That Obama Speech


by Sid (Faisal)
6th June, 2008 at 5:32 pm    

Following worldwide dismay from Wednesday’s speech to AIPAC, Obama has now changed his tune:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama amended his support for Israel’s stance on Jerusalem on Thursday, saying Palestinians and Israelis had to negotiate the future of the holy city.

Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay on Wednesday to Obama saying Jerusalem should be Israel’s undivided capital.

“Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations,” Obama told CNN when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.

Asked if he opposed any division of Jerusalem, Obama said: “As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute. And I think that it is smart for us to — to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.”

Adam LeBor has written a balanced and sensible article on CIF on why Barack Obama was wrong to make the outrageous promise, while speaking to AIPAC, that Jerusalem will remain the ‘undivided capital’ of Israel. Seems strange since the US and UK embassies are in Tel Aviv! You can read more here.

Meanwhile, back at Harry’s Place, Adam clarifies further:

Personally I find AIPAC a rather creepy organisation. I remember ten years ago when I was making some radio programmes for the BBC on Israel at 50 trying to interview one of their officials. Trying to get any information out of her about how AIPAC worked reminded me of interviewing suspicious ex-(not really)-Communists in eastern Europe.

I agree with this writer:

AIPAC has become more militant than the Israeli government. Its messages reflect more the oppositionist Likud doctrine than the moderate stance of Prime Minister Olmert. Moreover, whereas the American Jewish community is known for its liberal, progressive pro-Democrat party heritage – some 80 percent of the Jewish voters traditionally cast their votes for the Democrats – AIPAC is geared to an extreme-right-wing agenda, often more in line with the Jewish neo-cons than with the majority of American Jews.

Far better, he opines, to support the new, pro-peace Israel lobbying group, J-street.

The author? David Kimche, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and veteran Mossad agent.

Personally I thought it was a good speech. But it’s always better to have someone, preferably with a progressive outlook, with more detailed knowledge of the background to unravel the intricacies. It’s easy to fall for Obama’s delivery over the content. I stand corrected. Hopefully, so does Obama.


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  1. Anas — on 6th June, 2008 at 6:19 pm  

    It’s a good speech, huh? At least you admit your ignorance, Sid — though I’m not sure why you’ve compounded that ignorance by turning to the Israel-firsters at Harry’s Place. Mike Gonzalez, who is running with Ralph Nader for Pres/VP (yes I know it’s largely symbolic), made a perceptive analysis of BO’s speech which basically cuts to the heart of all of Obama’s posturing to curry favour with the Israel lobby:

    Did Obama make one mention of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza’s 1.5 million people and the UN-documented resulting humanitarian disaster there?

    He did not.

    Instead, Obama talked about “a Gaza controlled by Hamas with rockets raining down on Israel.”

    Did Obama mention U.S. government supplied Israeli firepower resulting in Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza at a ratio of 400 to 1 (Palestinian to Israeli)

    He did not.

    Many peace loving Israelis and Jewish Americans will be disgusted by Obama’s speech today.

    Like the editor at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz who wrote that the Israeli government has “lost its reason” through the brutal incarceration, devastation and deprivation of the innocent people in Gaza.

    Obama told AIPAC today that “we must isolate Hamas.” (In its current form.)

    Did he mention that a March 2008 Haaretz poll showed that 64 percent of the Israeli people want direct negotiations for peace between Israel and Hamas, while only 28% oppose it?

    He did not.

    Instead, Obama said this morning that “Egypt must cut off the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.”

    Did he say that Israel must stop bombing the people of Gaza?

    He did not.

    Obama this morning told AIPAC that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

    Did Obama mention that this pledge undermines the widespread international consensus two-state solution peace plan?

    He did not.

    And please can one of Obama’s many fervent admirers, someone who doesn’t regard the term “Palestinian” as synonymous with “terrorist” (and who generally doesn’t see them as sub-human), explain to me their justification of the great man’s defense of the starvation blockade of Gaza?

  2. Avi Cohen — on 6th June, 2008 at 6:21 pm  

    Sid – How can it be a good speech when he destroyed hopes for peace, angered a large part of the world and denied a people their legitimate aspirations.

    It is such “good” speeches as this which are hindering a deal.

    And he hasn’t changed he is just using weasly words to calm the reaction to his gross stupidity.

    I don’t understand why you can’t see that by making such a speech he has put back hopes for peace, he ripped out the hopes of the Palestinians and destroyed the hopes of Israel in being able to live in peace with its neighbours.

    In fact it wasn’t just stupid but it was grossly irresponsible.

  3. Avi Cohen — on 6th June, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    Anas – Good post but highlights my point that America is Israel’s worst ally and simply won’t let Israel achieve peace.

    Obama is a disgrace and has sold out any principle he had to stand up for people by selling his soul to Aipac.

    Aipac speaks about as much for American Jewry as the BNP does for Christians in the UK.

    The fact he made major policy decisions for their sake is in itself troubling and why people say it was a good speech is shocking when every Israeli and most Jews know that Jerusalem will be shared.

    Israel has tried every way to ensure it can keep Jerusalem and failed so it knows it has to give way on this. But Obama could have helped and failed to do so.

    Obama became the same as a Ku Klux Klansman and he should be throughly ashamed of himself and should everyone who defends what he said.

    Obama can’t decide for either side what is and isn’t acceptable. Bush did that and it failed.

    Obama is a man who lost his own values with what he did. What is sad Sid is that even Harry’s Place saw that and you people don’t and that is saying something.

  4. Avi Cohen — on 6th June, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    I’d say that Obama whith what he just did has probably caused the Palestinians to think the only way they can achieve ststehood is through fighting as noone will stand up for their cause.

    Obama just wrote death warrants for many people on both sides because where there may have been hope that a different US President may bring both sides together – well folks Obama just slammed the door shut in the faces of peole aspiring for peace.

    He basically said that he is a unilaterist and won’t abide by UN Resolutions and he doesn’t give a damn about the opinions of the Muslim world.

    If that is your great hope then you’ve lost and the people in the Middle East just lost.

    Obama has shown his true colours and they are far from radiant.

  5. Planeshift — on 6th June, 2008 at 7:06 pm  

    “explain to me their justification of the great man’s defense of the starvation blockade of Gaza?”

    Basically we hope he is lying and just saying that to get elected. Anything other than full support for Israel is electoral suicide when running for president.

  6. Matt — on 6th June, 2008 at 7:25 pm  

    Good. I loved Obama’s speech except for the bit about Jerusalem, which made him sound terribly uninformed.

    (As an aside, I expect AIPAC might seem creepy because their aware of and perhaps dependent on their role in antisemitic conspiracism.)

  7. SalmanRush — on 6th June, 2008 at 7:47 pm  

    I would suspect that Obama will just continue to line up his Middle East strategy with AIPAC. Of course, he wants to get elected and lining up with AIPAC means that he is vying for the Christian Evangelist vote. Then of course after the Presidency, he wants to cash in by becoming a Senior Partner at a Jewish-owned hedge fund/private equity firm/investment bank.

  8. Indrak — on 6th June, 2008 at 8:30 pm  

    I saw BObam talking at aipac only briefly but noticed the ref. to Jerusalem; perhaps I made less of it for I’d not long before seen Hilaire at greater length, to which I was revulsed to a Bliarian degree – she’s far worse than bubbyaBush.

    So why exactly do [you] choose to invest energies in following the machinations of particular potential ‘leaders’ when there is an allegorical wall on which the broad sweep of their actions is already inscribed?
    [rhetorical of course - answer's obvious to those that know]
    The first time I had cause to examine this in any depth was the analysis of Kennedy’s actions made with the undoubted intelligence of his advisers.. no sarcasm here; point being: whether it was Berlin, Cuba, Laos, Viet Nam – the decision making-process resembled a pinball game, zig-zagging between what the domestic right wing would countenance and playing the cold war against the Soviets.
    The above may be termed digressive, so here is the moment to provide the link I mentally filed away:

    1st brief paragraph may amuse; then the 1st part is quite standard, but it’s from about halfway that should be interesting, tho not definitive, for those that c/should know better:-
    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml

    Besides, Sid, I told you, I ‘know’ him.
    ..I’ll stop now, it seems appropriate with an unbidden phrase playing in my frontal cortex from a Davito Bowie song ['fame'?]- “Is it any WONder…”

  9. People Power Granny — on 7th June, 2008 at 5:24 am  

    People Power Granny is already disappointed with Barack Obama’s position of promising to not negotiate with Hamas in the Middle East, if he is elected president. Do you think that Hamas should be negotiated with, as former President Carter has done? Vote in my poll at my blog so I know what you think.

  10. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2008 at 8:30 am  

    I believe that this is Obama’s first big gaffe. If he wants to get elected, he cannot afford to come out as a panderer, and worse as clueless. This was a prepared speech, and so he should have known the implications of “Jerusalem will remain the ‘undivided capital’ of Israel”. That he needed to backtrack later shows that he didn’t actually measured his words. Not good at all.

    I hope we don’t see much of this in the upcoming months. He needs to be unambiguous, with a clear message that remains consistent through out the campaign, and his narrative cannot be defined by the Republican slime machine. It almost seems his fierce pro-Israel stance is the result of the anti-muslim smears he is receiving.

  11. leon — on 7th June, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    Obama needs to be careful now, too many speeches or points that he appears to backtrack on and he’ll look like a Kerryesque flip flopper (and we all know how much an opportunity that is for the GoP)…

  12. Katy Newton — on 7th June, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    Then of course after the Presidency, he wants to cash in by becoming a Senior Partner at a Jewish-owned hedge fund/private equity firm/investment bank.

    Charming. Any more entrants for the “most anti-Jewish stereotypes in one sentence” competition, or does this win by default?

  13. Saad Ibrahim — on 7th June, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    Ms.Newton – You’ll always get one or two sily comments when such issues are discussed. However the fact is that Obama was anti-Palestinian in his speech and that doesn’t concern you but someone is anti-Jewish and that does.

    Sorry but Obama just destroyed hopes for a fresh hope for the Middle East and you need to understand that people are rightly dismayed.

    However that doesn’t mean that people should make anti-Jewish comments but equally Jewish people shouldn’t stand by and readily accepy anti-Palestinian comments which Obama made and in fact applaud them.

    It is one thing to ask people to stop anti-Jewish comments but then stand up and be counted please when people make anti-Palestinian comments.

  14. Saad Ibrahim — on 7th June, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    BTW In answer to your question I think that one comments wins because it is so crassly silly in making stereotypes.

  15. Sid — on 7th June, 2008 at 2:58 pm  

    Obama is a man who lost his own values with what he did. What is sad Sid is that even Harry’s Place saw that and you people don’t and that is saying something.

    I think the Adam Lebor article is objective, mature and unsentimentally non-partisan. LeBor is already being called an anti-semite in the comments box of HP, so it’s hardly a universally popular thesis.

    I’ve read any number of anti-Israeli commenters buy into the conspiracy theory of AIPAC and the jewish lobby. How many pro-Palestinian voices do you see making intelligent critique of the Hamas government in the same vein as LeBor? Where are the voices of pro-Palestinian lobby that calls Hamas for what they are: a bunch of violent, sectarian, racist, hardliners? I’d be glad to link to them from this blog if you can send us any.

    Anyway, here is a hilarious bit from the Daily Show.

  16. Sunny — on 7th June, 2008 at 3:03 pm  

    Sorry but Obama just destroyed hopes for a fresh hope for the Middle East and you need to understand that people are rightly dismayed.

    Oh shut up, you and Anas are such whiners.

    The speech was fine. He never said anything about the legal status of Jerusalem or anything more than that.

    The problem with these speeches is that people on either side of the conflict spend so much time and energy analysing it and then going ballistic when it doesn’t match up to their worldview.

    Frankly, if Obama parroted whatever Anas or Naom Chomsky wanted him to, he’d never get elected. And I’m glad he doesn’t. You two can whine all you please but it was a good and necessary speech. His policies won’t go as far as AIPAC’s… and that’s all that matters. Just making wild and idiotic statements because you choose to mis-interpret his statements shouldn’t be Obama’s problem.

  17. Sunny — on 7th June, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

    That Daily Show clip is hilarious. You should have embedded it.

  18. Sid — on 7th June, 2008 at 3:38 pm  

    I tried to but my account doesn’t allow me to embed object, youtube or redlasso tags. I know, I’m untermenschen.

  19. Indrak — on 7th June, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    re #12 re #7 by SalmanRush:
    a stereotype it might be, but contingent rather than anti, surely. Moreover, if no more than 2 parameters are involved, how does a [valid] stereotype fall short?

    The post seems to be a more succinct version of what I was composing at that same time, albeit psychologically based…. they often either cash in afterwards [Schroeder-->russian energy; aznar--> ? murdoch?..] or assume a form of sainthood – Gore took a dive so had a shortcut, and admitted in about the 1st minute of his film about what’s not possible for some one in ‘power’ [begs the question of what power is, if certain things can only be raised when not in power]; Carter… – well, he had a doctrine, did he not?

