Hillary and Barack vie for Jewish support

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WASHINGTON, March 13 — As Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama compete for Jewish donors and voters, Mrs. Clinton is following a tried-and-true rule of hers from New York — support Israel to the last — while Mr. Obama is trying a more delicate strategy that hit some bumps this week.

At a pro-Israel conference here on Monday night, Mrs. Clinton told an audience of 1,000 that Israel deserved “every bit of our support” and that Iran “will not be permitted to have nuclear weapons.” There were no shades of gray about Israel, which has been her style since falling into trouble with Jewish voters in 1999 when she did not quickly denounce controversial remarks about Israel made by Suha Arafat, the wife of the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is making a personal overture to Jewish voters that threads together history from slavery to the Holocaust to Jim Crow. Yet he is also talking about the needs of the Palestinians. Less experienced than Mrs. Clinton in the thicket of Jewish and Middle Eastern politics, he became a bit tangled in the eyes of some voters during his appearance Monday at the same conference that Mrs. Clinton attended, a forum sponsored by the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac.

Several Jewish conferencegoers said they were concerned by Mr. Obama’s remark Sunday in Iowa where, in a reference to the Middle East, he said, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” According to The Des Moines Register, Mr. Obama put the blame on the stalled peace efforts with Israel and on the refusal of the Palestinian government to renounce terrorism.

Mr. Obama has said in the past that both Israelis and Palestinians had “suffered” because of the lack of a peace agreement, and a spokesman said on Tuesday that Mr. Obama believed “the security of Israel should be America’s starting point in the Middle East.” Yet by singling out Palestinian suffering on Sunday, Mr. Obama could be tempting fate with some Jewish voters.

“Awarding first place in the suffering matrix is odious and infelicitous,” said Rabbi Steven Silver of Redondo Beach, Calif., after listening to Mrs. Clinton speak at a reception at the Aipac conference. “I think a lot of Americans would find that comment offensive, too.”

Mr. Silver’s son, Jesse, a college student who supports Mrs. Clinton, said he was spreading the word at the conference about Mr. Obama’s remark.

“It’s just clumsy of him to say that on the eve of the Aipac conference,” Jesse Silver said. “His inexperience is showing.”

The two candidates’ courting of Jewish voters was also on display as they nearly faced off at the conference: They held receptions in banquet rooms about 25 yards apart at roughly the same time on Monday.

They sounded some of the same themes, yet Mr. Obama proved more expansive by bringing up the Palestinians and ruminating on the Holocaust and slavery and on cynicism in politics.

Using the same language at points, both candidates lamented terrorism aimed at “innocent” civilians. They talked tough about Iran, with Mr. Obama calling Iran “a genuine threat” to the United States and Israel and forswearing “a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

Mrs. Clinton stayed focused on Israel and its safety, emphasizing, as she has before, that “no option is off the table” if a confrontation escalates with Iran. By contrast, while Mr. Obama flatly said at one point, “I am pro-Israel,” he also pointedly mentioned the Palestinians.

Toward the end of his speech, after heaping praise on Israel, he said, “All of us are committed to two states living side by side in peace.” And as soon as there were Palestinian partners who “renounced violence,” he added, peace negotiations with Israel should unfold. These remarks drew scattered applause.

42 thoughts on “Hillary and Barack vie for Jewish support

  1. rikyrah

    Uh oh.

    Well, we knew this would happen.

    It’s a damn shame the way that Jimmy Carter’s being villified for telling the truth. You’d think that they’d get sick of the fighting. Get a true Palestine, and start the next phase of Mid-East negotiations.

    Personally, I think they should flip the script and start funding the Palestinian Authority. Harder to claim a militant status, when, in effect, you are The Man. They are just going along with a script stuck on stupid. Outsmart them, and force them to come to the table.

    WE’VE given Israel enough funding and weapons. Let them stand on their own.

  2. I’m surprised Hilary didn’t touch upon her ‘Jewish Roots’ Her family changed their last name from ROSENBERG to Rodham back in the day. 🙂

  3. OT: The CBC got taken to school regarding their entertaining Faux Noise offer to host the Presidential debate:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/14/12247/5780

    And the back down is here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/10/124331/342

    But the Kossacks are still defending Obama for dissing his Pastor, and trying to justify his action by saying he was trying to protect his Pastor from Sean Hannity, who tore him to shreds.

    He should have never gone on Fox – and paid attention to Obama’s freezing out Fox from access to him.

  4. “And as soon as there were Palestinian partners who “renounced violence,” he added, peace negotiations with Israel should unfold. These remarks drew scattered applause.”

    You know, I don’t think we CAN have a progressive thinker as president in the US… Is that just the way things have to be??

