Jun 5, 2009 20:31 | Updated Jun 7, 2009 5:14
Column One: Obama's Arabian dreams
By CAROLINE GLICK
US President Barack Obama claims to be a big fan of telling the truth. In media interviews ahead of his trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and during his big speech in Cairo on Thursday, he claimed that the centerpiece of his Middle East policy is his willingness to tell people hard truths.
Indeed, Obama made three references to the need to tell the truth in his so-called address to the Muslim world.
Unfortunately, for a speech billed as an exercise in truth telling, Obama's address fell short. Far from reflecting hard truths, Obama's speech reflected political convenience.
Obama's so-called hard truths for the Islamic world included statements about the need to fight so-called extremists; give equal rights to women; provide freedom of religion; and foster democracy. Unfortunately, all of his statements on these issues were nothing more than abstract, theoretical declarations devoid of policy prescriptions.
He spoke of the need to fight Islamic terrorists without mentioning that their intellectual, political and monetary foundations and support come from the very mosques, politicians and regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that Obama extols as moderate and responsible.
He spoke of the need to grant equality to women without making mention of common Islamic practices like so-called honor killings, and female genital mutilation. He ignored the fact that throughout the lands of Islam women are denied basic legal and human rights. And then he qualified his statement by mendaciously claiming that women in the US similarly suffer from an equality deficit. In so discussing this issue, Obama sent the message that he couldn't care less about the plight of women in the Islamic world.
So, too, Obama spoke about the need for religious freedom but ignored Saudi Arabian religious apartheid. He talked about the blessings of democracy but ignored the problems of tyranny.
In short, Obama's "straight talk" to the Arab world, which began with his disingenuous claim that like America, Islam is committed to "justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," was consciously and fundamentally fraudulent. And this fraud was advanced to facilitate his goal of placing the Islamic world on equal moral footing with the free world.
In a like manner, Obama's tough "truths" about Israel were marked by factual and moral dishonesty in the service of political ends.
On the surface, Obama seemed to scold the Muslim world for its all-pervasive Holocaust denial and craven Jew hatred. By asserting that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are wrong, he seemed to be upholding his earlier claim that America's ties to Israel are "unbreakable."
Unfortunately, a careful study of his statements shows that Obama was actually accepting the Arab view that Israel is a foreign - and therefore unjustifiable - intruder in the Arab world. Indeed, far from attacking their rejection of Israel, Obama legitimized it.
The basic Arab argument against Israel is that the only reason Israel was established was to soothe the guilty consciences of Europeans who were embarrassed about the Holocaust. By their telling, the Jews have no legal, historic or moral rights to the Land of Israel.
This argument is completely false. The international community recognized the legal, historic and moral rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel long before anyone had ever heard of Adolf Hitler. In 1922, the League of Nations mandated the "reconstitution" - not the creation - of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel in its historic borders on both sides of the Jordan River.
But in his self-described exercise in truth telling, Obama ignored this basic truth in favor of the Arab lie. He gave credence to this lie by stating wrongly that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history."
He then explicitly tied Israel's establishment to the Holocaust by moving to a self-serving history lesson about the genocide of European Jewry.
Even worse than his willful blindness to the historic, legal and moral justifications for Israel's rebirth, was Obama's characterization of Israel itself. Obama blithely, falsely and obnoxiously compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to white American slave owners' treatment of their black slaves. He similarly cast Palestinian terrorists in the same morally pure category as slaves. Perhaps most repulsively, Obama elevated Palestinian terrorism to the moral heights of slave rebellions and the US civil rights movement by referring to it by its Arab euphemism, "resistance."
BUT AS disappointing and frankly obscene as Obama's rhetoric was, the policies he outlined were much worse. While prattling about how Islam and America are two sides of the same coin, Obama managed to spell out two clear policies. First, he announced that he will compel Israel to completely end all building for Jews in Judea, Samaria, and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. Second, he said that he will strive to convince Iran to substitute its nuclear weapons program with a nuclear energy program.
Obama argued that the first policy will facilitate peace and the second policy will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Upon reflection, however, it is clear that neither of his policies can possibly achieve his stated aims. Indeed, their inability to accomplish the ends he claims he has adopted them to advance is so obvious, that it is worth considering what his actual rationale for adopting them may be.
The administration's policy toward Jewish building in Israel's heartland and capital city expose a massive level of hostility toward Israel. Not only does it fly in the face of explicit US commitments to Israel undertaken by the Bush administration, it contradicts a longstanding agreement between successive Israeli and American governments not to embarrass each other.
Moreover, the fact that the administration cannot stop attacking Israel about Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, but has nothing to say about Hizbullah's projected democratic takeover of Lebanon next week, Hamas's genocidal political platform, Fatah's involvement in terrorism, or North Korean ties to Iran and Syria, has egregious consequences for the prospects for peace in the region.
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