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Will Obama Be a True Friend of Israel?

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Posted on Nov 10, 2008

The U.S. presidential election was watched with interest, of course, by Israelis, some of whom favored John McCain because they believed he would have been a better “friend of Israel” than Barack Obama will be. Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy wonders if there aren’t some problems with this idea.

Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

Only in Israel does the prime minister place George Bush’s portrait in his den, in his private home. Only in Israel does the prime minister travel to visit him in the White House.

That’s because Bush was a friend of Israel. Israel’s greatest friend. Bush let it embark on an unnecessary war in Lebanon. He did not prevent the construction of a single outpost. He may have encouraged Israel, in secret, to bomb Iran. He did not pressure Israel to move ahead with peace talks, he even held up negotiations with Syria, and he did not reproach Israel for its policy of targeted killings.

Bush also supported the siege on Gaza and participated in the boycott of Hamas, which was elected in a democratic election initiated by his own administration.

That’s just how we like U.S. presidents. They give us a green light to do as we please. They fund, equip and arm us, and sit tight. Such is the classic friend of Israel, a friend who is an enemy, and enemy of peace and an enemy to Israel.

Let us now hope that Obama will not be like them. That he will reveal himself to be a true friend of Israel. That he will put his whole weight behind a deep American involvement in the Middle East, that he will try to solve the Iranian issue through negotiation - the only effective means. That he will help end the siege on Gaza and the boycott of Hamas, that he will push Israel and Syria to make peace, that he will spur Israel and the Palestinians to reach a settlement.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, November 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment


Touchy aren’t we?!  Remember there is history beyond that which is “recorded.”  Now you may argue that Arabs as an ethnic culture may have arisen 2500 years ago, but I take certain liberties and use the word Arab to include the indigenous people of northern Africa and the Levant.  There is historical evidence that the Hebrews were in Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II around 1300 B.C.  So that puts the date around 3300 hundred years ago.  Now the Hebrews evolved out of an amalgamation of marauding nomadic tribes in the Levant around 1000 years before Ramesses which now places the date around 4300 years ago.  So my figure of 5000 years is a little closer to actuality than your number of 2500 years.  Now you may or may not be of Middle Eastern descent based on your ID and you may or may not have a double doctorate as claim, but I can tell you I never graduated from high school and still have a better perspective of history than you!

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By Fadel Abdallah, November 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

By Blackspeare, November 11 at 3:21 pm #

“Let’s see the Arabs and the Hebrews have been historical enemies for 5,000 years——”
I am really astonished how an ignorant person like you, Blackspeare, has the temerity to exhibit such ignorance about history! Where did you come up with the figure of 5,000 years, when I who has one PhD in Arab-Muslim intellectual history and another in linguistics can only trace Arab recorded history as being only 2,500 years!

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By Blackspeare, November 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

I’ve noticed that any TD article that includes the word “Israel” gets a plethora of comments.  I guess the word “Israel” pushes a lot of people’s buttons!

Let’s see the Arabs and the Hebrews have been historical enemies for 5,000 years——why stop now just when victory for the Arabs (Palestinians) is in hand. Note: Victory in hand to an Arab means within 100 years.  Obama will try to reign in Israel as much as he is willing to do, but to no avail.  Israel knows the Arab mindset and the Palestinians will do their best to wrest concessions to strengthen their position while they agree to a hudna or temporary halt in combat actions for a breather.  As I said many times the only way a prolonged period of relative peace will ensue is when one side vanquishes the other.

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By mendez, November 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Interesting comments from Emmanuel’s racist father:

Congressman Emmauel and President-Elect Barack Obama were asked to publicly repudiate the derogatory comments Emmanuel’s father made regarding his son’s position. Benjamin Emmanuel was quoted by numerous Israeli and American publications as saying “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

I have little doubt this apple didn’t fall very far from the tree.  I think that if Emmanuel does not repudiate his racist father’s remarks, Obama should speak up and let us know where he is on this.

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By mendez, November 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

There are no rankings, and it isn’t a case of what the US should do about Israel, it’s about how the U.S. should support countries that abuse people and act against the things we are supposed to stand for. Israel is one case, China another and there are plenty more.  If we want our country to support tyrants and theives, we must eliminate all aid to all these countries.  In as much as virtually everyone understands the weight of an AIPAC, it should be a slam dunk to let them know where we stand.  Instead, Obama has already gotten into bed with them, and with Emmanuel who is the worst thug of all, and he announced today he wants Lieberman in the Democratic Party.  Lieberman and many other Jews in Congress are simply pawns of Israel, and actually some non Jews are also.  What is it going to take for you to get this right.  It ain’t like it’s science you know.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Can anyone enlighten me about Rahm Emmanuel’s probable approach to the Middle East? Has he made any public statements on the subject? We know what Obama said to AIPAC, and it was myopic, self-serving, disheartening, and certainly not in America’s national interest. Some argue that he was simply attempting to placate an important voting group, but even if you divide the rhetoric by half you still end up with business-as-usual for the Israeli right. Is Emmanuel of like mind?

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By FCBarca, November 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

How about that for priorities?

Always going on about what the US ‘should’ do with respect to Israel…Last I checked, this is the USA, not Israel.

And if the world comes second, freeing Palestine would rank up there ahead of being a ‘friend’ to Israel

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By Folktruther, November 11, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Quite true, Beerdoctor, there is less deviance among the American media, including the Progressive media, then there is among the Israeli media.

