Prayer Conspiracy-Mongering Continues

Following on from yesterdayIsrael Insider (described by Conwebwatch as “the Israeli World Net Daily“) has a lengthy conspiracy-rumination around Barack Obama’s (or “Barack H. Obama”, as the Insider reminds us) recent visit to the Western Wall and the subsequent publication of the prayer he left there. After more or less admitting that the Maariv “permission to publish” claim was rather dubious, the Insider presses on nevertheless:

…the suspicion that Barack Obama intended for his “private prayer” to become public knowledge is gaining currency here and abroad. James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal’s influential “Best of the Web” column [says]: “Obama’s so-called prayer was at best an open letter to God–a sentiment intended for public, not divine, consumption.”

He also cities the witty column of Israel’s leading Hebrew-to-English translator Hillel Halkin, who writes in the New York Sun that the content of Obama’s note strikes a false note. “Frankly,” Halkin quips, “I’d feel a bit better about Mr. Obama if his prayer had simply said, “Lord, help me to be president.” It’s perhaps churlish of me, but the suspicion lurks that that’s what he would have written had he felt sure it would not have ended up in the newspapers.”

It’s always refreshing to see the religious poses of a presidential candidate being taken with a bit of scepticism, but what exactly were these people expecting? Obviously Obama was going to have a photo-op at the Wall, and obviously he was going to leave a prayer. And if you’re one of the most-scrutinized people on the planet obviously you’re going to be mindful about what you write on a bit of paper you’re going to leave at a public place. Of course he didn’t “feel sure” the note would never become public – why would he?

…The WSJ pundit adds: “If Obama is insincere about his religious faith, that does not speak well of his character. Then again, it is reassuring in a way, given that wacko church he belonged to for 20 years.”

Whereas McCain was totally sincere when he called Rod Parsley a “spiritual guide”…

The Insider then sets out on its own, drawing attention to the footage on Youtube I noted yesterday:

[David] Cohen’s testimony provides new evidence that suggests that the alleged pilferer, dressed in the garb of a seminary student, may in fact have been a member of Obama’s entourage. If so, there would not need to have been an official authorization by the campaign to publish the note. The actual “pilferer” may have been working for Obama.

Or maybe not:

It important to emphasize that the alleged pilferer has not been publicly identified, and any connection between him and the Obama campaign, or with Maariv, has not been proven…at this muddled stage who can really say?

That’s a bit deflating, given that the article was originally headlined “Video shows prayer note snatched by man IDed as ‘member of Obama entourage'” – changed to “Video source claims prayer note snatched by man in Obama’s ‘entourage'”, although misleading either way; Cohen’s “testimony” merely says that

seconds after Obama left the stones, some of his entourage stepped up to the wall (seen dressed in suits) while young men began gathering notes in their hands in what appeared to be the search for Obama’s freshly placed personal note. He is joined by others who unwrap notes and read them.

The Insider then directs us to an interpretation of the incident from Helen Cadogan, who tells us that this was a ploy by Obama to appeal to Muslim anti-Semitism:

Having gone to the Western Wall, and not to Al Aqsa mosque, having offered a Christian-type “prayer,” he has to regain some credibility in Muslim eyes, without seeming to do that. To distract his Muslim American audience from his genuflection at the Western Wall of the Jews, Obama made his fall guy a yeshiva student…So, Obama called a play straight out of the Farrakhan playbook. The note is stolen and the Jew did it! The Jews, they are always to be blamed for everything.

This is the rather desperate evidence provided by the Insider as to how “the ancient Western Wall was used by Obama as a prop for a public relations exercise that appears to have spun way out of control.”