Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama sacrificed the Palestinians to win the election

Just a few days ago Obama was saying he couldn't comment on the Israeli assault on Gaza because there is only "one President at a time". Now that Obama is the President and Bush has departed from the White House, what is his excuse?

Why didn't Obama honor the request of Father Manuel Musallam, the pastor of the Catholic parish in Gaza City?

We ask that you offer to God your most ardent prayers and that no Mass or religious service be celebrated without remembering before God the tragedy in Gaza.
Where was Gaza in the prayers that were said at the inauguration? How could we forget their suffering at this time of celebration for so many in the USA? Will the "first Black President of the United States" be only the latest in a series of Presidents that have unconditionally supported Israel's undisrupted 60 year assault on the Palestinian people?

When Amy Goodman asked famed White House Correspondent Helen Thomas this question, here was her response.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you expect to see a change of policy, for example, on Israel and the Occupied Territories?

HELEN THOMAS: No, I don’t.


HELEN THOMAS: Because I think that Obama, during the campaign, made many promises, as every president, potential president does to Israel, that they seem somehow bounded by their promises, promises to uphold all Israeli goals.
Truer words were never spoken. All politicians make promises during their campaigns. Many of these promises are never fulfilled. I for one never expect Obama to offer any meaningful change to the health care system in this country, for example. He has already hinted that given the economic crisis we are experiencing, that some of his campaign promises might be left unfulfilled.

But when it comes to promises made to the Israel Lobby, there is a different standard. As Helen says Presidents seem "bound" by their promises. No matter what the circumstances - political, economical; no matter what Israel does - invade its neighbors, commit war crimes; Israel has the "unwavering" support of the United States. Our Presidents seem "bound" as if chained like a slave, with the whip of the slave master poised and ready to strike at the slightest act of insubordination.

How many Palestinians must be sacrificed on the altar of Zionism before the world rises up and demands that Israel pay for its crimes? Will Israel ever be held accountable?

With the staunchly pro-Israel Hillary Clinton in charge at the State Department, it is guaranteed that no criticism of Israel will be forthcoming from the incoming Obama administration. Here's what JTA, "the global news service of the Jewish people", had to say about Clinton's qualifications.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state designate, has been one of Israel's fastest friends in her eight years in the Senate, taking the lead in bringing to light anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and threatened to obliterate Iran if it launched a nuclear weapon at Israel.
In that same article the JTA expresses their approval of Susan Rice as the United Nations ambassador.
Rice signed onto a Washington Institute for Near East Policy paper last summer calling for greater Israel-U.S. coordination on Iran policy. More recently, in Senate testimony, she accused the world body of singling out Israel for blame.
So what is this power that the Israel Lobby holds over American politics? For the full answer read the book "The Israel Lobby" by Mearsheimer and Walt. The short answer is that it isn't because of the power of Jewish voters which constitute about 4% of the US population, but the power over the media and the ability to destroy a candidate politically through constant attacks.

Obama certainly recognized this political reality, and in order to win the election he realized that he would need to have allies in the Jewish community. Early on he appointed Dan Shapiro to assist in his efforts to sway the Israel Lobby. Here is an excerpt from an Obama campaign press release announcing that Shapiro had "officially" joined the campaign in August 2008. Notice he had already been working with the campaign "unofficially" since 2007.
The Obama campaign announces the appointment of Daniel B. Shapiro as Senior Policy Adviser and Jewish Outreach Coordinator. Dan has been advising the campaign since 2007 on Middle East policy and Jewish community issues, and now will continue this work as a member of the campaign staff.
And now the payoff. Shapiro will reportedly join the Obama administration on the National Security Council as a chief adviser on Middle East Policy. Shapiro by the way is one of the writers of the famous speech that Obama delivered to AIPAC - just in case you were wondering what his views on Israel are. I wonder if he's the one that slipped in the line about an undivided Jerusalem that raised so many protests in the Arab world. This is just one small example of how Obama sold out to the Israel Lobby, and in so doing sacrificed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians.

Like Pontius Pilate when Jesus Christ was brought before him for judgement, Obama declared that the case of the Gazans was not within his jurisdiction. Let Bush decide. And Bush threw it back at the Israelis. Let the Israelis decide. And so the innocent men, women and children of Gaza were sacrificed in a modern day crucifixion. Instead of nails and a cross, F-16 jet planes and attack helicopters were used. And who's hand hammered in those nails? The US by blocking early attempts at a cease fire resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

Obama's hands are covered with the blood of Palestinians. He has completed his initiation by the Zionists. Now he is an accomplice in their slow and creeping ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Next he will be called upon by the Israelis to cover-up their crimes with the usual smokescreen of a two state solution. Here is where Obama will be the most useful to the Zionists - as a credible spokesman for the farce of the "peace process". The same "peace process" that has resulted in the Palestinians losing ever more territory and rights.

