Obama wallRemember how horrified you were as a Jew when you read that Barack Obama’s Western Wall note was snatched and then republished by Israeli newspaper Maariv? And then afterward, how touched you were by the humility demonstrated by what was supposed to be a private message between Obama and God? Now it’s time to feel a little peeved and indignant if the claims of a Maariv spokesman are true that the contents of the note were approved for publication by the Obama campaign prior to the note’s insertion into the Western Wall. IsraelInsider claims that:

it now appears that Maariv had collaborated with the Obama campaign in getting the “private” prayer, with its “modest” supplicaton to the Lord, out to the public, buffing his Christian credentials and showing his “humility.” … It appears that Obama made Maariv an instrument of his will. The paper, of course, was a most willing tool … If the Maariv statement about pre-approval of publication of the note is true, it would mean that the Obama campaign had managed the event brilliantly, if deceptively, getting the double benefit of appearing to be victimized by the invasive Israeli press and prayer-thieving Jew while at the same time leaking out his humble Christian plea to the Lord … Revelation of this latest Obama collaboration with the media might detract a bit from the perceived sincerity of the prayer and strike some as an especially cynical use of the Kotel and an obstensibly private prayer to the Deity as a campaign prop. Most politicians suffice with getting a photo-op. Obama may be the first to take a prayer-leak on the Wall.

So either Obama was in fact a victim of some slimeball Kotel rat who filched his note and sold it to an Israeli newspaper, or the paper already had the contents of the note and may have been the victim of cynical manipulation or right wing elements are using this incident to paint Obama as a cynical manipulator or… Or all of the above. Or none of the above. Or people are just out to fuck with me.

UPDATE: Yeah. I think people are just out to fuck with me. Zvika Krieger over at the New Republic reports vis-a-vis the statements by the unnamed Maariv spokesman:

I just got off the phone with a Ma’ariv spokesman who says that the accusation is “completely false,” and that he has no idea who these papers were quoting from Ma’ariv. “No official spokesman for Ma’ariv told this to any of the papers.” I’ve got some calls in to these papers to find out where they got the quote. (I’ll update here when I hear back.) He told me definitively that “the Obama campaign did not give us a copy of the letter or approve it for printing.” … UPDATE 1: I just spoke with an editor at one of the four publications who quoted the alleged “Ma’ariv spokesman.” This editor broached the possibility that Ma’ariv was trying to deflect criticisms of it by releasing these spurious rumors about the Obama campaign, but upon realizing that they’ll have to back up those accusations, is now disavowing them. This editor is going to look into this alleged “Ma’ariv spokesman” they quoted in his publication so we can try to ascertain if this is a Ma’ariv cover-up. I’ll update here when I hear back from him and if I get anything interesting from the other publications who also quoted this alleged spokesman.

Oy. Stay tuned?

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I wouldn’t put it past his Campaign. After all, they’re the same campaign that had plans to see wounded soldiers in Germany but canceled at the last minute because they wouldn’t be able to politicize it enough, instead going shopping in Berlin. Yup, he’s the “new type” of politician alright!

  • Does it really matter? Either way he must have known that the whole world was going to read it.

    When you’re under the microscope as much as he and McCain are, you just have to assume that every single thing you write or say will be blown up. Obama had to know his note would be read, whether he gave it to the media or otherwise.

  • Nothing like getting a Jewish paper to help you pen a Christian prayer. But I suppose it makes sense, from a Muslim point of view.

  • CK –
    Israel Insider is run by quite a conservative fellow. Now that being said, he also believes that Obama is a Muslim. It may very well be that the Obama Campaign handed it over to Maariv before he put it in the wall. And maybe not. They are being considered for charges of breaking the law, so I imagine they would want to create a good alibi. I also imagine that II wants to publish any dirt on Obama it can, seeing that its editor calls Obama a Muslim Wolf.

    In an article on March 27, 2008 he makes his case that Barack Obama is a Muslim Wolf in Christian wool (his words not mine). He concludes :

    Obama wants it both ways, has always wanted it both ways. Black and white, Indonesian and American, Muslim and Christian. He loves playing one off the other, using one to hide the other even as the traces of the truth may be assembled to reveal the whole cloth of deception and self-promotion he has been weaving so skillfully since his childhood. No wonder he is a man of change. He IS a changeling, a veritable chameleon, adapting and amending his life story to fit the circumstances.

    The charm may have worked once. It still works on some. It won’t work forever in the age of the Internet. The fog of ambiguity and dissimulation is dissipated by the harsh, unforgiving and scrutiny of the blogosphere and its unlimited access to historical facts and time-stamped testimony.

    Read his article for yourself and see if it has journalistic worth or conspiratorial worth.

  • Come on, really?

    Obama has better things to do – how fucking self-absorbed can we really be?

  • But wouldn’t the campaign have known that we would know that the letter was leaked in advance to Ma’ariv, and knowing that, wouldn’t they also know that even if they didn’t leak the note, certain people would always “know” that they did? And wouldn’t the folks at Ma’ariv know that we would call them slimeballs and then wouldn’t they know that they could accuse the Obama campaign of setting them up without them knowing it and who would really know if they were telling the truth? So they question is, what do we know and when will we know it?

  • Yesterday, I saw some guy begging on 34th Street. He was holding a sign that read, “I’m like Obama. I want change.” Had it not been raining and had I not been packed to the teeth in shopping bags, I’d have taken a pic.

  • Update: So I’ve looked through my email archives for the last emails I got from israelinsider which has refreshed my memory.

    The publisher sent me an email that, among other things, insinuated that Hurricane Katrina was G-d’s response to the dismantling of Gush Katif (Because they start with the same letter.)

  • ok ok, so IsraelInsider has a bit of an ideological bias. BUT, the Maariv spokesman still claims that the contents of the note were approved for publication ahead of time. So what probably happened is that the Obama campaign always intended to make the note’s contents public – which is fine, and the theft of the note from the wall wasn’t planned in advance – just a coincidence. Makes sense?

  • I am not worried about there being a conspiracy here. I think that the campaign had to know that there was a good chance that someone would grab the note. How could they not consider that.

  • If the Obama campaign and Ma’ariv worked together on this, how did Yediot Ahronot get a copy and turn down a chance to publish it? Were they in on it too?

    More likely – some stupid kid took it and turned to all the major papers and only Maariv was yellow enough to publish it. And that now, Maariv is trying to make something up to cover its ass.

  • ok ok ok …. which speechwriter composde the prayer?? i Thnik I will head to the NJDC cocktail soiree in Wash DC on July 31 and grill the Jewish Obama workers til i find out

  • NO! bama

    the next POTUS is going to have to deal with Iran’s short shit getting and trying to us (cue in teapacks song PUSH THE BUTTON)
    Sorry Brak but talking to Iran will not stop the iranian fascists.

    I am old enough to remember Jimmy carter.

  • And I am old enough to remember the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush. Point?

  • How can anyone complain about the note, contrived or otherwise, when the world has had so many years of George Bush and Republican party policies that have killed thousands, and irreparably harmed millions? Whether the prayer was intended to be read by anyone other than ##d, is irrelevant. The entire world needs to be behind this man, if only to remove the narcissistic, isolationist, idiocy that has occupied the White House for the last 8 years!