Sometime this spring, I started getting emails from the Bush-Cheney campaign’s “Jewish Outreach” department. That’s because when I signed up on their list, I think I listed “Middle East” as one of my areas of interest. Maybe I said I was Jewish. Frankly I don’t remember.
Obviously, this is a form of message narrow-casting that lots of campaigns are doing, and it gives them an opportunity to say things they might not want a general audience to hear. (Anybody on BC04′s “Christian Outreach” list?)
Today’s message really got my blood boiling, because it revived a very old form of red-baiting among Jews. “Kerry Receives Endorsement of the PLO” was the title. Here’s the first paragraph:
Last spring, John Kerry boasted that a number of foreign leaders supported his campaign, but refused to name them. This week he received his first foreign-leader endorsement — from the Palestinian Authority. Congratulations, Mr. Kerry. An organization known the world over as the linchpin of terrorism has now awarded you its support. When Kerry was talking about his popularity in foreign capitals, he said “you can go to New York City and you can be in a restaurant and you can meet a foreign leader” that supports him. Well, it’s unlikely that he met the leaders bestowing this week’s endorsement at Katz’s Deli.
That last reference, for readers not from New York, is to a famous Lower East Side delicatessen that is a must-stop for politicians seeking the Jewish vote.
The email goes on to link Kerry as well to the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamed, for urging Muslims in America to vote for Kerry. Mohamed, the message notes, has made numerous anti-Semitic comments (though it doesn’t cite the his anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros, since that would sort of confuse things, wouldn’t it?)
You have to read deep into this BC04 email to discover the basis for its claim that the PLO has endorsed Kerry:
Palestinian Authority Expresses Support For John Kerry. “The Palestinian Authority made its first open statement Monday expressing support for US democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said that the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is unsure if George W. Bush is re-elected to office.” (“Shaath: US Election Stalling Peace Process,” The Jerusalem Post, 10/18/04)
Well, this is scarcely an endorsement. And, if you actually go read the Jerusalem Post story, you’ll find that nowhere is Shaath quoted as saying “the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is unsure if George W. Bush is re-elected.” All he does say is that Palestinians are paying a deadly price for the lack of attention to the peace process during the run-up to the election, and he calls on “America’s friends and allies” like Britain to fill the gap. “I do not think the three coming months should just witness Palestinians getting killed,” he pleads.
So, where is the PLO “endorsement” of Kerry? I had to hunt down this Agence France Presse report on an interview he did with the BBC to find more details.
In an interview with the BBC Sunday, Shaath refused to openly take sides in the White House race, although he said a re-election of US President George W. Bush would be unlikely to bring progress to the Middle East peace process.
“If Mr. Bush is re-elected, he promised that he would reinvigorate the peace process, but with his team around, and with his views so far, it doesn’t look very promising,” Shaath told BBC television.
Shaath said victory for Democratic challenger John Kerry could signal a better outlook but that any progress would take time. “If Mr Kerry were to win, most likely some of (former US president Bill) Clinton’s team would come back. That is okay, but it might take them a year before firming up a policy (on the Middle East). We cannot wait that long.”
Does that sound like an endorsement by the PLO to you?