Thursday, 5 June 2008

Obama No Friend Of Palestine

As someone who has to share a world with them, there are 3 things i am looking for in a new American President. To reverse the foreign policy that sees it reach for the stick before even contemplating the carrot, to sign up to a green agenda and to deal with the Palestine/Israel conflict even-handedly.
Obama has called for diplomacy in the Middle East while McCain sings about bombing Iran, both have agreed to environmental initiatives but neither has come up with a satisfactory response on dealing with Israel. In fact both have promised to stand staunchly behind Israel whatever happens.
I did expect more from Obama and i am sorely disappointed with what he has been saying at the AIPAC meeting.
I have asked on numerous occasions here and elsewhere just what does America get from backing Israel to the hilt regardless of it thumbing its nose at World opinion, countless UN Resolutions and the International Court of Justice while illegally occupying and annexing land and running an apartheid system against a smaller, weaker neighbour for the past 60 years.
Seemingly the answer is that it considers the 2% of Jewish votes important enough to back a nation with a policy towards its neighbours that has little, if any support, outside of Israeli and American borders.
Maybe it was just rhetoric to impress the AIPAC and that glorious 2% but what Obama is promising is to maintain the current status quo as is and that is fine for the Israeli's but not what anyone who wakes up on the wrong side of that Israeli Wall and armed checkpoints wants to hear.
I do find it strange that a potential president must have his fitness to govern judged by how far he is willing to go to serve another country and how they ignore, don't realise or just don't care, how divisive bankrolling an Israel that keeps Palestine down under the heel of its boot, is to its own global image.
Obama may stand for much needed change in his own country but there obviously is not going to be any change in America’s stance towards the Palestine/Israel conflict in the next four years.
More one sided death and destruction it is then and i was expecting so much more from Obama.


annie said...

he cannot get elected without kissing israel's ass. period.

i am still holding out that he sees beyond what he's saying right now. were he to say so, all the "terrroist" and "muslim" accusations would stick like glue.

i am not sure when israel became more important than any other country in the world. it definitely seems imbalanced. that's not a popular view to take here in america.

David G said...

If Obama is a person who tells people what they want to hear, Annie, then it strongly suggests that he is just another opportunistic politician and is dishonest and can be bought.

His speech was both revealing and worrying.

Lucy said...

Unless i am missing something, the gain is negligible.
The best reason i have heard was that the massive Christian voting block back Israel so this language is not aimed at gaining the Jewish vote but keeping the massive Christian vote sweet and you probably need them to get elected.
In this case i can understand why he said it, just very sad that he did.

annie said...

david-i attempeted to imply that NO politician can become president in this country without being israel's champion. or invoking their particular deity, for that matter. no matter how "good" or "different" that politician may well be, they always tow that line. forgive me if i sound matter-of-fact about it all. this comes from decades of having my idealism chipped away at by lying leaders. sadly,i now anticipate such things since most americans don't even seem to notice what goes on in our names.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Annie - it would be political suicide for Obama to say otherwise. With his background I hope he will a lot more unifying. But nothing much changes, as you say.

David G said...

So it's business as usual in America it seems, Ruth and Annie. The implications of that for our world, given the American penchant for imperialism, extreme nationalism and militarism, are dire.

America is too big for its boots. It is no longer a force for good in the the world (assuming it ever was).

Cheezy said...

Personally, I'd expect a President Obama to be a much better prospect for peace in Palestine than a President McCain would be, if only because Obama is clearly a 'talker' who won't place unrealistic expectations on either protagonist before involving himself in any dialogue.

What he's saying now about Israel is - as has been noted elsewhere - what he absolutely has to say to get elected... (it's a bit like the Tories in this country, whatever their actual intentions, have to promise that they won't dismantle the NHS. To do otherwise is electoral suicide).

I'm not saying Obama is insincere when he vows to be a true ally of Israel. I think he will be. But I also think there'd be more hope for Palestinians with Obama as President, despite all the campaign bluster. Bottom line: He can't do anything for either party if he doesn't win.

annie said...

great comments, cheezy! that's how i see it too.

Lucy said...

