Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama's ease with anti Israel proponents:

Persuant to this , this and this:

Ed Lasky, on January 16:

In contrast to his canned speeches filled with "poetry" and uplifting aphorisms and delivered in a commanding way, behind the campaign façade lies a disquieting pattern of behavior.

One seemingly consistent theme running throughout Barack Obama's career is his comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates. This ease around Israel animus has taken various forms. As Obama has continued his political ascent, he has moved up the prestige scale in terms of his associates. Early on in his career he chose a church headed by a former Black Muslim who is a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-Semitism. This church is a member of a denomination whose governing body has taken a series of anti-Israel actions.

As his political fortunes and ambition climbed, he found support from George Soros, multibillionaire promoter of groups that have been consistently harsh and biased critics of the American-Israel relationship.

Obama's soothing and inspiring oratory sometimes vanishes when he talks of the Middle East. Indeed, his off-the-cuff remarks have been uniformly taken by supporters of Israel as signs that the inner Obama does not truly support Israel despite what his canned speeches and essays may contain.

Now that Obama has become a leading Presidential candidate, he has assembled a body of foreign policy advisers who signal that a President Obama would likely have an approach towards Israel radically at odds with those of previous Presidents (both Republican and Democrat). A group of experts collected by the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz deemed him to be the candidate likely to be least supportive of Israel. He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community. (Read the rest, here)

More Ed Lasky on January 23:

...One of his advisors in particular, Robert Malley, clearly warrants attention, as does the reasoning that led him to being chosen by Barack Obama.

...Malley has seemingly followed in his father's footsteps: he represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism. Through his writings he has served as a willing propagandist, bending the truth (and more) to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias; he heads a group of Middle East policy advisers for a think-tank funded (in part) by anti-Israel billionaire activist George Soros; and now is on the foreign policy staff of a leading Presidential contender. Each step up the ladder seems to be a step closer towards his goal of empowering radicals and weakening the ties between American and our ally Israel.

... Malley is a revisionist and his views are sharply at odds with the views of others who participated at Camp David, including Ambassador Dennis Ross and President Bill Clinton. Malley's myth-making has been peddled in the notably anti-Israel magazine, Counterpunch and by Norman Finkelstein... (Read the rest, here)

Noah Pollak in Contentions:

But there is another Obama foreign policy adviser–a prominent one–who has so far escaped criticism. This is Samantha Power, a Harvard professor, journalist, and human rights specialist who of late has become a high-profile liberal critic of American foreign policy.

For one, Power is an advocate of the Walt-Mearsheimer view of the American relationship with Israel. In a recent interview published on the Harvard Kennedy School’s website...

Power is not just assenting to the Israel Lobby view of American foreign policy, but is also arguing that Israel had something to do with the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003–an appalling slander, and a telling one.

...Does Power actually believe that the NIE put to rest concerns about the Iranian nuclear program? If she actually thinks that — and it appears she does — she deserves voluminous ridicule from thinking people everywhere.

Does anyone think that if the time comes that Power has President Obama’s ear, she will advise him to do anything other than repudiate America’s greatest ally in the Middle East in favor of appeasing its greatest enemy? And here’s an even better question: Does Barack Obama have a single adviser who would tell him to do anything else? (Read the rest, here)

You may well ask what has re-awakened my interest today of all days when there has been nothing about any of it in the news.

Well, it is this comment I ran across, on Solomonia, in a thread that was discussing the latest staging of Palestinian ad misericordiam show:

It's great that you guys can laugh it up about these photos. This was done to illustrate the point that Israel did indeed plunge the Gaza strip into darkness when it cut off fuel supplies last week. Israel also cut off supplies of food and medicine. Do any of you deny this? And you wonder where the terrorists come from.'

If you think collective punishment is a valid tactic, please explain to me the difference between your morality and that of the terrorists when they blow themselves up in Tel Aviv?
You people are in a moral swamp.

Stupid clowns

The comment was placed by one calling himself "Obama supporter". Now of course this crude type of "criticism" can hardly be Obama's fault. After all, how is he responsible for what his supporters think about Jews or pro-Israel advocates? I realize all this. And yet I cannot help being very anxious when a presidential candidate's name is flagrantly asserted in connection with the kind of opinion this poster propagates. It seems unlikely that someone with such a strongly-worded animus towards Israel would choose to emphasize his/her support for a presidential candidate who was unambiguously supportive of Israel.