    If it’s back to BObama, then # 10 + 11, yes of course. I say, he’s trying to look his best and his ego is battened down, for he’s had to be careful to the end against HC, and knows how much to expect against the GOP. But if he gets in, records will be broken. His rectum is being steeled for the oral attention it will receive as the exemplar of what the usa is about. As though infused with the returned soul of Diana, many careers will trade on his luminescence, before moving onto the blair version about how disappointed they are. plus ca change.

  20. Anas — on 7th June, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    Sorry, how did I misinterpret “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”, Sunny?

    Forget Hamas, forget any of the Jihadi groups in Gaza, it’s the ordinary men, women and children who are being subjected to these merciless conditions, who are being starved and impoverished into submission — it’s 1.5 million people whose spirits are being gradually groumd into dust.

    But this utterly barbaric and inhumane, indescriminate punishment
    which we in the West should be ashamed about if only for its scale, was something Obama decided wasn’t worth the breath to mention (although of course he was on hand to defend Israel’s right to murder and starve the Gazans previously). All this is without mentioning the ongoing occupation and brutality in the West Bank designed to crush and utterly demoralise the whole of Palestinian society and any dreams of self-determination. Oh yeah Hamas were democratically elected, but who gives a fuck, the people made the wrong choice, so they can rot.

    But yeah, Sunny, who cares, yeah I should stop whining and concentrate on Obama’s radiant charisma.

  21. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

    Sorry, how did I misinterpret “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”, Sunny?

    Forget Hamas, forget any of the Jihadi groups in Gaza, it’s the ordinary men, women and children who are being subjected to these merciless conditions, who are being starved and impoverished into submission — it’s 1.5 million people whose spirits are being gradually groumd into dust.

    See what you did, Anas? You have conflated poverty and the precarious conditions of the Palestinian people with the political issue of the status Jerusalem.

    A true pro-Palestianian would be as outraged at Israel, as he would with Hamas. But I guess that is difficult, uh?

  22. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

    The fact that Hamas was elected democratically does not erase the fact that this organisation has been active all these years trying to sabotage any peace attempt between Israel and Palestine though suicide bombings. So, Anas, why do you tell us to forget about Hamas and then remind us it has any credibility because it was democratically elected?

  23. digitalcntrl — on 7th June, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    Even the french are into Obama fever…

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/06/europe/obamania.php

  24. ashik — on 7th June, 2008 at 6:06 pm  

    Sid:
    ‘I know, I’m untermenschen’

    I’m glad we agree.
    Opposition to the herrenvolk is futile. lol

    .

  25. Indrak — on 7th June, 2008 at 6:19 pm  

    Anas, you misinterpreted it in the sense that it was not wrong of the US to spy at the UN before “shock and awe” [no, it's NOT terror; that's when the weaker party does it to us]..: once this became ‘known’, instead of becoming a scandal, ex-’intelligence’ bods were wheeled out to poo poo any indignation, saying “come on dear boy, this is the real world, what did you expect?”

    anecdotally, on beach in India ’92 with Israeli couple, decent, older and more advanced than the majority from there who’d just done their IDF years: he told me that the problem with the western view was that the Palestinians were regarded as humans, when in fact they were at the level of cockroaches. She held a different surprise, and had reacted emotionally to our discussion of Iraq that I only later surmised was attributable to personal experience of a scud; we both were disquieted by concluding, that given requisite desire for peace on both sides, conflict was inevitable if the US wanted it that way.

    So it’s not relevent whether the dog wags the tail, or vice versa. I liked the aipac-type robotically repeated response to identify who was “…not their friend, then?” as “-we have friends, and potential friends” [no reference, it was years ago on radio].
    In a similar vein but better was the assertion of the US as having “no permanent friends, only potential enemies”.
    This applies ultimately even to Israel – say down the line if it contrived to accommodate with Iran…?
    In the meantime though, as long as it’s given gold-lined assurences that are se subject of this thread, and the annual flow of billions is as the urine of the proverbial elephant in the room, then the current strife is assured;
    the idea that the US could not stop what happened in Jenin in 2002 until the IDF was allowed time to finish and cover up what it wanted [and the UN still denied its enquiry] is as as credible as there having been no means of stopping the 2nd tower being hit on 911 [seriously, extending maximal benefit of doubt over the 1st, but the SECOND? an F1 car on a straight road could likely cover the distance let alone the nearest-stationed fighter-jet would fly over].

    btw, is anyone have able to credibly assert that Israeli nuclear bombs will not at some point be used?

  26. Ravi Naik — on 7th June, 2008 at 6:21 pm  

    “Even the french are into Obama fever…”

    It would be nice if Obama did an European tour (Britain, France and Germany) – he would certainly have huge crowds.

  27. SalmanRush — on 7th June, 2008 at 6:31 pm  

    #12 – Katy

    “Charming. Any more entrants for the “most anti-Jewish stereotypes in one sentence” competition, or does this win by default?”

    Katy, how is my statement “anti jewish”? Its clearly pro-jewish. And if its a stereotype I believe that most jews would gladly aspire to it.

    #19 Indrak

    Gore is clearly brilliant because he has achieved sainthood while cashing in. How much are his Apple options from the directorship worth now? Maybe $20+mm? How many private equity partnerships has he joined? At least 2.

    Man, these high office politicos know how to get paid on the back end and I betchya that Obama will break all records.

  28. Sunny — on 7th June, 2008 at 7:39 pm  

    Oh yeah Hamas were democratically elected, but who gives a fuck, the people made the wrong choice, so they can rot.

    Mmmm.. yeah I can distinctly remember him saying that Anas.

    Anyway, since words matter so much, I remember you sort of playing down their significance whenever anyone mentions Hamas’s own highly anti-semitic covenant.

  29. Indrak — on 7th June, 2008 at 9:58 pm  

    re #22: I had wanted to remark on this anyway, but now it’s been referenced again-

    even if the assertion accept is accepted wholesale, that Hamas has engaged in certain acts so as to sabotage peace [and turning a blind eye to the category error of the parties involved],
    the issue of democracy here is surely in relation to whether Hamas is entitled to representative agency.
    This is in the context of the continual mantra that “peace is not possible with Arafat..”, it should always be recalled.
    To deny agency in regard to democracy requires that the population were ignorent of Hamas’ acts and so voted under deception.
    If, on the other hand, you assert that the population deserves its treatment for exercising their vote in that direction, that’s a different matter, and then still leaves the question of those that did/could not vote thus.
    Your assertion is about as logically relevent as accusing Anas of not stating how many vowels there are in the name ‘Hamas’.
    And this so soon after when news breaks of ‘Haaretz’ carrying ads from ‘samson Blinded’.

  30. Refresh — on 7th June, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

    Sunny, it really would be interesting to see how you square this:

    “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”

    with a just peace.

    I can, but it would then mean a one-state solution, undivided. Everyone equal, with full right of return and a haven for jews. If Obama can deliver that then we would have a chance of real peace.

    If on the other hand you are saying Obama had no choice but pay homage to AIPAC. Then AIPAC and US democracy has a potential crisis on their hands. It would suggest, to their own citizens, that Sharon wasn’t joking when he was reported to remark that they owned the Whitehouse.

    It goes further, it also says to 70% of american jews that their aspirations are trumped by those Likudniks that run AIPAC. And there are plenty of big hitters including Chomsky and Soros.

    It is high time that 70% pulled the rug out from under AIPAC, before some reactionary force reignites the ZOG militants. Maybe there is a need for a US version of IJV which will take them on.

    Perhaps Obama is bright enough to recognise that this lobby group is so powerful that even his charm and the american citizens’ demand for change is not enough. And that his humiliating bowing to the great AIPAC will bring them out in force to neutralise their influence. And similarly lets hope there is a parallel campaign in Israel to expose them as operators not for Israel but for a right wing vested interest.

  31. Refresh — on 7th June, 2008 at 11:05 pm  

    Edit:
    ‘And there are plenty of big hitters including Chomsky and Soros.’

    Should be at the end of the following para.

  32. Katy Newton — on 7th June, 2008 at 11:09 pm  

    How is anyone going to reach any sort of peace deal if you can’t disagree with anything that the Palestinians want without being labelled “anti-Palestinian”? Jerusalem has been a huge part of Jewish heritage, culture, history and religious ceremony for, oh, about 5000 years now, so I might just as easily say it’s “anti-Jewish” to say that Jerusalem should be part of a new Palestinian state – but I don’t, because the fate of Jerusalem is up for discussion as part of a peace deal. It’s a political debate. To say that I am in some way condoning anti-Palestinian prejudice because I take offence at someone recycling the same old tired antisemitic canards about everyone needing to cosy up to Jews because they run the world financial system is pretty pathetic, but why should it surprise me that a discussion about Israel should lead to sweeping generalisations about Jews regardless of whether they’re in Israel or not?

  33. Indrak — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:08 am  

    #32
    so good to see those straw men lacerated

  34. Anas — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:12 am  

    Yeah, Katy spot on. The anti-Jewish conspiracy mongering on this thread has got out of hand.

  35. Indrak — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:15 am  

    #32
    so good to see those straw men lacerated.
    and as for the last bit, it’s not so clear cut when [my understanding, open to correction]
    the state is predicated on welcoming any Jew any where, whereas…

  36. SalmanRush — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:27 am  

    #32

    “I take offence at someone recycling the same old tired antisemitic canards about everyone needing to cosy up to Jews”

    What’s tiresome is pointing out “anti-semitism” in this day and age, when the jewish neocons have pretty much run roughshod all over Iraq, and Israelis are one step away from setting up gas-chambers outside Gaza, you horse-faced dingbat.

  37. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:34 am  

    Refresh,

    It is at least possible that Obama is playing the game you accuse him of. Which, sadly, I suspect he is not.

    It is the game he should be playing – a one state solution where both Palestinians and World Jewry were allowed to return and take up their equal participation in a free land.

    Perhaps not.

    Anas has asked me to explain elsewhere how this could be resolved. Without a complete adoption of pacifist principles of civil disobedience, I cannot see how we get from the a of conflict being acceptable to the b of conflict being something stupid.

    I’d argue that Hamas, Anas’s favourite party, would get more international support by adopting a Selma Alabama campaign than they will ever get by cheap fireworks.

    I’d have thought it might get international support. Y’know self sacrificing resistance?

    Though the cynic in me says that it might be bloody as hell, as the freeloaders on the American gravy train would be discombobulated.

  38. Katy Newton — on 8th June, 2008 at 8:01 am  

    What’s tiresome is pointing out “anti-semitism” in this day and age, when the jewish neocons have pretty much run roughshod all over Iraq, and Israelis are one step away from setting up gas-chambers outside Gaza, you horse-faced dingbat

    Oh, you are antisemitic. And incapable of addressing the point I made in response to yours. I assume that’s why you’ve descended to personal remarks, which, by the way, would have more effect if I’d ever met you or if you had any idea what I looked like.

  39. SalmanRush — on 8th June, 2008 at 8:05 am  

    Katy, I live in the post-racial, post-antisemitic world (like Obama) and my rich, Gucci-Ferragamo-clad, jewish friends love it when I call them jewboys.

  40. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 10:35 am  

    Douglas,

    I am not sure he is playing that game, but its a game that needs to be played. He should have the 70% of american jews on-side; he should also get speak to Israeli jews over the heads of their government.

    And I am sure this is a most invidious position for jews generally, and american citizens should see it for the humiliation of its democracy that it is.

    Somthing will need to give, and fast. Before November. The alternative will be dire – fast forward 20 years and it does not bode well for the ‘only democracy’ in the middle east and for the most powerful one.

  41. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:11 am  

    Sunny – you’re the one who needs to shut up and look at reality. Such speeches are made for a reason and that policy won’t change and if you are frankly too stupid to see that then don’t blame the rest of us.

    Bush made a similar speech and stuck to that principle. Obama.

    The fact that you’ll think he’ll adjust his position is silly because he won’t. If that is his position to get elected then he is targeting a specific electoral base and thye won’t let him change position and its incredible you are blind to that.

    It wasn’t a necessary speech – it was simply a kiss arse speech. Face it your boy bent over and kissed arse with a bunch of people that even the Jewish Community are getting concerned about.

    Also your idiotic comment that he couldn’t make a Chomsky speech highlights your gross immaturity in analysing this. No-one bloody asked him to make a Chomsky speech did they? What people were looking for was a balanced speech and if you are so silly to believe that was balanced then your a damn fool.

    Obama could have emphasised the positives of working for peace, the benefits to Israel in achieving peace and the security that woudl bring. All issues which would have played well with Aipac but equally with the international community.

    I mean for crying out loud do you claim you know more than Erekat who said Obama had destroyed hopes for peace.

    Obama chose not to do that and sold out the Palestinians something you won’t face.

    Your hope Obama will change – but he won’t. He has become the same as Hilary and its a shame you don’t have the courage to recognise this.

  42. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:18 am  

    Katy – in fairness to the other poster a fair point was made and you just went off on one about Jewish History. The Jews and Palestinians have a long long shared hsitory and until both sides recognise each others rights then no-one will progress. Frankly Jews know that part of Jerusalem and Temple Mount will be returned to the Palestinians in a peace accord so lets not decieve ourselves. Even right wing Israeli Govts know this which is why they haven’t invested much there.

