But first, a digression. Obama at AIPAC:

Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided!

You may have thought that you know what that means but luckily campaigns have aides who can later clarify the total bullshit unclear things their candidates say. As one aide put it the next day:

Two principles should apply to any outcome…Jerusalem remains Israel’s capital and it’s not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967.

Like the famous quote ‘Divide we fall, United (by lack of barbed wire and checkpoints) we stand!’

It reminded muffti a bit of the time when as aide of Obama’s assured canadian officials, regarding free trade that Obama’s harsh criticism:

should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.

Of course Obama’s camp immeadiately denied that this clarification has been reflective of any lack of Obama-based antagonism to free trade:

At no point did anyone in our campaign convey to anyone that there had been any backing away from Obama’s position on Nafta.

Tricky issue, ain’t it. It’s not quite lying when you say one thing and your aides say another. But rather than clarifying, it looks like the work of aides often amounts to massive distortion.

*Just to be clear, by ‘God’ Muffti means ‘a person of mexican descent who will make the delicious burrito he plans to buy for lunch at his favourite mexican restaurant. God works in scrumptuous ways. He hopes that nobody got confused and took this as a retraction of any atheism on his behalf and apologizes for the potential ambiguous interpretation.

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  • Among the striking things about this is the press’ once again giving Obama a pass. Not just on the Jerusalem issue (inclusive of the subsequent ‘clarification’) but on Iran, too, only a few short weeks after Obama castigated Bush and Clinton for their anti-Iran rhetoric.

    Maybe Obama benefited from the timing, with the AIPAC speech occurring in the warm glow of his victory. But if the press remains this fully in the tank (and, yes, Bill Clinton got that right), it’s hard to see how McCain picks up any traction, at least should he choose to point Obama’s pandering and flip-flops.

    Expect more of this, especially if unchallenged: Obama’s moving rightward/muffling differences with McCain on Iraq and other issues.

  • Muffti doesn’t want Obama to lose to be honest. Or, to be more clear, he certainly doesn’t want mccain to win. He does wish, however, politics wasn’t such a crude affair.

  • So much for Ephraim’s “banner day”, huh, Tom?

    It used to be that candidates had the decency to wait a few days to weasel out of the things they said to suck up to one constituency or another.

    The internet must be to blame for the “less-than-24-hours-between-statement-and-weaselly-semi-retraction” cycle.

    Obama is such a smarmy, condescending, smug, patronizing POS. How fucking stupid does he think people are?

  • You’re forgiven, Muffti. But I hope in the future we don’t see any more posts like this (at least not ’til after the election). Remember, this is public space. The stakes are too high to raise questions about inconsistencies, backtracking etc. It only gives comfort to the enemy. I hope you’ll keep any and all Barack coverage uniformly positive.

    Please confine your philosophical tricks of the trade, e.g. scrutiny etc., against McCain.

    Never waver from the audacity of hope, my friend.

  • I’m interested in seeing a bullet point list or a comparison matrix of how McCain could possibly be more evil than Obama from a Jewish perspective. I’m a proud free market capitalist, so there’s no way in the world the socialist, communist sympathizing, unilateralist, isolationist Obama could possibly be less evil than McCain, even with McCain’s obviously less than conservative policy decisions, but I’d like to see Muffti’s rational from a Jewish perspective. By all means, leave Barrack’s personal Muslim heritage out of the list and it’s still skewed enormously.

  • Jewish readers, take note: it’s being reported Barack’s penned a sequel to ‘Audacity of Hope’ addressing Middle Eastern issues, to be titled ‘The Willing Suspension of Disbelief.’

  • This morning I spoke to a couple of attractive ladies who LOVE Obama. They told me that they didn’t like Hillary because, you know, you can’t have the same family names in office for so many years. And oh yeah, she voted for the Iraq war but Obama didn’t. The best part, however, was their bragging that Hillary got the “blue collar” vote, unlike Obama who got the “educated” folks.

  • I’m just counting down to the day when the Dems have to eat crow about the success of the surge and Obama flip flops on that. But let’s face it, success in Iraq is bad for the Dems’ ambitions for power and especially for Hillary (berating of Patreus), Obama (always against the war), and Soros, so I wouldn’t go as far as saying they want us to lose, but let’s just say they feel about the success of the war as good as Kwame Kilpatrick felt having to speak at today’s Red Wings Parade. 🙂


  • Why is it, at least until after Taba, the only leaders from countries with an interest in an Israeli/Palestinian two-state solution who accepted a “divided” Jerusalem (i.e. Palestinian Capitol in East Jerusalem) in a final peace deal were the Israelis and Palestinians?

    I don’t get this need to assess a candidate based on the veracity of the lip service they give American Jewish groups regarding an “undivided” Jerusalem. No one – not Obama, Clinton, McCain, Romney, Kucinich, or the ghosts of Carter, Nixon and Eugene McCarthy are going to stand up in front of AIPAC and say a divided Jerusalem should be part of a peace deal.

    But Ehud Barak did at Taba.

    When it comes down to it, Israel will drive it’s own foreign policy. It always has and always will. For one reason, because it has the moral and truthful right to form those policies based on it’s own national security – not American national security.

