Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent reported the unremarkable news January 7 that the Obama campaign is planning to “go on the offensive” against conservative critics of the president’s “stance on Israel.” Behind the plan, Sargent reports, is a worry that “conservatives are having some success in distorting his record.”
In what was either an unconscious bit of self-parody or a wry effort to illustrate how these distortions work, Commentary assistant on-line editor Alana Goodman blogged about Sargent’s report later that same afternoon in a post that was slyly titled “Obama Campaign to Combat Pro-Israel Groups.”
Get it? To be pro-Israel is to attack Obama’s policies; hence, to defend his record on Israel is to attack Israel’s friends. And you know what they say about the enemy of my friend…
Then, going out on a limb, Goodman allowed herself to speculate on what might have gotten the Obama campaign so spooked as to drive it to the point of answering its critics: “The new strategy,” she writes,
indicates that something — perhaps internal polling data or problems with key pro-Israel donors — is suddenly making the Obama campaign very concerned about losing Jewish supporters.
Polling data or problems with donors? Where would she get that?
This is just a guess, but she might have sleuthed this from Sargent’s citing, complete with hyperlink, of a Politico piece reporting that, as Sargent put it, “many Jewish Dems and donors are privately expressing doubts about Obama’s Mideast policies.”
As they used to say at the daily Yiddish Forverts, hold the back page.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).