Daniel Larison, a paleoconservative critic of Israel who is out to prove that, as a supporter of Israel, I have nothing to fear from an Obama presidency, offers this lengthy response to my article from yesterday in which I raised questions about the sincerity of Obama's pro-Israel statements during the campaign, particularly with regard to Hamas.
Larison says that it's unfair to read too much into the fact that Robert Malley, an informal adviser to Obama, has been meeting with Hamas. He compares this to the fact that two McCain aides had to resign from the campaign for working on a lobbying firm that did work for
Meanwhile, when campaigning in
The Arizona Republican blasted the "military thugs" in
Burma who are attempting to maintain their junta despite protests of Buddhist monks.
He also said "we should make the Chinese pay a price" for supporting the regime.
I remember participating on a blogger call in September in which McCain opened up his remarks with a heated tirade on the Burmese regime, and said "it's time for strong action against these thugs."
I really don't see anything in Obama's past on
Larison goes on to make excuses for Obama in each of the litany of examples I cite in my long piece. You can read my article and his post and determine whether or not you think I am being fair. But here's the thing. If it just so happened that there was one adviser or one questionable statement by Obama it would be easier to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it seems that each day brings a revelation about another shady connection.
Larison also completely distorts my argument in order to make his point that I'm some sort of paranoid freak. He says I cite "reports of friendly relations with Khalidi," a leading anti-Israel intellectual, but he omits a key detail. In my article, I note that an LA Times story reported that he didn't just casually attend a party for Khalidi, but spoke at it:
His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases… It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world.":
Khalidi is a man who has called
Larison paraphrases both me and Obama incorrectly when he sarcastically says I criticize Obama for, "his acknowledgement that Palestinians have suffered (quelle horreur!)." But what Obama actually said was, "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people," which suggests not merely that he wants to recognize that Palestinian people are suffering, but that he thinks that Palestinians are suffering more than Israelis. Israelis who have lost loved once to suicide bombings would disagree. I also wondered, given the lessons he's learned from Khalidi, whether Obama was suggesting that U.S. policy was too focused on Israeli suffering. I included in my article Obama's clarification that he meant that nobody has suffered more from the failures of Palestinian leadership.
For Larison, the gap between Obama's statements on the campaign trail and what his advisers are saying and doing on issues such as NAFTA and
The desire to be seen as a
Larison, who is a critic of Israel, thinks that Obama is sufficiently pro-Israel — good for him. But I remain suspicious.