Being even-handed is soooo unfair!


by Sunny
23rd January, 2009 at 11:35 am    

On his first day, in addition to ordering the close of Guantanamo Bay, stopping all Bush’s last-minute orders, banning torture, demanding the closure of overseas CIA detention centres (read: “extraordinary rendition”) and setting out new ethics rules, Obama also appointed George Mitchell, who negotiated an end to Northern Ireland’s Troubles, as his Middle East envoy. If anyone isn’t happy with that start they need an ass-whoopin‘.

Oh but there is! No, I don’t mean far-leftie Lenin, who will shout Uncle Tom regardless, but pro-Israel organisations in US. Apparently Mitchell is too even-handed: “Sen. Mitchell is fair. He’s been meticulously even-handed. But the fact is, American policy in the Middle East hasn’t been ‘even handed’ — it has been supportive of Israel when it felt Israel needed critical U.S. support. So I’m concerned. I’m not sure the situation requires that kind of approach in the Middle East.

So the head of the (US) Anti-Defamation League not only admits foreign policy has been supportive of Israel, but thinks someone “even-handed” in a conflict is dangerous where the only way forward should be more support for Israel. This rather reminds me of those bloggers who scream “moral equivalence” when talking about Israel/Palestine. Apparently, they all want peace, but you can never, ever, ever be even-handed by treating Israel and Palestine equally! I mean… they’re…. Muslims! Even to treat them equally is favouritism! If you don’t believe how nutty these organisations are, see this.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has finally issued a proper statement on Gaza:

I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who’ve faced suffocating poverty for far too long.

Oh, he also said Israel should end the blockade. Chaaaaange is comin!
[Also see this beautiful portrait in the NYTimes about Obama's very diverse and multicultural family]


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Filed in: Current affairs,Middle East,Race politics,United States






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  1. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:42 am  

    Mitchell is a good choice, the Northern Ireland experience will serve him well.

  2. Katy Newton — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:12 pm  

    Words fail me re: Foxman. Ludicrous. He should shut it. But then I’m not a fan of the ADL generally. It does some very good work but this is exactly the kind of stupidity that I have no time for.

    I agree with what Obama actually said, which was somewhat more nuanced than your report of it (I appreciate you were summarising). What he said was that Hamas should stop firing rockets (the bit that other self-described “even handed” people seem not to find terribly important), that Israel should withdraw from Gaza and that as part of a lasting ceasefire the border should be open.

    I agreed absolutely with what he said. But of course I would agree with Obama, because what he said is what I’ve been saying for, oh, three weeks, during which time I’ve been accused of being a cheerleader for the IDF etc etc etc zzzz.

  3. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:28 pm  

    what katy just said.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  4. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

    I really don’t think we need to get bogged down in former real or perceived accusations. Isn’t it time to move forward?

  5. Katy Newton — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:42 pm  

    Also something that I have been saying about the I/P conflict!

    Listen – when someone who has accused me of being a warmonger for three weeks purely on the grounds of my perceived support for Israel then quotes with approval someone else who they happen to like more saying exactly what I said throughout that time, I reserve the right to comment on it.

  6. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:54 pm  

    I reserve the right to comment on it.

    I appreciate that, but try and work with me here, I’m just trying to pre-empt things spiralling back into the merry go-round we’ve seen umpteen times.

    Time to move on, also that’s background context not the foreground/direct topic at hand and I reserve the right to moderate as I see fit to stop thread derails.

  7. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

    That’s quite funny.
    Well, at least, he’s being brazenly honest.

  8. The Dude — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:09 pm  

    Not everything Barrack Obama has said concerning the conflict in the Holy Land is RIGHT! The last time HAMAS stopped the rockets, Israel reacted by blockading the border crossing with Egpyt in an effort of starving the Palestinians into submission. Now unless the USA finally stands up to Israel and their collective punishment of an entire community, they (the US) will NEVER be judged as neutral players, with or without the good offices of Sen Mitchell.

  9. Roger — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:36 pm  

    The late Sir Boyle Roche sounds like the ideal intermediary here. He once announced that he would be fair, without being “on the one hand, partial, or, on the other hand, impartial”.

  10. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2009 at 2:33 pm  

    C’mon Dude, let’s be fair.
    You are straying into blatant biased territory.
    Hamas is the effective govt of the Gaza strip — remember?

  11. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 4:39 pm  

    As long as Israel stop the bloackade and stop building illegal settlements, I’d be happy to see Hamas go down the tubes to non-existence!

  12. Sofia — on 23rd January, 2009 at 4:45 pm  

    and the wall on the westbank

  13. lenin — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:02 pm  

    What I actually said about the term ‘Uncle Tom’:

    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2008/12/sunny-hundal-is-not-uncle-tom-he-is.html

  14. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    ‘As long as Israel stop the bloackade and stop building illegal settlements, I’d be happy to see Hamas go down the tubes to non-existence!’

