Obama Receiving Jewish Support, Along With “Unendorsement” From Hamas

Sometimes an unendorsement helps more than an endorsement. In April, Ahmed Yousef, an advisor to Hamas, made some favorable comments about Obama in an interview. This was spun by conservatives as meaning that Hamas had endorsed Obama. If so, today he received the unendorsement after speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Reuters reports:

Hamas promply unendorsed Obama, a Christian who has had difficulty dispelling a rumor campaign suggesting he is a Muslim and that his advisers have a pro-Arab bent.

“Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.

“The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians,” he said.

“Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and Mccain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win,” Zuhri said.

Besides demonstrating strong support for Israel, Obama made fun of the attacks on him, warning listeners not to believe the provacative emails being sent about him:

They’re filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for President. And all I want to say is – let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening. But if anyone has been confused by these emails, I want you to know that today I’ll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel.

In a couple of related items, the National Jewish Democratic Council has released a guide to the candidates entitled Obama vs. McCain: The Facts for Jewish Voters (pdf file). Adam Hanft has written a post on Obama calling him The First Jewish Presidential Nominee:

Among my many reactions to Senator Obama’s securing the Democratic nomination is that this should be a moment of great and cumulative joy for American Jews, who have for so long been at the fraught, ragged and dangerous edge of social justice in America.

We should feel a great sense of pride in this triumph. And, yes, ownership, too — in the best possible way, something created by participation and instrumentality. After all, Jews have been the great American catalysts for change. Not just in the way we have fought for it, but in the way that our own successes here birthed the narrative imagination that led in no small way to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Senator Obama spoke last night…

As the Democratic nominee he stands on the shoulders of activist Jews who have struggled for social change, who were at the vanguard of the labor movement, the minimum wage movement, the Civil Rights movement, the environmental movement, every single wave of progressivity that took this burdened but boundless country forward, away from its wounds.

His journey has been the ultimate Jewish one, the child of an immigrant father who loved learning, who struggled with his heritage and then came to embrace it. And, of course, he went to law school and achieved one of the Jewish mother’s iconic (if a Jewish mother can be described with a Christian metaphor) kvells of nachas: “My son the lawyer.” Not only that, he did it at Harvard, and went on to teach Constitutional law, making him the closest America offers to the Talmudic scholars who devoted themselves to wresting (and wrestling) the truth out of the midrash. Text and context matter desperately to him, like they do to us.

This is the framework, theatrical, political, social, in which I see the nomination of Barack Obama — as a secular epiphany that every Jew should look at with a rush of satisfaction. He is truly the first Jewish presidential nominee we’ve ever had. (And let me qualify that by saying “of a major party” before the Legion of Historical Accuracy gets on my case).

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