Monday, October 20, 2008

Barack Obama, Jewish-Americans, and Israel

Have you noticed the interesting thing about Barack Obama's speeches? He has a way of speaking about "hope, change, progress," etc. in platitudes--yes, platitudes--that make people believe he has said exactly what they want to hear. Yet, if you look and listen closely, and ask yourself what he has actually committed to do, you will find that he has said virtually nothing.

What exactly, would Barack Obama do regarding Israel? A lot of American Jews (and Christian and secular supporteres of Israel as well) have been led to think that this son of a Kenyan Muslim father would be Israel's loyal friend. But would he?

From the Philadelphia Bulletin comes this piece on Barack Obama and the only indication we have of Obama's real attitude toward Israel.

Barack Obama, Jewish-Americans And Israel
By David Bedein, The Bulletin

From a personal and professional perspective, this is the sixth American Presidential campaign that I have covered from Israel, concentrating on the "Israel aspect" of the story.

This time I not only have covered the campaign from Israel - This time, I was assigned by The Bulletin to fly over and cover the Obama campaign at the time of the Pennsylvania primary in April.

My observation of the "Jewish American view of Sen. Obama" was that there was an atmosphere of unreality surrounding Jewish advocacy and Jewish opposition to Sen. Barack Obama.

Both pro-Obama and anti-Obama forces in the Jewish world related to the senator with an attitude of superficiality, paying more attention paid to the company that he keeps than to the policies that he stands for.

Yet here is the rub: None one has really heard where Sen. Obama stands on Middle East issues.

When I interviewed three of Sen. Obama's staffers who specialize in Middle East issues, I presented them with 18 questions. Besides the issue of Palestinian incitement, which his staffers said that he abhors, they could not provide any answers whatsover to basic questions put forward by The Bulletin last April.

With the multi-billion dollar arms package to Saudi Arabia about to reach the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Sen. Obama is a member, his staffers could not even say what his position was on arms to Saudi Arabia, which remains in a state of active war with Israel.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia currently funds Hamas, the Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), all of which are Palestinian terror organizations that actively engaged in planning operations against the Jewish state

After Sen. Obama's formal nomination as democratic candidate for president in late August, The Bulletin resubmitted these 18 basic questions.

Sen. Obama's staffers promised answers this time. None were forthcoming.

Yet there is a way to gain insight into Sen. Obama's policies towards Israel. Not by tabulating votes on the Senate floor and not by counting how many superlatives that he uses on Israel.

Instead, by paying attention to the three high ranking former U.S. State Department officials whom the Senator has hired: Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross and Daniel Kurtzer. The policy which characterizes all three of them is their consistent promotion of the PLO as a supposed peace partner with Israel for the past 20 years, no matter what the reality was.

This is the threesome that defined the PLO as a peace partner even after the PLO would not ratify the Oslo "declaration of principles" in October 1993.

This is the threeesome that attested to the fact that, in 1996, the PLO had cancelled its covenant to destroy Israel, when it had not done so.

This is the threesome who insisted on arming the PLO to fight Hamas even though the PLO made it clear from the outset that it would never engage Hamas in any full-scale war. And this is the threesome who promote a PLO state, come what may.

And this is the threesome who main committed to mobilizing Jewish Americans to support a PLO state, come what may.

From Sen. Obama's appointment of Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross and Daniel Kurtzer, it is easy to discern where the Senator stands - for the renewal of the Oslo process once again, this time with the teeth of an American administration that would impose a Palestinian state, even though it remains at war with the State of Israel.


Read the whole article.


No comments: