The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, May 19, 2008
Why I Do Not Trust Barack Obama
Barack Obama is not a closet Muslim, an anti-Semite, or someone who wants to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
One need not be fueled by paranoia to feel a strong sense of unease about Obama's commitment to Israel.
Obama has been friendly with anti-Israel Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi. He also sat with the late Edward Said - an even more anti-Israel Columbia professor - at an Arab event at which Said served as keynote speaker.
Obama has, for the most part, offered basic clichés in his expressions of support for Israel. However, he has consistently taken pains to emphasize in an unusually substantive manner his disagreement with what he calls "hawkish" Jews, as well as his strong opposition to "settlements" in Judea and Samaria, which he blames, in large part, for the "status quo."
Of course, no American president has supported settlements, and no American administration has set forth a policy satisfactory to those of us whose political views on Israel are aligned with those of the Israeli right. And Obama's ties with Said and Khalidi do not mean that as President his policies will satisfy them.
Obama, however, has offered a place at his table for everyone except what he calls "hawkish" American Jews. It was noteworthy - but alas ignored by everyone except me - when Obama boasted that Lester Crown, a member of his national finance committee, is “about as hawkish and tough when it comes to Israel as anybody in the country.” Crown, as I have pointed out, is a leading supporter of Peace Now and other dovish groups. But to Obama, he somehow is "hawkish," presumably because he cares about Israel's security.
Will Obama dine with real hawkish Jews like ZOA president Morton Klein? I doubt it.
Does this really matter? I think it does. Governor George W. Bush's 1998 aerial tour of Judea and Samaria, guided by Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, had a strong impact when Sharon was elected prime minister weeks after Bush's first inauguration. Bush has never supported settlements, but he maintained a strong relationship with a Likud government, eventually supported Israel's war on terrorism, and has always kept an open door to Jews who do not subscribe to Peace Now's worldview.
It is reasonable to believe that the Obama Administration will resemble the Clinton Administration in its love for Peace Now Jews and its disdain for those of us whose views are closer to Likud. It seems long ago now, but back in the day, before Hillary ran for the Senate, the Clinton White House was wide open to Tikkun editor Michael Lerner and to Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat, while bad boy Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was routinely ridiculed, undermined and shunned.
On paper, there won't be major policy differences on Israel. But during the course of an administration's term, there will be a handful of major issues involving Israel. Invariably, there will be internal differences within the administration, and the ultimate approach will be the one decided upon by the president, guided by his sense of what is right.
I don't trust Barack Obama to have the correct sense of what is right.
I don't trust Barack Obama to treat a Likud government like President Bush did, rather than how President Clinton did.
The foregoing is not an endorsement of John McCain, nor of McCain's views toward Israel - about which there is much to be concerned.