Today in the New York Post, reporter Deborah Orin follows up on her "exclusive" from Monday that took John Kerry's writing from 1997 about Yasser Arafat out of context. Today, Orin presents reaction from Jewish leaders who "voiced concern" about Kerry.
Who are these Jewish leaders? Well, there's Mort Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America, known in the Jewish community as a right-winger, hostile to the Middle East peace process, and a reliable supporter of right-wing Republicans. Orin also quotes American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen, but fails to note that (although he has given money to the Democratic Party in the past) he is now a major Bush financial supporter and gave $100,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2002 alone. Now, is that a fair and balanced assessment of the opinion of Jewish leaders?
Orin's piece does mention that Rosen "said many people were wrong about Arafat in 1997." In other words, many people, not just Kerry, had hope for Arafat's role in Middle East peace in the mid-to-late 1990s. In an interview with the AP Kerry explains this, saying that while Arafat once attended frequent White House meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in search of peace, he has since become a disappointing detriment to the process.
"He was (a statesman) in 1995," Kerry said. "He blew his opportunity in 1999, 2000. As far as I'm concerned, he's an outlaw to the peace process."