    But the point the poster made is soemthing that many Jews recognise and indeed Rabbi Yoffe is the USA made a similar point that the Jewish Community should be willing to criticse people who are anti-Muslim. I’d say it is fair that Jews should criticise anti-Palestinain remarks – hell if we are goign to live withthem them we need to stand up and say yes these people have rights and yes Obama made a poor speech. We shouldn’t stand idlely by and clap or stay quiet about such things after all we are asking Arabs and Muslims to condemn anti-Israel speeches so why should we do the same for anti-Palestinains. It is a fair point and as a community we need to show mature leadership to help reolve this issue.

    The simple fact is that Jews and Palestinians have long rights in the area and both need to accept that fact. Until we both do then there won’t be progress.

    I understand your sentiments but it is time for us to rise above that and work towards peace as the alternative is far far worse for everyone.

  43. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:30 am  

    In Fact Sunny at a time whem many Americans and many many Jewish Americans are starting to change heavily towards working for peace with the Palestinians and Arabs when many initiatives are being launched to work for peace and understanding. Your boy went completely the opposite way.

    Leadership involves actually leading so tell me what bloody leadership Obama showed? He had a chance and he simply wilted.

    It isn’t just Arabs that are disappointed – many Jews are as well. So it was a pretty dumb move by a kiss arse candidate who showed he had zero spine to act as a leader.

    In a years time you’ll try and defend your tune but remember Obama is a turn-coat before he got elected and you are supporting that. You are supporting an American version of Bliar.

  44. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:32 am  

    64% of Israelis want negotiations with Hamas and your boy is syaing he wants to ignore them, ignore the international community in fact ignore internation law and for his own election he is willing to shit on downtrodden communities and remove hopes of people.

    Hell of a role model you are standing up for who has loast all his principles and morals so he can get elected. Obama bin Blair bin Bush is his new name.

  45. Katy Newton — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:58 am  

    SalmanRush, I’m going to assume that that isn’t just a variant of the old “but some of my best friends…” thing. I also have non-Jewish friends who don’t offend me when they make jokes about me being Jewish, and I also have black friends who don’t mind jokes based on black stereotypes, so I hear you. But jokes that you make amongst friends who know you don’t necessarily sit well with people you haven’t met who don’t know what you’re really like. It isn’t a post-racial world or a post-antisemitic world. I’m sorry if you feel that I’ve overreacted to what you’ve said, but I found it offensive and also ill-founded. The financial system is awash with Saudi money, as is Washington; it really isn’t a Jewish shop.

    I am quite sure that Obama’s stance on Israel is based largely on what he thinks will appeal to the American electorate. Frankly, I wish he and every other more powerful nation would butt out and stop using Israel and Palestine as political footballs; both sides would be more sensible if they didn’t have powerful nations urging them not to give an inch. But to suggest that he is courting Jewish money for when he retires is ridiculous. The fact is that as a high-profile Presidential candidate he’d walk into any consultancy he wanted whether it was Jewish-owned, Arab-owned or just plain old American corporate, and well he knows it.

  46. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:59 am  

    Avi,

    The ultimate roadblock to a solution to the I/P issue, is that both sides fail to understand the other. On the Palestinian side they have adopted the worst of Nazi propoganda as though it were truth. You have the forgery – the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for instance – being given a legitimacy that its’ authors would cream their pants – tm SH over. You have Jewish folk being compared to pigs, etc, etc. It is obvious to any outsider that these are the words of war. Demonise your enemy, make them out to be less than human and then kill them.

    Jewish folk OTOH seem incredibly blind to the fact that they could ever, ever do anything wrong. And what they did, from the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine until now has been to assume that kicking Palestinians in the arse is a cohesive and well thought out long term solution when it plainly is not.

    The extremists on both sides need to be prevailed against. It needs the centre to hold, except, thanks to the extremists, there is no centre.

    OK. It needs someone like Martin Luther King to resolve this shit. There is no-one occupying that landscape as far as I can tell. If they arose on either side, they’d probably get shot.

    Disinvesting in conflict, it seems to me, is a damn site harder than investing in it in the first place. Northern Ireland seems to be a realistic example of how bloody, and I mean bloody, long it takes….

  47. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:12 pm  

    Beg pardon Avi, but this was a speech in the draw up to an election. There is bound to be speeches made to lobbies that are not going to be universally accepted. This is a beauty parade at the end of the day.

    All 3 candidates made speeches to AIPAC. And yet, only Obama is on record for suggesting that the US must engage with Hamas. Obama has more to prove to the Jewish peeps in the US than the other 2 candidates and yes, there was an element of over-compensation which resulted in his unwise words about “doing anything” to Iran.

    This is a fact that you seem to have ignored because you’re so busy building a smoke and mirror construct around Obama’s “real intentions” – shades of conspiracy moonbattery abound. I refuse to take you seriously until you stop preaching to others on fairness and objectivity and, instead, practicing it yourself. You can do this by accepting that an extremist Israeli position also exists and that they too need to be engaged. And douglas is absolutely right in saying that, at the moment, there is no centre ground in I/P politics because of the polarisation created by the extremists.

  48. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:38 pm  

    Douglas – Fully agree. All I am saying is that if people like Obama won’t help the situation then they should shut the feck up.

    Sid – I realise that but you also need to realise that Jews didn’t ask him to say that, he chose to suck up to a lobby not to the Jewish Community there is a difference. Most Jews are democrat anyway so they are his natural base. For an Blog Analyst not to realise that is worrying.

    “I refuse to take you seriously until you stop preaching to others on fairness and objectivity and, instead, practicing it yourself. You can do this by accepting that an extremist Israeli position also exists and that they too need to be engaged with.”

    Sid – you are always the one bashing Muslims and Muslim Organisations and earlier claimed blindly that there were no Palestinian Orgs bashing Hamas which is frankly ridulous.

    In addition if you ever bothered to read what I said – I’ve never objected to engaging with the Extreme Jewish Community – hell most of the extremists on both sides are already engaging with each other.

    Obama had a chance to show real leadership and frankly your boy failed miserably. The simple fact is that even many Israelis and Jews will be disappinted with his speech. The fact he got an A from Aipac shows how far off the mark he was.

    Obama is like Bliar – he’ll talk about working for peace but he won’t do anything because he is isn’t a leader.

    If you and Sunny honestly are foolish enough to think that Jews in America won’t elect a President because he says he wants both people to have peace and security then you are bloody idiots. Most Jews and most Palestinians n America support this position. Most Jews and Most Palestinians despite what their relative orgs say will support compromise on Palestine. Thus Obama simply stunk as a leader cause he was spineless in showing leadership. His position is more right wing that Likud and you find that acceptable.

    Everything you are saying now was said about Bush and Blair and what did they achieve in the Middle East.

    Obama had a chance to clarify and didn’t he is a weasel who isn’t fit to lead. The fact he is less of a weasel than others doesn’t say much now does it.

    The fact that you and Sunny are collectively creaming your pants at your Boy Obama’s speech highlights how poor your understanding is of the situation.

    This is The Major Issue which is a cause for extremism and is being taken up by Bin Laden which is a worry. For US Presidential Candidates to show zero leadership on this is a major cause for the world and for the people of the region. It is a disgrace that no-one has the courage to tackle this issue simply because they are more interesting in prostituting themselves for election and campaign funding. That isn’t called leadership it is called prostitution and I’d ratehr America elected a leader than a prostitute which is what they’ll have in Obama.

  49. Katy Newton — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:47 pm  

    I think the problem is that there’s a real “with us or against us” mentality on both sides, which means that anything that anyone says that isn’t 100% in agreement with one side puts them on the other side by default.

    I think everyone needs to accept that there are going to be some areas of disagreement and that peace will not be accomplished without both sides giving up something that they really want, whether it be control over Jerusalem or some other thing.

  50. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:48 pm  


    Sid – you are always the one bashing Muslims and Muslim Organisations and earlier claimed blindly that there were no Palestinian Orgs bashing Hamas which is frankly ridulous.

    What I said was, I haven’t seen any pro-Palestinian commentators criticising Hamas right now and will be happy to see links if you send them. That offer still stands.

    Furthermore, I’m not “always the one bashing Muslims and Muslim Organisations”. I’m attacking extrmists muslims and extremist muslim orgs. That statement says more about you than it does about me, Avi old chap.


    In addition if you ever bothered to read what I said – I’ve never objected to engaging with the Extreme Jewish Community – hell most of the extremists on both sides are already engaging with each other.

    So why does it make a US president candidate a “weasel” if he proposes to do the same?


    If you and Sunny honestly are foolish enough to think that Jews in America won’t elect a President because he says he wants both people to have peace and security then you are bloody idiots.

    I think your imagination is running away with you Avi. Never said any such thing.


    The fact that you and Sunny are collectively creaming your pants at your Boy Obama’s speech highlights how poor your understanding is of the situation.

    So you’d rather have McCain for Pres of the US in 2008, is that what you’re saying?

  51. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:49 pm  

    “Frankly, I wish he and every other more powerful nation would butt out and stop using Israel and Palestine as political footballs; both sides would be more sensible if they didn’t have powerful nations urging them not to give an inch.”

    Perhaps the best summary of what is needed – Thank you Katy. It is a shame that Sunny and Sid were so busy bowing down to Obama that they can’t see this – if Obama can’t help then he needs to butt out and not make ridiculous claims which don’t further peace.

    Plus Sid show me where Jews in America have said tht US Presidential Candidates need to state that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel? They haven’t said that so why did Obama need to?

    Either put up and show this is needed or shut up and accept the guy was stupid in what he said. Jews have never said that so the man just was being a whore to one organisation and his speech was simply poor. The fact that you cream your pants at whatever he says doesn’t take away from that fact.

  52. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    Sid – “So why does it make a US president candidate a “weasel” if he proposes to do the same?”

    He didn’t do the same he stated positions. He said Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel. It isn’t for a Yank to determine what is and isn’t acceptable to Israeli and Palestine in negotiating peace.

    Sid – if you read commentators in Hareetz or even JP then many pro-Palestinians criticise Hamas.

    “So you’d rather have McCain for Pres of the US in 2008, is that what you’re saying?”

    I want a President who is honest in dealing with the issues facing the world. I want a leader not a prostitute. As I said just because Obama is the least worst of the 3 doesn’t make him a fit leader for world issues.

    “I think your imagination is running away with you Avi. Never said any such thing.”

    You said with respect thatit is a beauty parade and he is appealing to the Jewish Community. Frankly that is offensive because the positions he was appealing on isn’t the position of the Jewish Community. Thus I repeat show me where that is the position of the community and thus he was appealing to it.

  53. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 1:28 pm  

    You said with respect thatit is a beauty parade and he is appealing to the Jewish Community. Frankly that is offensive because the positions he was appealing on isn’t the position of the Jewish Community. Thus I repeat show me where that is the position of the community and thus he was appealing to it.

    Which is exactly why I’ve posted this article which links to Adam LeBors position who makes this point very sensibly, and is rightly critical of the ramifications of the speech.

  54. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 1:43 pm  

    This is quite sad. I’d have thought, wrongly as it turns out, that two of the best thinkers on here, Sid and Avi, could have got beyond the superficial nature of political thinking, and have tried for an accomodation.

    Not so. The arguement is more important than the solution. Which is getting us nowhere.

    I think Katy Newton, @ 49 – someone I have disagreed with in the past – says it all. That is the nature of the problem, that anyone who dissents from a frankly fascist view of the other is a traitor.

    What do Avi and Sid have to say about that?

    And how do either of you resolve it?

  55. Indrak — on 8th June, 2008 at 1:57 pm  

    This is a waste of time – plenty of evidence that people are failing to read or at least attend to what’s written, at the expense of reconfiguring what suits them to bolster their positions. Am not so naive as to think otherwise, but had reason to give it a go, and it was a diversion from what I should be doing.

    But Sid, seriously, since you started this it behoves you to do better, and your your justifications fall quite below the level of mainstream pundits, who are entitled to comment in passing that the Deocratic candidate from this stage will move rightwards.

    It’s not to do with a particular lobby group; AIPAC seems to be a hyper-parasitic tumour at the nexus of the US establishment, now welded to the evangelicals as someone mentioned; they themselves had a strategy under Rove of metastasizing the issue of abortion, so for 10s of millions everything is seen through a binary prism.

    In a ‘different’ world, instead of ‘butting out’ as has been suggested, the problem could be solved fairly easily, since one side is emasculated and the other so dependent on the US..
    To blame ‘extremists’ [like- what would those at the edge of the polity be if the current extremists were excised??..; your dismissal of Ehud Barak quoted as saying he wld be a terrorist if he was palestinian is on a par with your view of this Jerusalem position],
    or wish for a Martin l King – delusional, pathetic, distasteful actually, as the Gandhi tempplate functions as a self-serving icon for the western liberals that projects onto moronic eastern masses a faux spiritual enlightenment.

    ciao-ski.

  56. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

    Douglas,

    ‘This is quite sad. I’d have thought, wrongly as it turns out, that two of the best thinkers on here, Sid and Avi, could have got beyond the superficial nature of political thinking, and have tried for an accomodation.’

    There really is nothing to accomodate, except perhaps a bloggers ego or chagrin.

    Sid’s stance has to be rejected outright.

