Jackson: “Zionists” will lose influence under Obama

The campaigns are sparring over comments by Rev. Jesse Jackson arguing that Barack Obama’s foreign policy will mean an end to “decades of putting Israel’s interests first.”

According to a report in the NY Post today, Jackson told an audience at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France last week that the  “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” will lose influence under an Obama administration.

“Obama is about change,” Jackson added. “And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it.”

Obama, who had some early trouble earning the trust of some Jewish voters on the issue of Israel, quickly distanced himself from the comments.

“Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is not an adviser to the Obama campaign and is therefore in no position to interpret or share Barack Obama’s views on Israel and foreign policy,” Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement. “As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship … As president, he will ensure that Israel can defend itself from every threat it faces, stand with Israel in its quest for a secure peace with its neighbors, and use all elements of American power to end Iran’s illicit nuclear program.”

Jackson reportedly acknowledged that he is just an Obama “supporter”  but also described the Democratic nominee as a “neighbor or, better still, a member of the family.”

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign used the report to continue to draw questions about what it says is Obama’s thin record.

“Literally, nobody knows what Barack Obama’s policies would be if he were elected president, but it’s very concerning that people believe he will not be a friend to Israel.”

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