Jewish Leaders Question Obama's Stand on Middle East
17 Shevat 5768, January 24, '08
(IsraelNN.com) Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama still is reeling from negativity from the Jewish community, which is questioning his position on the Palestinian Authority (PA)-Israeli conflict. Earlier this week, seven Jewish democratic senators wrote an open letter condemning an e-mail campaign that falsely accused Sen. Obama of being a Muslim.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) circulated a memo questioning Sen. Obama on his approach to Iran's nuclear development and on negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The Jewish Forward revealed the memo, which stated that Sen. Obama "appears to believe the Israelis bear the burden of taking the risky steps for peace, and that the violence Israel has received in return does not shift that burden. The AJC expressed "regret" that the internal memo was published.
The memo also notes that Sen. Obama previously has made statements favoring diplomatic talks with Iran and negotiating with Syria.
January 23, 2008
Barack Obama's Middle East Expert
By Ed Lasky
Barack Obama's real thinking about Israel and the Middle East continues to be an enigma. The words he chose in an address to AIPAC create a different impression than the composition of his foreign policy advisory team. Several advisors have evidenced a history of suspicion and worse toward Israel. One of his advisors in particular, Robert Malley, clearly warrants attention, as does the reasoning that led him to being chosen by Barack Obama.
A little family history may be in order to understand the genesis of Robert Malley's views. Normally, one should be reluctant in exploring a person's family background -- after all, who would want to be held responsible for the sins of one's father? However, when close relatives share a strong current of ideological affinity, and when a father has a commanding persona, it behooves a researcher to inquire a bit into the role of family in forming views. That said, Robert Malley has a very interesting father.
His father Simon Malley was born to a Syrian family in Cairo and at an early age found his métier in political journalism. He participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World. He wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations. In Paris, he founded the journal Afrique Asie; he and his magazine became advocates for "liberation" struggles throughout the world, particularly for the Palestinians.
Simon Malley loathed Israel and anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him-as an internet search would easily show. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat. He was, according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the Palestinian Liberation Organization --- and this was when it was at the height of its terrorism wave against the West . His efforts were so damaging to France that President Valerie d'Estaing expelled him from the country.
Malley has seemingly followed in his father's footsteps: he represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism. Through his writings he has served as a willing propagandist, bending the truth (and more) to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias; he heads a group of Middle East policy advisers for a think-tank funded (in part) by anti-Israel billionaire activist George Soros; and now is on the foreign policy staff of a leading Presidential contender. Each step up the ladder seems to be a step closer towards his goal of empowering radicals and weakening the ties between American and our ally Israel.
Robert Malley's writings strike me as being akin to propaganda. One notable example is an op-ed that was published in the New York Times (Fictions About the Failure at Camp David). The column indicted Israel for not being generous enough at Camp David and blamed the failure of the talks on the Israelis.
Malley has repeated this line of attack in numerous op-eds over the years, often co-writing with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Yasser Arafat (see, for example, Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors ). He was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat's role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.
(excerpt - the remainder of the article is here.)
Just a few days ago, the heads of major Jewish organizations released a press release denouncing smear jobs on Obama but seemed to ignore what Obama is really about. One wonders why Abe Foxman, Marvin Hier and company are spending their time worrying about urban myths aimed at Obama's feelings instead of examining the candidate's positions. With all fairness, Obama is not as best as I can determine anti-Semitic (in that he has no hatred for Jews or Israel based upon economic, political or religious beliefs) although his long time pastor Jeremiah Wright probably is. I give credit to Obama for distancing himself from Wright's infatuation with Farrakhan.
However, Obama's history lends itself to an interpretation that he may be anti-Jew if he really concludes that Israel is to blame for the conflict in the middle east. I draw that conclusion based upon the available evidence: the AJC memo, his associations and interest in negotiating with Israel's enemies. A casual reading of the comments quoted in the Israel National News story of the AJC internal memo as reported by Forward, show a callousness towards Israel which causes concern.
Israel must never be pushed into "taking the risky steps for peace" as the memo reveals Obama supports. Such moves lead to an increase in terrorist attacks and the spilling of Jewish blood. All the more so, if attacks by lunatic barbarians who seem to be intentionally trying to provoke a significant military response from Israel by firing rockets into Sderot daily cannot evoke from Obama a sense of sympathy, what must one conclude? Obama, in order to hold this position, (if accurately reported) must not value Jewish life or feels that randomly dropping rockets on civilian population centers is a legitimate form of warfare. (Warfare for the underclass nationalist movements, etc.) An opinion such as that one leads the same casual observer to wonder what Obama must have learned in Midrassa.
The belief that the Jew must take his punishment and still be responsible for changing the scenario where the punishment is being meted out is anti-Jew. There is no way around this conclusion. But give Obama a benefit of the doubt. The underpinning of his belief is no different than that held by many others, primarily but not limited to the left in America today. The leading proponents for a mythical two-state solution are on the left. (Bush and Condi excluded). Blaming Israel is part of counter-culture mythology a function of a mis-interpretation of who is the aggressor and who is the victim, who has ill will toward whom. When Israel is viewed as the oppressor of the poor palestinians, a view held more so on the left than the right, the logical conclusion is that Israel must give something to compensate the victims of their anger. While the arabians are the weaker party in terms of the pali-Israel conflict, they are clearly not innocent. The left avoids studying how the situation got to where it is today; liberals need no justifications. Someone should ask Obama if he knows why there was a war in 1948 and if he believes that had a "palestine" been established at that time if there would be peace today. Why was the PLO established before Israel "occupied" Yesha? Why did the Six Day war occur? Readers of this blog know the answers to these questions. Does Obama? Hillary? One wonders whether Foxman, Hier and company have the seichal to ask?