Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Saturday, January 26, 2008

AJC Memo about Obama - more smoke?

Another article that produces more heat than light. Obama, and his detractors, could dissipate the fog simply by making their positions clear instead of issuing general statements along the lines of "good for the Jews" or "bad for the Jews." But Obama is doing nothing of the kind, and his detractors seem to concentrate on trivia and generalities.
Ami Isseroff
Internal Memo Takes On Obama's Mideast Approach

By Jennifer Siegel
Wed. Jan 23, 2008

A confidential memo questioning Senator Barack Obama's potential approach to Middle East policy was distributed earlier this month among staffers at a major American Jewish organization.
Obama's approach to dealing with Iran "raises questions," said the document, which circulated within the American Jewish Committee. It also suggested that Obama placed the burden of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict primarily on the Jewish state.
The memo, a copy of which was given to the Forward, was written by Debra Feuer, the AJCommittee's counsel for special projects. It also contained information about the Republican winner in the Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee.
After receiving questions from the Forward, top officials at the AJCommittee contacted Obama last Sunday. They sent a letter stating that "no element" of the memo "should be considered a position of the American Jewish Committee" and expressing "regret" that the document became public. Several days later, the AJCommittee disavowed the document in stronger terms, saying that it "contained inaccuracies" in a public statement.
The memo comes to light less than three weeks before February 5, when the vast majority of the country's Jewish Democrats will vote in primary elections held by New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Illinois.
As that date approaches, Obama has found himself at the center of several public exchanges concerning his personal associations, his background and his commitment to Israel. Earlier this month, the Chicago lawmaker responded to revived concerns about links between Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and the senator's personal pastor, even as a number of Jewish senators and major Jewish organizations — including the AJCommittee — publicly denounced an e-mail smear campaign that falsely accused Obama of secretly being a Muslim. Meanwhile, as reports have surfaced in recent weeks that Republicans planned to question Obama's commitment to Israel, the senator found several unlikely defenders, including the editorial page of the staunchly conservative New York Sun.
Advocates for the senator point out that over the years, he has courted and received strong backing from the Chicago Jewish community and has built a strong pro-Israel record. Last March, he gave the first foreign policy speech of his presidential campaign before a meeting of a pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
But even as officials at the AJCommittee have repudiated the leaked memo as rushed and inaccurate, it betrays a quiet unease about Obama's potential Middle East strategy that still lingers in some pockets of the Jewish community.
Quoting Obama's much buzzed-about statement early in the campaign that "no one has suffered more than the Palestinians," Feuer questioned the lawmaker's potential as a peace broker.
"He appears to believe the Israelis bear the burden of taking the risky steps for peace, and that the violence Israel has received in return does not shift that burden," Feuer wrote.
She also expressed concern about Obama's emphasis on diplomacy, particularly in dealing with Iran and other "rogue states."
"The Senator's interpretation of the NIE raises questions," Feuer wrote, referring to the new National Intelligence Estimate, released in November 2007, which determined that Iran had halted its alleged nuclear weapons program in 2003. While Feuer did not explicitly elaborate further, she included a number of statements Obama has made that encourage diplomatic engagement with Tehran and are critical of the Bush administration.
Feuer also noted Obama's presence at a fundraiser headlined in 1998 by the now late Edward Said, and of public suggestions by Ali Abunimah, a Chicago-based Palestinian activist, that the senator was more openly critical of America's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before his first run for Senate.
The memo also includes several pages of statements by Huckabee on Middle East issues, without editorial comment on those policies but noting the "overtly Christian" nature of Huckabee's campaign.
Officials at the AJCommittee have rushed to repair the fallout from the memo, which cast the nonpartisan group in an uncomfortable role as campaign critic. Earlier this month, the AJCommittee took the lead in speaking out against the rumors targeting Obama.
"We regret any inaccuracies that the memorandum, prepared from open sources on a tight deadline immediately after the caucuses — and never intended for publication — might have contained," wrote Richard Sideman and David Harris, respectively AJCommittee's president and executive director, in a letter sent to Obama on January 20.
The Obama campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
In an interview with the Forward, one of the senator's chief backers, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, argued that the memo reflected "political bias on the part of the drafter of the memo, rather than the facts."
Wexler, who chairs Obama's campaign in Florida, said he took particular issue with the idea that Obama's calls for diplomacy should cause alarm within Jewish circles, given that a number of Jewish lawmakers have advocated the same position.
"The whole notion that if a lawmaker supports renewed diplomacy with Iran, that that somehow suggests a position that the American Jewish community should be concerned about — well, put me on the top of that list," Wexler said. "Put Tom Lantos on the top of that list, put Howard Berman and Gary Ackerman on the top of that list."
Wed. Jan 23, 2008

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israël in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory