Avid Editor's Insights

Barack Obamas about-face on the Palestinian cause

Posted by avideditor on March 9, 2008

I think Obama if elected to be president, he will be worse for Israel than Carter.

Barack Obama’s about-face on the Palestinian cause: “

Barack Obama has worked hard in the last few years to convince the Jewish population he is 100% behind Israel.  Is he sincere or just trying to get elected?  One pro-Palestinian American believes Obama is doing what he needs to do to get elected.In a March 4th opinion piece written by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, a pro Palestine website, he lamented about Obamas about-face with the Palestinian cause. The titled of his piece ‘How Barack Obama learned to love Israel seems appropriate and should be a big wake up call to anyone who is considering voting for Obama. Writings on this website speak loudly that Israel doesnt have a right to exist, at all.  Its irrelevant to them that the children of Israel and their land is clearly spoken about in the Bible and the Quran while Palestine in never mentioned in either book. 

I first met Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama almost ten years ago when, as my representative in the Illinois state senate, he came to speak at the University of Chicago. He impressed me as progressive, intelligent and charismatic…..Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker (pictured below). In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, ‘Hey, Im sorry I havent said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. Im hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.’ He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, ‘Keep up the good work!’But Obama’s gradual shift into the AIPAC camp (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) had begun as early as 2002 as he planned his move from small time Illinois politics to the national scene.

…I did my part. I recently met with Obama’s legislative aide, and wrote to Obama urging a more balanced policy towards Palestine.If disappointing, given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obamas about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power.  electronicinfatada

Obama is pictured below with Edward Said who was a well-known advocate of the Palestinian cause in America.  He served for many years on the Palestinian National Council – the theoretical government of the Palestinian national movement.  He died in 2003.

According to Campus Watch, if the United States was caught unawares on 9/11, Edward Said’s name belongs high on the list of those responsible.

Are you paying attention?

From left to right, Michelle Obama, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech. (Image from archives of Ali Abunimah)



“(Via avideditorla’s shared items in Google Reader.)

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