I understand that Cheezy and you are perfectly right, but it still smarts to hear him say it. Politicians have a wonderful way of saying something and meaning something else or using double speak, didn't hear any of that and i was listening closely, it all sounded pretty irreversible but then again, we also know that politicans are famous for changing their minds when they get in power also.

Anonymous said...

david g,

Where do you get this U.S. imperialism stuff? I don't want to hear about what Americans did to the Native Americans 150 years ago, or Mexico 100 years ago. I'm talking about today. Are you calling Iraq an imperialistic action? Is Iraq going to be the 51st state - don't think so. Here's how imperialistic we are - Canada and Mexico are so worried about our imperialistic ways that they don't even have freaking armies. Even our hated enemy Cuba doesn't have a significant army... We sure are some threat.

Nationalism. Is the U.S. more nationalistic than any other nation today? Sure, but the U.S. isn't more nationalistic than China, Russia, France, Japan, Venezuela, Israel, or Iran - to name a few.

I can agree with you that the U.S. brings a heavy does of militarism to the world. Of course, a lot of NATO countries would have to be a little more militaristic themselves if the U.S. didn't provide the defensive foundation for the bulk of the NATO countries - no, make that all of the NATO countries.

I don't think the U.S. was ever a force for good in the world. But then, I can't think of any nation that ever has been, except maybe for some nations so trivial that they essentially had no impact.


Noah "Nog" M. said...

--Ye/y'all generally,
I'd agree with Annie up top and Cheezy here that Obama's got to pay some lip service to Israel. But "Israel" can become something like "support our troops". The terms can be used in meaningless political senses that take on whatever connotations the speaker wants them to.

I'm not an Obama fan but I'd wager he'll be a bit more "Palestine inclined" and a bit less hawkish on the issue than McCain or Hildog.

--Q more specifically,
I think you make some good points here on the present U.S. military situation. I'd like to toss in the possibility of a less loaded and less smear-term term that we could use for the present President's foreign policy. I'd like to call it "hegemonistic" in the Athenian sense.

I don't see anything healthy about this "hegemonistic" behavior. It didn't help the stated values of the Athenians and it didn't help the Athenians themselves much either. Iraq is starting to look like our Syracuse and the Russian, Chinese, and Persian tyrannies are starting to look like a deceptively attractive Sparta.

The United States is best when we leave folks to do their own things.


ZenYenta said...

annie and cheezy are absolutely right. It's even more true for Obama than for the average politician. With his middle name and the fact that he's black and has been in the same place at the same time as some people associated with radicalism it's even more important.

One thing I really liked right away about Obama is that he addressed healing the rift between the Jewish and Black communities. I don't know how much of a rift still exists, but Republicans do much better when there's tension between those two groups and want to exploit every area of difference. It makes an electoral difference greater than the actual numbers of voters.

Ozzy said...

I do think people have been blowing his AIPAC speech out of proportion. Ofcourse it is pandering. The fact is that while Jewish Americans represent only 2% of the population, they represent a much larger percentage of Americans who bother to vote, and they play a huge key in states like FL and PA. And unfortunately, Israel is the biggest factor in their voting decision. Disappointing? Yes. Heartbreaking? No.

To be fair, Obama did say things some in AIPAC didn't like, such as the need for a cohesive Palestine, and the need for Israel to end settlement expansion. If you want to have an idea of his views, look at his advisors: Bob Malley, Dan Kurtzer, Z Brezinski, Tony McPeak, and many former Carter aides, all of whom favor a more balanced Mid-East policy. Obama knows that sometimes it is better to pander and get elected, than to be idealistic and lose.

David G said...

"The United States is best when we leave folks to do their own things."
What an extraordinary statement!

America is still in Japan and Germany and WW2 finished in 1945. It got itself involved with Korea and Vietnam. It is currently in Afghanistan and Iraq and is eying off Iran. It has over 100 military bases spread all over the world plus the use of many others. It supports all manner of despotic Kings in the Middle East. It has funded coups and terrorists all over the world. It supported both Saddam and Bin Laden. It's supporting the imperialism and genocide of Israel. It is currently looking over Africa and is going to establish another Command there, etc, etc. I'm so glad America leaves people to do their own things!

Why, if they stuck their noses into the affairs of other countries, who knows what disasters could happen!