  5. john in california

    This is a very weird year for dems. The repub field is so weak that the evangelicals have to chose between serial adulterers, cross dressers or a moron oops! mormon. I don’t see how a dem could lose, unless that dem is Hilary, the front runner. Very weird. So much of the dem establishment is turning to Obama. He looks good, no scandals, and cagey enough to look like he is ‘right’ on Iraq w/o really doing anything about it. He wants it both ways. On the one hand, say the Palestinians deserve a better deal to make the left happy, then go hat in hand to AIPAC. He is a smooth guy. So far he has been able to pull it off. Most white people see him black the same way they see Colin Powell as black. That is, it seems to have no particular importance to the ‘black’ person themselves. They didn’t make it because they were black or in spite of being black, but w/o regard to being black. For most whites, this will be the most comfortable way to have a black president. I am pretty mixed about it. I worked 6 mnths on the Jackson campaign (a big disappointment) and would have liked very much for the first black president to have some real civil rights creds and commitment. Maybe that is not possible. But if Obama is going to be the first, I wish he had waited 8 years. The first black president, even if he is ‘light’ on the black perception, can not fail. He will be held to a higher standard. And the next eight years in the whitehouse will be all about fixing everything tinpot has broke and w/ a stingy Congress. Probabley the only guy that can pull off a successfull 2 terms is Gore, because he knows the inner working of the executive better than anybody (he is after all, a wonk)
    So while it is obvious Obama has a lot of leadership talents, he hasn’t used them to do what most needs to be done now and that is to remold the democratic party in to a progressive force. I don’t think that can or will be done from the white house. Pelosi in the House needs a partner in the Senate to rebuild the party. Being in the majority now hasn’t meant much because the dems are full of careerists. We need a new set of progressive leaders in Congress because this is where all the important fights will take place in the next eight years. And eight years from now, the leader of that fight will assume the Presidency almost as a matter of course.

  6. John in California,

    Hi. I welcome your comments and agree that the House could use some real partners in the Senate. We’re unlikely to elect many the coming year unless some real progressives step up to the plate. The Senate is such a daunting fundraisng challenge that most people can’t even fathom it.

  7. dblhelix

    In reality, Giuliani is a very strong candidate for the GOP.

    He consistently outpolls all Dems — and across all polls there’s no Dem who performs consistently well against him.

    He will force Dems to spend lots of money in competitive mid-Atlantic states (esp NJ & PA) and Dems will be spending to defend in CA & NY.

    I’m not waiting for the religious right to save us — I’m already worried. A couple of youtube videos of Rudy in drag isn’t going to be enough to offset the tax-cutting, law & order type Americans always go crazy for.

  8. rikyrah

    Rikyrah:

    That’s true, but Color of Change is reporting that Kilpatrick herself is still insisting that Fox will hold the debates as well as CNN – just no date has been named yet.

    Am I missing something?

    Am I just imagining that Fox routinely insults and attacks Black people as sport?

    Am I mistaken?

  9. Rikyrah:

    Naw, girlfriend, you are not missing anything, or imagining that Fox routinely insults and attacks Black people as sport, or mistaken.

    I’m looking at the money trail. While Kilpatrick isn’t getting a dime from the ReThugs/Corporate interests, everyone needs to look at Mayor from Da Hood, Kwame Kilpatrick.

    Her Son. And what mamma isn’t going to look out for her boy, no matter how corrupt he is?

  10. rikyrah

    I’m looking at the money trail. While Kilpatrick isn’t getting a dime from the ReThugs/Corporate interests, everyone needs to look at Mayor from Da Hood, Kwame Kilpatrick.

    Her Son. And what mamma isn’t going to look out for her boy, no matter how corrupt he is?

    Republicans from Michigan would be backing Mayor Kwame?

    Hmmmmmmm…

    It’s just that, I’d take that bow-tied Tucker Carlson anyday, or Joe Scarborough before I’d take anything on Fox.

    It’s not like FOX is the only game in town.

    Why not MSNBC, or CNBC?

    How come I can’t get Keith Olbermann as one of the questioners?

  11. missx

    “rikyrah | March 14th, 2007 at 6:37 am
    Uh oh.
    Well, we knew this would happen.
    It’s a damn shame the way that Jimmy Carter’s being villified for telling the truth.”

    At least the Jewish groups who are angry aren’t using violence to stop him from speaking. Where I go to school the Black Student Union has 3 times done just that when a speaker was scheduled who, god forbid, didn’t believe in affirmative action. Of course when the black student union has speakers who talk about women, gays, and other minorities like the KKK talks about them that is “free speech”.
    There are 2 subjects which will get you more villfied in this country than questioning our support of Israel.
    1) questioning affirmative action
    2) speaking honestly about the sleezy and frequently threatening /violent steps taken by it’s supports to make sure people are too intimidated to feel comfortable taking an educated position on it. The irony is that some people’s reactions to this debate prove why they are underachievers – and it’s not racism.

