Obama’s poor choice of advisors

April 22, 2008

* Tom Gross: “As an intelligent man, Obama is no doubt capable of mastering foreign policy but it will take some time; and while he’s doing so, in an extremely dangerous world, it may well prove a very costly education for the rest of us.”

* Crucial Pennsylvania primary today
* Obama’s co-chair blames New York and Miami Jews for the lack of Mideast peace
* Obama gives thousands to hate-mongering church
* Church newsletter accuses Israel of trying to produce “an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs”
* Obama continues to send his children to the church every week


* This is a follow-up to previous writings about the U.S. election on this list, most notably this dispatch, a dispatch that was referred to and linked to in the Financial Times and other papers.



1. Serious doubts about Obama’s readiness to be commander-in-chief
2. Obama’s military advisor and co-chair blames the Jews
3. Miami and New York, not Hamas and Hizbullah?
4. Obama church accuses Israel of working to produce “an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks”
5. Obama helps fund church, sends daughters there
6. Good judgment?
7. Obama and American terrorist mix in same circles
8. “Israel is a catastrophe”
9. Hamas says it likes Obama too
10. European leaders more friendly to Israel than Obama?
11. McCain was right: Iran’s help for Sunni terrorism
12. From Afghanistan to Gaza to Algeria

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


Today Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama contest the crucial, delegate-rich Pennsylvania presidential primary. Some four million Democrats are eligible to cast ballots. 158 delegates are at stake.

According to opinion polls, the most strongly pro-Obama religious group among America’s white population are Jews. Many may find this surprising, given disparaging remarks about Jews and Israel made by some of Obama’s closest advisors and confidants.

There are very few states where Jewish voters can make a difference as swing voters, but Pennsylvania is one of them.

If it was only one, or two, or even three, of Obama’s close advisors who have adopted anti-Israeli and anti-American positions (and in some cases used anti-Semitic language), one might possibly excuse Obama. But Obama has chosen to surround himself with many such persons. Let's hope that if he is elected president things may change.

If Obama had appointed a reliable, experienced Democrat, such as Richard Holbrooke, to his foreign policy team, one might feel more comfortable that he won’t make poor foreign policy mistakes if elected. But he hasn’t.

As an intelligent man, Obama is no doubt capable of mastering foreign policy but it will take some time; and while he’s doing so, in an extremely dangerous world, it may well prove a very costly education for the rest of us.

A previous dispatch on this list referred to Obama advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski (who served as Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor), Robert Malley (who has been an apologist for Yasser Arafat), and Samantha Power (who has called for the elimination of foreign aid to Israel and its redirection to “Palestine”). So this dispatch will deal with some of Obama’s other advisors and close associates.

(Incidentally, although Power had to withdraw from the public face of Obama’s campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a “monster,” I am reliably told that she remains in close contact with Obama and would almost certainly be given a senior posting were he to become president.)



The media have been very starry-eyed about Obama (Barbara Walters calling him “very sexy” on ABC TV is just the tip of the iceberg), and often relentless in their criticism of Hillary Clinton, who despite all her many faults has actually lied less than Obama on the campaign (most of the media ignoring his lies while relentlessly playing up hers), that they have failed to properly report some of the anti-Semitic outbursts of his close confidants.

Among these are the comments by General Merrill “Tony” McPeak, Obama’s military advisor and the co-chair of his presidential campaign, that American Jews were responsible for the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

McPeak, a longtime anti-Israel critic, told The Oregonionnewspaper that the problem was New York and Miami. “We have a large vote here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”



In other words if it weren’t for those Jews in their retirement homes in Miami, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Islamic Jihad would all just put down their weapons.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on Obama to remove McPeak. “By choosing to have a military advisor and national campaign co-chairman like General McPeak, serious questions and doubts are once again being raised about Senator Obama’s positions and judgment on Middle East issues,” the RJC said in a press release which was almost completely ignored by the pro-Obama media.

