While Barack Obama is trying to explain his way out of Reverend Wright to the broader Democratic electorate, he’s suffering from a developing problem with American Jews. This description (which would be amusing if it weren’t so sad) of his campaign’s latest attempt to diffuse Jews’ suspicions about his candidacy proves that he still has some work to do.
This isn’t some irrational, misplaced fear fueled by internet hoaxes about Obama’s closet belief in Islam. The concern is real: why does he surround himself with advisers who seem antagonistic toward Israel? Why does he keep company with those who spout anti-Israel venom? Coupled with this is trepidation over his own stated willingness to sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, apparently without pre-condition, who has stated his desire to obliterate the Jewish state.
So if Obama is not himself anti-Israel, the fear is that he is not savvy enough to defend Israel’s interests. Perhaps he needs to give a speech on that. (If it is any consolation, it appears that both the McCain and Clinton camps “get it”–that is, they understand the concern of Jews, as well as others, that Obama’s rhetoric and policies fall way short of a robust, informed defense of Israel’s interests.)