Barack Obama’s Anti-Israeli Ties and Troubling Statements

Michael T. Griffith

October 4, 2008

Although Barack Obama portrays himself as pro-Israeli, some of his own statements, his choice of foreign policy advisers, and his history of anti-Israeli associations raise serious questions about his true feelings toward Israel.  A few weeks ago, Barack Obama told the New York Times that the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah have “legitimate claims” (Obama: Terror Groups Have “Legitimate Claims” and Hamas and Hezbollah Have “Legitimate Claims”).  Obama has made other statements that have raised concern in the Jewish community, such as his repeated assertion that Iran “is not a serious threat” and his comment that “no one has suffered more than the Palestinian people.”  In his usual fashion, Obama quickly reversed himself on Iran and sought to “clarify” his comment about who has suffered the most.  Obama has also said that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process can’t restart until Israel makes “difficult concessions” (Obama’s Controversial Views on Israel).  Most Israelis would argue that Israel has already made more than her fair share of concessions and that the Palestinian response to those concessions has been to launch more rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

Many friends of Israel have noted with concern that Obama has repeatedly chosen as foreign policy advisers people who are known to be hostile to Israel (see, for example, Obama and Israel, Continued; The Audacity of Questioning Obama’s Commitment to Israel; Another Obama Advisor with Anti-Israeli Views; and Obama Adviser: Jews Hinder Peace).  Political analysts Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky discuss some of the concerns about Obama’s foreign policy team:

. . . many of the foreign policy team members have long histories of extreme hostility to Israel. Their track records contrast sharply with Obama's public statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  If Sen. Obama is as supportive of Israel as he claims to be in his own statements, did he know the positions of the various foreign policy team members as he appointed them? (The Audacity of Questioning Obama’s Commitment to Israel)

Another indication that Obama’s pro-Israeli statements should be viewed with great doubt came in June when Obama told a pro-Israeli audience that he supported an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but then backed away from that statement in less than 24 hours in response to Arab anger over his comment.  The Israeli National News website Arutz Sheva said the following about the incident:

The presumptive Democratic nominee declared at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. last month that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel. Within 24 hours of that speech, however, Obama found himself swiftly backpedaling in the face of Arab fury over his remarks. . . .

Last week, he went even further, saying that what he meant by "undivided" was that barbed wire fences should not divide the city as they did during the Jordanian occupation of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria between 1949 and 1967.  (Jewish Groups Challenge Obama)

The Coalition for a United Jerusalem held a press conference “to protest Obama’s Jerusalem flip flop” (Coalition for a United Jerusalem to Protest Obama’s Jerusalem Flip Flop).  Obama’s “clarification” over what he meant by “undivided” led one American Jewish leader to state,

It means he used the term inappropriately, possibly to mislead strong supporters of Israel that he supports something he doesn't really believe, (Obama Campaign Flip Flops on Undivided Jerusalem)

When we look at Obama’s history of anti-Israeli associations, we have even more reason to question his true feelings about Israel.  As is now well known, until very recently Obama had a close friendship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, attended Wright’s church, and in fact donated tens of thousands of dollars to that church.  Wright is a strident critic of Israel—and of America.  Wright has taken part in efforts to pressure U.S. companies not to invest in Israel.  He has praised and even given an award to infamous anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.  Wright has allowed an open supporter of the terrorist group Hamas to write an article in his church magazine, The Trumpet.  Wright has called America the “US of KKKA.”  He claims that the Israeli government has worked on a secret weapon that would only kill blacks and Arabs, that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus to kill blacks, that America deserved the 9/11 attacks because of our policies in the Middle East, and that Israel is a “dirty word.”  Yes, Senator Obama recently disavowed Wright, but he waited months to do so, long after Wright’s radical views were exposed in the news media.  When Wright’s radicalism was first exposed to the general public, Obama insisted he could never disavow him.  It was only after Wright publicly embarrassed Obama with a speech he gave at the National Press Club that Obama finally disavowed him.  Before Wright’s radical stances became widely known, Obama openly praised Wright as one of his mentors and close friends, and he included Wright as an adviser to his presidential campaign.  A liberal, pro-Obama magazine said the following about Obama and Wright earlier this year:

Wright is not an incidental figure in Obama's life, or his politics. The senator "affirmed" his Christian faith in this church [Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago]; he uses Wright as a "sounding board" to "make sure I'm not losing myself in the hype and hoopla." Both the title of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope and the theme for his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 come from Wright's sermons. "If you want to understand where Barack gets his feeling and rhetoric from," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of the religious left, "just look at Jeremiah Wright." (“Destiny’s Child,” Rolling Stone, February 22, 2007)