Obama the O-bamboozler will play the good cop to Israel's bad cop in beating the Palestinians into submission. The purpose is to divide the Palestinians in order to continue their enslavement, and at the same time divide world public opinion by labeling any Palestinians that resist Israeli occupation as "terrorists".

In his inauguration speech Obama spoke these words.
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
The phrase "those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents" is an apt description of Israel's assault on Gaza. In fact the Israelis have made numerous statements making it clear that this was in fact their objective in Gaza.
  • To advance their political objective of destroying Hamas
  • By terrorizing and slaughtering the civilian population of Gaza
And yet the United States continues to support Israeli policy unconditionally. And the Congress even goes as far as to pass resolutions in the midst of the slaughter of the people of Gaza affirming the "unwavering support" of the US for Israel.

I don't know how to end this article. I don't know what words I can say that could possibly make a difference. I supported Obama early on in the primaries because he spoke out against the US invasion of Iraq, and I thought this was some sort of "coded message" that he would stand up against the Israel Lobby. I didn't know at the time that he already had advisers embedded on his staff that were AIPAC operatives. Like so many others, I was "hoodwinked" and "bamboozled" by the sweet talking Barack Obama.

I think many Obama supporters thought he was just saying what he needed to say to get elected, and then he would "change" once he got into office. Wasn't that what Bush had done to get elected? Didn't he promise to be a "compassionate conservative"? I wonder how long it will take for many liberal Obama supporters to realize that they, along with the Palestinian People, have been betrayed.

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Anonymous said...

Why make a spiritual phone call when we have actual phones?

"... his first overseas telephone call, to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, stunned Palestinians and many Israelis as well."

A thousand hands clasped in prayer accomplish less than two with a telephone.

Frank Hope said...

@ Anonymous

Thanks for taking the time to read the article and posting a comment. I am aware of the phone call you refer to that Obama made to Abbas. He also reportedly called leaders in Jordan and Egypt. The problem is that none of those people represent the people of Gaza. And in fact they have all been silent accomplices in Israel's assault on Gaza. Each of them had their own reasons to want to see Hamas destroyed and were willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of Gazans to accomplish this task.

I have been gathering information to write an article on the subject of this collaboration by "moderate Arabs" with Israel, but have been hesitant to get too closely involved in the politics of the Middle East. My focus is mostly on the Social Justice issues. In that sense I support the People of Palestine directly and not through their political leaders.

In the case of Hamas, they were elected by the people of Gaza. Initially Abbas blamed Israel's attack on Hamas. Abbas is losing credibility. If he is seen as "riding into Gaza on the top of an Israeli tank", do you think that Gazans will come rushing to support him?

The US-Israeli-Egypt strategy is to use the Gaza crisis as an opportunity to empower Fatah. This strategy did not work in Lebanon with respect to Hezbollah, and does not appear to be working in Gaza with respect to Hamas. On the contrary, the events in Gaza may lead to the downfall of the so-called "moderate" Arab leaders to be replaced by more radical elements. Is that what the US and Israel want?

Frank Hope said...

In case you're wondering about the choice of picture, here is my explanation.

I always pick one picture for my blog entries to symbolize the narrative in the article. In this case the subject is the Palestinians being sacrificed. Sacrifice can have various meanings and I think they all apply in this situation. But in particular the ancient custom of sacrificing an animal in order to receive the blessings of God is the most appropriate meaning in this context.

As you know Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Lamb of God that sacrificed his life for all of us. If only the sacrifice of innocent lives in Gaza could somehow bring peace and dignity to the Palestinian people. The Gazans are asked to sacrifice too much on a daily basis. Now, there burden is greater than ever.

Some may be offended by my use of the image of Christ. Some may take it to be anti-Semitic. But that was not my intention. The fact is that Jesus was a Palestinian. Born in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem. And he died at the hands of Jewish people, just as the people of Gaza have.

The blood and the agony remind us of the suffering of the Palestinians. The image looks almost familiar after seeing so many pictures of injured Palestinians.

It is ironic that the Jewish people encourage Christians to remember that Israel was historically the land of the Jews, while discouraging Christians from remembering the Christ denounced the Jewish people for their vengeful ways. What else can we call this most recent attack against Gaza but a revenge for the firing of rockets at Israel.

Finally the Passion of Jesus Christ reminds us of how Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Christ's blood, in much the same way as Obama has washed his hands by not speaking out against the Israeli aggression. Pontius Pilate stood by silently as Christ was condemned, just as Obama stood by silently as the people of Gaza were condemned to their fate.

The United States has become the new Roman Empire. Instead of persecuting the Christians, we are persecuting the Muslims. I'm sure that Nero in his time declared all Christians to be "enemy combatants" and "terrorists" just as the US declares all Muslims to be the same today.

A Former Altar Boy said...

Hi Frank-

I saw a link to this on Reddit so I decided to check it out. First, I was taken aback by the picture of a crucified Jew as the opening to this, then, was startled by the language used to press your case.