  12. Rick

    Obama Under Fire for saying “no one is suffering more than Palestinians”
    http://video.msn.com/v/us/v.htm?g=c65444e9-b8f1-45da-9fcf-f4cb71f3581e&f=34&fg=rss

    apparently, that statement is not going over too well with some in the Jewish lobby.
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/3/15/19238/7557

    oddly, this forum has been silent on Obama’s statement acknowledging the suffering of the Palestinians. I dont think most blacks in the U.S. care too much (or at all) about the Palestinians. This will not win him many votes in the black community.

  13. Bizzy

    These two candidates are both cowardly, and spineless.
    I haven’t yet read the comments, and surely the apologists will say: “Well, this is what they have to do to wiiiiiiiiiiin”.

    Isreal is a very large US military base in the Middle East, the only military nuclear power in the region, with a grotesque human rights record. The apartheid state of Israel maintains the longest running occupation in the world, and the people of Palestine are terrorized daily in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Everyone knows this, it’s nothing new.

    To say this (the truth) publicly will grant you mass criticism and disdain but it’s necessary to break this deafening silence in the US over this terrible occupation and conflict… so am I surprised? Unfortunately not. Even Jimmy Carter’s book, while bold and unprecedented for a man of his station, is tepid and often holds back from the true depth and scope of the illegal Israeli occupation.

    Hillary is spineless and worthy of nothing. Obama is proving himself to be not too far off. Add this support of foreign injustice to his hawkish position on Iran, his weak “plan” for Iraq, and his overall consistent whitewashing of American history and imperialism.

  14. dblhelix

    oddly, this forum has been silent on Obama’s statement acknowledging the suffering of the Palestinians.

    Could be b/c he almost instantly retracted. Not much to talk about, one way or the other.

  15. Rick

    “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

    dblehelix: Can you show us where Obama instantly retracted the above statement?

    Obama has stated, “I am pro-Israel,” but he also pointedly mentioned the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Obama blames Hamas — which controls much of the Palestinian government — for the stalled peace talks; he does not blame Israel. But this is not a retractment of a statement of Palestinian suffering.

    So I would like to see some evidence to support the claim you just made. Not saying I don’t believe you. Just a little “skeptical”

    Rick

  16. Rick

    So Bizzy: You mentioned Obama is “spineless”. But at the same time, as we speak, he is enduring the wrath of the Jewish Lobby merely by saying that “Palestinians are suffering”… The last time I walked past the Israeli embassy, I didn’t see any blacks in this country protesting the treatment of Palestinians. Come to think about it, it’s hard to get blacks in this country to TALK about the treatment of Palestinians. So to the extent, someone mentioned their situation – and it was conveniently glanced over by everyone on this forum – seems to lend itself to the idea that they don’t really care about Palestinians — not that it “wasn’t much to talk about anyway.” Statements are being filed here because people have pessimistic agendas.

    Bizzy: What exactly would you have Obama do?

    On Iran: Are you saying that Iran is not a security threat to our interests? Most with informed opinions would kindly disagree with you that a “dovish” stance is one to take – that’s both republicans and democrats. But again, if the story is take the other side of whatever position OBAMA is on, then you are on the right track.

  17. missx

    Yo Rick
    You say about Obama that “he is enduring the wrath of the Jewish Lobby”. Well that’s a lot easier that enduring the wrath of the NAACP, or the Jesse Jackson or AL Sharpton or Farrakaun rage-athon. The Black Congressional Caucaus is always trying to punish anyone who votes against them. And the NAACP issues a “report card” which is meant to tarnish the reputation of anyone who doesn’t give into their lobbying. At least our wrath doesn’t involve physical violence. Most of the posts about this are laughable cause it’s the same thing people feel about African Americans- but are afraid to say for fear of being called racist. Look at the harassment over anyone who questions Affirmative Action. We see the media being called racist because a disproportiate amount of violence is by young African American men. I was in Seattle during the WTO and you know what? African Americans made up a tiny pecentage of the people who took part in the protest but a majority of those that took part in the looting. That’s not racist, but a fact, and where can you say that without being called a racist?Nowhere, cause “black anger” limits free speech even more than the jewish lobby.

  18. dblhelix

    Rick: But this is not a retractment of a statement of Palestinian suffering.

    apparently, that statement is not going over too well with some in the Jewish lobby. (from #18)

    It didn’t go over well because it was interpreted as an indictment of Israel and its policies.

