Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obama for Israel!!

I know I shouldn't be surprised or anything, but really...did the transition from clinching the Democratic nomination to all out AIPAC prostitution have to be so stark? Maybe since I am not an American citizen and don't vote, I'm looking at this from a different perspective (as in, a national of that place you think should remain under siege).

I know its one of those situations people keep hoping will turn out better than it really is, or a lesser of two evils type of thing : "he has to say that, but when he's in office...".

But does he? Polls of past years showed that in fact the majority of Americans were in support of a new US Middle East Policy; one where Israel was not allowed to get away with every damn thing, where it did not get blind support; where American pressure should be utilized to achieve a just and lasting peace. Yet presidential candidate after candidate continue to think otherwise. And what of all that about change?

I mean, c'mon, Jerusalem, the undivided capital of Israel? That's shall we say..Bushesque? Billy Graham? Yesterday? What was that about peace in 2008?

I've said it once and I will say it again: American politicians are stauncher Zionists than Israelis. As Sharon once said, Bush can be a mouthpiece for Israel. Or something like that. And now, we have


An excellent piece by Daoud Kuttab on the same topic in the Huffington Post, where he asks "what happened to the Anti-Lobby Nominee?". An excerpt:

America's black nominee who would have supported divestment on racist south Africa blasted international divestment calls on Israel, and libeled Arab oil producing countries by saying that "petrodollars are responsible for the killing of Ameri
insert italic tagscan soldiers and Israeli citizens." How pathetic.

If there was a time that a presidential candidate should have had courage to change course on the way Washington is run this was the time. If there was a group that deserved a more honest speech it was this. Obama failed in both tests. This is a shame.

Even John Stuart had his say


Blogger Jed Carosaari said...

I felt exactly the same way. Yesterday, so wonderful, and today, such a downer.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Cakes said...

Actually the Conservative Christian and Jewish leaders like to call him Osama instead of Obama because of his willingness to talk to "terrorists," and his attending a Muslim elementary school.

Seems he can't win for losing.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Ali Dahmash said...

Lailia, Im not defending Obama, but I guess he said that in his speech to buy more votes from influential Jewsish groups. Afterall, all politicians are unethical. Where are the Arabs, I havent see one leader meeting Obama

5:29 PM  
Blogger blackgirl on mars said...

I too was diappointed at, Jerusalem, the undivided capital of Israel...

6:53 PM  
Blogger Jed Carosaari said...

Ali- Arabs are notoriously unorganized in America. Jews in America are, along with the gun lobby, the most organized and powerful lobbies in the American government.

Anon- it's rather shocking, really, how many inaccuracies you can get in one short post.

1) Arabic refers to Jerusalem as al Quds, Jerusalem.
2) al Quds is referred to obliquely in Chapter 17, but no esteemed scholar, religious or secular, disagrees that this is directly referring to Jerusalem.
3) Islam is much more than the Qur'an. Al Quds is certainly referred to in the Hadith.
4) The Arab world is much more than Islam. There are plenty of Christian Palestinians, and, before al Nakba, Palestine was 18% Christian, making it by percentage the 2nd largest Christian area of the Middle East.
5) If you were familiar with the Torah, you'd realize that Jerusalem is not a Jewish city. It was originally called Salem, and was a pagan city at the time of Melchizedek. If you feel that's going back too far, then recall it was a pagan city again for the first few centuries AD, Aelia Capitolina, a rather backwater town that almost disappeared off the maps. At other times it's been a Christian city and a Muslim city. It's even been, God forbid, a multiethnic city at times.
6) That in itself was a racist statement. Do you go around insisting that other cities are Christian cities, or White cities? Certainly there's places like Mecca or majority-white Seattle, but the implication of your statement was that not only is this true, but that it is a good thing and should remain that way- Jerusalem should be a Jewish city. There's a great difference between saying Seattle is mostly white and Mecca is all-Muslim, and saying that's a good thing.

9:47 PM  
Blogger matrix200 said...

@bdul muHib.

If you don't mind I would like to analyse what you said here.

1-3 I cannot comment on these points since I am not that familiar with Islam writings .

4. I have to agree with you that indeed there are Arab Christians.
Lets not argue as to why this percentage has dropped so much over the years.