"How many Palestinians must be sacrificed on the altar of Zionism before the world rises up and demands that Israel pay for its crimes?"

I could extensively analyze the language of your post and compare it to the writings of Julius Streicher, but I won't.

Here's my point: if you're intent is to inform and change minds, this language won't work. It's obviously canted towards a classic right-wing Catholic perspective simply by how you phrase your observations and arguments. If your intent is to speak and reaffirm your sentiments with others who agree with you, it might work. But for me, it reminds me too much of Father Coughlin (whose monetary policies I suspect you agree with) to make any impact other than to remind me that I meet people like you on the street everyday, people who would never express their crabbed and twisted views face-to-face with an individual, but happily spew their perspective in the anonymous void of the internet. I urge you to go outside and talk to someone in real life about this, someone who might possibly disagree with you, and then reflect on the quality of that discussion. It may make you a calmer and happier person, more able to connect with people who don't quite share your worldview.

Frank Hope said...

To A Former Altar Boy,

Thanks for your well thought out comment. I appreciate the time you have taken to read and analyze the article and to write a comment which has given me reason to reflect.

I was not familiar with Julius Streicher or Father Coughlin.

I learned from Wikipedia that Streicher was the founder of a Nazi newspaper and was executed during the Nuremberg trials even though he was not accused of participating directly in the Holocaust.

While Father Coughlin expressed anti-Semitic views in the 1930's and 40's on his popular radio show and was associated with a fascist group called the Christian Front which apparently plotted to overthrow the government.

While you never come out and accuse me of being anti-Semitic, the implication is quite clear. I reject this label and remind you that Nobel Peace Prize winners Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu have been called anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

You highlighted one statement in particular.

"How many Palestinians must be sacrificed on the altar of Zionism before the world rises up and demands that Israel pay for its crimes?"

This was my attempt to express my outrage at the loss of so many Palestinian lives - many of them women and children. The only reason they were slaughtered was to advance the Zionist goal of an Eretz Israel - a "Greater Israel" that will encompass the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. In so doing, the Israelis committed war crimes as witnessed by Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General.

By opposing Israel's racist policies towards the Palestinian People I am not attempting to spread hatred of Jewish People anymore than opposing Apartheid South Africa was intended to spread hatred towards white people.

Finally on the use of the image of the Crucifixion of Christ, I have explained that in depth in a previous comment. I do want to say that I committed a gross error in that comment by saying that Jesus "died at the hands of Jewish people". Clearly the Romans were the executioners, but he was handed over to the Romans by his Jewish accusers who according to the Bible demanded he be put to death.

The suffering of Jesus has been an inspiration to oppressed people over the centuries. For example African slaves brought to the US found comfort in the image of Christ's suffering. And while you point out that Jesus was a Jew, I would like to emphasize that he was also a Palestinian.

My goal in writing about the Palestinians during this latest Israeli assault on Gaza was not to sway opinions through my arguments. My goal was simply to add my voice to the chorus of voices throughout the world that oppose this criminal act. Each of those voices will express this in different terms. Some of them I will agree with and others I will vehemently disagree with. But there is a general consensus among those voices that Israel has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.

Because of my sense of outrage, I felt compelled to write daily about the suffering of the Palestinians. I felt the need to let the Palestinian People know, in my small way, that they have not been forgotten or abandoned by the rest of the world. Just imagine what Israel would be capable of doing to the Palestinians if it thought that the eyes of the world were not watching. I shudder to think of it.

If I truly thought that I had a large enough audience to be capable of swaying public opinion, then I would tend to be more careful in exactly how I expressed my opinion. But since this is a simple blog - a forum for me to express my personal views and opinions - I feel free to express myself and trust that my readers will exercise good judgement.

I also feel the need to balance the constant pro-Israel propaganda in the mainstream US media. So if it seems that I at times go to an extreme, please view this in the context of the general discussion which takes place in the media as a whole. The Palestinian view is grossly underrepresented. And there is a distorted view that paints all Palestinians as terrorists.

This dehumanization of the Palestinians is what enables the Israelis to carry out their murders without condemnation in the US press, or even in the US Congress. And even finds its way into President Obama's inauguration speech.

"those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents"

This type of language just reinforces the racist stereotype of Arabs and Muslims as terrorists. Yet this hateful statement spoken by the highest leader of the American people drew scarcely any criticism.

I am well aware that my view of events in the Middle East is not the "popular" view. I was against the Iraq war from the start. This was hardly a popular view. Yet Obama won the Democratic primaries based largely on his opposition to the Iraq war. Perhaps one day the American people will wake up and understand the reality of what is happening in the Middle East.

In my view the only viable long term solution to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis is a one-state solution where Jews and Muslims can live side by side. The Jewish people must give up there Zionist dream of a "Jewish state" and realize that this is just a new form of racism and colonialism.