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More on the Sore

8:31 PM, May 12, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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John Boehner puts out a statement in response to Obama's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:

"Israel is a critical American ally and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, not a ‘constant sore' as Barack Obama claims. Obama's latest remark, and his commitment to ‘opening a dialogue' with sponsors of terrorism, echoes past statements by Jimmy Carter who once called Israel an ‘apartheid state.'...

That's a bit of a stretch. There are a lot of problems with Obama's comments to Goldberg, but he wasn't calling Israel a 'constant sore.' It's pretty clear he meant that the conflict was a 'constant sore.' He's also quite explicit in denouncing Carter's labeling of Israel as an apartheid state. David Frum does a better job of getting into this, noting that Obama's answers are "verbose and evasive - and yet in their way, curiously illuminating." On the matter of the Hamas endorsement, Frum makes the key point:

Obama's words are unexceptionable so far as they go. What's striking here is what is not said: There is no revulsion, no affront that Hamas would name him as its preferred candidate.

This has always been the problem with the Hamas endorsement--the Obama camp never once got their backs up at the notion that Hamas would welcome an Obama presidency. It would have been just as easy for Axelrod or Obama to turn this to their advantage--to say that Hamas clearly doesn't know anything about Obama or John Kennedy if they think an Obama administration will be a friend to Hamas. But instead they said they were "flattered" by the comparison to JFK, and have since taken to repeating that Obama's policy with regard to Hamas is no different than Clinton's or McCain's--which is a tough sell given that his whole foreign policy approach centers on talking to tyrants and terrorists. More Frum here.

Elsewhere, Ed Morrissey fixes on Obama's lame response to continued questions about his commitment to Israel, which boils down to the fact that 'some of his best friends are Jewish.' Obama says that these questions are "curious" given that when he "started organizing, the two fellow organizers in Chicago were Jews, and I was attacked for associating with them. So I've been in the foxhole with my Jewish friends." Of course, these questions stem from his close association with people who are not fond of Jews--people with names, like Rev. Wright and William Ayres and Robert Malley and Tony McPeak. So which is it? Do we judge him based on who he hangs around with or not?