Just as the Obama campaign seemed to be making progress in tamping down rumors about his alleged Muslim background and that he might be a "Manchurian candidate" for the Arab-Islamic world, up steps the Rev. Jesse Jackson to upset the falafel cart.
Jackson, who doesn't speak for the Obama campaign and has no role in it, was in Evian, France, the home of the preferred water of Volvo-driving liberals, where he spoke with columnist and author Amir Taheri about what he thinks the foreign policy in an Obama administration would look like. Jackson said things would start to improve in an Obama administration because "decades of putting Israel first" would come to an end.
"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson told Taheri. "Barack will change that, because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will remain a source of danger to us all. Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims," Jackson said. "Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith."
What could this mean? Jackson, who is in denial about the enormous progress in Iraq (he still maintains the war is lost and that toppling the monster Saddam Hussein was an "illegal act"), is sending a message of some sort. Is it a message he hopes will undermine Obama, because he is jealous that Obama has replaced him as America's most famous black leader? What does he mean when he speaks of Obama's "background"? Obama has maintained he is not now, nor has he ever been, a Muslim, which most people accept. So what is Jackson getting at?
And what could he possibly mean by claiming the Palestinians have been denied justice? By their leaders, certainly they have. Palestinians could have had their own state a long time ago. They were offered one in 1948 and in years since, but their leaders have made no secret that they want not just part of the land, but all of it, thereby eliminating Israel.
What about justice for the Jews? Apparently that doesn't count with Jackson, who once called New York City "Hymietown." Why wouldn't Jackson support Israel, the region's only democracy, with a second - Iraq - headed in that direction? Why does Jackson see Israel and its elected government as inferior to Arab dictatorships and a Palestinian leadership that slaughtered those who wanted to cut a peace deal with Israel long before recent elections put the terrorist group Hamas in charge?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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