    The problem with the Obama speech was clear to everyone who has an interest in foreign affairs and heard about it. And that is from someone who had viewed Obama’s speech on race most compelling. And underneath it all wanted him to win. Now I have the same feeling I did that fateful day in 1997 when Blair walked into 10 Downing St.

  57. digitalcntrl — on 8th June, 2008 at 2:51 pm  

    “I want a President who is honest in dealing with the issues facing the world. I want a leader not a prostitute.”

    But in order to be a leader you need to be a prostitute. Virtually no democratically elected leader comes into power on principles alone. You need to kowtow to other powerful factions in order to have a chance.

    ” It isn’t for a Yank to determine what is and isn’t acceptable to Israeli and Palestine in negotiating peace.”

    It has nothing to do with determining anything. His speech was merely to counter accusations that that Obama is captive of Palestinian ideology, that Obama is a secret Muslim, and so on. And with Jewish Americans such an important part of the Democratic base he needs their support.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080604/cm_thenation/1096326710

  58. SalmanRush — on 8th June, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

    Katy,

    You can take a gander about my religious affiliation based on my screen name. Having said that, my friendships with jewish people have been close and not token.

    Having also said that, I have noticed in my interactions with jewish friends that no one seems to want to perpetuate the “jews control the financial system stereotype” more than jews.

  59. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Sid’s stance has to be rejected outright.

    If you reject my stance, you reject Adam LeBor’s stance which is a shame because his is the *only* sensible analysis of Obama’s speech I’ve read. If you reject Obama because you think he is a devious prostitute for supporting the extremist Israeli stance then you’re no better than those who reject him outright for supporting talking to Hamas.

    I reject outright lending support (or not) to Osama based on the efficacy of his policies one *single* issue (the I/P issue) and on one speech.

  60. digitalcntrl — on 8th June, 2008 at 3:05 pm  

    “It would be nice if Obama did an European tour (Britain, France and Germany) – he would certainly have huge crowds.”

    Big crowds of non-voters that is :p

  61. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

    Indrak,

    I’ll answer this, only that I get an intelligible reponse. Otherwise, I too will assume you are stoned. You said:

    as the Gandhi tempplate functions as a self-serving icon for the western liberals that projects onto moronic eastern masses a faux spiritual enlightenment.

    Well, brainbox, come up with another solution, why don’t you? There are no simple solutions to the I/P debacle, and you sir, are certainly not eliciting a solution.

    I have tried to argue for an alternative to women blowing themselves up. I have tried to argue that Israeli attempts to demonise folk that are driven to those extremes are introverted and unable to address the issue of why?

    What, the fuck, have you added to that discussion?

  62. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

    Sid, my position is there for all to see (#30).

    I am not being critical of Adam LeBor per se, but I am about your subsequent posts.

    LeBor is pointing out that this is not good, and is critical of AIPAC.

    You thought it was unfortunate, but what the heck, its a lobby group and there is an election to be won. Cynicism of particularly high order.

    When the whole substance of Obama was to cut loose from the lobby groups and make a fresh start.

    That is what I bought into.

    I do not think he is a devious prostitute, for I do not know the pressures that were brought to bear, least of all by Hilary Clinton – who is reported to have considered working on ethnic lines jews v. black americans.

    And in turn AIPAC should be the target of all right-minded citizens of the US and Israel.

    What I had hoped was that after your mea culpa, you would have considered what was needed to get Obama back on track, for example.

    Where and why does Osama come into all this?

  63. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

    I thought my #30 was quite substantial and went to the heart of it.

    Why would you want me to comment specifically on Hamas, when that is not the subject matter? Be very clear. I think I know but why don’t you be blunt.

  64. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:53 pm  

    Why don’t you be blunt? We’re still waiting for a detailed analysis from you on anything rather than the usual vacuous whining.

  65. Indrak — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:53 pm  

    #60 – ok, in broad strokes:
    the world’ [ie incl. the US] ‘says’, this is going to be sorted in 5-10 yrs along lines of UN ’48 proposal. Either that, or it’s going to be one state for all of you, you decide amongst you in 2 yrs. The Pals can thereby be consider that right-of-return is sufficiently attended in principle that they may move on just as other displaced/cleansed people. With justice on the horizon, the impetus towards acts like suicide bombings will attenuate. Yes, there will be a flurry, but it would self-attenuate.
    Oppressed people simply do not act to avenge retrospectively [tend to be benign]; the rhetoric about pushing them into the sea is simply currency for the rightwing.
    The extreme zionists are another matter, + i guess will not wither – they answer to a higher power. They need to be dealt with- you tell me, is Israel capable of doing that?.. probably need be removed to the USA for it has been so culpable.
    In the meantime of 2 years while they decide, the IDF in occupation can be replaced by say Turkish forces so as to stop the gratuitous humiliation , and Pals in exile should be educationally propelled so as to be of use, if they choose to return there, in building a carbonfree economy.

    No, not stoned. It is possible if the clean will is there. That tho’ is not possible, for reasons the thread should have made clear; I’m not concerned with what people profess, for things are as they are because collectively enough people are happy to keep it that way.

  66. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    Oops, my last comment to Refresh seems to have gone south. Or into the spam machine.

  67. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    Sid,

    My friend, it matters not a fuck who is right and who is wrong, nor who is marginal or who is central. What, realistcally matters, is stopping this shit. I’d be obliged if you addressed that. Accusing others of playing 5th form politics when you, too, are unable to arrive at a solution. is bad. As in problem, not solution, bad. As in attacking those you deem opponents.

    Cut some slack here. You, Sid, are a bloody sight better than this….

  68. Sid — on 8th June, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

    hey don’t shoot the messenger. :)
    I just posted Adam LeBor’s articles which were fine examples of progressive analysis and made my mea culpa about Obama’s being incorrect, and why I accepted LeBor’s argument that Obama was wrong. I made that point from the outset. And in spite of that, I still think Obama is the best candidate by far.

    That is, I think, what you could call a little more slack.

  69. douglas clark — on 8th June, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

    Sid

    Point.

    But this thread has gone elsewhere. At least I think it has. Neither you nor I can control the likes of indrak, yet that is what you attract:

    That tho’ is not possible, for reasons the thread should have made clear; I’m not concerned with what people profess, for things are as they are because collectively enough people are happy to keep it that way.

    Though I wouldn’t have said it in that Yoda speak,or Yoda thought even, Indarit does have a point.

    It is down to us to change the rules…Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are sorted. And frankly my hero, Mr Obama, has made a dogs breakfast of this particular debate.

  70. Anas — on 8th June, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

    There are actually several issues that I have raised related to Obama’s speech and his previous statements on Israel/Palestine that neither sid nor sunny have actually bother to engage with; instead choosing to invoke the ghastly bogeymen of hamas to distract attention from the fact that golden boy’s statements on I/p have made for pretty grim reading for anyone interested in human rights. All of these issues are neatly summarised in the quotation from Gonzalez in post number one, so there can be really no other reason for the manoeuvrings in this thread. In fact, just to emphasise what I’m talking about, president Jimmy Carter has also written quite clearly on what the most devastating and the most important human aspects of the current situation:

    Regardless of one’s choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions in delivering water, food, electricity and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about 1 million of whom are refugees.

    Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the encapsulated area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children. Before the highly publicized killing of a woman and her four little children earlier this month, this pattern was illustrated by a previous report from B’Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights organization: 106 Palestinians were killed between Feb. 27 and March 3. Fifty-four of them were civilians who didn’t take part in the fighting, and 25 were under 18 years of age.

    And yet, not only did Obama refuse to even directly allude to Israel’s horrific collective punishment of the Gazan’s in his speech devoted to the situation in Israel/Palestine, he has gone on record in the past as actually defending Israel’s starvation siege as necessary for its security (meaning that it had no other choice since the wrong people were elected):


    I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condenm the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in southern Israel…

    All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this… Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.

    I’m sorry but you don’t need a PhD in semiotics to understand the significance of what BO left out, i.e. any references to what is happening in Gaza, in his speech so that he could wholly focus on sucking AIPAC’s dick, repeatedly elaborating on his staunch support for the racist, terrorist apartheid state which has such a special place in his heart; nor can you really dismiss as Jerusalem comments as an unintended gaffe — since it’s not a gaffe that will lose him many votes but will on the contrary prove extremely advantageous to his chances of election. No calls on Israel to renounce its terrorism or to honour past agreements here, which is odd given that Hamas’ or Hezbollah’s crimes don’t even rate on the same scale as Israel’s.

    I’m not the biggest fan of Hamas (I clearly remember condemning their anti-Semitic covenant on another thread on PP, sunny), but it’s hard to give them lots of criticism in the face of the amount of demonisation they face in the Western media, and in an environment where the presence of a keffiyah is erased from an advertisement because it symbolises terrorism(!). On the other hand, how pressing can the lack of criticism Hamas among Palestinian supporters be when again we live in an environment where Israel’s numerous terrorist crimes and atrocities barely rate a mention in the press, or are dismissed casually as reasonable forms of retaliation: can you blame us for concentrating on Israel’s crimes? But the thing is, ultimately the fact is not that there is an us and them mentality, it’s that many of Israel’s supporters simply refuse to acknowledge, let alone attempt to defend, the scale of what Israel is doing at the moment in Gaza. It’s hard to start a dialogue when something like that is just dismissed, as if the inhabitants of Gaza just don’t qualify is being fully human. I’m surprised because even though it’s getting harder and harder to defend Israel there are still plenty of folk doing their utmost to try, take up the baton.

    Douglas, Gandhian nonviolence strategies only really work in certain environments, in places where the response will not be so overwhelmingly brutal, people tend not to go in for that if they keep getting shot and killed. I mean, now you read that younger generations of Tibetans are seriously questioning the validity of peaceful nonviolent struggle against the full bloodthirsty might of the Chinese army, which is really something given nonviolence is an integral part of Tibetans Buddhism. I mean, Douglas, it’s all very well for you to sit there in Glasgow at your keyboard haughtily advocating that the Palestinians follow the path of nonviolence, which many have in fact over the years, without having to live there, and experience the overwhelmingly ruthless response to any kind of nonviolent demonstration and uprising by the Israeli army (even foreigners aren’t safe e.g., Rachel Corrie, and more recently: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1761_). Nor, can you really explain why when the Palestinians bent over backwards to accommodate Israel through dialogue and through peaceful means, they still achieved next to fuck all. And in fact the popularity of Hamas is a result of the fact that that got nowhere.

    For me it all comes down to this: that the Palestinians have every moral right to fight the occupation of their land, through armed resistance, as every other occupied peoples has — and the Palestinians already have a lot of international support, probably the majority of the world’s population who are convinced of the righteousness of their cause. The injustice of the occupation of Palestine does not hinge on how sympathetic the Palestinians are, how many great icons they can produce for teenagers to wear on T-shirts, how many charismatic individuals like Obama they have.

  71. digitalcntrl — on 8th June, 2008 at 6:59 pm  

    Although I am fencesitter between McCain and Obama, the former due to his social conservatism and other right wing positions the latter due to a naïve idealism which is threat to liberalism, I would say the attacks on Obama have been unwarranted:

    “I want a President who is honest in dealing with the issues facing the world. I want a leader not a prostitute.”
    What democraticaly elected leader is not a prostitute? It is foolish to believe to that you can be elected on principles alone. There are always people to please in politics unless you want to run your mouth off all day and exsist in unelectable oblivion. Poltics is the art of possible.
    “It isn’t for a Yank to determine what is and isn’t acceptable to Israeli and Palestine in negotiating peace…Frankly that is offensive because the positions he was appealing on isn’t the position of the Jewish Community.”
    Do you honestly believe that Obama is telling the Israelis and/or Palestinians what to do? Its pretty clear that the point of the speech was to calm the nerves of liberal Jews who may think Obama is captive of Palestinian ideology, that Obama is a secret Muslim, and so on.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080604/cm_thenation/1096326710_1

  72. digitalcntrl — on 8th June, 2008 at 7:04 pm  

    Although I am fencesitter between McCain and Obama, the former due to his social conservatism and other right wing positions the latter due to a naïve idealism which is threat to liberalism, I would say the attacks on Obama have been unwarranted:

    “I want a President who is honest in dealing with the issues facing the world. I want a leader not a prostitute.”

    What democraticaly elected leader is not a prostitute? It is foolish to believe to that you can be elected on principles alone. There are always people to please in politics unless you want to run your mouth off all day and exsist in unelectable oblivion. Poltics is the art of possible.

    “It isn’t for a Yank to determine what is and isn’t acceptable to Israeli and Palestine in negotiating peace…Frankly that is offensive because the positions he was appealing on isn’t the position of the Jewish Community.”

    Do you honestly believe that Obama is telling the Israelis and/or Palestinians what to do? Its pretty clear that the point of the speech was to calm the nerves of liberal Jews who may think Obama is captive of Palestinian ideology, that Obama is a secret Muslim, and so on.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080604/cm_thenation/1096326710_1

  73. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

    Katy – I agree with you that many comments which are being made here are anti-Jewish, an absolute disgarce and uncalled for.

    You can comment that Jerusalem has a rich Jewish history etc. without being anti-Palestinian. Equally a Palestinian can say the same for their history without being anti-Semitic. What is anti-Palestinian and anti-Jewish is to deny the claim of either that is my point. Each time someone does soemthing like that then we as people need to stand up and confront that as best we can.

