I’ve been focused on the release of the White House health care proposal, so I haven’t had time to delve further into the ongoing debate over U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell’s record on Israel, and his involvement with Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor who subsequently pled guilty to conspiring to help associates of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. I reported on the issue last week. But I thought I’d take a brief moment to update readers on the story.
Last night, Campbell’s rival Carly Fiorina went after him in a statement to Jennifer Rubin:
“I am deeply troubled by these reports. I think the people of California deserve to know more about Tom Campbell’s association not only with Sami Al-Arian but also his association with other people of questionable record. What is clear is that Tom Campbell and I couldn’t disagree more when it comes to policy regarding our nation’s relationship with Israel. I am an unwavering supporter of Israel and believe strongly that the United States should continue to support and defend the country.”
Chuck DeVore’s campaign also criticized Campbell in an email it sent out earlier today:
As you know, President Obama’s proposed envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conferemce, Rashad Hussain, is under fire for having misled the public about his past statements. Among them is his defense of Sami Al-Arian, convicted conspirator for the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as a victim of “politically motivated persecutions.”
This is a timely issue for those of us in the California Senate race, as one of the contenders for the Republican nomination also has a history with Sami Al-Arian — having received his support, written letters in his defense, and even visited his brother-in-law (also a Palestinian Islamic Jihad figure) in prison. That contender is Tom Campbell.
In response, Campbell told the Daily Caller that the charges were “bizarre,” saying that: “Carly Fiorina’s latest attack suggesting that I am anti-Israel and pro-jihadist is desperate and irresponsible.”
Meanwhile, David Frum offered this lengthy defense of Campbell’s record on Israel, arguing that:
I am a national security voter, with a special concern for Israel. If I thought for a minute that Tom Campbell had a “national security problem” or an “Israel problem,” I would not care if he were the most brilliant mind in American politics, the most consistent free marketer in the entire state of California: I’d never support him.
But on the basis of Campbell’s proven public record, such aspersions seem to have arrived from somewhere outside the space-time continuum, in some outer dimension created by wild and unchecked oppo research.