    Well Israel has to find a way of seeing the next four years out; then they will restart building. The next four years (and if Obama does his job right and does it early enough, it will extend to eight) are nothing on the timescale Israel operates.

    That 4 or 8 years of Israeli ‘peace-ridden’ non-activity will be enough to portray the Palestinians as not worthy of peace. Its all in the plan. This attack on Gaza is the final push which started with Sharon becoming premier after the comprehensive trashing of Oslo by Netanyahu. It will conclude over the next decade.

    After Obama we will see a return of the many-headed neo-cons. Lets hope countries in the region are preparing for that phase and not distracted by this one.

  15. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:21 pm  

    .

  16. SE — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:23 pm  

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/gazans-return-to-mourn-their-dead-and-salvage-their-lives-1451409.html

    Israels future generation of “brave” barbaric IDF soldiers (Pieces of bloodthirsty shit).

  17. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

    Yeah, whatever Lenin. I can already see hundreds of blacks across the US denouncing Obama for being a sellout.

    Oh you mean they aren’t? Well, that’s probably because they don’t understand the true nature of “the revolution” as well as a middle class white boy like you can.

  18. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:29 pm  

    oh yes, and the wall, sofia.

  19. Sid — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:44 pm  

    hey, what’s the middle class white boy equivalent of ‘uncle tom’?

  20. lenin — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:49 pm  

    Sunny, I’m not impressed by this kind of posturing. I have not accused Obama of being a “sell-out”. In fact, what I said in the post I linked to was that he is *not* a sell-out, because “he has not promised to be anything more than a centrist”, which is exactly what he is. Moreover, I welcome some of his reforms, and I am delighted to see the Republicans get a good thrashing, as I have stated elsewhere. This is the second time in a single day that you have misrepresented my stance in a vain attempt at derision. Your problem has been and remains your inability to grasp the legitimate criticisms that people like Nader and Pilger have made of Obama’s policies.

    One last thing. It does happen that I am ascriptively ‘white’. I wouldn’t quite describe myself as being middle class, but I don’t care if you wish to impute that position to me: it is not the worst thing in the world to be. But your attempt at mockery fails, because you spend much of your time pandering to the prejudices a collective of largely white middle class liberals.

  21. dave bones — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:55 pm  

    Yeah I am going to judge Obama by what he does, but I must admit day 2 didn’t go too badly.

  22. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 6:04 pm  

    Sunny, I’m not impressed by this kind of posturing.

    Oh you’re not impressed? I don’t think I was either by your post. So I guess we’re equal then.

    Your problem has been and remains your inability to grasp the legitimate criticisms that people like Nader and Pilger have made of Obama’s policies.

    Yes, it’s called lame race-baiting. And frankly you’re the only one anywhere defending it, but that probably gives you a warm glow inside.

    because you spend much of your time pandering to the prejudices a collective of largely white middle class liberals.

    Ahh…. yes, I was wondering when you were going to call me an Uncle Tom too. Well done, you’re doing a good job of digging yourself out of the ditch.

  23. comrade — on 23rd January, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

    Mitchell is a good choice, the Northern Ireland experience will serve him well.

    In Northern Ireland, negotiation were held directly between the the political wing of the IRA SF the Nationalist Party who were resisting British occupation. This was the main reasons the negotiation were succcessfull and are continuing. For the same success in I/P conflict Hamas has to be included, wheather we like it or not, otherwise they are doomed.

  24. comrade — on 23rd January, 2009 at 6:10 pm  

    Leon

  25. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2009 at 6:51 pm  

    Lets all get up to speed:

    ‘”Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009
    Noam Chomsky
    chomsky.info, January 19, 2009 ‘

    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20090119.htm

    So we can know and prepare for what lies ahead.

  26. lenin — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:00 pm  

    Sunny, darling:

    1) I didn’t ‘defend’ any ‘race-baiting’ at all. I actually criticised the use of the term ‘Uncle Tom’. Anyone who can click on a link can verify this.

    2) I didn’t call you an Uncle Tom. You offered a particularly lame insult, and it was thrown back in your face. I can’t help it if you choose to walk into propellers in that fashion.

    Anyway, I thank you for your hospitality and for drawing a few readers’ attention to my blog, and I wish you the best.

    Toodloo.

  27. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:12 pm  

    Yawn

  28. marvin — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:26 pm  

    My you talk some shit Seymour.

    You say it’s ‘problematic’ then you go on to defend Ralph Nader and Pilger’s use of Uncle Tom. You agree with everything they say, but think it’s ‘unfortunate’ because it reinforces a kind of “identitarian essentialism” – whatever the fuck you mean by that.

    In plain language, you, Nader, and Pilger all see Obama as a sellout – because he is black. That’s racism, plain and simple.

