Samuel J. Wurzebacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," apparently is not a one-issue voter. When a visitor from Florida at a GOP rally in Ohio told "Joe" that in his view, "a vote for Obama would be a vote for the death of Israel," Wurzebacher responded, "I'll go ahead and agree with you on that."
This did not please Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who interviewed Wurzenbacher on air and tried to pin him down on why he thought that a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel. Poor Joe the Plumber, who probably wishes in retrospect that he had never won overnight fame from his question on taxes to Obama, responded that he primarily was influenced by Obama's declared intention to meet with the leaders of Iran without preconditions. Wurzenbacher told Smith that he did not consider himself to be a foreign policy expert, whereupon Smith scolded him for the implications of his statement, implying to my ears that Wurzenbacher's rhetoric might cause a fervent supporter of Israel to commit violence to stop Obama's election. You can hear the entire exchange here, and judge for yourself.
There is no question that Smith made Wurzenbacher look bad on the air. Had he asked me, I would have said that saying a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel is hyperbole, not the least because I believe the Holy One, Praised Be He, has his own plans for Israel, which not even Barack Obama can disrupt. However, I would have pointed out that friends of Israel certainly should be concerned about the following matters:
1. Obama's 20-year close relationship with the virulently anti-Zionist Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his membership in Reverend Wright's church. This is a clergyman who has repeatedly attacked the Jewish State from the pulpit, characterizing its acts of self-defense as terrorism. Somehow Obama apparently missed those sermons. This is a church that printed guest editorials by Hamas leaders in its church bulletin.
2. Obama voted against a resolution in the Senate that would have declared Iran's Revolutionary Guard to be a terrorist organization. He has defended his vote by voicing the fear that such a declaration, designating a unit of Iran's "armed forces" to be a terrorist organization, might be interpreted by the George W. Bush Administration as Senate approval of an attack on Iran. However, Argentina and Interpol have indicted leaders and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center, as reported here in November 2007, and Smith's own Fox News reported in October 2007 that the former head of Argentine intelligence had said that the order for the bombing came from the highest levels of the Iranian government.
3. Obama is advised on Middle East affairs and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by former U.S. envoy and negotiator Dennis Ross, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, the same folks who brought you the Oslo Accords. These American Jews are well-meaning men who surely believe they have Israel's best interests at heart, and just as surely have supported policies and measures that have proven disastrous to Israel. At their feet one may reasonably lay partial responsibilty for the resurrection of Yassir Arafat and the PLO after its exile in Tunis; the Al Aksa Intifada; the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza; and the subsequent takeover of Gaza by Hamas. Currently they support territorial concessions that would place all of Israel within rocket and artillery range of Palestinian terrorists. Of course, they have like-minded colleagues in Israel, but that does not mitigate the danger their viewpoints pose.
4. According to Amir Taheri, writing in the New York Post, Reverend Jesse Jackson declared in a speech at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France that the election of Barack Obama would change American foreign policy by ending "decades of putting Israel's interests first," and that the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" would use their clout. Gee, I wonder what he meant by that.
5. Then there is the close relationship of Senator Obama to virulent anti-Israel activists, such as Rashid Khalidi and former Weatherman terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, as discussed on this blog yesterday.
All-in-all, Mr. Smith, I believe that a pretty strong case can be made for the concern voiced by Joe the Plumber, even if he overdid it. Indeed, no less astute an observer than Caroline Glick, columnist for the Jerusalem Post and the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, told me and other Jewish bloggers, in an blogger interview sponsored by One Israel and reported on this blog here, "Any American Jew who votes for Obama is sticking a finger in the eye of the Jewish people." So Joe the Plumber may be right again.