Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday backed the Bush administration’s policy of shunning contact with the Islamic militants of Hamas in its Middle East peace diplomacy…

Obama, hoping to win his party’s nomination to face likely Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in the November presidential election, said his willingness to meet with foes “does not include Hamas.”

“You can’t negotiate with somebody who does not recognize the right of a country to exist so I understand why Israel doesn’t meet with Hamas,” Obama told reporters during a campaign stop in San Antonio, Texas.

Iran does not recognize Israel either and its president has often threatened the imminent destruction of the Jewish state, drawing criticism from the West which fears Iran wants to make nuclear bombs that could threaten the region.

Exit question: Anyone want to try to parse this one? Your best bet is some distinction about how it’s okay for us, but not Israel, to meet with the leader of a country who calls Israel a “filthy germ.” Show your math. And be sure to avoid cynical answers about how Obama is making an exception for Israel for purely political reasons. The Messiah, surely, is made of sterner stuff.