5. I am sorry , but if you were familiar with the Torah you surely would know that according to Torah , Jerusalem is promised to Jews. So lets not use holy books here as an argument ok?

6. I am afraid I didn't understand why you think stating that Jerusalem is a Jewish city is racist?
What exactly racist about that?
Let me quote your last statement here : "There's a great difference between saying Seattle is mostly white and Mecca is all-Muslim, and saying that's a good thing."
Ok where did Anonymous say it is either good or bad?
And just by the way I don't think Mecca is all-Muslim.
I am pretty sure there are people there with different religion (foreign workers for example).
Maybe they can't practice any other religion openly there , but this actually is a racism.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say we wait and see. Usually candidates talk about a lot of good things and nice plans on the campaign trail and never do it , let's hope it's the same when they say bad things like this... I think Obama need to say what he said in order to stay strong against McCain... Christian Zionists and Jewish seems to have a lot of influence in the U.S. and of course Arabs and Muslims are voiceless because they never vote!

Let's see what will happen once Obama become a president, then we can judge... But McCain, Oh! No way please America...

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


you're right with the fact that Obama was trying to win a particular audience's vote.

Yet, I find it sick.

If a politician changes his or her view every 5 minutes just to get more vote, then you cannot trust anyone's campaign.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila, what you said about the polls is a good point.

Why Obama is pushing such an Aipac friendly aganda, if most americans see it another way?
I really don't have an explanation

It somehow reminds me of Blair: he pushed the war in Iraq, despite the majority of Brits were against it. Yet, he has been popular for a long time.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Jed Carosaari said...


You are either cherry-picking what I said like Cheney looking for WMD evidence, or you did not read it all. Anon brought up sacred texts as the main point of his message. The Torah promises Jerusalem to the Jews, and it also says they are to be a light to the nations and to welcome the foreigner and stranger into their midst. Later the Torah describes how God removed the Jews from Jerusalem because they refused to follow him. The Injil describes how Jerusalem is to be a place for all peoples. And all that is completely irrelevant to the point I made- that according to the Torah, Jerusalem is originally Salem, a pagan city. (And, btw, when it was run by pagans there seemed to be a good deal less fighting over it.)

Yes, Mecca is all Muslim, on penalty of death, and yes, this is the religious equivalent of racism. As I stated in my previous comment, the implication of Anon's comment was that Jerusalem being for the Jews is a good thing. And yes, by modern standards, to say that a nation is for one ethnic group or religious group is racism/religious equivalent.

8:23 PM  
Blogger mink said...

Recommended reading
"How Obama learned to love Israel" -

Really I don't see much reason for disappointment - that is, Obama works within a given system. Within this system there is room for some maneovering - see differences between various American presidents - but it is limited. Certainly before the elections but also afterwards.

The power of AIPAC is based not so much on widespread American voters' sentiments but on a very clever system of support donations and patronage. It gives the Israeli government blanket support far beyond what it wants.
This is our (Israelis and Palestinians alike) predicament. The problem with the Bush administration that it went even beyond what AIPAC wanted.

Bear in mind that if Obama turns slightly tougher on Israel and applies mild pressure, and far less mild on the PA the result could be the kind of a mock-agreement we all know would lead nowhere.

What could and would change things is the growing power of the Gulf as oil prices rocket, and a severe economic in the US forcing the administration to change priorities. God knows to which direction this could lead.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barack Obama is worse for Palestine than McCain. Why? Because Barack has to lean over backwards to prove he is sufficiently pro-Israel.
McCain has nothing to prove.

The idea that he will change once he gets in office, is stupid. Once -if- he gets in office Obama will be running for his second term, as all office-holders do.

Honestly, the idiocy of people and their ability to see what they want to see never fails to amaze me.


9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, to the extent that he's tilting pro-Israel rather than pro-Arab, Obama is really just giving the American people what, by and large, they want:

The "Palestinian Authority" is among Americans' least favorite entities, and Israel remains highly regarded.

Is this "pandering" to some sort of nefarious, meddling lobby, or is it democracy in action?

1:03 AM  
Blogger Clif Brown said...

