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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obama's Right Turn?

The below essay hits the nail on the head concerning Obama's AIPAC speech.

The question remains, how many voters has he lost with his "right turn"? I ask this because I am still wondering who wrote this speech for him, and did he pre-approve it? That is the lingering question in my mind because like Zunes, I do not believe that things stated in this speech were entirely necessary, in particular his wrong-headed "undivided Jerusalem" statement. Not only did it throw gasoline on an ongoing ending of the occupation/peace process/final status issues which have yet to be resolved for more than forty years, it is also a statement he ultimately felt he had to partially retract due to the not to be unexpected uproar in the Arab world as well as with Jewish voices for peace and many progressives.

Then we have the ubiquitous Nader stepping in to the fray in his opportunistic manner. I'm sorry to be the one to let you know this, but there are only TWO candidates running for the presidency with any chance whatsoever of winning, Obama and McCain. It is a well-known fact that Nader siphoned off enough votes from Gore (along with the Supreme Court's crowing of King Bush) to make a significant dent in favor of what we have now, the worse administration in US history.

The more Obama turns right, the more progressive voters he will miff. Yet if those miffed voters turn to Nader or McKinney they might as well cast their vote for McCain. Is that what anyone would want?

This is important people, this means the possibility of John McCain becoming president. I have personally never had Obamamania myself, but I also have a major FEAR of the prospect of a McCain presidency. Zunes points to the nuances that might go unnoticed in anger over Obama's speech. I suggest everyone read it once, read it twice. Then decide between the two men with the POSSIBILITY of becoming the next president of the United States. It is MUCH to important of a decision to act upon emotion and anger.

Obama's Right Turn?

Stephen Zunes | June 11, 2008

Editor: John Feffer

Foreign Policy In Focus

In many respects, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has played right into the hands of cynics who have long doubted his promises to create a new and more progressive role for the United States in the world. The very morning after the last primaries, in which he finally received a sufficient number of pledged delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and no longer needed to win over voters from the progressive base of his own party, Obama – in a Clinton-style effort at triangulation – gave a major policy speech before the national convention of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Embracing policies which largely backed those of the more hawkish voices concerned with Middle Eastern affairs, he received a standing ovation for his efforts.

His June 3 speech in Washington in many ways constituted a slap in the face of the grass roots peace and human rights activists who have brought him to the cusp of the Democratic presidential nomination.

In other respects, however, he pandered less to this influential lobbying group than many other serious aspirants for national office have historically. And at least part of his speech focused on convincing the largely right-wing audience members to support his positions rather than simply underscoring his agreement with them.

Much of the media attention placed upon his speech centered on the ongoing debate between him and incipient Republican presidential nominee John McCain on Iran. While embracing many of the same double-standards regarding nuclear nonproliferation issues and UN resolutions as does the Bush administration and congressional leaders of both parties, Obama did insert some rationality into the debate regarding the need for negotiations with that regional power rather than maintaining the current U.S. policy of diplomatic isolation and threats of war.

When it came to Israel and Palestine, however, Obama appeared to largely embrace a right-wing perspective which appeared to place all the blame for the ongoing violence and the impasse in the peace process on the Palestinians under occupation rather than the Israelis who are still occupying and colonizing the parts of their country seized by the Israeli army more than 40 years ago.

Progressive Israeli Reactions

While there were some faint glimmers of hope in Obama’s speech for those of us who support Israeli-Palestinian peace, progressive voices in Israel were particularly disappointed.

Israeli analyst Uri Avneri, in an essay entitled “No, I Can’t!”, expressed the bitterness of many Israeli peace activists for “a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.” Avneri goes on to observe the irony of how Obama’s “dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not compromise his principles. And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of his party is to compromise his principles.”

Avneri addressed the view of many Israelis that “Obama's declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.”

Read the ENTIRE essay>>>>>>>>>

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