The RJC press release continued: “Rather than putting the blame where it belongs – on the Palestinian leadership and their continued reliance on terror, General McPeak finds it more convenient to blame American Jewry. This is the same dangerous and disturbing canard being promoted by the likes of Jimmy Carter and authors Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby. Senator Obama continues to surround himself with advisors holding troubling and disturbing anti-Israel bias.”



Amid the furor over Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s comments (the chickens came home to roost on 9/11) and lies (America invented AIDS to kill Blacks, etc), the anti-Semitic outbursts that he has published have been largely overlooked by the media. These include the comment that Israel is worse than the Nazis.

On the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter from last June (on the “Pastor’s Page,” page 8) Obama’s friend and preacher Jeremiah Wright prints an “Open Letter” (by Ali Baghdadi) accusing Israel of working to produce “an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs.”

It goes on to say “what the Zionist Jews did to the Palestinians is worse than what the Nazis did to the Jews.”*

(* PDF download of newsletter here.)



The church – to which Obama still sends his children every week and to which last year he made an enormous $22,500 donation (about half an annual salary for most Americans) – last month reprinted an opinion piece by Hamas defending terrorism as legitimate, denying Israel’s right to exist and comparing the terror group’s official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews and the eradication of Israel – to the American Declaration of Independence. The Hamas piece was also published on “Pastor’s Page” of the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter.



Obama, brought up by a free-spirited, atheistic mother, and her two Muslim husbands, didn’t have to choose to join this radical church and remain extremely close to it for his entire adult life.

Obama has repeatedly told Americans that he is the candidate to unite America. One wonders then why he chose to associate himself so closely with such a hate-mongering racist institution as the Trinity United Church of Christ. If a white candidate had chosen to associate himself with the Ku Klux Klan, one suspects the media would be rather more tough on him.

Obama is running for position of U.S. president, to serve among other things as commander-in-chief. Americans are not choosing a winner for American Idol. Speaking well and looking good are not the most important qualifications to be president.

In various speeches recently, Obama has said that there was no point trying to best McCain in matters of experience, that what counted was good judgment. But it is hard to have one have the latter without the other.



Obama’s long association and friendship with William Ayers, a key member of the Weather Underground, should also be of concern for those who believe Obama has good judgment.

At the very same time that John McCain was being held as a prisoner of war for bravely serving his country, Ayers and the Weather Underground bombed NYPD headquarters in June 1970, the U.S. Capitol Building in March 1971 and the Pentagon in May 1972.

To this day, Ayers is unrepentant about the bombings, which killed two people, and said he wished they had bombed more.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the very day America was being attacked by al-Qaeda, The New York Times published an interview with Ayers in which he said: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” (The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial errors.)

When Obama was making his first run for the Illinois Senate in 1995, Ayers and his wife hosted a fundraiser for Obama to their house. Ayers served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago for three years and in 2001 donated money to the Friends Of Barack Obama. Ayers and Obama remain close.

The two have appeared speaking together at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, “Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?” and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002, entitled, “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?”

Ayers is married to another Weathermen terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn, who has also appeared on panels with Obama. In the 1970s, Dohrn was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by the FBI as the “most dangerous woman in America.”

Ayers and Dohrn also raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left 4 people dead.



The Woods Fund, the nonprofit organization on which Sen. Obama served as a paid director alongside Ayers, also granted $40,000 funding in 2001 and $35,000 in 2002 to a controversial Arab group (the AAAN) that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe”. The co-founder of the AAAN, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, has also held a fundraiser for Obama.

The group has also held a “Nakba” exhibit at DePaul University praising Palestinian “martyrdom” and “the heroic struggle.”

AAAN co-founder Khalidi was reportedly a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, at a time when the PLO committed scores of anti-Western terror attacks and plane hijackings.



Hamas, the Palestinian terror group which “celebrated” the Jewish Passover holiday last Saturday by sending suicide bombers into Israel and injuring 13 Israelis (and yesterday badly injured another four-year-old Israeli boy after bombarding his kibbutz with rockets), also like what they hear from Obama and his advisors.

Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, said earlier this month in an interview on the John Batchelor Show on WABC Radio in New York: “We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections.”



