion re: what has been said in church is a yes/no matter of fact. If it’s not true, we have a problem. Likewise, depending on the content and virulence of the pastor’s comments outside the church, we may also have a problem.

    Assuming that neither of those things remains a problem, we have a situation similar to Harry Truman going to Pendergast’s funeral. Wherein he said:

    * Yes, the guy ran a political machine in my state, but I’ve always been my own man.
    * He never asked me to do a dishonest thing, and my record has always been verifiably honest.
    * And I’m not going to abandon a friend, especially at a time like this, just because it’s politically inconvenient.

    Which I’ve always thought was a persuasive and even an honorable response.

    Not an Obama fan – to me, he’s the personification of “empty suit” – but on the merits, he may have a good case here.

  3. Joe –

    He would have a point if he left at no more than that. But he doesn’t. The problem isn’t that he has a personal relationship with a vicious bigot – who doesn’t? – but the way he chooses to defend it, at far too great a length.

    He piles on non sequiturs about how Wright works with prisoners and lectures the black community, etc., which would equally justify Obama having a relationship with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

    But worst of all is the way he works in the counter-accusations, and subtly plays the “Black beats Jew” trump suit. It might be entirely innocent – God knows he’s innocent of so many things, like foreign policy. To me it sounds like he’s closer to Wright’s views than he’s willing to admit openly.

    Especially since he can’t look the situation in the face, and hides behind weaselisms like “I have never heard anything that would suggest anti-Semitism on part of the Pastor.”

  4. Glen, I would think what you listed as Obama’s #1 counts as a goddamn lie if it’s not a garbled transcript. “”Most of [Wright’s controversial statements] by the way are controversial directed at the African American Community and calling on them start reading books and turn off the TV set and engage in self help.” That’s like claiming Nixon was forced out for starting the EPA. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that nobody, anywhere, ever has objected to Jeremiah Wright saying his congregation should watch less tv.

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