From TownHall.com, Wednesday, June 11, 2008, by Michael Medved (Very brief excerpts only. Follow the link to the full article. Also see this posting on the same subject):
The morning after he secured the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and made a surprisingly strong statement about the future of Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he said to thunderous applause. ...Within a week, the Palestinians and various foreign policy commentators denounced the new Obama approach, and the candidate hastily retreated from his prior declaration.
His subsequent equivocation and undeniable confusion on an issue of profound international importance conforms to the candidate’s already well-established pattern of offering rousing words that remain utterly unconnected to substantive policy.
On reflection, even many Friends of Israel who initially applauded Obama’s speech now see two reasons to question his position:
1. He Didn’t Mean It
....On CNN on Thursday (after his Wednesday speech), Senator Obama ...told CNN that he still supported a unified Israeli Jerusalem but suddenly acknowledged that this might prove an unattainable goal. “My belief is that, as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute,” he said....
2. He’s Wrong to Think It’s America’s Call.
... The candidate’s glib sound-bite – “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided” –presumes that the President of the United States, not the leaders and people of Israel, gets to decide the fate of King David’s city....
... it’s worth noting that the United States almost always tries to influence Israel toward weaker positions, not a stronger ones -- urging endless and painful unilateral concessions, with only meaningless Palestinian promises in return....
The Destructive Pattern
The most disturbing aspect of the Obama bumble regarding Jerusalem involves its exposure of the core weakness of his campaign: the huge gap between compelling style and empty substance, and the enormous distance between inspiring words and any practical policies to achieve his noble goals.
Speaking to ecstatic acolytes at monster rallies, or even addressing 7,000 pro-Israel activists in Washington, the Democratic candidate makes a great impression. But what will he do to implement his commitments?
In his famous “Race Speech” in Philadelphia, he said he could never “disown” Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and then six weeks later he distinctively disowned him.
He praised Trinity United Church of Christ for its warmth and community service – then delivered an expedient resignation because of the guest sermon of another old friend, Michael Pfleger.
He told a CNN debate audience he would agree to face-to-face meetings with the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria in his first year in office, then explained it might not be the first year, the meetings might not be face-to-face, and maybe it wouldn’t be those leaders.
Most recently, he describes Jerusalem’s “undivided status” as an imperative and then the next day acknowledges “as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute.”
The Jewish community (where Gallup shows McCain drawing an unexpectedly strong 35%) has begun to learn about the Illinois Senator’s slippery and deceptive rhetorical habits, and one can only hope that in subsequent weeks the rest of the country will receive the same lessons.