    Sid – When I have time over the next few days I’ll dig out a few for you.

    Douglas – I agree with Sid. But my point is this – that statements such as these are analysed very closely and often candidates do not change them and can’t change them. These statements become set in stone. It isn’t mere rhetoric as we found with Bush. I would highlight to everyone that the paper which Bush – being an idiot that he is – signed granting Israel rights in the West Bank is not a massive stumbling block as it is being used to take more land and make a solution untenable. Bush negotiated away the rights of the Palestinians and this means Israel knows it doesn’t have to negotiate on those issues as they are set. Thus agreement, give and take are more difficult.

    In a similar vein Obama making a statement that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel will sadly be taken as fact by some people and lead to an unyielding position. Obama in power can’t deviate from this position easily. Thus it leads to more bloodshed and un-necessary death and suffering.

    That is the core problem.

    I often disagree with Katy but like you said Douglas at Number 49 she summed it up really well.

    This is why I have said that the USA is the biggest hurdle to any peace in the Middle East simply because US involvement derails any prospect of peace as they make commitments which make agreements untenable.

    Bush has done it. Obama is on the road and doing it. McCain is doing it. Hilary promised to bomb Iran for Israel and is doing it. Bill Clinton who didn’t fight for the USA said he’d pickup a gun for Israel. These are problems as Israel is then by-passing negotiations with the people they need to come to a compromise with.

    The problem is that when Israel is told you don’t have to negotiate as we’ll let you have this then Israel doesn’t need to make as many concessions as it naturally would and this is killing the peace process.

    Oslo led these guys to peace with a framework to build trust. The USA destroyed that framework by siding with Israel on each occassions to the point that Israel was then asked to make only symbolic withdrawls thus taking away the trust in any agreement leading to sides wanting each mm written in as they didn’t trust enforcement later.

    The reason Israel was able to do this is because the USA let them. Thus instead of withdrawing from large parts of the West Bank they chose to withdraw from a tiny % because American Presidents let them get away with this.

    Let me ask you Sid if Obama says Jerusalem is the undivided capital and sticks to that position then what on earth will make Israel feel the need to make concessions and thus achieve peace? Israel knows if won’t have to and will stick to saying Palestinians need another capital. The Muslim world won’t let the Palestinians agree and because Obama has been a knuckle head the senseless violence continues because USA Presidential Candidates feel a need to make Aipac happy. That surely can’t be sensible Government or leadership.

    Thus if Obama is contributing to hsotilities on one side or the other that frankly makes him an idiot.

    I am encouraged because even organisations such as MCB, MAB, The Board of Deputies etc. in this country see a need for dialogue and to bring the communities together. But in the USA this is being undone by one upmanship of stupid Presidential Candidates.

    Also Sid how on earth can Obama be taken seriously if he now backtracks on the promise he made? The Israeli Govt is now holding Bush at his word and each time the Bush Govt tries to complain about settlement growth the Israeli Govt refers back to the letter he gave Sharon. That simple piece of paper is now causing massive headaches in the search for peace.

    Similarly if you think Obama’s statement won’t have profound imapcts on negotiations well each time the parties come together and this issue is discussed Israel will turn to the USA President and what are they supposed to say “Err guys we didn’t mean what we said about Jerusalem being Israel’s Undivided CApital – we’d like you to negotiate.”

    It won’t ever happen. Obama has sadly written an ongoing fight for both people in which innocent people will die.

    Teh reason McCain isn’t mentioned is because Obama was supposed to be a fresh hope for change. McCain was the same tired policy which has exacerbated the situation for so long.

    Obama was hope for both people and he destroyed it in one session. I hope Obama and all those that keep saying it wasn’t so bad can live with themselves as innocent people die and suffer because they ignored what Obama did. Good luck with your consiences because you supported him and let him get away with this.

    Right now Israel is sooo close to agreement with Syria but the USA will kill this and the chances of a lasting peace because the USA will ensure Israel won’t make the concessions it knows it has to for peace. Same with the Palestinians.

    Sid – I don’t want McCain but right now with his shifting rightwards and whataboutery Obama is just another Bush who happens to be Black.

  74. Katy Newton — on 8th June, 2008 at 8:08 pm  

    I have noticed in my interactions with jewish friends that no one seems to want to perpetuate the “jews control the financial system stereotype” more than jews

    Funnily enough, all of the people I know in finance are from Asia, or the Middle or Far East. Whatever your friends think (if they are being serious), we don’t run the world or the world financial system and we never have. There are plenty of Jews sweeping the streets or living off the state or on handouts all over the world, and that includes this country, America and Israel.

  75. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 8:10 pm  

    Sid, I think I was particularly clear. I am not sure you’ve even refuted my analysis. More words from me will not change its essence.

    To paraphrase, the politics is as follows:

    AIPAC has humiliated the US Democratic system. 70% of US jewry does not side with AIPAC. AIPAC is effectively and an effective wing of Likud.

    Israel is not all Likud, over 60% of Israelis want a dialogue with Hamas.

    Likud has plans for a greater Israel, has no interest in peace; and plays the US for fools.

    We need US jews and Israeli jews to put together an effective plan to counter AIPAC so the deck is cleared for an Obama presidency to deliver a proper solution to the middle east.

    I am not sure I can make it any clearer.

  76. Leon — on 8th June, 2008 at 8:11 pm  

    But this thread has gone elsewhere.

    They always do when it comes to I/P…partly the reason I don’t bother posting about or on them anymore, more heat than light.

  77. Avi Cohen — on 8th June, 2008 at 9:01 pm  

    Katy – What is interesting is that many Jewish Investment Banks have a large Arab and Muslim Client base so these guys manage to talk to each other at this level.

    As regards Israel and Palestine – They are close to a deal in my opinion. They both know what needs to be done to get a deal. It is external factors that are not helping especially American factors.

    Seriously the %’s they are disagreeing over are small and can be solved. Even Jerusalem and the right of return can be offset against each other.

    But US Politicians are the single biggest factor derailing agreements time again. Hence my own personal disappointment with Obama and his stupidity in setting back negotiations by ceding Jerusalem to Israel. It wasn’t a statement he needed to make so why bother?

  78. Refresh — on 8th June, 2008 at 9:17 pm  

    Sid, why don’t you re-post the disappeared comment addressed to me, you mention it in your #66? I am intrigued what you could have said.

    Its important dialogue on PP remains transparent. Its surely a compact between blogger and commenter, which should remain sacrosanct.

    I would also ask that you don’t edit your comments after someone has responded to them. Some might view it as sharp practise – perhaps we could all abide by the 5 mins grace offered by the new preview system, Sunny has kindly provided?

  79. digitalcntrl — on 8th June, 2008 at 11:27 pm  

    Although I am fencesitter between McCain and Obama, the former due to his social conservatism and other right wing positions the latter due to a naïve idealism which is threat to liberalism, I would say the attacks on Obama have been unwarranted:
    “I want a President who is honest in dealing with the issues facing the world. I want a leader not a prostitute.”

    What democraticaly elected leader is not a prostitute? It is foolish to believe to that you can be elected on principles alone. There are always people to please in politics unless you want to run your mouth off all day and exsist in unelectable oblivion. Poltics is the art of possible.

    “It isn’t for a Yank to determine what is and isn’t acceptable to Israeli and Palestine in negotiating peace…Frankly that is offensive because the positions he was appealing on isn’t the position of the Jewish Community.”

    Do you honestly believe that Obama is telling the Israelis and/or Palestinians what to do? Its pretty clear that the point of the speech was to calm the nerves of liberal Jews who may think Obama is captive of Palestinian ideology, that Obama is a secret Muslim, and so on.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080604/cm_thenation/1096326710_1

  80. soru — on 9th June, 2008 at 12:32 am  

    For me it all comes down to this: that the Palestinians have every moral right to fight the occupation of their land, through armed resistance, as every other occupied peoples has

    Thing is, there may be a moral right to fight, but there is no moral right to win.

    As long as they are losing, they may get nominal support based on vague feelings of guys in Clapham bedsits and south american diplomats about what would be a romantically satisfying outcome. That and three pounds fifty may be used to purchase a kebab.

    If the Palestinian military forces ever started achieving their goals, turning around the kill ratios, the system of military tactics and policies that would enable that would, of its nature, be a hundred times more oppressive than anything currently seen in Gaza. Not individual suicide bombers, but suicide regiments, not hand-built rockets, but cluster munitions, not bombed pizza restaurants, but internment camps, or worse.

    Israel is not some all-male uniformed foreign occupying army that came on the whim of elderly politicians and TV news anchors, and can leave the same way. They are families, and farms, and cities.

    The Israeli people have a collective veto on what happens in the lands of the former Palestinian mandate. Politicians who recognise this can contribute to a solution that provides justice and welfare for all, those who don’t had best hope they are forgotten by history and forgiven by the divine.

  81. digitalcntrl — on 9th June, 2008 at 1:33 am  

    @77 Avi

    “It wasn’t a statement he needed to make so why bother?”

    I would disagree, Obama almost had to make an extreme remark to counter the image of being pro-Hamas (after the their endorsement). With republicans gearing to up to say he is some kind of muslim manchurian candidate, such remarks were neccesary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouKJixL–ms&feature=related

  82. douglas clark — on 9th June, 2008 at 3:42 am  

    Anas @ 70,

    I agree that I am on the outside of this situation. As, in all honesty, I think you are too. Indeed, AFAIK, none of the main players on this thread are residents of Israel or Gaza, or the West Bank. What is odd about it is what Leon said earlier, “more heat than light”.

    None of us are Michelle Malkin, who contrary to what you seem to believe, has more in common with you in wanting the culture wars to drive a wedge between folk, than she has with the rest of us. This ridiculous tactic only supports extremists on both sides.

    What I have suggested is a sustained campaign of non-violent marches. It might not work, who knows, but it would at least be a tactical gain for the Palestinian cause, which is currently bogged down in the blowback rhetoric against suicide bombers. Think about it. If the West Midlands freedom movement used suicide bombers to further their aims how many neutrals could support their position? Their position would become inextricably linked to a death cult. And that, my friend, is why Barak Obama can get away with saying what he does. Indeed, why he must say what he does.

    As Soru says above, “sure there may be a moral right to fight”, but the tactics that your side – and you are a sideist on this topic – are adopting make it next to impossible for any neutral to support them. Barak Obama has been placed in an impossible position by Hamas. As long as their tactics subsume the death cult, then their endorsement of him does him more harm than good. Remember, he is trying to get elected, and if I can come up with that tactical ploy, you can be as sure as hell the Reps would too.

    What we have here is a situation where two groups of extremists shout at each other over the dead bodies of women and children. And, you know what? Sometime in the future it will all be resolved. And the dead will be a shrug of the shoulders for the new regiemes. Same as it ever was.

    What annoys me about this is that extremists can cut the ground out from under any compromise, any deal just by taking the hard line.

    You accuse me of having no solution to this problem, and maybe you are right. However, I’ve seen nothing here that suggest you have a solution either.

  83. Avi Cohen — on 9th June, 2008 at 11:15 am  

    Look I don’t understand why everyone keeps thinking that Obama had to make an extreme remark to reassure his Jewish voters. That is complete and utter bollocks.

    Jewish Voters are mainly democratic anyway. According to polls they will support Obama.

    Aipac is an annomily within the Jewish Community in that it is more right wing than the community or Israel itself.

    Does anyone seriously believe that Obama talking to Iran or Hamas will affect the voting of Jews? It won’t because they aren’t idiots as they know on what grounds he is willing to speak.

    Also regarding Jerusalem – Obama didn’t need to make the remark. Jews know that concessions will be made here and have known this since the 7 day war. In fact within the Military at the time there was a strong body of opinion that Jerusalem should be given back straight away precisely because it would cause these problems.

    I mean for crying out loud, Israel knows this which is why no investment has been made in East Jerusalem. Israekl knows it will cede large parts of the Werst Bank. Israel knows there will be a land swap for settlements.

    It doesn’t need Barak to say Jerusalem in Israel’s undivided capital because most Jews realise it will be ceded.

    If Barak had to make that remark then it was for Aipac and their Christian Evangelicals supporters and not for Jews or the Jewish Community which is overwhelmingly Democrat anyway. Thus by making the remark he isn’t any different to McCain, Hilary and Bush himself.

    Thus the remark was unnecessary unless he wanted to show there is no major change in foreign policy.

    I would also highlight that in fact Bush was endorsed by Mulim groups and organisations including those affiliated to Hamas. So how come he didn’t need to make such a remark? Bush was the first candidate to seek Muslim support – though it didn’t do them much good.

    Will Obama equally feel the need to make further remarks on other areas where he is perceived to be liberal to show his right wing credentials? Hell no – Obama chose to make the remark and it was stupid and unnecessary.

    Even Fox News is saying that Obama has some work to do winning on Jewish Voters but the areas they highlighted where he needed lots of work to win over voters didn’t include Jews so why the need for the remark>

    For example Obama has to work very hard to win over working class white voters who are feeling oil prices so to get over his Muslim Endorsement will he go to them and promise to invade Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezvuela etc. to bring oil under US control? No he won’t so why claim he has to win Jewish voters by making extreme statements? It is nonsense. He didn’t have to do it he wanted to do it and it was stupid and negligent.