Many Jews and other supporters of Israel worry that Obama agrees with some of Rev. Wright’s views on Israel—and they have good reasons for their concern (see, for example, Obama’s Controversial Views on Israel; Barack Obama and Israel; Obama Keeps Hiring Anti-Israeli Advisors; Arab-American Activist Says Obama Hiding Anti-Israeli Stance; Obama’s Pro-Israel Stance Questioned; Who Are You, Barack Obama?; Obama and Israel, Continued; Obama’s Weak Judgment on Israel).  In addition to Obama’s recent statement about Hamas and Hezbollah and his back-peddling on an undivided Jerusalem, the following facts cast serious doubt on Obama’s professed support for Israel:

* We now know that Obama got into Harvard with the help of a radical Saudi adviser and black nationalist named Khalid Mansour (“Obama Had Ties to Top Saudi Adviser at Early Age, Newsmax, September 3, 2008; see also “Who Is Khalid Mansour?,” Newsmax, September 4, 2008 and The Mansourian Candidate).  Needless to say, Mansour is also ardently anti-Israeli, not to mention anti-American.  One of his books is titled The Destruction of Western Civilization as Seen Through Islam.  One of Mansour’s anti-Semitic rants, titled “A Little on the History of Jews,” can be seen on YouTube ( The Mansourian Candidate).  When asked recently about Obama, Mansour said, “I wish him the best, and hope he can win the election” (“Who Is Khalid Mansour?,” Newsmax, September 4, 2008).

* In his Chicago days, which weren’t all that long ago, Obama worked closely with unrepentant former terrorist William Ayers, who is also stridently anti-Israeli (Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools; One Example of Obama’s Disturbing Associations). 

* When Obama and Ayers sat together on the board of the Woods Fund, the fund gave $40,000 to an anti-Israeli organization named the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). 

* One of the founders of AAAN was Obama’s friend Rashid Khalidi, who also happens to be a bitter critic of Israel and a former supporter of the terrorist group the PLO (Obama Worked with Terrorist; Obama’s Good Friend Rashid Khalidi; and Four Stumps in the Water for Obama).  Khalidi has raised money for Obama.  Obama praised Khalidi at a dinner held in Khalidi’s honor in 2003 (Allies of Palestinians See a Friend in Barack Obama, Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2008).

* Obama attended an Arab community event in Chicago in 1998 at which Dr. Edward Said was the keynote speaker.  Researchers have uncovered a photograph showing Obama sitting next to Said and conversing with him at the event (The Mansourian Candidate).  The Los Angeles Times reports that Obama took at least one class from Dr. Said at Columbia University.  And who is Edward Said?  To put it mildly, he is a radical critic of Israel.  Said wrote an introduction for the French edition of a vile anti-Semitic book titled Shahak (What Edward Said Knows).  The French edition of Shahak was published by La Vieille Taupe, a neo-Nazi sect in Paris that publishes books denying the Holocaust.  In his introduction, Said agrees with the author’s description of Israel as “Judeo-Nazi” (p. 11).  Said has argued that Israel’s real reason for fighting the Six Day War in 1967 was to oppress the Palestinians (Samson Blinded).  While serving on the Palestine National Council, Said declared, “We all support the PLO” (Edward Said’s Parting Shots)  Incredibly, at one point Said even urged that Arab "collaborators" with Israel be murdered, and he argued that the UN Charter sanctioned such murders ( Edward Said’s Parting Shots).

These are some of the friends and associates of Barack Obama.

Given Obama’s own statements, his willingness to listen to anti-Israeli analysts, and his history of anti-Israeli associations, perhaps it’s not surprising that a few months ago Hamas’ top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Yousef, declared that Hamas hopes Obama wins the election:

We like Mr. Obama and we hope that he will win the election. (Hamas All Out for Obama; Obama’s Delusional Foreign Policy; Obama’s Foreign Policy Emboldens Islamists)

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Michael T. Griffith holds a Master’s degree in Theology from The Catholic Distance University, a Graduate Certificate in Ancient and Classical History from American Military University, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, and two Associate in Applied Science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force.  He also holds an Advanced Certificate of Civil War Studies and a Certificate of Civil War Studies from Carroll College.  He is a graduate in Arabic and Hebrew of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and of the U.S. Air Force Technical Training School, San Angelo, Texas.  In addition, he has completed an Advanced Hebrew program at Haifa University in Israel.  He is the author of five books on Mormonism and ancient texts, including How Firm A Foundation, A Ready Reply, and One Lord, One Faith.