    The NYT followed-up with:

    An article yesterday about competition for Jewish support between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama incorrectly described Mr. Obama’s views about the culpability for stalled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis. Mr. Obama blames Hamas, which controls much of the Palestinian government, for the stalled peace talks; he does not blame Israel.

    Of course the retraction does not refer to the status or degree of suffering, because that is not what was controversial in the first place or why he was “under fire,” as you put it.

    So now tell me, what is exceptionally noteworthy or remarkable about Obama’s remarks? Consider the following:

    The long suffering Palestinian people deserve better. They deserve true leaders capable of creating and governing a free and peaceful Palestinian state.

    An equivalent statement, except that the speaker is GWB in 2004. Why should we be jumping up and down, and why do you conclude that “most blacks don’t care too much (or at all) about the Palestinians?” I commend the proprieter of this blog and all users for not messing themselves over this recycled pablum, whether it’s from GWB, Obama, tBQ or any of the others.

  19. Rick

    MissX: Some have Sept 11th. I also have March-13th. That’s the day in which I was the victim of a senseless black-on-black crime 17 years ago. I don’t know of too many people I grew up with in Brooklyn, who weren’t affected by violence in some way — either because they themselves were victims or they had loved ones who were. In an age where the leading cause of death for young black men is homicide at the hands of another black man, one would think we would have “black leadership” that is visibly agitated here in addition to those situations where it’s strictly race-based.

    MissX: violence of any sorts is wrong and should be spoken out against forcefully, regardless of the race of the victim or perpetrator. If I understand correctly, there was a crime committed by black youth against some white teens on the West Coast which received scant media attention. Some of my white colleagues mentioned it received scant attention for the reasons you described. I believe we need to speak out just as forcefully against violence in those situations as in others. I think it’s more than just the media being afraid of being called “racist” though. I think a larger problem is that in this country it’s still a matter of: “those people” got attacked, or “that group” did the attack — instead of, another human being got attacked and vice versa.

    This is why I find Obama’s unifying themes so appealing and why I find the divisiveness to which he has been greeted with so repulsive. The theme is U.N.I.T.Y. I indentify more with his message of hope and shared destiny, than perpetual doubt and divisive self-destruction.

    Rick
    Brooklyn, NY

  20. Rick

    One more thing MissX:
    Physical violence and psychological warfare are two different sides of the same coin. You don’t have to touch me to do your dirty work.

    Say I’m at major NY newspaper and I want to do a story about “blackness” and I seek to interview Debra Dickerson — who is the main decider of who gets to be black these days — but choose not to consider other promininent blacks’ opinion who have an alternate view — then I have successfully perpetuated a division in the black community on a mental level that can be far more devastating than anything you’ve done to me mentally. That paper is ATTEMPTING to shape an agenda about who is black and who is not. Now you are messing with who I might otherwise want to identify with, that is, if I don’t have a strong sense of resistance and strong sense of who I am. That paper is also perpetuating, if not causing, division. Same *ish! Arguable worse. Can you imagine the uproar about a black paper doing the same thing about a Candidate’s whiteness?????

  21. Rick

    Dblhelix: Thank you for clarifying that Obama did not retract his statement that Palestinians are suffering. While we may differ on whether his broader position on Isreal constitutes “recycled pablum”, I take comfort that he at least acknowledges the Palestinian plight.

    You asked me: “what is exceptionally noteworthy or remarkable about Obama’s remarks?” and “why do you conclude that “most blacks don’t care too much (or at all) about the Palestinians?”

    I feel that blacks “don’t care” about Palestinians (and to people of color in that part of the world more generally) because as I watched U-S. funded bunker bombs falling on innocent Lebanese women and children during Israel’s most recent proxy war with Syria and Iran, I wept, but saw little or no outcry that other human beings were “suffering.” It was also very difficult to engage others because many were not familiar with that part of the world or just in general showed apathy. that’s why I said what I did.

    Obama’s remarks are noteworthy, particularly in the current environment where few politicians are brave enough to even hint at “indicting” Israel on its policies or standing up to its lobby when Israeli politics go against longer term U.S. interests in the middle east. And it is in our longer terms interests to be seen as an “honest broker” between the Arabs and the Israelis in that part of the world. You called the text you quoted as “recycled pablum” and you draw a direct connection to Bush. But we need to go back further. By a decade to the Peace Accords under the Clinton Administration where the accord ultimately failed because Arafat (bowing to pressure from the “Arab Street”) refused settle on the agreement which the U.S. so desperately wanted to reach. The talks failed, but Clinton and his Middle East time had the right idea.

