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Jackson Pushes Back: I've Never Advised Obama On Israel


First Posted: 10-15-08 02:32 PM   |   Updated: 11-15-08 05:12 AM

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Reverend Jesse Jackson claimed that his words were distorted by a biased reporter on Wednesday after it was reported that he had told a foreign audience that Barack Obama would decrease the influence of "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades." For good measure, he added that he had no relationship with the Obama campaign and therefore couldn't possibly have been speaking on the Senator's behalf.

"The recent column in the New York Post by Amir Taheri in no way represents my views on Middle East peace and security," read a statement from his Rainbow/Push Coalition office. "The writer is selectively imposing his own point of view, and distorting mine... The slant of this writer's article is designed to incite fear and division. It must not be allowed to divert our focus away from the substantive and sensitive debate around the critical foreign policy and domestic economic issues in this critical region of the world."

To drive home the point, his office added the following: "Reverend Jackson is not a representative of Senator Obama. He has never had a conversation with Senator Obama about Israel or the Middle East, and was not characterizing Senator Obama's views on these issues."

In an article published this morning in the Post, Taheri asserted that at the first World Policy Forum, held in France this past week, Jackson said Obama would sharply change the United States relationship with Israel and role in the Middle East.

"The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where 'decades of putting Israel's interests first' would end," the Reverend reportedly said.

Within hours the Obama campaign had put out a statement reminding voters that the Senator has never equivocated in his support for Israel and did not count Jackson as an adviser. For good measure, reporters were reminded that the New York Post was not a friendly publication to Obama, that Taheri was considered a hostile writer to the Democrat, and that Jackson had once been caught threatening to castrate Obama during a hot mic moment.

In his own statement, Jackson clarified his position on Israel, saying he favored "a peaceful, non-violent resolution to co-existing with its Palestinian neighbors."