One aspect of Jeremiah Wright’s comments that hasn’t gotten enough scrutiny, in my opinion, is his anti-Israel stance. I’d heard this bit from one of his sermons:
But I think that, in the repeated showings of “God damn America” and “the chickens have come home to roost,” we’ve underemphasized the full extent of Wright’s anti-Israel sentiment — something that could have a serious effect on Jewish Democrats, if they saw Obama’s denunciations of these statements as inadequate.
Wright is, after all, a fellow who wrote in July 2005:
The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.
The Divestment issue will hit the floor during this month’s General Synod. Divesting dollars from businesses and banks that do business with Israel is the new strategy being proposed to wake the world up concerning the racism of Zionism. That Divestment issue won’t make the press either, however.
Recently, while I was analyzing some of the content of the Trinity Church’s bulletins, one thing jumped out at me, from a July 8, 2007 bulletin:
Another bulletin turned over a couple of pages to someone from Hamas (reprinted, of course, from the L.A. Times)!
Poking around the web to see if anyone else had been written about this, I ran across this excellent post by Tom Blumer, which notes these items and more. I suggest you read it all.
Did Wright discuss these issues consistently enough that he believed it might be a problem for Obama? Yes. Wright seemed to think so when asked about it in a February 2007 interview (though, to be fair, he said he had not talked to Obama about it):
I just shared with, I was trying to remember who it is, somebody in public life was asking me about Barack, and I said listen, Barack might be forced by the media and/or by supporters to be very absent from this church and to put distance between our church and himself. As a politician, he might be forced into that. I have not talked to him about that at all. It’s just that my read just of the blogs and what the right-Christian-wing leaders have said about him being a part of our church over past three months says this is — you think it’s ugly now, it’s going to get worse, it’s going to get much worse. For survival’s sake, as a politician he just might have to not — not that I love you less, I love me more. I’ll never get elected as long as they keep harping on this. And that’s — again, I haven’t talked to him about that at all.
Q: How do you feel about that?
A: I would understand. I really would. I would understand. For instance … he can’t afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the state of Israel because I’m saying the position we’ve taken in terms of Palestinians is wrong, and I think we need to revisit that. Just that kind of statement would cause negative repercussions in some quarters in terms of some supporters, in terms of some people he needs to support his election campaign.
Yeah, better to distance yourself from that.
But you know, Barack’s crazy old grandma probably said some bad stuff about Israel too — and he can’t disown her!
UPDATE: Don’t forget this quote:
“When his enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Moammar Gadhafi — with [Louis] Farrakhan — a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell.”
As well it should.