    Hillary will not be seen as an “honest broker” because I think she is viewed as being “too pro-Israeli”. The fact that Obama is willing to take a stand against Israel (but at the same time hopefully not alienating them too much so that he loses all of their support) is ESSENTIAL if he is to be seen as being an honest broker to both sides.

  22. Rick

    Miss X wrote: “At least our wrath doesn’t involve physical violence.”

    Well, some would disagree with you. The Financial Times has an interview with NYU historian Tony Judt who has received death threats since publicly calling for more vigorous debate on Israel.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3824ee52-d316-11db-829f-000b5df10621.html

    Quote:
    “In the worst moments I have had death threats, and much worse, threats against my family,” says Judt, after he sits down opposite me and begins to describe the reactions to his writing and his talks. “These people would call up my office and they would say, ‘Tell Tony Judt he had better not let his kids out on the street,’ or ‘Tell Tony Judt this is Hitler calling and he says, Congratulations.’” He winces and shakes his head. “I didn’t think I knew until then just how deep and how uniquely American this obsession with blocking any criticism of Israel is. It is uniquely American.” Not European, not Israeli.
    **End Quote**

    My original point was not to draw a connection b/w the U.S. Israeli lobby and the mafia, only to say that when someone is willing to identify with the suffering of the Palestinian people, that is noteworthy given the climate in this country.

    Personally, I HATE bullying and use of these intimidation tactics (including threats of physical violence) regardless whose doing it and I applaud whenever I see someone stand up to it.

  23. Bizzy

    HAHAHA!!
    Rick Listen… it doesn’t make sense to base your opinion on what appears to have “bi-partisan” support. You said:

    ‘Most with informed opinions would kindly disagree with you that a “dovish” stance is one to take – that’s both republicans and democrats.’

    I’d argue that this means nothing. The Iraq War quagmire enjoyed bi-partisan support at the outset as well. As do numerous disastrous pieces of legislation and policies that our government carries out. For you to even bring that up as an argument exposes a basic lack of understanding who the democrats and republicans are fundamentally. Two cheeks of the same behind.

    As for blacks not mentioning Palestine… this is a huge error on the part of the black left, and black intellectuals. I’d say that many do understand the injustice of that occupation and many do speak out, but some orgs like the NAACP remain largely silent because they are woefully attached to the Democratic Party machine and pillars of power who would rather do nothing. The black left NEEDS not be exclusive, tie it all in and mobilize around a broader social justice campaign, and international concerns. This is imperative as a way forward and I too was upset at the TOTAL lack of black leadership on the issue of Lebanon bombardment this summer, just as I was disgusted with the BI-PARTISAN Congressional support for Israel’s “right to defend itself”. I’m pleasantly suprised that Obama mentioned Palestine, but I wonder if his advisors and the Israeli lobby will allow him to make that “mistake” again.

    So you are quite keen on the limits on candidates, imposed by powerful corporations and interest groups like AIPAC, yet you hold this faith in Senator Obama? It is clear that for him to speak to the root causes of the inner city poverty in America, or to address the racist nature of the criminal justice system, or to demand a living wage… Obama would fall completely out of the good graces of his supporters, of the media, out of the race… how then can we expect him to change ANYTHING when there are very visible strings pulling him away from justice, is my point. He can’t, he wont.

    Let me get back to Israel… you mention the Clinton led “peace talks”, and I think it’s patently absurd for you to blame Arafat for the talk’s failure. A look at the maps, and the details of the plan show plainly that this was no real plan for peace as it didn’t come close reach even most of the Palestinian aspirations. DURING the process itself, conditions for the Palestinians were worsened, the occupation became tighter, settlements continued. We can go further into the details of said plan… but I’ll close by saying this:

    On the issue of Isreali occupation, like many others… tightroping isn’t what’s needed. Real, honest discussion is what’s needed.

  24. Rick

    re: Arafat let his people down.

    The audience can decide for themselves if my statement was “patently absurd” – although if I am, I am in good company.

    It was the year 2000. Bill Clinton, Arab leaders, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ALL tried to steer Arafat toward accepting a deal Clinton’s team was able to broker with Israel. The deal would have given the Palestinian Authority sovereignty over the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and the long-long hoped for Palestinian state. I believe it was a reasonable offer by Israel (too good in the eyes of many Israelis). Arafat himself fearing the wrath of extremists groups such as Hamas, and the “Palestinian Street”, if he should accept it, caved. He rejected the deal. And by his refusal, he helped to seal hard-liner Sharon’s victory — under whose government, it was assured that the Palestinians would not see such a favorable deal in a long long time.

