Obama remarks call into question future relations with Israel

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Remarks made by American presidential hopeful Barack Obama during a meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Sunday have increased concerns among many Israelis regarding the future policies of the man many polls indicate will be the next president of the United States.

During the closed-door meeting, Obama reportedly complained that "there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel."

Shmuel Rosner, a correspondent with Israel's Ha'aretz daily newspaper, noted that Mr. Obama's remarks were precisely the kind of political meddling in another nation's political process that American liberals often accuse Israel of.

To bring the issue closer to home, Rosner asked his readership, which is largely made up of liberal left-wing Israelis, to imagine if the roles were reversed, to imagine if it was Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu who had publicly rejected the idea of accepting a US Democratic nominee as a true friend of Israel and endorsed Republican policies as being more reasonable.

Like Mr. Obama, Netanyahu is predicted by local polls to be his nation's next leader, and few expect relations between the two men to be anything less than rocky.

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