I don't have much hope of balance in US administration action in the Middle East. History has shown lots of talk but little to back up the stated policy against the settlements.

Fortunately, there are groups that are becoming known that speak up against the occupation. I support them as best I can. One is the Council for the National Interest

Another is B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights group.

And not to forget the good work of Gershom Gorenberg, whose book "The Accidental Empire" is a must read for anyone who wants to know how the settlement movement came to be. A more patriotic Israeli I don't think you could find, but he knows wrong when he sees it and speaks out about it.

Don't expect much from American politicians who respond to pressure groups and the indifference too many of the American public. Do support groups that are active in pushing for an end to the awful thing that is the occupation.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Shaina said...

"Barack Obama is worse for Palestine than McCain. Why? Because Barack has to lean over backwards to prove he is sufficiently pro-Israel.
McCain has nothing to prove"

While I understand the argument behind this, kind of similar to the "only a Nixon can make peace with China" I haven't seen anything to support the argument that McCain would be better than Obama.
Even comparing their AIPAC speeches, with the exception of the Jerusalem comment-and as it has been posted in other articles posted on Thursday, the Obama campaign believes that Jerusalem is a final status negotiation point; and that a decision has to be made by both parties that both of them agree on.
Obama's speech, as James Zogby pointed out was different than most speeches that are given in such a venue; i.e. see McCain's speech at AIPAC on Monday.
I don't think that we should put too much or blind trust into any politician, but Obama is still light years ahead re: Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process compared to McCain.

7:32 AM  
Blogger matrix200 said...

@bdul muHib I agree with most of what you said.
Then again I am afraid you also are cherry picking of what Torah says.
Judging by today's politically correct standards Torah is most definetely a racist book as any other religous writing of any religion is except maybe Buddhism.
I just don't think we should use either Torah or Qur'an as a part of discussion.
Let me remind you that it also says in Torah to annihilate all other people sitting in Knaan (that means also pagans that were sitting then in Jerusalem).
I can give numerous examples where it says either in Torah or in Prophets to kill pagans or people from other nations.
I don't know Qur'an enough , but I am pretty sure it is the same in that respect.
Anyway returning to the point of stating that Jerusalem belongs to Jews.
I agree that stating that a certain city belongs to an ethnicity is considered racist.
However I don't think it is the case if we say that Jerusalem should remain under Israeli Jurisdiction or Palestinian one if we look on your point of view.
I believe it is the same as to say that NYC is located on the USA soil and is therefore part of United States of America.
I am sorry , but I don't find anything racist about such statement.
I for one believe that Jerusalem should stay under Israeli rule and I most definetely don't consider it racist at any level.
You may believe it should be Palestinian or maybe joint custody , thats fine.
But lets not call each other racist for thinking that way.
If we look at that as a territorial dispute then I think there is no need to insult each other as racists.
If however you consider this is a religious dispute like many do then OK lets both be racists and use our beliefs to hold on to our view.
In that case I will use my beliefs and you use yours and we both are racists like you pointed out.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Jed Carosaari said...


No, I pretty much gave both sides. Yes, you've ignored a good deal of what I wrote. Yes, you're right about past racism in the Torah. Yes, Jerusalem remaining under Israeli jurisdiction is not ipso facto racism, but that isn't what was said, of course. You're right, the statements you made aren't racist, but again, those statements weren't said previously.

I'm not aware of anyone accusing you of racism in these comments. But please, get the grammar right. People can't be racists. It's an adjective, not a noun. People can only be racist.

The end of your comment degenerates in logic to the point that I have no idea what you're talking about.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lalia......are you running this blog just to hear people who agree with your views....if so fine..that is your business...but what if you ...opened it up to ideas other then yours...might that bring some light..and with the back and forth..maybe just maybe...bring a peace just a little closer.....