    I agree there was major suffering for the Palestians. That’s what brought this issue up in the first place. It was my clarifying that Obama didn’t retract his statement about their suffering – something you wrongfully attributed to him – that brought this issue up in the first place.

    The Arab-Israeli conflict is very complex. And you are right, we can go point-counterpoint for the next few weeks back and forth to present our cases. My point is simple: Arafat had a chance to accept a peace deal, a deal that was backed by Israel, the United States, the United Nations, and Arab Leaders. Arafat caved because he was afraid to confront the extremists on his side that still want to eradicate Israel off the face of this earth. I say that Arafat let his people down. Patently upsurb? Hardly. Others can decide for themselves. We both agree honest discussion is needed. That was my point above about the U.S. needing to be an “honest broker” in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. It was such diplomacy that made that deal I mentioned above possible in the 1st place.

    Separately, others can also decide for themselves if going “soft” on Iran, a country which is in the process of going nuclear is in the best interests of the U.S.. For the record, all Obama has said is that “all options are on the table.” That’s not hawkish. That’s called being flexible. Hawkish is a slant towards using a particular option force, over diplomatic measures. And he is not on record for saying that he prefers to use force against Iran. Just keep his options open. I agree with that. You seemingly do not.

    you asked: “how then can we expect him to change ANYTHING when there are very visible strings pulling him away from justice, is my point. He can’t, he wont.”

    things are already changing. By raising the issue of “Palestinian lobby”, the New York times raised his point in an article on Sunday “Talking About Israel” and raised the question about why the U.S. doesn’t have a more open dialogue about our Middle Eastern Policies. the funny thing is that the overwhelming response from readers is that they actually do desire a more open dialogue and that the tactics which silenced debate should be stood up to. the fact that the NY Times carried this story was a sign that it was willing to touch this “3rd rail” of U.S. politics. The fact that the American people desire this dialogue makes me optimistic that we will not always be held hostage to select interest groups, including the Jewish Lobby.

    I guess that’s what separates me from many of the other readers of this forum. I’m a bit more optimistic about what happens next after a man or a woman is willing to take a stand (or in the case of Rosa Parks, take a seat) in the cause for something right. If Obama is true to himself, and his beliefs, there will be others there to back him up and say: “hey, I agree. I’m with you. Let’s make a change.”

    I’m just sorry it’s not more of his own people.

  25. Rick

    typo: 3rd to last para should start with:

    “things are already changing. By raising the issue of “Palestinian suffering”… (not lobby)

  26. Rick

    Doves Cry “Soft” while Iran Goes Nuke!!! Take aim at Obama Instead (who has no nukes).

    March 21, 2007 — Associated Press
    Iran warns it may ignore nuclear rules By ALI AKBAR DAREINI,

    TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s supreme leader said Wednesday that Tehran will pursue nuclear activities outside international regulations if the U.N. Security Council insists it stop uranium enrichment.

    “Until today, what we have done has been in accordance with international regulations,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. “But if they take illegal actions, we too can take illegal actions and will do so.” — excerpt

    Why don’t we just take all the options “OFF” the table and let Iran go nuke???????

  27. Bizzy

    Here’s an article written by Paul Street:
    Barack Obama, MLK and the Meaning of the Black Revolution
    I think it paints a pretty good all encompassing picture of Senator Obama and whether or not he represents the change that needs to occur in this country and world. Not just for blacks but for everyone. I agree and cosign with everything on there EXCEPT the section which begins with: “Not Really All That Black”… I think that this well written, stinging analysis of Obama would have been even stronger without this one section.

    Alright… on to Israel/ Palestine. It seems that we agree on Palestinian suffering, it seems that we agree that the occupation should be ended??? So where do we disagree Rick… looks like we disagree on the question of will/could Barack Obama credibly make the claim that he’s a genuine objective arbiter of peace in Palestine and Israel. Does Barack Obama show bias and support further to one side than the other… I think the answer to that is evident. We all know the reasons why… his goal is to president. So I don’t know what would make you feel that he would then become president and then cease the unfair, ridiculous military, financial, and diplomatic support of Israel and thus the occupation. What makes you think that he would lift the terrible sanctions that have left the innocent people of that country starved and in ruin? What makes you think that he would approach “peace talks” objectively and offer a real fair solution for the Palestinians who are refugees and under seige constantly in the occupied territories. He won’t… he just won’t. No reason to believe otherwise…period.

    Bill Clinton “the first black president” (yeah right) certainly didn’t. Yes, we know the occupation was brutal but I charge that it worsened during the years of talks. Arafat and the needs of the Palestinians were not sufficiently considered, much less met by the talks and at the end of the agreement.