  84. Anas — on 9th June, 2008 at 12:16 pm  

    Firstly, Douglas, you’ve made a lot of accusations and statements about my views on I/P none of which you’ve substantiated by quoting me or by paraphrasing my exact argument. For example,

    In the sense that you see purity in your arguement. That you reject alliances with folk that see things much, but not exactly, as you do.To be honest, I think the I/P thing is the most polarising debate that there ever was. Compromise is not an option in that debate, and where I’d agree with Avi Cohen – the likes of Harry’s Place revel in it. Finger pointing, blame culture bullshit.

    Look in the mirror mate. You are the other side of that debate.

    Uncompromising, unable to see beyond your own position.

    Hamas, Anas’s favourite party

    None of us are Michelle Malkin, who contrary to what you seem to believe, has more in common with you in wanting the culture wars to drive a wedge between folk, than she has with the rest of us.

    Now unless you can properly back those statements up that’s just bad form — at least if you want to conduct an argument with me not just insult me. Indeed, I’m starting to think that you don’t actually read what I write, that you only respond to the fact that I’ve responded to you or that I’ve mentioned I/P, and a few other terms, in a post and then feel free in responding to use whatever pejorative terms you care to choose in characterising what you think is my argument, ignoring any questions directed at you.

    Okay, I’ll try again. Let me formulate certain salient aspects of my point of view as clearly and concisely as I can:

    1) the Palestinians have a legal, moral right to violent or non-violent resistance against the illegal, under international law, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

    2) I am completely against any actions by either side that target civilians — or that will predictably affect civilians causing loss of life and injury. This is on moral, and not tactical grounds. I’m against it full stop and always have been, regardless of who does it.

    3) given that (2) is adhered to I am fairly open to which tactics the Palestinians should use to end the occupation and to improve their current situation.

    And you haven’t convinced me that your idea of a programme of nonviolent resistance would work, over and above your repeated insistence that it would give the movement of boost in PR stop, neither have you answered the points I’ve raised regarding the practicalities of conducting such a strategy in the face of what would be a bloody retaliation — are you claiming the Israelis would have a sudden change of heart, or that the Western media would suddenly make a complete about turn and start reporting is really atrocities against unarmed civilians as such?

    I would also like to ask you a question I asked in another thread, regarding my partisanship, my side-ism, but which you predictably didn’t answer either, and please respond to this:

    Would you attack someone who had taken a similarly ‘weighted’ attitude against aparthied in South Africa, the civil rights movement in the US, or to go back even futher back against colonial rule in India; or to take more modern examples who argued for the Tibetan cause in China, or for the Darfurians? In other words do you think that given such an asymmetrical situation where one side has all the power, and most of the responsibility, and where our complicity as citizens of UK is also heavily weighed towards one side, our sympathies should still be as if both sides were equal?

    Do you really think you’re being neutral when you defend Obama’s stance, or are you not just taking the side of those in power against those who have no power? Hamas have placed Obama in a difficult position with their tactics (which include incidentally calls for a long-term ceasefire) but Israel having with their forced starvation of 1.5 million people or they are murdering and imprisoning of civilians, or their other war crimes? Just because you presume you hold a position of neutrality, doesn’t mean your words don’t betray something else.

    And oh yes I have looked at solutions in the thread named (here’s a clue) ‘Israel and Palestine- any (good) ideas?’, personally I think were the most important things we can do in the West is to do what we can to highlight the complicity of our governments with the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, and this may mean peaceful demonstrations, Boycott and divestments campaigns, challenging media bias.

  85. Refresh — on 9th June, 2008 at 12:40 pm  

    Very well put Avi(#83), for the umpteenth time.

  86. Sid — on 9th June, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

    If Barak had to make that remark then it was for Aipac and their Christian Evangelicals supporters and not for Jews or the Jewish Community which is overwhelmingly Democrat anyway. Thus by making the remark he isn’t any different to McCain, Hilary and Bush himself.

    With one fundamental diff. McBush and Clinton didn’t ever say that the US should bring Hamas to the negotiating table. Obama did. This is where your analysis falls down. That and your idealistic belief that politics is about idealism. It’s not, it’s about political expediency. And to admit that is not being cynical, just realistic.

  87. Refresh — on 9th June, 2008 at 1:41 pm  

    Gary Younge in the Guardian today:

    ‘The earliest signs have not been promising. The day after he clinched the nomination, he went with Hillary Clinton and McCain to genuflect before the pro-Israeli lobby to declare himself a “true friend of Israel”. But good friends sometimes tell each other things they need to hear, even if they don’t want to. America’s uncritical support for these past eight years has been deeply unhealthy and has been neither in the interests of America or the Middle East. Correcting it is central to the US improving its dire standing in the Arab world and gaining international credibility in general – two things his supporters crave. Instead he pandered, stating that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”, and promising not to withdraw from Iraq until the conditions on the ground were right.’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/09/barackobama.uselections2008

  88. soru — on 9th June, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

    ‘That and your idealistic belief that politics is about idealism. It’s not, it’s about political expediency’

    But _successful_ political expediency is when you say things and they get believed, are seen as credible, because they fit together with all the other messages you are putting out.

    You can’t just randomly say stuff.

    People who believe, or half-believe, that Obama is an al Qaeda sleeper agent will assume he is lying about Jerusalem, too. He could promise to send troops to conquer all the lands of Biblical Israel, and change his name to David, and that wouldn’t raise his approval ratings by one point amongst the kind of people we are talking about.

    He’s smart and eloquent enough that I am sure he could give a better speech, one that was more credible in declaring himself a friend of Israel, without contradicting the story he is trying to tell about who he is and what he stands for.

  89. Avi Cohen — on 9th June, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    Sid – “With one fundamental diff. McBush and Clinton didn’t ever say that the US should bring Hamas to the negotiating table. Obama did. This is where your analysis falls down. That and your idealistic belief that politics is about idealism. It’s not, it’s about political expediency. And to admit that is not being cynical, just realistic.”

    Sid – apologies for the delay in replying as am busy at work.

    But suffice to say that Obama hasn’t said he would meet with Hamas and this reported by Fox News of all organisations:

    http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/18/mccain-camp-uses-obamas-hamas-compliment-as-fundraising-fuel/

    Obama, while not condemning Carter, has criticized the ex-president’s decision to meet with Hamas. On Wednesday night he told a group of Jewish leaders that “Hamas is not a state; Hamas is a terrorist organization.”

    “We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction,” Obama said. “We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.”

    In addition Sid you may be interested to read this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/09/mccain-obama-battle-over_n_106018.html

    “In a brief but animated Senate floor confrontation last week, according to a campaign aide who asked for anonymity when talking about private discussions, Obama told Lieberman he was surprised by Lieberman’s personal attacks and his half-hearted denials of the false rumors that Obama is a Muslim. (The aide says Lieberman was “strangely muted” during the exchange; a Lieberman spokesman says the chat was “private and friendly.”)”

    So he hasn’t said any such thing and sacked an aide who was talking to Hamas.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3897414.ece

    Obama sold the Palestinians out and sadly mate you can’t prove that he will change stance and instead you are hoping he may.

    In addition looking at the mounting evidence he is turning rightwards since his nomination.

    Sid – please tell me do you honestly believe that Obama will bring change in US conduct regarding I/P or do you hope he will?

    In addition for all of you this poll may be interesting:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=951120

    “The panel does not think Obama is hiding more pro-Palestinian tendencies for political reasons, but rather takes him at his word. They also do not believe that he is “the only candidate” who can bring peace to Israel and Palestine (this is tricky: some think he is not the only one with a chance, whereas some believe none of the candidates has a chance). ”

    There are Israelis who believe no candidate can bring peace.

    In addition Condi Rice is believed to be lobbying McCain for Vice President. Now Sid it is interesting that even she doesn’t go as far as Obama.

    In fact Obama is now turning further to the right than Rice and that my friend is saying something. Rice having said that Jerusalem needs to be part of the negotiating process whereas Obama just gave it away as a free gift.

    This analysis isn’t bad:

    http://bbsnews.net/article.php/2008060501050981

    I mean Sid even the State Dept under Bush which is quite rightward thinking went so far as to say:

    “State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also distanced the U.S. government from Obama’s remarks, saying any final decisions on the toughest issues in the peace talks were for Israel and the Palestinians to make on their own.

    “It is for the parties to resolve these issues. And we are going to continue to do what we believe is right in terms of… helping to bring about peace, without respect to presidential politics,” McCormack said. ”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/990490.html

    Even McCain didn’t go as far as Obama:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/990903.html

    “Jerusalem is undivided, Jerusalem is the capital and we should move the embassy to Jerusalem before anything happens,” McCain said while campaigning in Miami.

    McCain stressed, however, that the “subject of Jerusalem itself will be addressed in negotiations by the Israeli government and people.”

    I mean come on Obama is about as nutty as those Republicans, Israel must be a Jewish State so what about the rights of Israeli Arabs – even Sharon recognised that more needed to be done for them. But Obama didn’t give a damn. Jerusalem – its Israel’s and even Rice said it had to be on the table.

    I mean Obama isn’t change as he is more rigth wing that the current lot.

    So where the hell is the change?

  90. Avi Cohen — on 9th June, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

    Arrrrghhhhhhhhh – Sid I just wrote a detailed reply to you and its been eaten by the new system!!!!!!!

    I can’t type it again but Obama hasn’t said he would talk to Hamas unconditionally.

    In addition Obama’s statement on Jerusalem is more right wing than McCain’s or Condi Rice’s and that my friend is saying something.

    Obama’s position is contrary to International Law, so we have a hope for change actually speaking in violation of international law.

    Politics isn’t about idealism agreed but it is also about honesty, integrity and giving people rights. Obama failed the people on all of those and you can’t bring yourself to accept that. Obama failed to be an honest broker for both sets of people, Obama failed to give the people on both sides rights, instead promising them for a select few.

    You just have to accept that Obama did no good in what he said and it was a poor speech. I mean Obama could have said that in his heart he wanted Israel to have an undivided Jerusalem but that was to be negotiated and he would support the parties. But nope he went and gifted Jerusalem to Israel.

    Sid – come on as a Muslim I am suprised you find it so easy to accept what he did. I mean I can’t as a Jew accept that any man running for office is so unprincipled that for his own progress he would sell out the dreams of millions of people in one speech. I want this to be negotiated and I can’t trust anyone who gives away the rights of one party or the other simply for their own position. In is simple spineless.

  91. Avi Cohen — on 9th June, 2008 at 6:57 pm  

    Sunny – As you’ve gone rather quiet after so heartedly endorsing the speech, may I ask you if Obama went on TV and said that Pakistan as a valuable ally of the USA who was engaged in the war on terror had a right to an undivided Kashmir would you as an Indian find it acceptable for a US Presidential Candidate to make such a statement.

    Sid – If Obama went to a Policy Forum and said that Pakistan as a US ally had a right to an undivided Pakistan as set out in the partition plan on 1947 and that Bangladesh should be part of Pakistan would you as a Bangladeshi find it acceptable for a US President to make such decisions for you?

    So why do you two find it acceptable for Obama to tell the Palestinians that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel? Is it for him to decide?

    You both know that what he said was wrong, spineless and a denial of the rights and aspirations of one set of people over another simply to appease a small part of one community.

    It would be acceptable to you regarding your own countries but you are saying it is acceptable if he says it about the Palestinians so why would he stop there? Whats to stop him making statements that affect other people?

    What if Obama decided unilaterally that Tibet should be part of an undivided China as China was an important trading partner for the USA and holds much of its debt – is that acceptable?

    So why is it so easy for you to accept Obama giving away the rights of the Palestinians when you wouldn’t accept it in your own cases.

  92. Anas — on 9th June, 2008 at 8:58 pm  

    I’ve been testing out my dictation program so there are some really weird typos in that last post. Here they are corrected:

    Firstly, Douglas, you’ve made a lot of accusations and statements about my views on I/P none of which you’ve substantiated by quoting me or by paraphrasing my exact argument. For example,

    In the sense that you see purity in your arguement. That you reject alliances with folk that see things much, but not exactly, as you do.To be honest, I think the I/P thing is the most polarising debate that there ever was. Compromise is not an option in that debate, and where I’d agree with Avi Cohen – the likes of Harry’s Place revel in it. Finger pointing, blame culture bullshit.

    Look in the mirror mate. You are the other side of that debate.

    Uncompromising, unable to see beyond your own position.
    …
    Hamas, Anas’s favourite party
    …
    None of us are Michelle Malkin, who contrary to what you seem to believe, has more in common with you in wanting the culture wars to drive a wedge between folk, than she has with the rest of us.

    Now unless you can properly back those statements up that’s just bad form — at least if you want to conduct an argument with me not just insult me. Indeed, I’m starting to think that you don’t actually read what I write, that you only respond to the fact that I’ve responded to you or that I’ve mentioned I/P, and a few other terms, in a post and then feel free in responding to use whatever pejorative terms you care to choose in characterising what you think is my argument, ignoring any questions directed at you.

