Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama Watch:

Zbig goes to Damascus:

A foreign policy adviser to Senator Obama is scheduled to arrive in Syria today as the leader of a RAND Corp. delegation.

Zbigniew Brzezinski will travel to Damascus for meetings as part of a trip Syria's official Cham News agency described as an "important sign that the end of official dialogue between Washington and Damascus has not prevented dialogue with important American intellectuals and politicians."

An assistant to Mr. Brzezinski, Trudy Werner, told The New York Sun yesterday: "He is leading a delegation for RAND and they will be in Damascus. It is a high-level delegation and they are meeting with some high-level people in the region. There is no shortage of issues in the Middle East to discuss as I'm sure you know."

Mr. Brzezinski's visit to Syria... is in many ways in keeping with a theme of the Obama campaign.

... the former Carter administration official addressed Democratic lawmakers last month at a retreat at Williamsburg, Va., on America's policy toward Iran. "I remember thinking, 'Why are we listening to him?' He was the national security adviser for Jimmy Carter 30 years ago. He proceeded to talk to us about Iran, and I said, 'Let me see, didn't the ayatollahs come to power, didn't we have this problem when you were in the White House?'"

Marty Peretz on Zbig's visit:

It's no surprise that Zbig Brzezinski is visiting Damascus. First of all, Bashar Assad would be delighted to see him, as he has seen other marginal players in U.S. foreign policy. Secondly, Zbig is a fan of Assad's, as is the ex-president for whom he pondered heavy matters, Jimmy Carter, a really big fan. Visiting America's enemies is, in any case, a good way to get attention at home. ...The visitors may say they are pushing along the "getting to yes" process. But what they're usually doing is fomenting mischief.

... Zbig ...is now 80 and is a danger to no one, except Barack Obama whose foreign policy advisory board he co-chairs. Zbig went to Damascus without thinking that, in these circumstances, his travels to Assad's palace might affect the fortunes of his candidate. Or maybe he just said to himself, "fuck it." He didn't tell anybody in the Barack circle, and the campaign knew nothing about his tourism until Eli Lake of the New York Sun raised questions about its adviser's travels. And reported the telling story.

.... In any case, I don't believe that Zbig is visiting just Assad. I believe -- in fact, I think I know -- that he is going to meet with Khaled Maashal, the most vicious of the Hamas leaders, who has been headquartered in Damascus for years. Here "tea with Assad" is just a cover for a pernicious encounter.

The Geek asks:

Either way, does this look good for Obama? If you are a supporter of Israel, can you really, in your heart of hearts, also support Mr. Obama's presidential campaign?

Samantha Power refuses to correct her version of Jenin

Samantha Power, one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers, asks a question of David Rohde, a reporter who covered the intifada for the New York Times. The quote is as follows:

Samantha Power: I have a question for David about working for the New York Times. I was struck by a headline that accompanied a news story on the publication of the Human Rights Watch report. The headline was, I believe: “Human Rights Report Finds Massacre Did Not Occur in Jenin.” The second paragraph said, “Oh, but lots of war crimes did.” Why wouldn’t they make the war crimes the headline and the non-massacre the second paragraph?

....Israel is accused in sensational press reports of a massacre in Jenin, and is subjected to severe international condemnation; HRW finally gets out a report and says there was no massacre; the NYT reports this as its headline; and Power thinks the headline still should have been: Israel guilty of war crimes!


Marty Peretz; 'I don't care if our pro-Zionist stance costs us'


These "definite" opinions, as Peretz calls them, have prompted some of his politer critics to write him off as a "stalwart defender of Israel." Harsher detractors accuse him of pursuing an "iron-fisted and ugly approach" to Israeli-Arab relations.

"So tachlis, are we losing influence because we're vocal on the Israel issue?" ... "I've puzzled over this a lot," ... "I don't care if our declaredly pro-Zionist stance is costing us some influence. But, you know, I get quoted an awful lot."

Peretz... says he prefers Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton. "In the 1980s there developed among African Americans a deep strain of hostility to Jews. That's not the case any more," he says. "In the history of the Jewish-Black relationship, Louis Farrakhan will be a footnote. Al Sharpton won't even be that, he'll only be a street fighter with gold jewelry."

Despite his support for Obama, Peretz doesn't seem to have too much faith in the candidate's approach to foreign policy. "If Obama's elected, we will see more diplomacy in American foreign policy. But that doesn't mean there would be any more successful diplomacy," he says.

Why is Che adorning Obama's Texas new offices?

It will be interesting to see how he'll react (if at all) to the flag hanging in one of his new campaign offices in Houston, Texas.


Yep, that's right -- that is the national flag of Cuba hanging on the wall with none other than Che Guevara superimposed on it.

Barak Obama: Is he really for change?

Obama became further ensconced in the politics of Zionism when he co-sponsored an amendment to the Illinois Pension Code enabling that state to lend money to the Israeli government.

In January 2006, Obama made his first trip to Occupied Palestine, seeing it first from the vantage point of an IDF helicopter. Later he met with a group of college students at Jerusalem University's Ramallah branch. An International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member, identified only by her first name, Katie, was in the audience.

.. Katie was under the impression that Obama was a progressive, compassionate individual who would be sympathetic with the plight of Palestinians.... she was in for a rude awakening.

Katie recalled the event in a widely disseminated e-mail. She questioned Obama's comments regarding the need for Arab governments to embrace democracy, not theocracy. "...How can you explain to the Palestinian people how the U.S. can be opposed to these things (theocracy and terrorism) but still supports a state that has racist, oppressive, unjust and apartheid policies...?" she asked.

According to Katie, Obama informed her that he would not accept the assumptions she made, thereby ignoring that part of her question. He added the U.S. relationship with Israel was not going to change.

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