During the 2008 election, former Representative Robert Wexler grandiously assured pro-Israel voters there was “no doubt” Obama and Netanyahu would “get along very well.” After the exact opposite happened, culminating in the president’s “past Israeli concessions don’t matter any more” 1967 borders speech, Wexler took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to insist Obama was being horribly misunderstood. His op-ed was co-written with Zvika Krieger, the senior vice president of the avowedly “non-partisan” S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace where Wexler is the president.
Fast forward to yesterday morning when, as part of the effort to make Israel supporters forget about Obama’s repeated diplomatic offensives against the Jewish State, the Obama 2012 campaign launched a “Jewish Americans for Obama” website. The campaign trotted out Wexler to introduce reporters to the site and then, after the 40-minute conference call, Wexler spent the rest of the day doing telephone interviews on Obama’s behalf. He accused Perry of having a “religious obsession” with Israel, a pointlessly venomous slam and something to remember the next time Democrats whine about dog-whistle politics. He unblinkingly insisted Obama isn’t responsible for the peace process having ground to a halt, analysis that will be news to Palestinian President Abbas. It was roughly what you’d expect.
The “Jewish Americans for Obama” site offers readers three PDF documents, all of which show signs of hasty drafting and printing. The longest one – a gratingly titled “Myths vs. Facts” page – is riddled with typos, including a misspelling of Netanyahu’s name. All three documents have weird font and layout issues. The campaign didn’t even have time to rename the files properly, leaving one as “c69ef042a126db6b32_xcm6ibhka.pdf.”
The lack of simple copy-editing is in tension with the campaign’s insistence the launch was “planned long in advance” and the timing had nothing to do with panic over Obama’s cratering support in the Jewish community.
Perhaps it was the hurried pace of the launch, or perhaps they’re just careless, but the campaign neglected to wipe the metadata from the PDFs. It turns out two of the campaign documents were produced by Zvika Krieger – again, the VP of Wexler’s ostensibly non-partisan S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace – and they were finally printed out a few hours before the launch. The PDFs can be downloaded from here and here. Because the documents are all stamped “Paid For By Obama For America,” and because Wexler is doing surrogate work for the campaign while president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center, and because the Center’s VP is doing the documents for the campaign, that raises some questions:
(1) What is the financial relationship between the Obama campaign and Wexler’s “non-partisan” think tank?
(2) Did that financial relationship exist last May when Wexler and Krieger wrote their op-ed for the WSJ, and if so, did they disclose the conflict to the WSJ?
(3) Did that financial relationship exist last week when Krieger fed Laura Rozen a quote about how hard the Obama administration was working to avoid a Palestinian UDI resolution, and if so, did he disclose the conflict to her?
(4) Does that financial relationship extend to Wexler’s defenses of Obama and attacks on Perry yesterday – in other words, his work as an expert surrogate – or is that separate?
(5) The campaign team aren’t going to keep trotting out Wexler and Krieger as independent analysts are they?
Answers to these questions would be helpful, because right now, it seems like Wexler and Krieger are being paid to deny the extent to which Obama has eroded the U.S./Israeli relationship, and instead of disclosing as much, they’re giving interviews as non-partisan analysts.