    Okay, I’ll try again. Let me formulate certain salient aspects of my point of view as clearly and concisely as I can:

    1) the Palestinians have a legal, moral right to violent or non-violent resistance against the illegal, under international law, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

    2) I am completely against any actions by either side that target civilians — or that will predictably affect civilians causing loss of life and injury. This is on moral, and not tactical grounds. I’m against it full stop and always have been, regardless of who does it.

    3) given that (2) is adhered to I am fairly open to which tactics the Palestinians should use to end the occupation and to improve their current situation.

    And you haven’t convinced me that your idea of a programme of nonviolent resistance would work, over and above your repeated insistence that it would give the movement of boost in PR. Neither have you answered the points I’ve raised regarding the practicalities of conducting such a strategy in the face of what would be a bloody retaliation — are you claiming the Israelis would have a sudden change of heart, or that the Western media would suddenly make a complete about turn and start reporting Israeli atrocities against unarmed civilians as such?

    I would also like to ask you a question I asked in another thread, regarding my partisanship, my side-ism, but which you predictably didn’t answer either, and please respond to this:

    Would you attack someone who had taken a similarly ‘weighted’ attitude against aparthied in South Africa, the civil rights movement in the US, or to go back even futher back against colonial rule in India; or to take more modern examples who argued for the Tibetan cause in China, or for the Darfurians? In other words do you think that given such an asymmetrical situation where one side has all the power, and most of the responsibility, and where our complicity as citizens of UK is also heavily weighed towards one side, our sympathies should still be as if both sides were equal?

    Do you really think you’re being neutral when you defend Obama’s stance, or are you not just taking the side of those in power against those who have no power? Hamas have placed Obama in a difficult position with their tactics (which include incidentally calls for a long-term ceasefire) but Israel haven’t with their forced starvation of 1.5 million people or they are murdering and imprisoning of civilians, or their other war crimes? Just because you presume you hold a position of neutrality, doesn’t mean your words don’t betray something else.

    And oh yes I have looked at solutions in the thread named (here’s a clue) ‘Israel and Palestine- any (good) ideas?’, personally I think were the most important things we can do in the West is to do what we can to highlight the complicity of our governments with the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, and this may mean peaceful demonstrations, Boycott and divestments campaigns, challenging media bias.

  93. Katy Newton — on 9th June, 2008 at 10:15 pm  

    Anas – cheers for 34, which I didn’t see until now, presumably because it got caught in the spam filter :-D

  94. digitalcntrl — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:05 am  

    @89

    “So he hasn’t said any such thing and sacked an aide who was talking to Hamas.”

    Quite honestly whether Obama said he would talk to Hamas is beside the point. Their mere endorsement of his foreign policy was poison to his campaign. He had to same something radical to distance himself away from such an endorsement.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_S7eiy_GI4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4VTfxKQEXg&feature=related

    “Obama sold the Palestinians out and sadly mate you can’t prove that he will change stance and instead you are hoping he may.”

    He already has changed his stance…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/07/us/politics/07obama.html?em&ex=1212984000&en=aeb3dc412d5e97df&ei=5087

  95. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:41 am  

    I intend this to be my last post ever on I/P, for despite what I think are good intentions, I always seem to be intruding on a private debate, where the rules are already laid down and sides already drawn.

    OK Anas, I certainly didn’t intend to piss you off. So I apologise for being overaggressive. I actually enjoy your comments, but I did feel, probably still do, that there is no solution to this problem that is going to come about by advocating one side over the other.

    That, it seems to me at least, is where we’ve been since 1967. So I was pushing my own agenda rather harder than I ought to have. Of course I accept the assymetrical nature of the conflict, but that of itself doesn’t posit a solution to the problem.

    Northern Ireland was just as assymetrical and yet the IRA with probably less than a thousand active members managed to tie the UK down for decades. My point, for what it is worth, is that most conflicts eventually end not with a bang but with a whimper. Even Vietnam, another assymetrical conflict ended at the negotiating table.

    I hope you know I agree with you about the Gaza blockade, and with this man too:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7425082.stm

    To answer your main point, where do I stand on all the wrongs that there ever were? Probably, right beside you. But that doesn’t mean that I think that this:

    1) the Palestinians have a legal, moral right to violent or non-violent resistance against the illegal, under international law, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

    is a practical strategy, especially the violent part. It hasn’t worked since 1948, for Gods sake. I’d have thought, and I still think that the means to resolve these issues are not through relatively low level terrorism, pursued over decades. Something else ought to tried. Hence, Peace Marches, etc. The American Civil Rights Movement is the sort of model I’m talking about.

    Finally, you might want to consider that Barak Obama still has to beat John McCain before he can become President. I do not think that Obama is quite as good as he thinks he is, his staffers leaking to the Canadians that his comments about NAFTA should be taken with a pinch of salt was pretty naive, to say the least. But he is in a position where he cannot allow himself to be outflanked on Foreign Policy, especially in the ME.

    Although, that said his AIPAC speech has since been, err, clarified:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1212659672984&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Obama has a big prize within his grasp. And the American public, to whom he is appealing is now more exercised over the economy – gas and food prices, etc -than it is about lands beyond it’s shores. But he can’t be seen as weak on that issue either. For your amusement, I’ve looked around a few Jewish US websites and, some, not all by any means, of the commentators still think Obama is a closet Muslim.

    That’s it. No more comment from me on the joys and sorrows of I/P.

  96. Refresh — on 10th June, 2008 at 1:15 am  

    Douglas,

    ‘I intend this to be my last post ever on I/P, for despite what I think are good intentions, I always seem to be intruding on a private debate, where the rules are already laid down and sides already drawn.’

    Don’t blame you. Good link to the JP, of which more later. But did you get to look at some of the posts on that page? Hilarious. Khazars are getting a bad name it seems, and ironically being disowned at the same time. The whole thing has become a joke.

    The clarification Obama gives is particularly interesting in its balance – a shared and undivided Jerusalem. Work of Solomon it would seem.

    Sid I gave you a chance to pull yourself out of a hole in my post #30, but you could not take it.

    And watch how the politics plays out vis-a-vis AIPAC. Having lobbied for war on Iraq, and building up for one on Iran, I believe they have over-reached themselves by having Obama join the queue to pay homage.

    Well that’s my 5th form analysis.

  97. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 2:13 am  

    Refresh,

    Just so’s you know.

    When I said I wouldn’t engage in I/P debate, I meant it. It does not mean that you, or anyone else, can twist my opinions.

    You might see them as irrelevant, or daft even. My opinions are, not however, available for anyone to troll.

  98. Refresh — on 10th June, 2008 at 9:19 am  

    ‘You might see them as irrelevant, or daft even. My opinions are, not however, available for anyone to troll.’

    Not me Douglas.

    Lets clear this misunderstanding – what are you thinking?

  99. Refresh — on 10th June, 2008 at 9:24 am  

    Douglas, I also missed this bit -
    ‘can twist my opinions.’

    Didn’t think I had. But tell me what you think.

  100. Anas — on 10th June, 2008 at 10:45 am  

    *Sigh*.Douglas, there are no “rules are already laid down and sides already drawn”. We could have had an interesting exhange on IP & probably would’ve both come out of it with a little more understanding. Despite what you think I am certainly open to learning about potential solutions for the conflict, especially from as bright & perceptive commenter as yourself. It was your overaggressive tone, and your numerous unsubstiated presumptions (dare i say prejudices?) about me that pissed me off (especially cause they seemed so out of character) — & in no way your actual views on IP. I would’ve had a problem had you acted like that on any other topic.

  101. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 10:47 am  

    Refresh,

    Look, I don’t want to appear a liar here. I have conceeded the arguement to those committed to it.

    However:

    You stuck this on the end of a reply to me:

    Having lobbied for war on Iraq, and building up for one on Iran, I believe they have over-reached themselves by having Obama join the queue to pay homage.

    You may see that as true. It is not, however, my opinion. Obama, it seems to me at least, stands for negotiation rather than violence as the first option.

    You said, in a response to something I posted:

    The clarification Obama gives is particularly interesting in its balance – a shared and undivided Jerusalem. Work of Solomon it would seem.

    If the Bible is to be believed, we certainly need a Solomon to solve the Middle East.

    But we have had, what spin doctors now describe as a subsequent clarification. See here:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1212659672984&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    This is equally ridiculous but mainstream for US politics.

    Frankly no-one, including you and my good friend Anas are interested in solving the ME crisis. It has come down to picking a side and hoping they’ll win. I think.

    Which is just daft…..

  102. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 11:12 am  

    Anas @ 100,

    *sigh* right back at you.

    I will never again engage you on I/P. Frankly, the conflict drives me up the pole. I think the Middle East is infected with a mutual lunacy, a crying to the moon if you like, which precludes anyone else from talking about it. Allegedly, Jews hate Muslims and Muslims hate Jews.

    When I attempted to cut through that shit, you OTOH took a side. I am sure as not Nelson Mandella. I get as angry as get out when folk, you Anas, you, assume that a violent solution is perhaps the best option. When you know in your head, that it has never, ever worked? Which is why I blew my top here.

    Sorry, but I am past talking by folk. There has got to be a better solution than the one you propose. On this subject you see Rangers and Celtic writ large. It is not edifying.

  103. Anas — on 10th June, 2008 at 11:20 am  

    I get as angry as get out when folk, you Anas, you, assume that a violent solution is perhaps the best option. When you know in your head, that it has never, ever worked?

    yes, I believe in pragmatism: like I say whatever works, given civilians aren’t targeted. If nonviolence works in a certain situation, great use it. But would you have advocated nonviolence against Hitler? I think a rigid unyielding pacifism is often just blinkered stubbornness.

  104. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 11:32 am  

    Anas,

    Look, the daft wee rockets the Palestinians have are misguided, and thus do hit civillians. This is an attack policy that doesn’t even meet your criteria. When are you going to condemn that?

    Aarghh..

    You say:

    But would you have advocated nonviolence against Hitler? I think a rigid unyielding pacifism is often just blinkered stubbornness.

    No. Obviously, not. Personally I’d have had him assassinated, about 1933, or thereabouts. Which might also have been the solution to Saddam Hussein. I’m a liberal, but not that fucking daft. Wonder what would have happened next?

    Did I mention that I’m an anarchist at heart?

  105. Anas — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:10 pm  

    Look, the daft wee rockets the Palestinians have are misguided, and thus do hit civillians. This is an attack policy that doesn’t even meet your criteria. When are you going to condemn that?

    Yes, of course I condemn it.

  106. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:20 pm  

    Anas,

    If you condemn it, and I believe that you do, then you are not a long way away from me in seeing this sort of naturalistic violence as no solution to anything, much. Which has been the point of my arguement. It is up to us, or more realistically better people than us, to herd this lunacy to a better conclusion.

    And, thanks again for engaging me in an area I am not wanted. I mean it. I do not want to comment on I/P threads anymore. ’cause they are ridiculous

  107. Refresh — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:23 pm  

    Damn it Douglas, and I thought my response was very optimistic. I can see that it could be misconstrued as perhaps sarcastic.

    You may want to consider my Solomon comment in light of your own link to JPost. And I am telling you, with that clarification Obama has recreated an historic opportunity.

    My AIPAC comment wasn’t addressed to you to be fair. Although its entirely justified. I do think it will be their turning point.

    They did lobby for the Iraq war, and would like to have achieved the same for Iran.

    This comment

    ‘Frankly no-one, including you and my good friend Anas are interested in solving the ME crisis. It has come down to picking a side and hoping they’ll win. I think.’

    we do disagree on. I do want a solution. We even worked it out right here many months ago. My stance hasn’t changed.

    The decks need to be cleared for Obama to get close to achieving anything close to a sustainable solution. You may argue that Hamas tactics are to blame, and I would put AIPAC firmly in the headlight. Violence can be physical, it can be wished and in AIPAC’s case it is often willed.

    Obama bowing to AIPAC is a political opening, just as much as it was a humiliation of US democracy. I would be interested to hear otherwise if it was not.

  108. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 12:53 pm  

    Refresh,

    Dammit Refresh too. I like to think Anas and I are chums here. Folk that largely, generally. see the world the same way. However, I would not move an inch towards his violent rheoric, and, frankly on the I/P issue he rules the roost around here.

    Which is fine. As long as I don’t point out t’other side of the deal. That that Israelis are just as obstinant as Palestinians.

    Therein lies the problem.

  109. South Yorkshire — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

    When thinking of Obama’s speech, I am reminded of Tony Blair’s address to the people of Northern Ireland shortly after Labour’s 1997 general election victory. Like Obama, Blair had just won a campaign that brought such optimism and hope for many people. But unlike Obama, Blair didn’t immediately sell his soul to consolidate his position. (He did that later!)

    In his speech, Blair spoke of the need for a lasting peaceful settlement – something he would eventually help bring about – and important, no constitutional change for Northern Ireland without the consent of the majority of its people. This was important because it placed the emphasis of any future on democracy. Sure, unionists would have much preferred him to say ‘there will always be an Ulster’ and that Northern Ireland’s existence was sacrosanct – like Obama suggested about Israel – and republicans would have liked to have seen Blair place more emphasis (aimed at unionists) on the need to compromise and forget old tribal rivalries. But he played it straight down the middle. For a British Prime Minister to talk of wanting to maintain the union is not controversial nor unexpected, even to Irish republicans, so he was hardly being partisan. But he stressed the absolute need for both sides to work for a peaceful future through democratic means. I thought it was a very good speech.

