Why Isn't Obama Bothered by Terrorist Support?
The 2008 Presidential campaign has already seen a number of outlandish, and patently false, attacks. The idea that Islamic terrorists are picking a side in selection of an American president might seem to be yet another for the list...if it didn't have its basis in truth.
A few weeks ago, Ahmed Yousef, a top political adviser for terrorist group Hamas, said in an interview on WABC radio in New York that the group supports Obama. "We like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance," Yousef explained. Hamas, which seized control of the Palestinian Gaza last June, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.
The Obama campaign has claimed to be "flattered" by the fact that the Hamas endorsement compared their candidate to Kennedy. Obama himself told the Atlantic magazine that he understands why Hamas would support him. "It's conceivable that there are those in the Arab world who say to themselves, 'This is a guy who spent some time in the Muslim world, has a middle name of Hussein and appears more worldly and has called for talks with people, and so he's not going to be engaging in the same sort of cowboy diplomacy as George Bush.'" Obama concluded that the perception is "legitimate" as long as they understand he will be "unyielding" in his support for Israel.
So what have Barack's Hamas friends been up to lately? Well, on the very day President Bush arrived in Israel to mark the nation's 60th anniversary and to renew his push for a Palestinian state as part of elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Barack's buddies fired a rocket into an Israeli shopping mall. The mall was devastated, and 14 innocent civilians were seriously injured.
The Hamas endorsement of Obama is even more interesting when viewed against the backdrop of the group's aggressive promotion of violence among young Palestinians in Gaza and in the context of a recent Al-Jazeera story about how young Palestinians in Gaza have banded together to call American voters at random asking them to vote for Obama. Rockets by night, Obama phone banks by day?
"It all started at the time of the US primaries," says the pro-Obama Palestinian organizer, 23 year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab. "After studying Obama's electronic campaign manifesto I thought this is a man that's capable of change inside of America. As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that if he can bring peace to the area. At least this is what we hope." The full Al-Jazeera television report can be viewed here.
Obama's campaign may argue that there is no apparent direct link between the young Palestinian men and the Hamas terrorist organization. But the young phone-bankers have also received coverage from Ramattan, the Palestinian news agency, in what reads like a Hamas-generated anti-Israel press release.
Can anyone seriously believe that young Palestinian men are allowed free and easy access to operate an internet phone bank in the impoverished and violent Gaza Strip -- and bring that effort to the attention of the international media -- without Hamas' knowledge and approval? The support that Barack Obama is receiving from avowed terrorist enemies of America should bother him. The fact that it does not bother him should bother us even more than the fact that terrorists see something in him that they really like.
Steve Gill is host of a statewide Tennessee radio talk show and chief political analyst for WKRN News 2 in Nashville.