    Let’s consider the actual plan… most people who take your position love to argue that the offer was unprecedented in what it conceded. I’d argue that that’s irrelevant. If the agreement ignores what you demand, what you deserve… then it’s not worth agreeing to. Israel was offering a large number of non-contiguous “bantustans” separated by swaths of Israeli land, connected and disconnected by Isreali only/ Palestinian allowed roads. Several checkpoints would remain, control over imports and exports would remain, control over water resources in those areas would remain. This is not an offer that can be taken seriously. This would change the nature of the occupation, not the occupation itself… it made no provisions for the countless refugees who deserve their internationally recognized right to return. It makes no sense to blame the powerless for rejecting his barely edible scraps… instead of blaming the powerful for not providing a place at the table.

    As for Iran… The Iranian government has witnessed an invasion of their neighbors in Afghanistan, and an unprovoked act of agression in Iraq. From this they’ve smartly learned that these two countries were attacked, not because they had WMD, but because they didn’t have them. Put yourself in the shoes of that country for a moment and think what you would do when faced with a cowboy American President lunatic. IT IS OUR FOREIGN POLICIES that have put the rest of the world on the defensive. The muslim world is deeply threatened by our rhetoric and our actions. Regarding nuclear weapons… the United States is one of the ONLY industrialized nations in the world to reject international efforts to impose major, serious limits on these weapons. Why? Our military budget is several times more than the world’s second largest such budget. We use depleted uranium TODAY in Iraq, and we are the only country in the world to have ever dropped bombs with devastating power as Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We do not practice what we preach… We abstain from joining international bodies that hold leaders accountable for war crimes, we ignore and treat the highly important United Nations with contempt should they attempt to put us in check, but later we reference the UN as an authority to condemn others. This is hypocrisy and why the world views us poorly. It’s very very very unfortunate but true. I’m far from a pacifist, but I have common sense and I understand the perspectives of other peoples, and the natural International reactions caused by our actions.

    It appears that no one in the politicorporate elite recognizes this, including Senator Obama. This is why we are where we are.

  28. Rick

    Bizzy-
    I appreciate the points you made, and agree with many of them. Obama is just one man. One human being. By himself he can do absolutely nothing. And that’s a good thing. Our constitution ultimately grants sovereignty to “We the People”. It’s only through our collective laziness (and FEAR post 9/11) that we’ve delegated so much authority to the Administration and/or hold the legislative branch more accountible. Congress is making positive glacial movements – albeit important ones – to wrest some back. So where, in my opinion, does Obama fit in?

    A writer once said: “If a nation has strayed far from the center of her true greatness, the task is not to make her forget her past, but to remind her of the true meaning of her deepest inspirations and her highest dreams.”

    Wow. Wasn’t that the most significant legacy of Dr. King? The fact that when we as a people got the metaphorical “bounced check”coming back marked insufficient funds, he knew to not walk away discouraged because the funds were really there?

    I am — i dare say it — optimistic that this country can live up to its ideals and reverse many of problems that are facing us. I have…”hope”. I believe in Obama because I believe in his ability to move the American people to find the best in themselves. The first person I heard say that Obama should run for president was not a person of color from NYC, but a white woman native to North Carolina who was definitely old enough to have lived through Jim Crow segregation. This was way back in 2005 when memories of his 2004 speech at the democratic speech were still in short-term memory. I said to her, “what? it will never happen.” and she said, “I like him. Just watch”.

    I am still in stunned disbelief that this white woman had the foresight at the time that I found so evading.

    I refuse to give up home on our country. Things can get better. But they won’t get better by themselves. No one person can do it alone. It takes we the people.

    Rick

  29. Bizzy

    I hear you Rick… thanks for the exchange
    I think that I am alot less “hopeful” than you are. I do recognize that Obama is the best worst option. Lesser of all evils, but I have a deep concern and distrust for this system.

    Well I guess only time will tell.

  30. Jon B

    “You say about Obama that “he is enduring the wrath of the Jewish Lobby”. Well that’s a lot easier that enduring the wrath of the NAACP, or the Jesse Jackson or AL Sharpton or Farrakaun rage-athon.”

    The backlash from these groups may be excessive, but their power in this country is minute compared to the pro-Israel/Jewish lobby. A candidate can publicly denounce affirmative action and rise to the highest levels of govt. Denouncing Israeli apartheid is political suicide. If they are elected, they will never rise above the lowest rungs of power, and the only media coverage they’ll get will be negative.

