I am sure she expected to hear something else when she asked me if it was ok to ask which issue. I told her the Palestinian/Israeli issue. She seemed very surprised and said "Oh really? What do you disagree with, I don't know that much about it but I know he supports Israel, do you think he doesn't support Israel enough?"
Do you see the mindset? She ASSUMED I was an Israel supporter. (also she doesn't know much about it) I told her "No not at all, on the contrary, he is in the pocket of the Israeli lobby and is pandering to them. A speech he gave to AIPAC last year proves to me he is pandering when he stated that he wished his own daughters could dream in such a beautiful place as Israel (referring to a village he had visited)
She REALLY was surprised at that one and asked, "Why don't you think Israel is a beautiful country. I've heard it's a wonderful place to raise children"
I replied, "No, I don't think it's wonderful to raise your children there at all, because they are compelled by law to enlist in the IOF (she asked what that was) and continue the belligerent ILLEGAL occupation of a people and steal their lands etc. I have sent an email letter to the campaign concerning that speech last year and got no reply. When they see fit to reply to me, if I like what I hear, I will be sure to contact you to volunteer my time"
She was very pleasant, she asked me if I didn't like his "hope" message. I said "Yes, but the Palestinian people have NO hope when this occupation continues, and Obama should know he should give hope to ALL oppressed people, and certainly not align himself with oppressors such as Israel"
I think she got the message, or at least she listened. Now when the Hillary campaign calls( I signed up for her insipid newsletter also-she offers snacks with Bill during the debate, but please bring carrots instead of chips for her hubby whose health she is concerned about) they will get an EARFULL.
Politics, spare me people who assume everyone supports Israel, and give me some MEAT instead of carrots!
Barack Obama on the Middle East
While he certainly takes more progressive positions on Middle East issues than Clinton or serious Republican presidential contenders, he backs other aspects of US policies toward Iraq, Iran, etc that have raised some troubling questions.(for the entire article link HERE. Below is the portion concerning Palestine/Israel)
Israel: Shifting Positions
Earlier in his career, Obama took a relatively balanced perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, aligning himself with positions embraced by the Israeli peace camp and its American supporters. For example, during his unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Obama criticized the Clinton administration for its unconditional support for the occupation and other Israeli policies and called for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He referred to the "cycle of violence" between Israelis and Palestinians, while most Democrats were referring to "Palestinian violence and the Israeli response." He also made statements supporting a peace settlement along the lines of the Geneva Initiative and similar efforts by Israeli and Palestinian moderates.
During the past two years, however, Obama has largely taken positions in support of the hard-line Israeli government, making statements virtually indistinguishable from that of the Bush administration. Indeed, his primary criticism of Bush's policy toward the conflict has been that the administration has not been engaged enough in the peace process, not that it has backed the right-wing Israeligovernment on virtually every outstanding issue.
Rejecting calls by Israeli moderates for the United States to use its considerable leverage to push the Israeli government to end its illegal and destabilizing colonization of the West Bank and agree to withdraw from the occupied territories in return for security guarantees, Obama has insisted "we should never seek to dictate what is best for the Israelis and their security interests" and that no Israeli prime minister should ever feel "dragged" to the negotiating table.
Despite Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's refusal to freeze the construction of additional illegal settlements, end the seizure of Palestinian population centers, release Palestinian political prisoners, or enact other confidence-building measures--much less agree to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state--Obama claimed in his AIPAC policy forum speech that Olmert is "more than willing to negotiate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states living side by side in peace and security." And though, as recently as last March, Obama acknowledged the reality that that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people," as a result of the stalled peace process he has since placed the blame for the impasse not on the Israeli occupation but on the Palestinians themselves.
In addition, rejecting calls by peace and human rights activists that U.S. military aid to Israel, like all countries, should be contingent on the government's adherence to international humanitarian law, Obama has called for "fully funding military assistance."
Backing Israeli Militarism
In the face of widespread international condemnation over Israel's massive attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure during the summer of 2006, Obama rushed to Israel's defense, co-sponsoring a Senate resolution defending the operation. Rather than assign any responsibility to Israel for the deaths of over 800 Lebanese civilians, Obama claimed that Hezbollah was actually responsible for having used "innocent people as shields." This assertion came despite the fact that Amnesty International found no conclusive evidence of such practices and Human Rights Watch, in a well-documented study, had found "no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack," an analysis confirmed by subsequent scholarly research.
