Here’s the key Middle East moment from Monday night’s Democratic debate…
The Jewish debate over Obama has been raging in recent days: Letters from Jewish organizations and Jewish Democratic senators slamming Internet rumors claiming that the Illinois senator is a radical Muslim; Richard Cohen raising questions about his church’s support for Louis Farrakhan; the ADL’s Abe Foxman accepting Obama’s criticism of Farrakhan; Michael Chabon slamming the anti-Obama Farrakhan argument; Ed Lasky of the American Thinker criticizing Obama on Israel; New York Sun defending Obama on Israel.
And here’s a new tidbit to throw into the mix (courtesy of the Forward’s Jennifer Siegel): Obama’s victory in Iowa prompted one American Jewish Committee staffer to write an internal memo expressing potential concerns about his views on Mideast.
Much of the concerns about Obama, including the AJC staffer’s worries about his take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seem off base – he has a long record of reaching out to the pro-Israel camp and those efforts have paid off in support from important Jewish figures, especially from the Chicago area (see this story by JTA’s Ron Kampeas).
But there appears to be at least one substantive policy point separating Obama and many of the other candidates: His stated willingness to meet with the leaders of rogue states, including Iran. It’s also a position that is certain to alarm some Israeli officials and Jewish organizational leaders.
And, as the clip makes clear, not only is Obama not backing down – he’s unabashedly embracing the position as the right thing to do and a key to victory for Democrats in November.