Alan Dershowitz explains it better, here:

''Change" alone cannot be a basis for deciding which candidate to support... What matters is the direction of the change, who is in charge of bringing it about--and who is supporting the candidate. When I cast my vote, I look not only at the candidate but at who is supporting him or her. Elections empower not only the winning candidate but the constituencies that helped to elect that person. I worry about the constituencies that are supporting some of the candidates.

For this reason, I favor the nomination of a centrist Democrat, one who is capable of attracting independents, moderates, and the growing number of anti-Bush Republicans.

What makes Obama such a desirable candidate to so many die-hard "Liberals"??

Here is one possible answer:

Many white liberals feel that his success in coming this far - and especially if he wins - tells us so much about how the United States feels about itself. David Greenberg called him the ‘great white hope’, and quoted social critic John McWhorter as saying: ‘What gives people a jolt in their gut about the idea of President Obama is the idea that it would be a ringing symbol that racism no longer rules our land.’ (7)

Hah. That's what I've been saying for quite some time now.


And here is a view from Israel:

.. Obama is still considered a candidate that's not as friendly and supportive as those leading the pack. The panelists, in written responses, explained that they are still bothered by his "lack of international experience," "ideological tendencies and constituency," and "emphasis on international organizations." One of the panelists expressed doubt as to his true feelings and said, "We don't know and have no way to know to what extent he really means what he says." The panel agrees - it was skeptical when we asked if the speech reflects Obama's actual views. However, some stated that, "The mere fact that he made the effort is encouraging and telling."

We asked the panel to compare Obama to the other Democratic candidates in a head-to-head race. The outcome is quite telling: Obama has a hard time convincing the panel that he will be better than his leading colleagues. However, he does manage to be judged as favorably as some of the second-tier candidates - Dodd and Clark.

Bottom line: This seventh survey need not disappoint Obama's supporters (at least those among them who care both about Israel and about the survey). His effort, clearly, has moved the panel - reluctantly, suspiciously, slowly - in a more positive direction. However, the "unknown factor" of previous surveys is still playing a big role. One of the panelists told me: "You can't change the perceived image of a candidate by making one or two speeches."


Yid with Lid has more:

Question remains:

Why would Barack Obama have on his foreign policy staff a man who has been widely criticized for a revisionist history of the Middle East peace process sharply at odds with all other accounts of the proceedings?

Why would Barack Obama give credibility to a man who seems to have an agenda that includes empowering our enemies and weakening our friends and allies?

How did Robert Malley, with a record of writing that reveals a willingness to twist facts to serve a political agenda, come to be appointed by Obama to his foreign staff?

Was it a recommendation of Zbigniew Brzezinski to bring on board another anti-Israel foreign policy expert?

What role did the left-wing anti-Israel activist George Soros play in placing Robert Malley (or for that matter, Brzezinski himself) in a position to influence the future foreign policy of America?
What does it say about Senator Obama's judgment that he appointed a man like Malley to be a top foreign policy advisor?

Or does it speak more to his true beliefs?


At 11:39 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A group of experts collected by the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz deemed him to be the candidate likely to be least supportive of Israel. He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community. --- from Nogas post

I think that Ron Paul comes in a close second. Ron Pauls foreign policy is much more overtly anti Israel, as well.

At 11:50 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Sunday New York Times Op-Ed Jan 27, 2008 A President Like My Father
OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

At 1:35 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ill take Reagan over Kennedy, any and every day.

Obama may have made the right call on opposing the War in Iraq, but pulling all the troops out now would be wrong call. Shows a lack of mental flexibility.

At 1:41 PM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Anonymous' response does not address the concerns brought up in my post. It says nothing about his choice of anti-Israel advisors, those who subscribe to Carter's and Mearsheimer&Walt's theories about Jewish lobbies and what not.

JFK was a devoted friend to israel. He said so in clear and unambiguous words. He knew that that in times of historical crisis, moral choice had to take precedence over what is called "realpolitik".

The fact that Obama can use words to stir hope means only that he is very capable with words and can inspire sentimets in people. Unfortunately, this is hardly enough to make great leadership.

When all is said and done, it comes down to personal choice. Many people like to be inspired by bracing talk. Many people do not mind one bit about Israel-America relationship. Many people are willing to be charmed into voting for a man who can make Americans look better abroad.

As someone who cares about Israel's future, I am worried when a presidential candidate picks a team of foreign policy experts who can't find one good word to say on behalf of Israel. The future seems just a little darker for Israel's ability to sustain its survivability.

BTW, opposing the toppling of Saddam Hussein can never, ever, be considered by me as a "right call".


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