Hamas' "unendorsement" of Obama

The group reacted negatively to his speech at AIPAC, and now there's talk of Hamas' "unendorsing" Obama, but the whole discussion rests on a faulty premise.

Published June 6, 2008 6:48PM (EDT)

After Barack Obama gave an aggressive speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference on Wednesday, Hamas was not happy. "Obama's comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration's foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.

This comment has provoked a lot of discussion, especially on the right, the theme of which has been that Hamas "unendorsed" Obama. There's just one problem with this assertion: In order to unendorse someone, you really sort of have to have endorsed them in the first place.

The comments being spun into an endorsement were made by Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor to former Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a member of Hamas. He told a conservative radio show here in the U.S., "We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections." That's an expression of support, sure, but it's an expression of support from just one person -- an advisor, at that -- and it's certainly not the stuff of a real endorsement.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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