(When I contacted Obama's press spokesperson in his Senate office to provide me with evidence supporting Obama's claim that, despite the findings of these reputable human rights groups, that Hezbollah had indeed used "human shields," he sent me the link to a poorly-documented report from a hawkish Israeli research institute headed by the former chief of the Mossad--the Israeli intelligence service that itself has engaged in numerous violations of international humanitarian law. The senator's press spokesman did not respond to my subsequent requests for more credible sources. This raises concerns that an Obama administration, like the current administration, may be prone to taking the word of ideologically driven right-wing think tanks above those of empirical research or principled human rights groups and other nonpartisan NGOs.)
Indeed, Obama's rhetoric as a senator has betrayed what some might view as a degree of anti-Arab racism. He has routinely condemned attacks against Israeli civilians by Arabs but has never condemned attacks against Arab civilians by Israelis.
Unlike any other major contenders for president this year or the past four election cycles, Obama at least has demonstrated in the recent past an appreciation of a more moderate and balanced perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As president, he may well be better than his more recent Senate votes and public statements would indicate. Though the power of the "Israel Lobby" is often greatly exaggerated (see my articles The Israel Lobby Revisited and The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is It Really?), it's quite reasonable to suspect that pressure from well-funded right-wing American Zionist constituencies has influenced what Obama believes he can and cannot say. As an African-American whose father came from a Muslim family, he is under even more pressure than most candidates to avoid being labeled as "anti-Israel." Ironically, a strong case can be made that the right-wing militaristic policies he may feel forced to defend actually harm Israel's legitimate long-term security interests.
Still, Obama has indicated greater interest in promoting a comprehensive peace settlement, acknowledging that the "Israeli government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart." And, unlike the Bush administration, which successfully pressured Israel not to resume peace negotiations with Syria, Obama has pledged never to block an Israeli prime minister from the negotiation table. (See my article: Divide and Rule: U.S. Blocks Israel-Syria Talks.)
As a result, several prominent Americans allied with the current Israeli government have expressed deep concern about the prospects of Obama's election while Democrats aligned with more progressive Israeli perspectives have expressed some cautious optimism regarding Obama becoming president.
How Much Change?
However, many are holding out hope that, as president, Obama would be more progressive than he is letting on and that he would take bolder initiatives to shift U.S. policy in the region further away from its current militaristic orientation than he may feel comfortable advocating as a candidate. Indeed, given how even the hawkish John Kerry was savaged by the right-wing over his positions on Middle East security issues during his bid for the presidency, the threat of such attacks could be enough to have given Senator Obama pause in making more direct challenges to the status quo during the campaign. In other words, he could be open to more rational and creative approaches to the Middle East once in office.
However, many are holding out hope that as president, Obama would be more progressive than he is letting on and that he would take bolder initiatives to shift U.S. policy in the region further away from its current militaristic orientation than he may feel comfortable advocating as a candidate. Indeed, given how even the hawkish John Kerry was savaged by the right-wing over his positions on Middle East security issues during his campaign for the presidency, the threat of such attacks could be enough to have given Senator Obama pause in making more direct challenges to the status quo as a candidate. But he could be open to more rational and creative approaches to the Middle East once in office.
The Illinois Senator's intelligence and independent-mindedness, combined with what's at stake, offers some hope that at least for pragmatic reasons--if not moral and legal ones--a future President Obama would have the sense to recognize that the more the United States has militarized the Middle East, the less secure we have become. He would perhaps also recognize that arms control and nonproliferation efforts are more likely to succeed if they are based on universal, law-based principles rather than unilateral demands and threats based upon specific countries' relationship with the United States. And that exercising American "leadership" requires a greater awareness of the needs and perceptions of affected populations.
Most importantly, given that the strength of the anti-war movement brought Obama to his position as a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, just such a popular outpouring can also prevent him from further backsliding in the face of powerful interests that wish to see U.S. policy continue its dangerous course. Those who support peace and human rights in the Middle East and beyond must be willing to challenge him--as both a candidate and as a possible future president--for advocating immoral or illegal policies that compromise the security and human rights of people in the region and here in the United States.