How dumb does President-elect Barack Obama think we are?
Let me rephrase the question: Are we as dumb as Obama thinks?
Before answering, let me lay out the background that prompts the question.
Last spring, back when Hamas, the Muslim-Brotherhood-linked terror group dedicated to the annihilation of Israel through jihad, endorsed the Obama's candidacy, the young Democratic candidate was still assumed to falter when it came to support for Israel, the United States' greatest and most beleaguered ally in the Middle East. Obama may well have rejected Hamas's support, but those were still the days when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and sidekick Lewis Farrakhan were making at least some news for both their anti-Semitic, anti-white views and their support for Obama. Those were also still the days before Hillary Clinton's ship of state completely foundered and sunk.
Obama did a few things to pivot off the Hamas endorsement and his alliance with the Farrakhan-connected Wright, whose church newsletter, don't forget, actually made room for terrorist propaganda by Hamas chieftain Mousa Abu Marzook. Obama spoke of his "unshakeable commitment" to Israel, and when John McCain noted that Obama was Hamas' choice for president, Obama called that fact a "smear" and said McCain had "lost his bearings." Obama also publicly criticized former President Jimmy Carter for meeting, also last spring, with leaders of Hamas, a rancid charade complete with hugs for living terrorists, and red roses for dead ones (at Arafat's grave). Obama declared, "I have a fundamental difference with President Carter and disagree with his decision to meet with Hamas. We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel's destruction. We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist and abide by past agreements."
Well, Hamas hasn't renounced terrorism, recognized Israel's right to exist or abided by past agreements — the three conditions for parleying with Hamas as enumerated by the "international community." This week, however, top Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef — the same Hamas official who endorsed Obama last spring — revealed to an Arabic newspaper that during the presidential campaign, aides to Obama were already, as Obama might say, "sitting down" with members of the terrorist organization.
"We were in contact with a number of Obama's aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign," Yousef told the London-based Al-Hayat. According to Yousef, Al-Hayat reported, Hamas's contact with Obama's advisers was "ongoing, adding that he was still on good terms with some of the aides he had befriended while residing in the U.S."
How interesting. "While residing in the U.S." — that is, before fleeing the country to avoid arrest on terror-related charges in 2005 — Yousef worked for the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated organization founded by Hamas chieftain Mousa Abu Marzook (the same Marzook whose propaganda appeared in Wright's church newsletter) that served as the political command of Hamas in the United States. Along with an interlocking network of Islamic organizations, the UASR has since been designated by the U.S. government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial.
This raises a fascinating question. Which aides to the next president of the United States might Yousef have "befriended" while "residing in the U.S." — in other words, while Yousef was serving Hamas?
One possibility is Robert Malley, the pro-Hamas, Arafat-revering on-again/off-again Obama adviser who heads the Middle East program at the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group (ICG). Last spring, Malley "severed his ties to the Obama campaign," as The New York Times put it, after learning that "the Times of London was preparing to publish an article disclosing direct contacts he had with Hamas." At that time, Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said: "He has no formal role in the campaign and will not play one in the future."
Really? Last month, Forbes.com reported on Malley's October meeting with Syrian strongman Bashar Al-Assad, noting that Syrian government-controlled media — which, in one case referred to Malley as "a senior adviser to Barack Obama" — reported that discussions included Malley's explanation of "the role ICG would have in briefing the new U.S. administration about Syria's important role in the region." ICG, not incidentally, is home to assorted luminaries of the notably anti-Israel persuasion, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, retired Gen. Wesley Clark (who called U.S. support for Israel's 2006 war against Hezbollah a "serious mistake"), and another on-off Obama adviser, Samantha Powers.
Naturally, there's more. This week, Middle East Newsline reported that President-elect Obama recently sent "senior foreign policy adviser" Malley to Egypt and Syria where he "relayed a pledge from Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile with Damascus." According to an unnamed aide, "The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests."
No denial so far from the Obama administration-in-waiting on this report, which is beginning to bounce around Israeli media. As for the Hamas story about secret contact with Obama aides, an Obama spokesman recently told The Jerusalem Post, "This assertion is just plain false."
Time will tell, of course. There is no doubletalk fancy enough to disguise a new era of accommodation of jihad terrorists bent on Israel's — and the West's — destruction, if that is the era we are heading into.
Or is there? This takes me back to my original question: Are we as dumb as Obama thinks we are?
I'm afraid — really afraid — we are.