    (I should point out that there are exceptions such as the pressure the U.S. put on Israel not to retaliate against Iraqi Scuds – which Israel also knew served in their best interests to not retaliate.)

    The semantic game about what Obama meant about Jerusalem is irrelevant. When I hear fear mongers whine that Obama is “going to sell Israel down the river” I feel a bit ashamed for them. American Jews shouldn’t vote for the future of their next four years based on which candidate they perceive as being the most hard-line on Jerusalem or a Palestinian demand for right of return or the such. Israel will make those decisions for itself based on what’s right for Israel. No American President will impose his or her will – after all, why didn’t Carter push his personal bias while he was President? (And I’m sure many of you will use Camp David as an example of that bias.)

    It’s like President Bartlett (oh, the fantasy) said: “The Israelis are going to do what they’re going to do.”

    Like our next President, I’m going to support Israel but leave the decision making up to the Israelis.

  • Yes, I know that Ehud Barak offered to divide Jerusalem. You don’t think the Amercian position, perceived or actual, had something to do with it?

    Thank G-d the Pals were too stupid to take the deal Barak offered. Israeli stupidity is always trumped be even more stupefying Pal stupidity.

    In a perfect world, everybody would share Jerusalem (and everywhere else) with no problems, one big happy family. Theoretically, if the Pal desire for peace was really genuine, sharing Jerusalem in some fashion or other, like, say, giving the predominantly Arab districts apart from the old City to the Pals, would not be so far fetched.

    But since the Pal demand for “concessions” is just one stage in their plan of destroying Israel, Israel is insane to offer them anything at all, much less part of Jerusalem.

    The fact that a stupid man like Ehud Barak had a stupid plan doesn’t mean it was in Israel’s best interest. Thank G-d the Pals didn’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity (again).

    Regardless of what Obama’s position on Jerusalem is, he insults his audience, and shows himself to be nothing but another pandering politico by saying one thing that he knows is a kind of code which has a very specific meaning and then turning around and finessing it so dishonestly less than 24 hours after the fact.

    Somehow I don’t think this kind of mealy-mouthed flip-flopping is what he means when he says “Change We Can Believe In”. For G-d’s sake, pick a story and stick to it, man.

  • “The fact that a stupid man like Ehud Barak had a stupid plan doesn’t mean it was in Israel’s best interest. ”

    According to…? If it’s the majority of Israelis, then what’s the worry? The treaty would never have been ratified in Knesset.

    “Regardless of what Obama’s position on Jerusalem is, he insults his audience, and shows himself to be nothing but another pandering politico by saying one thing that he knows is a kind of code which has a very specific meaning and then turning around and finessing it so dishonestly less than 24 hours after the fact.”

    Which makes him any different than…?

    When the typical political cycle runs it’s course and Bebe is back on top, will you also take the time to point out the inevitable inconsistencies between his campaign talk and PM actions?

  • Barack changes in less than twenty-four hours, and Ephraim has a hard time believing?

    I think the issue really is his approach to the uses of American power, particularly in the Middle East generally (Israel, Iran, Iraq, terror). Here he contrasts strongly with McCain. Barack’s studious avoidance of Iraq and Petraeus/Crocker speaks volumes.

  • As to Middle (#9), who was it who said generals are always fighting the last war? Hillary’s vote may’ve screwed her with primary voters, but the general (election) will, as usual, be about what to do next. The left has got to get over its allergy to the success of the surge. Iraq is not a fiasco (sorry to disappoint). We have a good shot at a respectable outcome there.

    Yet, we have Frank Rich calling the campaign in Basra a disaster comparable to the Tet offensive. Nancy Pelosi credits the surge’s success to Iran. Presumably, Harry Reid still thinks the war is lost. Good luck selling this form of rooting for failure to the American people.

  • Forgot to mention this:

    Neither McCain nor Obama have been clear and concise on Jerusalem. They’re basically saying the same thing. In McCain’s words Jerusalem should remain undivided and Israel’s capitol but the “City’s status would be subject to negotiations.” (en quotes NYT words, not McCain’s.) Really, is there a difference between the two?

    I agree with Tom that claiming failure will be a tough sell. And to do so would take away from the main point the Dems have to make: That the rationale presented by the Cheney/Bush administration for getting into the war in the first place was, at best, disingenuous; U.S. national security was not best served; and the non-military planners and decision makers (i.e. Commander-in-Chiefs) were incompetent in planning and decision making.

    Since most Americans don’t believe that the U.S. ever has or will conduct an overt or covert military intervention solely in the service of a major corporation, I’d advise the Dems to stay away from the illegal war angle also.

    But knowing the Dems, they’ll do exactly what Tom is expecting them to do.

  • On the other hand, ramon (and thanx so much for KG!), Barack’s got plenty of room to edge closer to McCain on Iraq. He could substantially take the issue away from McCain, actually. The Barack of AIPAC is, uh, tactically flexible enough to do it.

  • Well, look out because in about a second Iraq may fall into second place behind the economy as what matters in this election. Can Bush possibly have run a worse administration?

