6 June 2008

Do not despair: Obama+AIPAC is a mere realpolitik affair

Posted in Comment tagged , , at 1:13 pm by lilithhope

“So there we were, thinking that the country had come of age at last, finally putting truth in the rumours about liberty and equality first spread by a group of slave-owners some ten-score and thirty years ago. Obama’s securing of the nomination alone underscores how much the country has changed in the 20 years I have been here.

However, I am glad that I kept some reservations about the idea of Obama taking us to the New Jerusalem. Not least since he was busy giving away the old one to those who stole it!

 Obama’s pandering to the Zionist dream in yesterday’s AIPAC conference seems to surprise many. But, despite thinking that he is the best canididate to win the US presidency, the contents of his speech, particularly his reference to Jerusalem as the future capital of Israel, neither surprise me nor provoke deep doubts as to his long-time committment to the Palestinian cause.

Considering that the speech yesterday was his first foreign policy event since his winning the democratic nomination on Tuesday, and that now his main opponent is John McCain, it should not come as a surprise that his advisors are pushing him to play into the hands of the most powerful lobby in American politics. The Obama contingent know full well that if he has even the remotest chance of winning the election, he needs the support and dosh of AIPAC.

Moreover, because it is relatively well known that in the past, his sympathies were not with the Israelis but with those they continue to occupy and oppress, Obama’s aides also know that his pro-Israeli rhetoric needs to go into overdrive. They realize that, in order to masque his past pro-Palestinianism with a much-needed Pro-Israelism, he needs to pull out all the stops in his praise and promises, and behave in the most compliant, obsequious, ass-licking way. He needs to promise Jerusalem, and gazillions of unconditional money, and of course lots and lots of weaponry, and maybe big chunks of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq so that the Zionist dream of a state stretched to the Euphrates can be finally achieved. While he’s at it, he should probably also promise the keys to paradise. (I’d love to see the media furor over that one!)

Anyways, my point is that politicians, by virtue of their profession, are expected to make monumental empty promises. And that, I think, is how we should consider Obama’s AIPAC speech: a load of hot air generated in the inevitable game of realpolitik that this stage of political competition requires.

After all, how many times has an American president made pro-Palestinian comments or promises that they have never followed up on? It’s kind of expected that high-profile politicians make empty promises about Palestine and contradict them in actions; but maybe we have to think that finally, the tables have turned, and it will be promises made to Israel that will not be followed through.

Personally, I would rather have to put up with 6 months of Obama paying exaggerated lip service to the Zionists in order for him to win the presidency and then implement pragmatic, tangible changes in US Israel-Palestine policy than jump on the band wagon and condemn him for his hypocrisy and thereby add to anti-Obama cannon-fodder to be used by the McCain camp, who, if they got into office in November, are less likely to effect the changes needed in order to remedy the problem of Palestine.

In any case, I believe that any person is better judged by his actions than by his words. I hope that, after Obama has successfully put his mouth where the money is, we’ll have an opportunity to see whether or not he puts his power where his heart is.





  1. Matt said,


    I just came to your blog after reading your excellent article on EI. I’m sorry to say that I do not share your optimism that Obama’s actions will be better than his words with regards to the Palestinians. Even if he wins the presidency, AIPAC will not go away and there is no reason to think he will stop pandering to them once he is in office. Running the White House is running a constant campaign, and he stands to lose a lot if he upsets AIPAC and they flood the RNC with donations for the ’10 midterms.

    His statements that he supports an undivided Jerusalem and that he will not negotiate with Hamas are deeply troubling. A peace agreement without Palestinian control over East Jerusalem and without input from Hamas is absolutely impossible and he knows it. He is pretty much endorsing the status quo of settlements, separation walls, and blockade of Gaza. In January, he sent a letter to the US ambassador to the UN urging him not to endorse a resolution condemning the blockade of Gaza unless Hamas stops firing rockets (http://jewishstandard.net//content_images/ObamaLetterbig.jpg). He simply ignores international laws against collective punishment, like every other imperialist American politician.

    Many of my Obamaphile friends have been making the same arguments… Obama is too good of a guy to really mean what he is saying… I don’t buy it.

  2. Jack from Maine said,

    My sentiments exactly! Hopefully, Obama will go with his heart. If nothing else, Obama will clean the White House of the neocon stench! If the U.S. ever hopes to repair its global reputation it will take decades; Obama can start the process if he is willing to confront AIPAC and take back the U.S. from neocons and the pro-Israel juggernauts.

    The U.S. congress is ALSO an Occupied Territory. Cleaning that cesspool will take a very long time! Long journeys start with tiny steps…

    In the meantime I proudly wear my kuffiyeh and I am NOT afraid to explain to people WHY I wear it and WHAT it means to me. I LOVE standing in line at Starbucks (NOT Dunkin Donuts) wearing my kuffiyeh!!! I never knew how BIG a Jewish Yuppie’s eyes can get when you talk about the Israeli Apartheid Occupation of Palestinians. LOL…….

  3. lilithhope said,

    Thanks for your comments guys.


    Glad you liked the EI piece.

    i recognize that my take on Obama is precisely as you described it: “optimistic”. About an hour after i posted this there was a good article by Khaled Diab on the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/06/middleeast.uselections2008 saying pretty much the same thing as you: we can’t let our optimism make us naive enough to think that one individual will be able to change the mammoth institutionalized system that preceeds him/her. I suppose my conclusion is that I’d rather hope and see than be too skeptical too soon… But point definitely taken, and internal debate is ongoing!


    Well done for being an informed kuffiyeh wearer and spreading the word. The only thing I would take you up on is that Starbucks has a pretty shabby record of being involved with Zionists, see http://www.boycottisrael.co.uk. So if you want to live the message further, try replacing your frappucinno’s with another retailer’s fairtrade coffee beans. Cheers!

  4. Jack from Maine said,

    Finding anything or anyone in America that isn’t owned, operated, intimidated or whatever by pro-Israel forces is quite a task. And even if I only drink coffee at home I’m sure the product I use to make the coffee or the beans I grind will somehow have the stink of zionism on them somewhere.

    But, I do what I can! Proudly wearing a kuffiyeh into the “lion’s den” is one statement I can make. Supporting the least pro-Israel political candidate is another.

    Oh, I also do political cartoons and TWO of them have been published on al-Jazeerah’s website in the past few years! Not bad for a simple American from Boston (one of the most pro-Israel places on the planet!)

    I’m a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist and, if possible, I plan on donating some time (in retirement) to “treat” PTSD victims in Gaza someday. My Quaker friends might be able to sneak me across the border!!! LOL…

  5. […] Ok, maybe i was wrong… […]

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