Obama hyperbole alert: Nobody's better on Israel than me!

The Obamerbole Meter gets pegged again in this Pittsburgh Gazette profile on Barack Obama and his attempt to minimize the damage from calling middle American voters bigots who cling to guns and religion rather than federal control of their lives. During a question-and-answer session with the paper’s editors, Obama got challenged on his support for Israel. He not only insisted that he supports Israel, he claimed that he is Israel’s greatest supporter (emphasis mine):

“Let’s be clear, there has been a really systematic effort to suggest that I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel,” he said. “The fact that my middle name is Hussein, I’m sure, does not help in that regard … Again some of this dates back to the ’60s between the African-American and the Jewish community as a consequence of [Louis] Farrakhan. There was flap about some of Jesse Jackson’s statements during his presidential race, so I inherit all this baggage.”

While repeating an earlier statement that he disagreed with former President Jimmy Carter’s decision to meet with representatives of the Palestinian group Hamas during his current trip to the Middle East, Mr. Obama said, “The fact is, though, that no one’s been a more stalwart ally of Israel…. My support of Israel is as strong as Sen. Clinton or [Sen. John] McCain. Groups like AIPAC [the American Israel Political Action Committee] would confirm that.”

No one? Not George Bush or Joe Lieberman? Perhaps Barack Obama can offer a look at the many votes he has cast on behalf of Israel or the speeches he gave in support of their right to exist and to defend themselves against terrorists determined to annihilate them. No?

The reference to AIPAC is especially laughable. AIPAC doesn’t have a ratings system for presidential candidates, but perhaps its new competitor will. So-called “doves” want to launch a new lobbying group in Washington to pressure Israel into making even more concessions for a peace settlement as a means to counteract the efforts of AIPAC. Guess who has an instrumental role in setting up this opposition to AIPAC? Robert Malley, the only American official to blame Israel for Yasser Arafat’s refusal to accept a peace settlement in the last gasps of the Clinton administration.

What else does Malley do? He works in the Obama campaign, and he’s not the only one working on the anti-AIPAC project:

The J-Street board of advisers includes a number of lay and professional leaders of Americans for Peace Now (APN), including CEO Debra DeLee, as well as Marcia Freedman, founder and former president of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom.

Several activists with ties to Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama are on the panel, as well. They include Robert Malley, whose involvement in Obama’s broad foreign policy advisory team has generated criticism from Republicans and some pro-Israel groups, and Alan Solomont, a top Obama fundraiser and major player in Democratic politics.

Once again, the Obamerbole Meter suggests that Obama wants to cover up something by claiming to be the “best ever” at whatever point is in contention. Just as when Obama claimed that “nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have” in response to his church’s connections with Louis Farrakhan and similar claims on gay rights, it strongly suggests a compensatory reaction that demands an end to inquiry. I’m the greatest, Obama says — how dare you question my authenticity!

Well, that authenticity continues to erode through Obama’s threadbare hyperbole. He’s not only not Israel’s staunchest defender, he’s not even in that league. His desperate attempt to get a lifesaver from AIPAC while his supporters work to undermine the organization may be the nadir of this particular strategy.