Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama's Basic Message: Recognize "Israel" and do as we tell you, and we won't kill you

The ecstasy with which President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo has been received by many circles in the Arab World is truly befuddling. Nothing in the speech was a cause for celebration or even reassurance. The entire speech sounded more like a scolding of our position toward the usurping entity and the United States for the crimes they have committed against our people. He stood in Cairo and told the Arab World that the United States' relationship with "Israel" is "unbreakable," that Jewish suffering is more important than the suffering of your people, that you must recognize the "legitimate right" of "Israel" to exist as a Jewish state, and that you must stop opposing US imperial agendas. And if you do all that , o Arab World, then perhaps we will not kill you. This was the essence of the speech and this was its central, deeply offensive, message.

President Obama took a few minutes to lecture us about Jewish suffering in Europe and about the holocaust, as if this issue has anything to do with us. He implied that because the Jews were killed and oppressed in Europe, that we must then allow them to take our land and kill our people. Not one mention was made of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land, and the deep psychological trauma this has caused to an entire people. Not one mention was made of the brutal, gruesome massacres committed by Jewish Zionist gangs against innocent civilians during their terror campaign to found a racist, exclusive state for Jews only. Therefore, the clear implication of his words is that while we will continue to recognize and mourn Jewish suffering throughout the ages, and demand that you do the same, we will not ever mention your suffering and will deny that any wrong was done unto you. In other words, we believe that the lives of Jews are more valuable and precious than the lives of Palestinians.

Then Obama tied the suffering of Jews in Europe to the requirement that we recognize the "legitimate right" of "Israel" to exist as a Jewish state. He said it is "deeply wrong" to call for the destruction of "Israel," and implied that such language was comparable to a crime of genocide. It is of course quite outlandish to claim that the demand to dismantle what is a racist, cancerous, illegal entity that has brought about nothing but pain and suffering to an entire people is akin to committing genocide against innocent populations. Moreover, Obama failed to denounce genocidal language used by the other side, when that language is actually followed by actions on the ground. It is of no concern to him that an "Israeli" minister would threaten the Palestinians of Gaza with a "holocaust" or that the war minister would promise that Lebanon would be burned from north to south. Both actions and threats of destruction of other countries by "Israel" are not considered "deeply wrong" by Obama, while he is so greatly offended by the notion that someone would demand the dismantlement of an inherently racist system.

He then went on to specifically identify "Israeli" "victimization" at the hands of Palestinians. He denounced Palestinian armed resistance and blasted Palestinians telling them that it is "not courageous to fire missiles at innocent children or to blow up elderly women on buses." Such a vile statement reeks of utter hypocrisy and callousness. It has not been five months since "Israel" brutally and mercilessly massacred over 1400 civilians in Gaza, and yet Obama finds it appropriate to lecture Palestinians on the proper means of struggle. He has the nerve to demand that Palestinians renounce violence and abandon violent resistance, while "Israel" is allowed to continue using savage violence against an innocent population whose only crime was living on a land desired by others.

But Obama did not forget the Palestinians. He gave them token recognition when he said that they have "suffered in their pursuit of a homeland." Apparently, the Palestinians have been pursuing a homeland and it is this pursuit that has caused them great suffering. It is such a general and broad statement that you would think the Palestinians have been suffering from some mysterious phenomenon, or maybe natural disasters, while traversing the globe searching for a homeland. This is of course a completely warped view of the Palestinian struggle and anything but "truth-telling" as Obama likes to brag he does. The Palestinians were never "in pursuit" of a homeland. They have a homeland, and it was stolen from them by Jewish zionists aided by western colonial powers. They were forcefully evicted from their land through massacres, ethnic cleansing, and terror campaigns, and were turned into refugees on their own land as well as in other countries. But President Obama conveniently skips over all the crimes committed against the Palestinians and reduces the cause of their suffering to some unfortunate circumstances.

Obama then proceeded to find an ostensible solution to the Palestinian struggle. His solution was that each side had to recognize the "legitimate aspirations" of the other. In other words, we are required to recognize the "legitimate aspirations" of "Israel" to build and maintain a state exclusively for Jews on land we live in. What a difference a political career makes. Here, I would like to quote from Obama's book "Dreams From My Father," where he was reciting a speech he gave in college at an event in support of the struggle of the African National Congress against Apartheid rule in South Africa. His words were:

"It's happening an ocean away. But it's a struggle that touches each and every one of us. Whether we know it or not. Whether we want it or not. A struggle that demands we choose sides. Not between black and white. Not between rich and poor. No--it's a harder choice than that. It's a choice between dignity and servitude. Between fairness and injustice. Between commitment and indifference. A choice between right and wrong..."

If those words were used by President Obama in his position on the Palestinian struggle, then I would have accepted and believed his claimed commitment to "truth-telling." Unfortunately, however, as President of the United States, it is politically too risky for Mr. Obama to utter such truly expressive words in support of the Palestinians' legitimate struggle against opprression.