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Election ‘08 as Seen From the Middle East

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Posted on Nov 6, 2008
Mosaic election report

Which U.S. presidential candidate did Iranians hope would win? Do Palestinians think President-elect Barack Obama will understand the needs and challenges of their region better than President Bush has? Link TV’s Mosaic Intelligence Report takes a look at the coverage of the American election in the Middle East.

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By Robert, November 7, 2008 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

November 7 / 9, 2008

The Promised Land?

Obama, Emanuel and Israel


“In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin’s Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after “a Lehi combatant who was killed”—i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir’s terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

In rapid response to this news, the editorial in the next day’s Arab News (Jeddah) was entitled “Don’t pin much hope on Obama—Emanuel is his chief of staff and that sends a message”. This editorial referred to the Irgun as a “terror organization” (a judgment call) and concluded: “Far from challenging Israel, the new team may turn out to be as pro-Israel as the one it is replacing.”

That was always likely. Obama repeatedly pledged unconditional allegiance to Israel during his campaign, most memorably in an address to the AIPAC national convention which Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery characterized as “a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning”, and America’s electing a black president has always been more easily imagined than any American president’s declaring his country’s independence from Israeli domination.

Still, one of the greatest advantages for the United States in electing Barack Hussein Obama was the prospect that the world’s billion-plus Muslims, who now view the United States with almost universal loathing and hatred, would be dazzled by the new president’s eloquence, life story, skin color and middle name, would think again with open minds and would give America a chance to redeem itself in their eyes and hearts—not incidently, drastically shortening the long lines of aspiring jihadis eager to sacrifice their lives while striking a blow against the evil empire.

The profound loathing and hatred of the Muslim world toward the United States, which has always had its roots for America’s unconditional support for the injustices inflicted and still being inflicted on the Palestinians, can fairly be considered the core of the primary foreign policy and “national security” problems confronting the United States in recent years. Why would Obama, a man of unquested brilliance, have chosen to send such a contemptuous message to the Muslim world with his first major appointment? Why would he wish to disabuse the Muslim world of its hopes (however modest) and slap it across the face at the ealiest opportunity?

A further contemptuous message is widely rumored to be forthcoming—the naming as “Special Envoy for Middle East Peace” of Dennis Ross, the notorious Israel-Firster who, throughout the 12 years of the Bush the First and Clinton administrations, ensured that American policy toward the Palestinians did not deviate one millimeter from Israeli policy and that no progress toward peace could be made and who has since headed the AIPAC spin-off “think tank”, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, November 7, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

For me personally, Obama’s election is certainly a breath of fresh air…a new chapter at the beginning of new era that radiates prospects for hope.

Yet, as far as my ideological and universal issues are concerned, I am not ready to celebrate as my fellow Americans do- by sipping lot’s of champagne. Thank you, I don’t drink alcoholic beverages for I know that alcohol is not good for my heath.

However, as a citizen whose life was made a nightmare for the last eight years, I look with hopeful expectation to something that’s not business as usual, recognizing that Obama is not a savior as many think him to be. He has the potential to be a great improvement on the previous eight lean years. So short of prematurely celebrating, my attitude would be one of wait and see.

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By Vicky Pollack, November 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The election of Obama certainly won’t eradicate racism. 

It should help in a couple of ways, however.

First, it clearly opens the door for everyone who isn’t a white male. Now every natural born citizen can dream a legitimate dream of being president.

Second, Obama will give a lot of people with racist tendencies more familiarity with a competent, admirable person of color.  A lot of racism is simply fear of the unknown.

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By randyha, November 7, 2008 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Thanks, I found this fascinating. I can’t believe there is a middle-eastern copy of John King and his useless map.

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