  • Props to Ramon (#12). Couldn’t agree more.

    I honestly can’t understand this obsession with the idea that the American president or presidential candidate isn’t doing enough to create a sufficiently micro-managed platform specifying just how unabashedly he approves of every Israeli policy.

    Like Ramon said, Israel is a democracy. The country defines what’s in its own best interests according to the will of the electorate and the other structures of law and government that complement it. Let’s have some faith in that.

    And let’s have some more faith that Americans, while tending to the will of their own electorate, can be just as understanding of that, too.

    Although I’m just as far from where Alex is sitting as well, one thing his side of the aisle has heavily pushed over the last six years is the idea that democracies support each other. I happen to believe that that political meme has gained more traction and political capital than the Cassandras of Israel and the diaspora seem to accept. Not everything is mutually exclusive, or so cut and dry as some would have it. We can find a way for the American government to be as highly supportive of Israel’s needs as is possible while not consigning its diplomatic ventures to a nightmare in every other respect.

  • “Although I’m just as far from where Alex is sitting as well, one thing his side of the aisle has heavily pushed over the last six years …”

    My side of the isle? Who would that be? Perhaps you don’t read to well. I don’t belong to any parties.

  • montana_urban_legend – Well succinctly put… although that “Cassandras of Israel” line went right over my head 🙂

    BTW – I am a member of the diaspora – and I’m hoping in the majority.

    Tom – hold your thanks. It is a best of seven. And sorry about Big Papi. Of course, conditioning was never his strongest suit. Awww heck – you’ll probably win it all without him.

    You think KG’s gonna pull a Ray Borque?

  • …You mean, win a championship with someone else, then get invited back to Boston with the trophy for a hero’s welcome? That was the pathetic scenario when Bourque won with Colorado.

    As good as he is, KG’s not a guy who can carry a team on his back, is he? He’s no Lebron or Kobe. Though if he stopped settling for those 15-ft. turnaround jumpers and actually played like a guy taller than 6’5″…

    Pap’s likely done for the year, alas alas.

  • Yes, except win a championship with Boston, get on a plane and come home (he still has a home here) and show off the trophy to his kennel of dogs.

    You’re spot on about KG. That’s the guy we called The Big Ticket (what’s his Boston nickname?) and the guy we expected to carry the team. We had no choice – we couldn’t get any Pierce’s or Allen’s to complement him (Sprewell and Cassell were no Pierce or Allen) because KG broke our bank and pushed for the deal that lost us our draft choices.

    Backlash? Nah…

    Is Gabe Kapler still on the team? That’s a good Jewish athlete story.

  • Cassandra is a metaphor for naysayers whose predictions of gloom and doom go ignored, typically to be vindicated later after they are realized to be correct, Ramon. It’s named after the daughter of a Trojan king who was blessed by Apollo with the gift of prophecy, but later cursed by him after the love was unrequited, altering the gift so that her predictions were then never to be believed by anyone. I first heard the term from a gf in college who applied it to environmentalists after we saw Kevin Costner’s smash hit movie Waterworld. I don’t know if it’s ever applied to those who predict that disaster is always just around the corner in the Arab-Israeli conflict, or to those who do so when it comes to military conflicts in general, but it seems apt.

  • Kapler dropped out as an active player to manage in the Sox system, then unretired this year- he’s going great guns for the Brewers. A good guy who’ll manage someday in the major leagues.

    Yeah, gotta surround KG with a scorer/go-to guy. There are fans and writers here who seem prepared to scapegoat him as an underperformer, but it’s not him to take over a game, is it? Still– dude, can you attack the hoop just a little more in crunchtime?….

    How’s this for a Jewish sports story: Youk fighting (literally) with Manny in the dugout last week?

  • I don’t think Kapler gets enough coverage on Jewlicious. I didn’t see Youklis go after Manny. But I’m guessing it was about who’s got the worst fashion sense.

    We all accept the absurdity of the Protocols Of Zion/Neo-Nazi Jewish conspiracy theories. Most of us are convinced the JFK assassination wasn’t a conspiracy. No one can totally prove the War In Iraq was not for the sole purpose of padding Halliburton’s coffers.

    But we are all convinced that Kevin McHale’s sole purpose as the GM of our NBA TEAM was to bring another NBA championship back to his old team. Not even the Warren Commission can hide that fact. Tom – is there a Boston Lacrosse team you guys need staffed?


  • McHale got it half right…. As good as Big Al is/will be, it doesn’t look like ol’ Kevin got fair value for Garnett, does it?

    We’ll be in touch around July 30 to check out the Twins’ yard sale. Thanks again!

  • Well… I think about as fair as he could’ve hoped for. It was more about regaining lost draft choices as anything else. I still think they should have let him opt out and spent the money elsewhere.

  • I never, ever read Ann Coulter. She’s windy, and pitches wild, often beaning innocent people in the stands, and I have no patience for her. However, to my amazement, she has actually written a focused, logical piece, that is worth reading, believe it or not, even if it is not what your tummy is used to. For those adventurous enough to give it a try:


    I stumbled on it via a link from someplace else, and I didn’t even know it led to her.

    Somebody had to say what she says here.