Ha’aretz has an editorial today taking aim at Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., Danny Ayalon, over his recent criticisms of Barack Obama.
Ayalon, writing in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, recalled:
On the two occasions that I met with the Senator, he proved himself as a polite, inquisitive and energetic politician. Yet, I was left with the impression that he was not entirely forthright with his thinking.
Ha’aretz, in turn, defended the Illinois senator:
Obama does not support the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, but believes that the need to solve the refugee problem must be recognized. He supports Israel as the state of the Jews, and does not accept the view, which has struck roots in the global left, that Israel should be a state of all its citizens, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. He speaks out openly on these issues, as he does about the threat to Israel posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and he did so even before becoming a presidential candidate.
While attempting to defend Obama against various smears, the Ha’aretz editorial seems to produce one of its own about American Jewish communal leaders. The newspapers asserted: “While Obama was taking advantage of Martin Luther King Day to speak out against anti-Semitism among blacks, Jewish spokesmen were using racist language against him, solely because his father was Muslim.”
It’s true that e-mails painting Obama as an anti-Israel anti-American Muslim have been making the rounds, but a politically and religious diverse group of Jewish leaders came together to condemn the smear campaign. That was no small thing in the middle of a heated presidential election, when many of the signatories would normally do all that they could to avoid inserting themselves into the political fray.
Here’s the open letter the Jewish leaders issued.
By the way, Ha’aretz also reports that Israel’s current ambassador was not pleased with Ayalon’s column.