Can We Talk?

We and others were alarmed when Hamas endorsed Barack Obama for President, even though the endorsement was later withdrawn. We were also concerned about Obama’s feckless promise to meet with the leaders of hostile states–not for any particular reason, but just because talk is good. But Obama did say Hamas was one group he wouldn’t be meeting with; not until they renounce terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to exist.

Apparently, though, that assurance was inoperative even when Obama gave it. Yesterday, in an interview in the London-based Al-Hayat, Ahmad Yousef, political adviser to Hamas’s Prime Minister, said that Obama’s aides have already been meeting with senior Hamas officials:

In an interview published Tuesday in the London-based Al-Hayat, Dr. Ahmad Yousef, political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said senior Hamas figures had held a secret meeting with advisers to Barack Obama in Gaza before the U.S. elections.

Throughout his campaign Obama’s official line was that he would “only talk with Hamas if it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and agrees to abide by past agreements.”

According to Yousef in the Al-Hayat interview, the Obama-Hamas talks were already ongoing during the U.S. election campaign: “We were in contact with a number of Obama’s aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to reveal this information as it may influence the elections or become manipulated by McCain’s campaign.”

Yousef also claimed he personally had friendly relations with some of Obama’s advisers and that “Haniyeh will draft a congratulatory letter to Obama for his victory.”

It’s hard to disagree with this assessment by David Hornik of Pajamas Media:

A clash between Obama’s public, anodyne, mainstream statements and behind-the-scenes activities of a different nature would confirm the fears of those concerned about Obama’s history of association with radical people and ideologies.

It would have been nice to know about the cordial relationship between Obama’s advisers and Hamas during the campaign. But, of course, it was an article of faith in the mainstream media that Obama’s many unsavory and radical associations were somehow irrelevant to any expectation as to how he would govern as President.