Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thumbs up to Brother Obama

His scary adulators seem to have got the right measure of the man.

During Obama's campaign, I often voiced my unease about his scary admirers:

Why do Obama's more radical constituencies keep supporting him, in spite of all the renouncing and rejecting that he has done, publicly? What do they think they know, or understand about this man?

Towards the end, I more or less bought into the official line of the Obama campaign, that reassured American Jews who traditionally voted for the Democratic Party that Obama was quite devoted to Israel's security and interests. Such a nice man, with such a nice wife and two adorable kids, who could speak so eloquently about how he understood the impossible life of the people of Sderot:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama visited the rocket-battered southern town of Sderot on Wednesday, where he said that the entire world must act to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions...

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything in power to stop that, and would expect Israelis to do the same thing," he said."

That was in July 2008. The president no longer has fine words to whisper in Israel's' ears. He has no words whatsoever.

I have just read this missive:

Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi ... sought to meet the administration of President Barack Obama, but most officials were unavailable.

Diplomatic sources said Ashkenazi failed to obtain access to any Cabinet member, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Israeli military chief, who sought to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, won't even meet his counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The administration is sending a very clear message to Israel, and this is we want to talk about Palestine and not Iran," a diplomat who has been following U.S.-Israel relations said...

...diplomatic sources said the administration made it clear that nobody in a policy-making position was available to sit with Ashkenazi. This included the president, Vice President Joseph Biden, Gates, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair or Mullen.

Ashkenazi has obtained a meeting with National Security Advisor James Jones. But the sources said the meeting would focus on U.S. demands for Israel to ease military restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip..

This is a bit of a different account to the one I read here:

During a visit to Washington, D.C., Ashkenazi met with Dennis Ross, the designated U.S. envoy to the Persian Gulf, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the Iranian issue

The IDF chief told Ross that Israel would not tolerate a nuclear Iran. He said that a diplomatic approach to Iran's contentious nuclear program must be taken first, but said Israel must also prepare for other possibilities.

Ashkenazi also met during his trip with General James Jones, national security adviser to President Barack Obama, to discuss other Middle East issues. The IDF chief held a number of other meetings over the course of his visit, but was forced to turn down an invitation to dine at the home of outgoing Israeli envoy Salai Meridor, in the company of other senior American officials.

The signal begins to come out clear and loud, without any interference from undue static, that it was Obama's scary adulators who got the right measure of the man. An adulator like Hamid Dabashi, in Al-Ahram, who said February 2008:

The critical question of course at this conjuncture is that if we coloured and marginal folks -- we Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims and all the most recent (legal and illegal) immigrants to this land -- will have the courage and the imagination that Barack Obama lacks. Will we cross a fence and extend a hand to a man who is after all one of us, however he may think it politically expedient to pick and chose one thing or another from the baggage he and we have brought along across the borders?

Two of my three children... are both committed Obama fans and voted for him in the New York primaries on Super Tuesday. At this point, I am afraid the votes of my two children are all I can offer Brother Barack. Come next November, I too may leave my own darkest convictions behind and vote with the bright hope of my children.

I wonder if any journalist will have the guts to ask Obama the question that needs to be asked: Why did he make those declarations, if he had no intention of keeping them? Was it really the sort of dissimulation politicians do in order to get elected?


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