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of crazy compromises are required to circumnavigate the complex political arena that is the USA. I am firmly convinced Mr. Obama is determined to redefine Arab/American relationships within the region. I believe he recognizes that Palestinians and others have strong and legitimate arguments and rights that have been too long neglected. Please don't view his perceived "protitution" as indicative of his intentions. He is dancing a fine line right now and he needs to do so in order to become elected. And believe me, he is by far to be preferred over the warmongering McCain. I am an American who believes its high time to readjust things in the Middle East to a fairer situation that takes into full account the millions that have been denied their rights. I am not alone by a long shot. Bear with us please.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

There are a lot of powerful Jewish voters here in the US that support Israel. But there is alse a large number of voters in the US who are angry about the crimes Israel commited in Palestine. Hopefully, if Obama is elected this group will make their voices heard. We cannot permit any country to completely ignore an individuals human rights.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Regarding candidates supporting Israel I think you’re misreading the polls. A majority want America to leave Iraq. An opinion Obama shares. A majority want America to support democracy in the Middle East and move away from tyrants. They want dialogue over war with Iran. But when it comes to Israel, a steadfast majority support a strong Israel. There is much support for a two state solution. But the support for Israel is strong.

Why is that?

The Palestinian cause it strongly associated with the decades of terrorism. If Hamas or before them, Fatah had been led by a Gandhi the support for the Palestinians in the US would be overwhelming. In that event it would be as impossible for a presidential candidate to give unqualified support to Israel as it became impossible for Regan to support South Africa. But as long as the cause is associated with bombing planes, discos, pizzerias and sending rockets into cities the sympathy for Israel will probably remain strong. You can argue all you want that Israeli state terror is on a far larger scale but citizens will identify with a state protecting itself over people planting bombs at celebrations and shooting students in a library. The Palestinians have chosen this path and it has protracted their battle for independence immeasurably.

Regarding the Jerusalem statement it is over the heads of the vast majority of Americans that he just moved his rhetoric to the right of Israeli Prime Ministers. Perhaps it was some red meat for AIPAC and Florida.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the biggest question with the Arab and Muslim community when it comes to this years election. Obama has jumped form side, to side many times.
I have read that when he visited Palestine, he talked with Palesitinian business students about how Palestinians were living in the worst conditions that he has ever seen. I have also read that he said a similar statement once during his campaign trail for democratic nominee.
Now does the Arab community have a choice though? Its either him, or the elder bush McCain.
There honestly is a lot of pressure on Obama on the whole Middle East crisis more then any other candidate. If you look back at all the debates and such, the questions were pressured towards him more then any other.
But between him and McCain, id have to give him my vote. Especially if McCain picks someone such as senator lieberman as his running mate.
I think it shows that he really does not have a large relationship with the Jewish community, showing from that video you posted. "My camp leader was jewish." ha-
This really is something that we would have to wait and see about.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I don't think either canidate will take a stand against Israel. It's up to all of us to keep speaking out. We must continue telling people the truth about what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza. This will eventually force the US and other countries to, like or not, take a stand against religious genocide.

Palestians were free from their first breath!!! No country has the right to fence innocent!!!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama presents a great positive potential for the world. His statement about an undivided jerusalem in front of AIPAC demonstrates an unwise choice of words but does not, in light of Obama's visionary and anti-war posturing would suggest, mean that he is blind to the importance of compromise as an avenue to peace, in particular compromise as it pertains to Jerusalem. I believe that Obama will put pressure on Israel to do the right thing, to freeze settlements, etc. He stands behind Israel's right to defend itself but does not support the building of settlements. Obama made a poor choice with his words but let's not jump to negative conclusions about his potential to initiate peace in the holy land. This man stood against the Iraq war and he would be the first decent president of the U.S. in a long time. I agree with your criticism but look at the man as a whole and see how he could prove to be a real assett to the middleeast.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hamas doesn't want to divide Jerusalem either.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a particular reason why I had difficulty voting [and this isn't the first time].

Palestinians are never represented in the United States presidential politics and neither is the voice of the people.

We're often hearing, in politics, that "we're bringing the voice of the people to these middle eastern countries", yet after Palestinians voted for Hamas, overwhelmingly, they were punished.

Punished because they'd voted "the wrong way" [sounds like the same thing that the politians claim to be liberating oppressed people from].

I still find it humorous to see people's reactions, after finding out that their are Christians in Palestine and that, unlike the rumors of these political Christians here in America, are allied to Muslims going through the same oppression under the occupation. Particularly when my friend Butros that's from the West Bank is the one doing the educating.


7:45 PM  

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