    Obedient politicians are identified early, nurtured and controlled. They are flown to Israel and given the red-carpet treatment and “poor oppressed Israel” tour. When “the lobby” calls on them to support or oppose something or introduce legislation, they rarely say no. If they don’t fall in step and the “offense” is considered serious, an army of thought-police comes down on them like a ton of bricks. Thousands of emails, phone calls, letters from Congressmen and heads of state hit them and their staff like a tsunami. The media turns negative, printing unflattering articles about him/her that “question” their character and fitness for public office. George Bush, Sr. found out who butters the bread when he challenged the $10 billion in “loans” American taxpayers send to Israel annually:

    Christine Toomey
    The Sunday Times, London
    Sept. 16, 1991
    “Bush Standing Firm in the Face of Goliath”

    “Faced with 1,000 Jewish lobbyists descending on Capitol Hill to enter into battle with the president of the United States, Bush described himself as just one lonely little guy down here’. . . Not since President Eisenhower took on Israel during the Suez crisis in 1956 has an American leader so openly faced up to the Jewish lobby.

    “By threatening to veto any move by Congress to guarantee $10 billion in loans to Israel, Bush is confronting a machine that not even the most powerful politicians in America care to alienate…”

  31. Rick

    Bizzy: I enjoyed our exchange as well.

    the situation in the middle east is changing so rapidly, even since our conversation began. iran has kidnapped 15 british soldiers as I’m sure you’ve seen, escalating risks of a new showdown in the Persian Gulf. Condi’s shuttle diplomacy has earned a new round of talks between Israel and Palestinian Authorities – something that I didn’t think would happen just 5 days ago. on this latter point, i don’t expect anything “earth shattering” to occur. i’ll be listening closely to hear what each of the candidates say about both of these issues in the days/weeks ahead (if they choose to say anything at all). i really want to know what they’d do if they were the president of the united states and these developments were unfolding under their watch.

    Rick

  32. Rick

    “but I have a deep concern and distrust for this system.”

    then let’s change it🙂 it won’t be easy, but we can’t afford to give up hope. we need to educate our brothers and sisters starting at an early age about how politics affects them on a day to day basis. we have to make it relevant and meaningful to them.

    Bizzy, if folks like you and I don’t have hope, then who will?

  33. Bizzy

    I hear you Rick… but I DO have hope…. just not in this system. Just not in these “leaders”.

    I think we focus WAY too much time on individuals, and on personalities. Barack Obama is just a man, as is George Bush, and Nancy Pelosi is just a woman. They are in the positions they are in because of an ability to navigate this woefully corrupt and money driven system… that’s all.

    I will definitely teach my kids about the importance of politics and how it affects our daily lives, but I won’t give them the rosy textbook picture about Congress being responsive to the will of the people, or about Presidential candidates having anything resembling principled beliefs. I think we should understand the system, for how it works and focus our attention away from individuals, personalities, “leaders”, and polls altogether.

    Look at the weak, non-binding nonsens that the democrats have fed us as opposition to this war! PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE IN THIS LINK!! The media joins in to call it an actual opposition, but that’s just false.(it fully funds the war for Bush, and offers a NONbinding “timeline”, and allows the administration to decide on benchmarks, and other bullshit). The country’s elite are all in agreement with very narrow tactical differences.

    We should invest our time, energies, and money in ourselves. Coalition and movement building. When people come out and become ACTIVE CITIZENS, then we demand things and move mountains regardless of which worthless Neocon or worthless capitulator is in office.

    I hope you see what I’m saying Rick. I haven’t lost hope, I just feel the need to focus people away from “leaders”. Very few exist in our political system, unfortunately. We are the leaders that we seek, not Bush, not Clinton (both of em) and not even Obama. That’s really my point and that’s what I’ll teach my kids

  34. Rick

    I do see what you are saying Bizzy. And thanks for the link. I wasn’t aware of the details of the “Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act” until i read about its major provisions in the article you attached. not surprising since it never made it to public debate.

    well, all i can say is that this fight is not over yet. i know i was a little surprised that even the bill that was passed made it through congress…and is now set for a veto fight with the President. I’m very interested to see how this all plays out.

    agree with you 100% that we need to invest in coalition and movement building. that’s what’s up!

  35. Susan

    That anyone who calls him/herself Black can so misuse the word “apartheid” is sickening. Beyond the fact that Israel is NOT in violation of ANY international law (DO learn the difference between bread-n-butter “UN Resolutions” and *BINDING* UN Resolutions, please!), & that her “abominable human rights record” comes from organizations who don’t even dare whisper about what her enemies have done & are doing, could someone explain to me how Israel can be “apartheid” and yet still have Arab Israeli MKs, judges & even the acting President of the country? Arabs from surrounding countries are trying to get INTO Israel, so they can have rights they don’t have anywhere else in the Middle East! Get educated, or at least get some sense & stop reading a MSM cowed by terrorist threats into touting the PLO/Hamas party line!!

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