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I noticed a smear starting to emerge in the right wing blogosphere about Edwards and Israel. As per usual there appears to be an incestuous twisting of a single story in to a larger, twisted narrative. Let’s map this sucker out.

It all begins with this piece from Variety:

There are other emerging fissures, as well. The aggressively photogenic John Edwards was cruising along, detailing his litany of liberal causes last week until, during question time, he invoked the “I” word — Israel. Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace, Edwards remarked, was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. As a chill descended on the gathering, the Edwards event was brought to a polite close.

Support for Israel in the U.S. has lately become bafflingly multi-cultural, representing an alliance between diaspora Jews, traditional Zionists and evangelicals. Support from Christian zealots, who now represent about one third of Israel’s tourist business, is welcomed even though, according to evangelical doctrine, Judgment Day will bring the ultimate destruction of Israel and death to most of its residents.

The Economist observed this week that “knee jerk defensiveness” of Israel ultimately will erode support for that country around the world, even among Jews. Only 17% of American Jews today regard themselves as “pro-Zionist,” the magazine points out, and only 57% say that “caring about Israel is a very important part of being Jewish.” And Jimmy Carter only exacerbates these mixed signals with his recent perorations that Israel must “give back” territories to the Palestinians.

So according to the Economist, nobody is fond of the Israel taking a reactionary stance, including Jews. Which says to me that IF Edwards denounced the notion of Israel attacking Iran that he wouldn’t be alone in holding such an opinion. This, however won’t shield him from the right wing attacks on him for daring to criticize Israel. If you plug your nose and wade thru the right-wing blogosphere, you’ll find an incestuous circle of sites all linking to this NRO piece:

Really? Israel is the biggest threat? Not Ahmedinijad? Not al-Qaeda? Not a coup attempt in Pakistan? Not a complete breakdown in Iraq drawing in the Saudis, Turks, and Iranians?

But then I read this:

WASHINGTON John Edwards’ presidential campaign wants to make it clear that he doesn’t consider Israel a threat to world peace.

A spokesman for the 2008 Democratic candidate issued a statement today denying such a report on Variety.com.
Columnist Peter Bart reports that Edwards told a Hollywood fundraiser last month that the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities is perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace.

Edwards’ spokesman Jonathan Prince says the article is erroneous. He says Edwards says one of the greatest short-term threats to world peace is Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

So if this article is correct, then the Edwards campaign is actually fueling the bullshit tough talk on Iran now. I really don’t know what to think here, but I’m either very unhappy with John Edwards’ talk on Iran or how the media is portraying his position on Iran. Some clarity is needed, as I agree with democracy arsenal:

With that said, it is tough sometimes to interpret Iran quotes, as we found out yesterday. Let’s say, for example, if someone says: “any type of military action against Iran should be an absolute last resort and every effort should be made to avoid confrontation,” or “we have no intention of attacking Iran” and then they say something like “all options should be left on the table,” then those two statements, while different in tone, are not necessarily contradictory. The argument could be made that its possible to believe both things simultaneously.

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