With the victory last week of Silvio Berlusconi in the Italian elections, for the first time in decades the four major west European countries are all headed by leaders who are personally sympathetic to Israel: Britain’s Gordon Brown, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, and Italy’s Berlusconi. It would be ironic if next year they urged an America under President Obama not to abandon Israel.



The repeated claim by Barack Obama and his supporters in the media that Shia Iran doesn’t help Sunni terror groups yet again reveals their ignorance of foreign affairs, an ignorance that may prove extremely dangerous.

While Shia and Sunni extremists do of course have deep theological differences they cooperate in at least a dozen countries on a political and terroristic level to work against the interests of the United States.

It is Obama who is wrong – very wrong – when he accuses John McCain of not being able to distinguish Sunni extremists from Shia ones.

The following are a few examples of Shia Iran helping Sunni militants. Amir Taheri, who is a longtime subscriber to this email list, and was formerly the executive editor of Kayhan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper and remains one of the leading experts on Iran in the world, helped compile this information.



Among the assistance provided to Sunni extremists by the Islamic regime that runs Shia Iran:

* In AFGHANISTAN, Iran has financed and armed the Sunni Hizb Islami (Islamic Party) since the 1990s.

* In the former Soviet republics (and now independent states) of TAJIKISTAN and UZBEKISTAN, Iran has for years supported two Sunni movements, the Rastakhiz Islami (Islamic Awakening) and Hizb Tahrir Islami (Islamic Liberation Party).

* In AZERBAIJAN, Tehran supports the Sunni Taleshi groups against the Azeri Shia majority (who are pro-American, and sympathetic to Israel).

* In ALGERIA between 1992 and 2005, Iran financed the Sunni terrorist group, The Front for Islamic Salvation (FIS).

* In 1996, a suicide attack claimed the lives of 19 American servicemen in Al Khobar, in eastern SAUDI ARABIA. The operation was carried out by the Hizbullah in Hejaz, an Iranian-financed outfit, with the help of the Sunni militant group “Sword of the Peninsula.”

* In 2000, Sunni groups linked to al-Qaeda killed 17 U.S. servicemen in a suicide attack on USS Cole off the coast of YEMEN. A Shia militant group led by Sheikh al-Houti, Iran’s man in Yemen, helped with the operation.

* There are no PALESTINIAN Shia, yet Tehran has become the principal source of funding for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian Sunni terror groups.

* Indeed, Iran is now the chief direct state funder of HAMAS. The new Iranian budget, which came into effect on March 21, allocates over $2 billion to the promotion of “revolutionary causes.” Much of the money will go to Hamas and Hizbullah.

* In PAKISTAN, the Iranian-financed Shia Tehrik Jaafari last year joined a coalition of Sunni parties to govern the Northwest Frontier Province. The fact that the Sunnis and Shiites elsewhere in Pakistan continue to kill each other did not prevent them from developing a joint, anti-U.S. strategy that included the revival of the Afghan Taliban and protection for the remnants of al-Qaeda.

* This month, Tehran is hosting what is billed as “THE ISLAMIC CONVERGENCE CONFERENCE,” bringing together hundreds of Shia and Sunni militants from all over the world, under the auspices of Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Taskhiri.

* Many TALIBAN LEADERS and several al-Qaeda figures are reported to spend part of the year in a compound-style housing estate near the village of Dost Muhammad on the Iranian frontier with Afghanistan. Tehran has declared large segments of eastern Iran a “no-go” area, even for its own state-owned media.

* The 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT states that Tehran was in contact with AL-QAEDA at various levels before the 2001 attacks. Tehran has admitted the presence of al-Qaeda figures in Iran on a number of occasions before and since then. Iran has arranged for the repatriation of at least 13 Saudi members in the past five years. At least one of OSAMA BIN LADEN’s sons, Sa’ad, has lived in Iran since 2002.

* Iran also works with many Christian and atheist groups to further its interests against the U.S. These include the Baath party in Syria, ex-Gen. Michel Aoun Maronite Christian faction in Lebanon, and the Colombian FARC. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has awarded the Muslim title of “brother” on Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Iran maintains close links with Communist North Korea.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.