Remember how horrified you were as a Jew when you read that Barack Obama’s Western Wall note was snatched and then republished by Israeli newspaper Maariv? And then afterward, how touched you were by the humility demonstrated by what was supposed to be a private message between Obama and God? Now it’s time to feel a little peeved and indignant if the claims of a Maariv spokesman are true that the contents of the note were approved for publication by the Obama campaign prior to the note’s insertion into the Western Wall. IsraelInsider claims that:
it now appears that Maariv had collaborated with the Obama campaign in getting the “private” prayer, with its “modest” supplicaton to the Lord, out to the public, buffing his Christian credentials and showing his “humility.” … It appears that Obama made Maariv an instrument of his will. The paper, of course, was a most willing tool … If the Maariv statement about pre-approval of publication of the note is true, it would mean that the Obama campaign had managed the event brilliantly, if deceptively, getting the double benefit of appearing to be victimized by the invasive Israeli press and prayer-thieving Jew while at the same time leaking out his humble Christian plea to the Lord … Revelation of this latest Obama collaboration with the media might detract a bit from the perceived sincerity of the prayer and strike some as an especially cynical use of the Kotel and an obstensibly private prayer to the Deity as a campaign prop. Most politicians suffice with getting a photo-op. Obama may be the first to take a prayer-leak on the Wall.
So either Obama was in fact a victim of some slimeball Kotel rat who filched his note and sold it to an Israeli newspaper, or the paper already had the contents of the note and may have been the victim of cynical manipulation or right wing elements are using this incident to paint Obama as a cynical manipulator or… Or all of the above. Or none of the above. Or people are just out to fuck with me.
UPDATE: Yeah. I think people are just out to fuck with me. Zvika Krieger over at the New Republic reports vis-a-vis the statements by the unnamed Maariv spokesman:
I just got off the phone with a Ma’ariv spokesman who says that the accusation is “completely false,” and that he has no idea who these papers were quoting from Ma’ariv. “No official spokesman for Ma’ariv told this to any of the papers.” I’ve got some calls in to these papers to find out where they got the quote. (I’ll update here when I hear back.) He told me definitively that “the Obama campaign did not give us a copy of the letter or approve it for printing.” … UPDATE 1: I just spoke with an editor at one of the four publications who quoted the alleged “Ma’ariv spokesman.” This editor broached the possibility that Ma’ariv was trying to deflect criticisms of it by releasing these spurious rumors about the Obama campaign, but upon realizing that they’ll have to back up those accusations, is now disavowing them. This editor is going to look into this alleged “Ma’ariv spokesman” they quoted in his publication so we can try to ascertain if this is a Ma’ariv cover-up. I’ll update here when I hear back from him and if I get anything interesting from the other publications who also quoted this alleged spokesman.
Oy. Stay tuned?