As something of a political junkie, I must admit that I've seen some pretty ridiculous statements over the years. Politicians do, after all, twist and turn like twisty-turny things in their efforts to make the untrue true.* However, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's recent statement about the GOP and Israel has got to be among the most patently false statements of this whole campaign. Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner reports that, while speaking to a training session for Jewish Democrats at the DNC, she said, according to the Washington Examiner:
Much of the session, which featured a string of speakers from the Obama campaign, was devoted to defending Obama’s record on Israel. During her talk, Wasserman Schultz said that Republicans, who “can’t get anywhere with our community on domestic issues” instead “do everything they can to lie and distort and mischaracterize this president’s stellar record on Israel.”
As she was wrapping up her remarks, she claimed that, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
In case it wasn't obvious enough how laughable this claim is, Klein notes in his article:
It’s especially ironic for her to argue that Republican attacks were dangerous because they were creating a perception of “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. Creating daylight was precisely the goal Obama adopted when he took office. As the Washington Post reported, a few months into his presidency, Obama told a group of Jewish leaders that the peace process didn’t advance during the prior administration because President Bush was too reflexively pro-Israel.
“During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that?” Obama said, according to the Washington Post. “When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”
But the lying doesn't stop there. A later post from Klein gives a response from the Israeli Ambassador Oren himself refuting what she said:
But the Israeli embassy has now released a statement from Ambassador Michael Oren responding to the Examiner report. “I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel,” the statement reads. “Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”
When confronted with her lie, Debbie did the usual Democratic thing and accused Klein of deliberately misquoting her. But was she? Take a look at the video yourself:
That doesn't sound like a misquote to me. This wouldn't be the first time context has worked against the Democrats in this campaign, though.
But wait, there's more! As Debbie was telling this to that group of Jewish Democrats, her (and their) own party was working to undercut her and make the situation look even more farcical. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported:
The Democratic Party platform doesn’t state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, a change from prior years that could provide fuel to critics who say President Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel is weak.
“President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” begins the 70-page platform in a section titled “The Middle East.” The three-paragraph section details the Obama administration’s support for Israel—including boosting security assistance—but says nothing about Jerusalem.
But the changes aren't just about Jerusalem. Barry Rubin notes:
--Terms of a peace agreement. Previous platforms have clearly stated that Palestinian refugee should be resettled in a state of Palestine. The Palestinian Authority’s demand that all Palestinians who want to do so with any historical claim to having been there before 1948 can go and live in Israel (“the right of return”). This is a deal-killer for all Israeli parties and everyone in the Middle East will notice the change. If this seems obscure to you, let me assure you that this is of huge significance.
--There is no explicit reference to the Gaza Strip and Hamas, except for the anti-rocket system. Previously, the platform called for isolating Hamas. Obama undermined this by demanding a reduction in Israeli sanctions after the flotilla incident. By helping a new, Muslim Brotherhood government take power in Egypt—a regime allied to Hamas—Obama has made this the most dangerous front for Israel. The Democratic platform suggests that the party recognizes no specific danger in Hamas.
--There is also no reference to Hizballah and its threat to Israel from Lebanon, again except for the anti-rocket system. This threat led to a war in 2006 and poses a constant terrorist threat.
Perhaps the people she was talking to--Jewish Democrats concerned about where Israel stands in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party--ought to take note of these changes before they go knocking on doors or casting their ballots.
Does Debbie even pay attention to this sort of stuff before she starts talking to people? As the head of the DNC, she had to have some idea that this was happening. Of course, this assumes mere ignorance. I can't prove it, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was something more sinister going on.
*=I say they're all weedy pigeons, and you can call me Susan if it isn't so.