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July 23, 2008

Republicans Spout Typical Drivel to Demonize Obama as Anti-Israel

Listed in: Israel, Stop the Smears, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in The Huffington Post

By Ira N. Forman, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC)

Yesterday's political hit piece by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is an egregious example of the worst kind of cut and paste smear. In the RJC's press release, they pulled Senator Barack Obama's quote totally out of context and ignored the rest of the statement. Unfortunately, these kind of tactics are to be expected from RJC. (It was only last week that Sam Stein wrote a piece titled, "Republican Jewish Coalition Official Spends Day Lying To Reporters About Obama.") When Senator John McCain supporters attack Obama on Israel they often rake the presumptive Democratic nominee over to coals for positions that represent a bipartisan consensus. They nearly always go after Obama for positions that McCain himself holds. It seems that if Obama were to quote the Republicans' own President, they would find a reason to label him as anti-Israel.

Even out of context it is difficult to see the anti-Israel nature of Obama's statement. The beginning of RJC's press release read, "Senator Obama in Jordan today said that terrorism makes 'Israelis want to dig in and simply think about their own security regardless of what's going on beyond their borders.' What Senator Obama fails to recognize is that the safety and security of its citizenry is the primary obligation of a country's leadership."

It seems as though it doesn't matter what Obama says. Regardless of Obama's actual positions or statements, RJC and other McCain allies have no qualms about somehow turning Obama's supportive statements of Israel into anti-Israel rhetoric. In response to RJC's press release I gave the following statement:

After reading Senator Barack Obama's statement and then the Republican Jewish Coalition's (RJC) "interpretation" of that statement I am totally baffled. I can only imagine that the head of the RJC put on one of those hats with horns on it that Shamans might wear. Then they must have proceeded to whip themselves into a fury dancing around a fire pit stoked with acacia wood. Then by pouring the blood of a red newt over the Obama statement and reading the statement by the light of the acacia fire they could somehow divine an anti-Israel message out of what appears, to everybody else, to be a pro-Israel statement.

This is typical of the drivel that Republican operatives have been churning out in a frantic attempt to take a pro-Israel Senator like Barack Obama and demonize him as an anti-Israel activist.

In addition to the RJC release, Jennifer Rubin attacked Obama on Commentary's Contentions blog, where she criticizes Obama for saying, "And so, I think what the United States can do is -- is to help to create more -- a greater sense of security among the Israelis, a greater sense that economic progress and increased freedom of movement is something that can be accomplished in the Palestinian territories." In his reporting on this back and forth, Ami Eden of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) asks, "Is that so different than the Bush administration line?"

Maybe the Republicans ought to listen to the famous 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham who said, "Of two equivalent theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simpler one is to be preferred." It doesn't take any mysticism or sorcery to see that Obama is unequivocally supportive of Israel's right to live in peace and with security as a Jewish state. This fear and smear campaign must stop.