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Barack Obama uses Israel visit to reassure Jewish voters

Tim Butcher
London Telegraph [1]
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Throughout a hectic day Mr Obama repeatedly drove home the message that a White House led by him would continue to back Israel.

It appeared to be a pre-emptive strike against Right-wing Republicans who hint at Mr Obama’s weakness on the issue of militant Islam by using such devices as repeatedly referring to his middle name, which is Hussein.

But on the Iranian nuclear programme, Palestinian terrorism, the status of Jerusalem and all other issues he stuck closely to the script of robustly supporting Israel.

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Mr Obama also deliberately did something his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, failed to do during a recent visit to Israel, by aligning himself with the moderate Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas.

While Mr McCain did not visit the occupied territories, Mr Obama went to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet Mr Abbas, the president of the Palestinian national authority. He also denounced Mr Abbas’s militant Hamas rivals, who control Gaza.

While this went down well with his hosts, his intended audience was Jewish voters in America who, according to analysts, threaten his chances in the presidential election if they judge him a weak supporter of Israel.

Aluf Benn, a leading columnist in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, caught the true flavour of the visit in a piece headlined “Obama Visit Is All About Wooing Jewish American Voters”.

Full article here [1]