Harold Brackman

Obama and the Jews

Those looking for Obama’s views on the Mideast won’t find a great deal. In 2004, he disappointed Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada by giving a speech to Chicago’s Council on Foreign Relations endorsing the U.S. alliance with Israel. Speaking before Jewish audiences during his Senate campaign, he reassured them that his Swahili first name, Barack (“Blessed”), is a close relation of Baruch in Hebrew. His current bestseller, “The Audacity of Hope” — a carefully crafted manifesto positioning him for his 2008 run — has a page on a recent trip to the Mideast, where he talked to both Holocaust survivors and Palestinian villagers.