    Obama also tried to suggest there was a need for a lasting peace between the warring factions in the middle east, but to me he had already undermined this by his unwavering support for and absolute determination – through whatever means – of securing Israel’s future earlier in his speech.

    Would Obama have been this passionate and dedicated in a speech to pro-Palestinian groups? Or would he have placed more emphasis on the need for them to tackle militants and recognise Israel’s existence and the need to compromise – basically blaming them for the current situation?

    He certainly didn’t blame Israel for anything; as if everything they are doing is moral and legitimate.

    Yes, I think Obama has done himself a lot of damage with this speech. Not necessarily his chances of winning the Presidency, after all, most Obama supporters aren’t going to vote for McCain, a Zionist, out of protest are they? But internationally he has lost credibility with the Palestinians and perhaps Arab governments. And maybe even with Iran, who would have regarded Obama as someone with whom they could do business – someone they didn’t distrust. And after all, like most American Presidents, it won’t be on the domestic front for which his tenure will be judged, it will be his foreign policy.

    One last point. You know, I love a good conspiracy theory. They are bloody entertaining if nothing else. I don’t necessarily believe in them although I would never dismiss them simply as the work of cranks – people once theorised about Iran-Contra and that Iraqi WMDs probably never existed! But here’s one for you…..

    Barack Obama wins the Presidency. Unnerved, since John McCain was a huge part of their plans, Zionist and oil-oriented policy makers in Washington, already in an advanced stage of preparing to attack Iran, make contingency plans in the event that Obama refuses to go ahead with the attack on Iran.

    As the Zionists and oil men suspected, Obama opts for diplomacy and offers to relieve sanctions in return for Tehran’s absolute transparency over its nuclear programme and a guarantee, under UN observation, that it will never develop nuclear weapons.

    Alarmed at this, Zionists (constantly paranoid about Israel’s Islamic neighbours) and the oil men (desperate for control of Iranian oil, guaranteeing a constant US supply and reducing China’s share) execute their plan: The assassination of Barack Obama.

    Nothing elaborate. No book depository or grassy knoll needed. Just a lone crank with few friends and no immediate family. And how do they avoid any suggestion of a conspiracy? Simple. You release photos of the suspect (perhaps now shot dead by bodyguards) wearing a swastika t-shirt, whose home is a shrine to Hitler, the Third Reich and the white supremacist group with whom he was allegedly involved and who hatched a plot to kill America’s first black President, fearing he would become as iconic as King and inspire and new confidence and militancy in black America. (Plus, they can use it as an excuse to clamp down on the gun lobby and militia groups at the same time).

    Yep. I love a good conspiracy.

  110. Avi Cohen — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

    digitalcntrl – he didn’t change tune and his Spokesperson said as much. He is dressing up the mess he made and is in fact an utter wally for saying what he did because he shot himself in the foot.

    You can take him at his weasel words but the world isn’t.

    Would Obama find it acceptable for Olmert or Abbas to cede Texas and California to Mexico? No he wouldn’t so why the hell do you try and defend him doing it to the Palestinians.

    What you won’t accept is that he could have distanced himself from Hamas without needing to make such a gift.

    Hell even Bush wasn’t so stupid when he was endorsed by undesirables. But Obama was plain STUPID and people can’t bring themselves to admit it.

    The Man was a stupid fool who made a dumbass speech that any infant in the Middle East could tell you was dumb. It really is that simple he was STUPID STUPID STUPID.

  111. Katy Newton — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    Allegedly, Jews hate Muslims and Muslims hate Jews.

    No no, honestly not, and I don’t think Anas thinks so either. He was the first person to unreservedly condemn the antisemitic aspect of some of the comments on this thread. Anas and I often disagree on I/P and I freely admit that he drove me nuts when he first started commenting, but he has always been very careful to draw a line between the political side of it and the religious/racial (for want of a better word) side of it, which is not something that I have always given him credit for.

  112. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

    Avi,

    Your words would be more suited, I think, to a Republican, USA, site than here. Obamas’ folk did indeed change the meaning of his words. This is just a ridiculous and extremist analogy:

    Would Obama find it acceptable for Olmert or Abbas to cede Texas and California to Mexico? No he wouldn’t so why the hell do you try and defend him doing it to the Palestinians.

    As you say:

    The Man was a stupid fool who made a dumbass speech that any infant in the Middle East could tell you was dumb. It really is that simple he was STUPID STUPID STUPID.

    True. But he got himself sorted later. It does your case no benefit to deny the fact that he subsequently said, through an interpreter right enough, that jerusalem would remain divided and united. Apparently he was only concerned about border posts and barbed wire!

    It is, I’d have thought, the nature of US politics, for any candidate to pull whetever strings they can. See it in that light, please?

  113. Avi Cohen — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    Please can I make one thing clear – people keep going on about Zionists and granted some are nutters. But you’ll find that after 60 years many Zionists are questioning the approach being taken towards peace with the Palestinians.

    Many people involved in the Zionist Project are mellowing and realise the need to come to peace with the Palestinians and wider Arab world.

    Many Jewish people here are Zionist but most will speak for peace and consiliation.

    The fact is that Jews know in their hearts that most of the West Bank, Golan, East Jerusalem, Temple Mount will be given back. They know that.

    So it doesn’t need Obama to put on his Santa Claus hat and derail what is becoming clear even to hardened Zionists. This just makes Obama a stupid ignorant ill educated wally in gifting something that he can’t ever deliver.

    Waht Israelis and Palestinians need is people to help them towards peace. Many of Israel’s negotiators have said that they don’t need america to act as their lawyer. So Obama making neoconservative rhetoric isn’t a hope for change it is more of a hope he’ll get lost and stop being a stupid imbercile when discussing complex foreign policy.

    It is also drawing on the Arabs that an accomodation is needed here.

    Neither side can win and both are losing. Obama can either prolong this loss by making stupid speeches or he can behave like a grown up leader and bring both sides to perace. I know most of the world wants a US President who is a leader.

  114. Avi Cohen — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:41 pm  

    Douglas- With respect Obama has denied making a reversal so either we take him at his word or infer he doesn’t mean it.

    He said in the link provided he hasn’t changed position.

  115. douglas clark — on 10th June, 2008 at 3:51 pm  

    Katy Newton,

    Point. If you or anyone else thought that I thought Anas was anti semitic then I have not explained myself properly. Anas is undoubtedly not anti semitic. I consider Anas a mate. Whether he agrees with that is up to him.

    Although we’d have to resolve his issues with t’other side before we could come to a complete understanding.

    Anas, sorry about talking about you in the third person.

  116. Avi Cohen — on 10th June, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

    Douglas – “Your words would be more suited, I think, to a Republican, USA, site than here. Obamas’ folk did indeed change the meaning of his words. This is just a ridiculous and extremist analogy:

    Would Obama find it acceptable for Olmert or Abbas to cede Texas and California to Mexico? No he wouldn’t so why the hell do you try and defend him doing it to the Palestinians.”

    Wow! Douglas with the utmost respect this is indeed a strange statement.

    So let me get this straight people find it acceptable for Obama to cede all of Jerusalem to Israel and indeed praise his speech here. Indeed you didn’t feel that was worthy of a Republican site or even an extremist statement.

    Yet I ask if Olmert or Abbas ceded Texas or California to Mexico – which is no different to what Obama did you say I am making an extremist statement! Wow!

    Of all the people you being an ardent fan of people deciding this I am suprised you are allowing Obama dictatorship powers.

  117. Refresh — on 10th June, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    Douglas, Katy

    Consider the comment in question:

    ‘Allegedly, Jews hate Muslims and Muslims hate Jews.’

    And immediately we think anti-semitism. Does anyone want to comment on how some jews view muslims? Its not anything I’ve seen addressed before.

  118. Avi Cohen — on 11th June, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    I recommend that people read this excellent piece:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/10/opinion/edgreenway.php

    Quite frankly is shows the gross stupidity of what Obama did and how Americans are funding the imposition of settlements to stop peace and compromise. The US Government has also been involved in funding settlements.

    Frankly this should be enough to stop people saying Obama’s speech was good.

    The policy which is being pushed by America is stop a peace between Israeli’s and Palestinians. This is funded by a small number of rich Jews and a large number of evangelicals. Obama is now part of this policy in light of his speech and he is appealing to these people at the expense of a growing opinion within Israel that concession is the only way to go.

    Also worrying is that there are indications these people are prepared to overthrow elected Govts inb the region to achieve their aims.

    Thus for those who supported Obama this is a worrying sign.

    Refresh – I think Douglas and Katy have on a number of occassions said that Jews and Muslims live, mingle, work and shop together. They don’t hate each other. But the lack of progress on the issue of I/P is causing community issues.

  119. Avi Cohen — on 11th June, 2008 at 7:16 pm  

    And another on CiF by a Jewish Writer:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/11/israelandthepalestinians.middleeast?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews

    This is what Obama is happy to support a continuation of. There should be a sense of shame for those that continue to believe Obama is hope for change.

  120. Avi Cohen — on 11th June, 2008 at 7:22 pm  

    And a 3rd article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/10/israelandthepalestinians.middleeast

    It is a similar inaction and lack of will now by America which is leading to so much torment.

  121. Refresh — on 11th June, 2008 at 7:52 pm  

    ‘Refresh – I think Douglas and Katy have on a number of occassions said that Jews and Muslims live, mingle, work and shop together. They don’t hate each other. But the lack of progress on the issue of I/P is causing community issues.’

    I agree, and have known them long enough to know that. That sadly cannot be said of everyone. I was challenging the mindset which jumps to only seeing or addressing one side of the coin.

  122. SalmanRush — on 12th June, 2008 at 8:41 pm  

    There is a very good interview with Obama about the economy on the New York Times website on the front page. http://www.NYTimes.com

  123. Avi Cohen — on 13th June, 2008 at 12:51 pm  

    Sid – You may be interested to learn that much like Blair who started turning right after being elected leader of Labour and then got Murdoch’s approval.

    Obama is now spoken of approvingly by Murdoch.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/2118953/Fox-News-presenter-taken-off-air-after-Barack-Obama-'terrorist-fist-jab'-remark.html

    Murdoch wouldn’t do that if Obama didn’t meet large parts of his right wing agenda. He hasn’t gone as far as Mel would like but hell getting approval from Murdoch shows the ground Obama has shifted.

  124. digitalcntrl — on 14th June, 2008 at 5:15 am  

    “Obama is now spoken of approvingly by Murdoch.

    Murdoch wouldn’t do that if Obama didn’t meet large parts of his right wing agenda. He hasn’t gone as far as Mel would like but hell getting approval from Murdoch shows the ground Obama has shifted.”

    Murdoch reasons for backing Obama hardly seem right-wing…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-rosen/rupert-murdoch-says-obama_b_104018.html

  125. digitalcntrl — on 14th June, 2008 at 5:16 am  

    Any interesting wiki on the Israel Lobby in the US…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_Policy

  126. Avi Cohen — on 15th June, 2008 at 2:19 am  

    Murdoch is no fool and he knows America wants change. But he wouldn’t back Obama if Obama hadn’t gone some way rightwards.

    Would Murdoch as an ardent supporter of neoconservatives be willing to support Obama if Obama hadn’t made a right tilt on Israel? Nope so at least see what is going on.

  127. Avi Cohen — on 16th June, 2008 at 2:21 am  

    Here is a thoughtful article on this situation and how it is being made worse by America and now Europe.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/992688.html

    It comes fromthat excellent journalist Gideon Levy in Haaretz. Those fawning over Obama may do well to read this and it may help them understand why Obama was palin stupid for saying what he said and plain arrogant for not backing down.

    Levy says:
    “We already have a one-sided mediator of the type that gives Israel free rein to follow every whim of its occupation: America.”

    Obama is clearly just another one sided mediator who gives Israel free rein.

    Levy goes on to say;
    “Instead we are getting a West that no longer makes demands on Israel, comes to terms with the criminal occupation and is heavy-handed only when it comes to the Palestinians.”

    Obama is heavy handed towards the Palestinains and makes little if any demand on Israel.

    The situation is madness and Levy writes excellently on why a balance need to be brought to bare on the situation to get the parties out of this mess.

    Those who fawn over Obama’s speech should realise that they are simply backing a brutal occupation and making the situation worse for both parties.

    As I said and many Israeli Commentators have said Israel doesn’t need dishonest brokers like Bush, Blair, McCain and now Obama it needs honest people to tell it that it needs to change track. It needs leaders in the West not biased cheerleaders.

    Obama didn’t show any leadership in his speech he was simply a cheerleader to a brutal occupation. Obama is simply a Mugabe by proxy. He is no Carter or Clinton who at least got the sides talking.

    Obama failed the region and the people and you people need to understand that. Levy’s excellent piece should make you ashamed for minimising what is going on and backing Biased Obama.

  128. Anas — on 18th June, 2008 at 3:01 pm  

    Dammit, Avi, with you around there’s no need for me!

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