Monday, October 27, 2008

The Righteous Wind

On the campaign trail, after examining polls that show him far ahead of Sen. John McCain, Sen. Barack Obama said the felt “a righteous wind at his back.”

Over in Evian, France, Jesse Jackson felt the same wind lifting his sails.

According to Amir Taheri, a New York Post opinion columnist, the message Jackson conveyed in the first World Policy Forum in France was: Prepare for a new day.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."

The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

Is it possible that Jackson has seen the top secret Kalidi tape that the New York Times and the L.A. Times will not bring to public notice? "Why is the Los Angeles Times sitting on a videotape of the 2003 farewell bash in Chicago at which Barack Obama lavished praise on the guest of honor, Rashid Khalidi — former mouthpiece for master terrorist Yasser Arafat?" asks Andrew McCarthy in National Review OInline.

"Obama is about change," Jackson told Taheri in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.

"We helped him start his career," says Jackson. "And then we were always there to help him move ahead. He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged."

That caused something of a stir in the Obama camp.

Jackson promptly issued a non-denial denial.

The Rev. Jackson did not dispute the quotes. He did, however, accuse Tahiri, the author of an upcoming book, “The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution,” of “selectively imposing his own point of view and distorting mine" in the column.

Shelly Davis, a spokeswoman for Jackson issued the following press release:

"Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Responds to Distortions in NY Post Column
-For Immediate Release-

"Contact: Butch Wing, 510-701-8955
Shelley Davis, 773-490-8665
October 14, 2008

"The recent column in no way represents my views on Middle East peace and security. The writer is selectively imposing his own point of view, and distorting mine.

"I have a long held position of a two state solution to achieve peace in the Middle East. I stand forthrightly for the security and stability of Israel, its protection from any form of hostility, and a peaceful, non-violent resolution to co-existing with its Palestinian neighbors. I have advocated for peaceful, non-violent negotiation. This is a framework that all people who pursue peace and reconciliation embrace. Both presidential candidates embrace this approach to advance Middle East negotiations and the peace process. It is our national policy.

"The slant of this writer’s article is designed to incite fear and division. It must not be allowed to divert our focus away from the substantative and sensitive debate around the critical foreign policy and domestic economic issues in this critical region of the world.

"Reverend Jackson is not a representative of Senator Obama. He has never had a conversation with Senator Obama about Israel or the Middle East, and was not characterizing his views on these issues."

The Obama camp sent out its usual form reply to those whom the righteous wind has blown in an unfavorable direction: “Obama's national security spokeswoman, Wendy Morigi, said Jackson does not advise Obama.”
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