Obama and the call to prayer — what is ECI saying here? – UPDATED


The issue of "daylight" between the United States and Israel is one of several legitimate gripes that conservative critics of the president have at their disposal.

By "legitimate" I don’t imply any judgment of whether there should or should not be policy daylight between the United States and Israel; I mean that those who say that the two nations should resolve differences behind closed doors rather than airing them in public have some evidence to suggest that President Obama does not buy this notion.

The Emergency Committe for Israel is now touting a new film called "Daylight," but it seems to be something more just an examination of a policy difference between Obama and his critics.

The trailer, for instance, concludes with Obama addressing what I presume to be an audience of Muslims, and the president saying:

I want to make sure that we end before the call to prayer.

What exactly is ECI implying here?

UPDATE: Noah Pollak of ECI replies:

This documentary will show that while President Obama has taken great care and shown great sensitivity in his efforts to reach out to the Muslim world, his treatment of Israel has been shabby at best. Your implication that we are questioning his religious affiliation is ludicrous–and we would have said so had you called to ask us for comment before making the insinuation on your blog.

I will not comment further other than to note that all four of five principles quoted in ECI’s ad yesterday calling on Jewish foundations to stop funding the Center for American Progress and Media Matters said they were not notified in advance.

Below the jump is the full American Jewish Committee comment on the ad.


March 1, 2012 – New York – In response to a full-page ad in today’s New York Times, sponsored by the Emergency Committee for Israel, AJC issued the following statement:

No one from the sponsoring group, an ideologically-driven organization to judge from its ads and other public activities, sought AJC’s consent to include reference to us in today’s ad. We want to make this absolutely clear to readers of the ad.

Yes, our comments on the Center for American Progress (CAP), which were cited, were in the public realm. That is not, however, the point at issue.

Rather, it is the blatant attempt to use a specific quote in a particular context to advance a broader political agenda. AJC is a strictly non-partisan organization. We are not affiliated with any political party, nor do we march in lockstep with any particular ideological camp.

AJC’s quoted comment came in response to a Jerusalem Post reporter’s question, last December, about perceived bias against Israel in several specific CAP media products. Since then, senior CAP representatives have acknowledged the inappropriateness of such bias, and assert they have instituted procedures – including personnel changes – to safeguard against its recurrence in CAP media.

We will continue to monitor CAP publications, as we do the output of other prominent think-tanks across the political spectrum. And we will continue to speak out when the views of our non-partisan agency are used for patently partisan purposes.

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