Monday, January 28, 2008

Update: Obama's Scary Advisers

"Contentions" follows up on Samantha Power's possible advice to Obama:

Question: Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine - Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

Answer by Samantha Power:

What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Freidman has called “Sharafat.” [Sharon-Arafat; this is actually an Amos Oz construction — NP] I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention

Note that this is a thought experiment in which Power is cast in the role of an adviser to a President. Well, the thought experiment is no longer confined to the laboratory. It has become a near-reality, with Power advising Obama on how to conduct his foreign policy vis a vis Israel. And her advice is pretty chilling: Attack and break Israel, build up Palestine. And translated into simpler language, attack a democracy in order to empower an Islamic totalitarian genocidal regime.

And she now has Obama's ear, who has assembled a team of advisers who all share her fundamental urges; Obama, who has been a devoted member in a church that openly celebrates Louis Farrakhan.

I think, I hope, these grave concerns will reach a certain critical mass which Obama may be forced to face down. I'm looking forward to hearing him articulate some very clear ideas and positions about his intentions towards Israel, hopefully followed by decisive deeds. Like getting rid of his bunch of Achitophels...


And for those who keep referring to his speech to AIPAC, let me draw your attention to this little story from Ali Abunimah, from "The Electronic intifada". By Abunimah's own testimonial, this is what Obama said to him in

"the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies.

As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Does it need translation? Isn't Obama practically saying that he cannot reveal his genuine sentiments about the Palestinians because he is in a campaign to get elected? What remains unsaid but pretty clear is that as long as he needs to court the Jewish voice, he cannot be "upfront" about his own position.

As Abunimah himself helpfully adds later in the article:

... given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power. Palestinian-Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico.

Only if enough people know what Obama and his competitors stand for, and organize to compel them to pay attention to their concerns can there be any hope of altering the disastrous course of US policy in the Middle East. It is at best a very long-term project that cannot substitute for support for the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions needed to hold Israel accountable for its escalating violence and solidifying apartheid.

A quick tour of the rabid anti-Israel Left blogs and media outlets can reveal some other telling quotes which suggest Obama's so-called staunch support of Israel is merely a convenient pose. Like this, for example:

Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart..."

So we have it on the best of the Indecent Lefty's authority that when Obama says

"[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..."

(Really? Not even the genocided people of Darfur? Not even genuinely starving, AIDS victim kids in Africa? Not even persecuted women in Pakistan and Iran? Not even the residents of Sderot, with the daily barrage of Qassams being lobbed at their children, by the very people who suffer most in the world ???)

he is "unexpectedly admit[ting] the truth".

Shades of Carter, Tutu.. etc etc..

Can this be a coincidence, when Obama's choice of Foreign Policy expert includes "Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who says that Obama offers “a new definition of America's role in the world.” (Here)


Late update: When I invoked Carter's name, I did not know that he was an Obama admirer, and an active one, too:

Former President Jimmy Carter lavished praise on Illinois Sen. Barack Obama during an interview at his home on Monday, though he won't formally endorse any candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination.

"Obama's campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family," Mr. Carter said.

Ah, well. The vapid ex-president, ostensibly "neutral":

* nonetheless goes on record beaming with avuncular delight as he "lavishes praise" upon the anointed one's head

* reports, discreetly, on a conversation with Bill Clinton about Obama

*and expresses confidence that the candidate "could carry some southern states if he becomes the Democratic nominee."

He does all this, and still maintains that he is keeping out of the race to the White House. No doubt he also believes it.


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