Friday 6 June 2008


I barely had time to recover from the excitement of Barak Obama's successful Democrat nomination before he revealed that the expectations created by his soaring rhetoric will not be borne out by an Obama Presidency.

It didn't take long. Barely days after his successful bid to for the Democratic Presidential candidacy, Barack Obama has revealed the full theatrics of his claims to taking the US into new political territory.

For reasons I still do not fully understand, the test of any politicians mettle in the US and in Australia, is their readiness to speak truths about the issue of Palestine. There are few who are ready to do this. Apart from Jimmy Carter, I can't name a Western leader who is ready to acknowledge the full suffering of the Palestinians and the problematic antecedents of that suffering.

Kevin Rudd was able to speak truths about China in Tibet. He has been unable to do so in relation to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

And so Barack Obama has shown he is not so very new at all. His colour is different. His rhetoric is soaring. But if he can't stand up to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), who in Washington can he stand up to? Or is AIPAC really that powerful?

I have referenced previously my amazement that Israel's internal debate about its future and the Palestinians is far more textured than that of the governments of the US or Australia.

Barack Obama's decision to take such a strident position on Jerusalem is a great disappointment. I've not even heard such a view expressed even by George Bush. Outbushing George?

Saeb Erakat put it simply, "What this does is undermine the moderates like us and give so much ammunition to extremists in this region."

And whether you believe the Palestinian problem contributes one per cent or ninety nine per cent of the fuel of Islamic extremism, it contributes something.

We all lose from Barack Obama's position - including Israel.

No comments:

Post a Comment