  29. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

    Anyone else think the Sunny/Lenin spat above came off like two ex lovers have a little friction for old times sake?

  30. Ravi Naik — on 23rd January, 2009 at 8:36 pm  

    Anyone else think the Sunny/Lenin spat above came off like two ex lovers have a little friction for old times sake?

    They should just get a room.

  31. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:05 pm  

    came off like two ex lovers have a little friction for old times sake?

    LOL. I don’t know or talk to the guy.

    Though it is amusing he’s accusing me of playing to a white middle class agenda, but saying he’s not calling me an uncle tom. Anyway, I rest my case.

    I have more important issues to discuss.

  32. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:31 pm  

    Well I don’t think it’s funny. After all, it’s derailed the thread.

  33. marvin — on 23rd January, 2009 at 10:37 pm  

    This is the thread, killjoy.

  34. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:22 pm  

    El Cid, I agree. I almost joined in and realised what was going to happen.

    Marvin probably welcomes the derailing.

    Sunny lets get it back on thread, the ADL statement is welcomed as it shows the absurdity of the organisation’s stance and what is probably an early and direct attack on Obama. It is a warning about more to come.

    I have said elsewhere that Obama is going to need public support, and almost on cue received an email from Avaaz.org:

    ‘Dear Avaaz friends,

    After over 1400 killed and 5000 wounded, the Gaza conflict enters a lull — for now. But the awful violence will escalate again unless we take urgent action to address the root causes of the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    One of the greatest hopes for peace is for the US under Obama to play an impartial and responsible mediation role. But the biggest obstacle to this is the strong bias of the US media. Only 4% of related US media stories even mention that Palestinians are under military occupation, and less than 25% of Americans say they can sympathize with both sides. Given domestic pressure, even Obama will find it difficult to be fair.

    We urgently need to meet this challenge as Obama makes historic choices on Israel-Palestine. The winds of change are blowing through American media — media experts tell us the best way to seize this opportunity is to fund a small number of highly respected individuals to engage top journalists and editors on this issue – providing facts, information and opportunities to hear sensible voices for peace from both Palestinians and Israelis. As a start, $40,000 would be enough to hire a respected advocate; $15,000 will pay for an opinion poll in Gaza and Israel that challenges prejudices and is released to US media; $50,000 will build a “peace wall” in Gaza, Jerusalem and Washington DC for citizens in each place to post messages to each other and the media.’

    http://www.avaaz.org

    This is a battle that must be won, here and in the US. And then lets take it to Israel, and find real ‘partners for peace’.

  35. The Dude — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:28 pm  

    Sunny

    I’ve got NOTHING against the use of the term “Uncle Tom”, even when it’s applied to Obama BUT only if the hat fits. I thinks as far as Obama and Israel are concerned, it’s still early days and the jury is still out. If the 44th President of the United States goes about the Israel/Palestine issue in exactly the same way as the 43 white mate presidents that preceded him, then he will indeed be a Uncle Tom and a Tom of the very worse kind.

  36. Riz — on 24th January, 2009 at 12:39 am  

    You got to love this guy. On the policy side, I’m not sure about the economics of a fiscal splurge, but I’m loving the international diplomacy efforts to date – all moves in the right direction.

    I’m also seeing something I have never seen in any politician in a long, long time, apart from Vince Cable perhaps (and Paddy Ashdown back in the day), and that is a genuine sense of people (if you can call a politician a person) wanting to make a contribution that is greater than themselves. Bravo indeed.

    PS – I still reckon they are going to balls up the economy, but at least there heart is in the right place, and that counts for something.

  37. Sunny — on 24th January, 2009 at 1:27 am  

    then he will indeed be a Uncle Tom and a Tom of the very worse kind.

    That depends if you think that black people all think alike.
    Already, with the amount of money that’s going to go into anti-poverty programmes, healthcare and re-generation, he will help more black people than any other American president in over 50 years.

    If you’re going to frame ‘black issues’ in explicitly foreign policy terms, as lenin and his idol John Pilger do, then you have a very narrow view.

  38. marvin — on 24th January, 2009 at 9:53 am  

    The Dude, et al, you are a bunch of racist hypocrites.

    Uncle Tom is a pejorative for a black person. You think because he is black he has to act in a certain way. In this respect you are no better than the BNP.

  39. El Cid — on 24th January, 2009 at 3:59 pm  

    Dude, you’re being ridiculous.
    What has black-white politics and the legacy of slavery got to do with I/P?
    You do realise that the Arabs and Jews are both Caucasian?
    You do realise that they are all descendants of Abraham?
    Hell, I am possibly as Arab as anyone here. I’m certainly more Arab than you.
    You also realise that the Uncle Tom analogy would probably work better in Sudan, Mauritania, Mali and Niger? Get my drift?
    Stop using such stale terms in such a lame and inaccurate manner.
    For fucks sake, from what I have seen on previous occasions you are better than that.

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