Oybama: the most promising candidate disappoints with pandering to hardliners
When Barack Obama, the most promising Presidential candidate in a generation, out-Bushes Bush in bellicose and Likudnik rhetoric on I-P and Iran, there is cause for concern. His turn-about and sharply escalated rhetoric was so striking even the WaPo could not fail to notice this pandering to the Likudnik AIPAC Lobby.
I was especially surprised and dismayed by Obama’s grave error and lack of judgment in calling for an “undivided” (which is to say, Israeli) Jerusalem. Jerusalem is international territory and East Jerusalem, currently militarily occupied, is slated to be the capital of a Palestinian state.
Not only does a single country not recognise the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, it also constitutes a departure from longstanding US policy on the issue, which, if not backed up by action, was at least enshrined in principle and has embodied a rare instance of neutrality and justice in policy. It is also worth remembering that most countries’ embassies, including that of the US, are located in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.
As Ian William writes (see selected article excerpts below), Obama “would be better off building up ties to J-street, the new Peace-Nowish lobby whose views seem to represent far more American Jews than AIPAC, which more and more looks like a Likudnik-Neocon lobby, prepared to fight to the last Israeli – and indeed the last GI – for their eschatological visions. Let us hope Obama’s speech was just a passing pander and that the peace drive he promised takes international law on occupied territories into account.”
Change and hope, Mr Obama?
***UPDATE: See Obama clarifies united J’lem comment ***
- Arabs shocked by Obama speech (Al Jazeera, 5 June): Arab leaders have reacted with anger and disbelief to an intensely pro-Israeli speech delivered by Barack Obama, the US Democratic presumptive presidential nominee. …His comments appalled Palestinians who see occupied East Jerusalem as part of a future Palestinian state. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera on Thursday: “This is the worst thing to happen to us since 1967 … he has given ammunition to extremists across the region.””What really disappoints me is that someone like Barack Obama, who runs a campaign on the theme of change – when it comes to Aipac and what’s needed to be said differently about the Palestinian state, he fails.””I say to Obama … please stop being more Israeli than the Israelis themselves, leave the Israelis and Palestinians alone to make decisions required for peace.” Read rest HERE
- Its a Mitzvah – Dana Milbank (Washington Post, 5 June 2008; thanks Ed): A mere 12 hours after claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday — and changed himself into an Israel hard-liner. He promised $30 billion in military assistance for Israel. He declared that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force has “rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.”He used terms such as “false prophets of extremism” and “corrupt” while discussing Palestinians. And he promised that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” Vowing to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon, the newly minted nominee apparent added: “I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally, Israel. Do not be confused.”How could they be confused? As a pandering performance, it was the full Monty by a candidate who, during the primary, had positioned himself to Hillary Clinton’s left on matters such as Iran. Yesterday, Obama, who has generally declined to wear an American-flag lapel pin, wore a joint U.S.-Israeli pin, and even tried a Hebrew phrase on the crowd.Obama even outdid President Bush in his pro-Israel sentiments. On the very day that Obama vowed to protect Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — drawing a furious denunciation from the Palestinian Authority — Bush announced that he was suspending a move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Read rest HERE.