New York, Oct.15 : Barack Obama's campaign stepped in quickly Tuesday to distance itself from a claim by the Reverend Jesse Jackson that "Zionists" would lose clout under an Obama administration. The move was the latest chapter in what appears to be a protracted falling-out between the two Chicago figures -- each of whom represents a different age of political activism.
Jackson made the remarks to the World Policy Forum in France last week, according to The New York Post.
The civil rights activist reportedly said that "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" would lose some of their influence with Obama in the White House, and that "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would come to a close.
Obama's campaign denied that assertion on Tuesday.
"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," Fox News quoted Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi, as saying 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. No false charges can change Barack Obama's unshakeable commitment to Israel's security," the statement further said.
John McCain's spokesman, Tucker Bounds, also reacted to Jackson's comments on Tuesday, saying: "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."