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By rodney, November 11, 2008 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not whether or not he will be a friend to Israel.It is whether or not a US President will finally stand up to Israel and its powerful US lobby. Starting with Jew Liberman who puts Israel interests over the interests of the US. That is the main reason he no longer is a Democrat because Israel supports the Iraq war while most Democrats disapprove of it. He lost the primary because of it. The system of aparteid that exists in Israel along with its human rights abuses is the main reason there is not a middle east peace agreement in place. The US need to at least be a neutral broker and promote a system of fairness in order to achieve a fair and lasting peace agreement. So will Obama change US policy and rein in the zionist neocons or will he promote real change and fairness to the Palestinians and finally achieve the two state solution that will achieve peace

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By mendez, November 11, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

This one sentence angers me as much as anything said by this administration:  “Bush also supported the siege on Gaza and participated in the boycott of Hamas, which was elected in a democratic election initiated by his own administration.”

Hamas was elected because Bush demanded the Palestinian people hold a democratic election and the people saw Hamas as the only chance they had to feed their children and defend themselves by the Israeli land theft, euphemistically called “settlements.”  Bush demanded they hold election before he would even speak to the people.  This is the most blatant act of fascism perpetrated to date, but it seems that even Truthdig is hiding the truth.  No one in MSM has even brought this up so I guess revisionism is active and alive even in the liberal blogosphere.

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By mendez, November 11, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

“some of us are hoping that Obama is a stealth candidate, and will fully reassess the US relationship to Israel.”  Ah that phrase, similar to what we’ve been hearing for decades because the Democratic Party hasn’t quite figured out how to be honest and get elected.  Democrats are constantly holding their noses and voting because they can’t agree that peace is a viable route to democracy. They accept being told to read in between the lines and be well hopeful. I’m not sure how Likkud and right wing Israelis managed to convince the Jewish people of Israel that they can’t be whole unless they have all the land and get rid of all the Arabs and Muslims.  I learned about peace and harmony from the Jewish people and I just don’t understand why anyone is putting up with the mess the right wing has caused.  Likkud makes the Bush/Rove tactics seem dove-like but the intimidation factor is way out of line and it will need to be confronted and defeated before courage is shown.  What a pity.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, November 11, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From reading the article I infer that Levy wants the US to maintain support of apartheid Israel with unlimited military and financial support, but he doesn’t think our assistance in the annexation of the rest of Palestine is required or even a good idea.

Can he count on Obama?  There is no reason to think that he can’t.  But, some of us are hoping that Obama is a stealth candidate, and will fully reassess the US relationship to Israel.

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By mendez, November 11, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Not sure why the anonymous writer chose to place “Friend of Israel” in quotes, without defining his interpretation, but I follow this web site because it has been an ardent believer in not hiding from its true intentions.  That phrase should be read to mean that as a FOI, you are expected to write a blank check for anything Israel asks for and back them even when they are guilty of genocide.  Today we learn that Israel is starving to death the children of the Gaza Strip and any other non Jews they can find.  As the quintessential FOI we are funding their genocide.  No need to be anonymous, no need to hide behind catch phrases.  Everyone knows what Israel is guilty of and what we, taxpayers, are sitting by watching:  the murder and mutilation of young children and other innocents.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 11, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

re: Folktruther

“These people are religious fanatics, even though most of them don’t believe in God.”
That sounds like the a description of the ultimate neoconjob. The glaring injustices in the Middle East, perpetrated by U.S. policy, is the ultimate third rail in American politics. Thus all who seek higher office must literally grovel before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A running of the gauntlet as it were, promising to deliver even more ordnance and money without question, in order to further the state’s expansionist designs.
One ironic note to all of this, is that Israel based upon a democratic system of government, has more of the actual historic record to this conflict, and the injustices therein, than will ever be found in the surrounding Arab countries. As Robert Fisk has pointed out, “Dictatorships and caliphates do not give away their secrets”. Thus the twenty two thousand square meter Assad Library is permanently sealed, so that “not a single state paper is open to the people of Syria.”
And I gather you have probably heard the comment that there is more criticism of U.S./Israel policy in Israel than is ever allowed in the United States.
I do not think it is very difficult to surmise why.

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By Folktruther, November 11, 2008 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

We are fortunate to have among TD commenters a genuine Zionist loony. Ihherit the Wind, who considers anyone who supports the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression anti-Semitic.  He therefore considers me anti-Semetic although I am my wife’s family have been Jewish for many generations and my grandparents were murdered by the Nazis.  This doesn’t matter for Aipac Zionists, and not only was an Israeli general, Sabin, murdered by this wing, Finklestein, a soft Zionist, was refused admission to Israel.

This Jewish nationalist fanaticism is instilled by the Jewish religion.  All religion has been hijacked by power structures to legitimate Divine and, especially, earthly power.  Traditional religion instills the necessity for obedience to the Will and the Laws of the gods, just as we must obey the will and the laws of the powerful.

The Jewish religion instills an identification with Jewish power.  Inherit is motivated by the same fanaticism as my relatives and Wolfiwitz, Perl, Dershowitz, and, now, Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s new chief of staff.  These people have hijacked American policy to support Likud Zionism because, according to James Petras, 25 to 30 percent of America’s ruling class are Jewish, and most of them are Zionist. 

Those that aren’t, such as Soros who funds MoveOn, is neutralized from opposition for fear of being attacked, as he himself has said publically.  The Zionist ruling class funds both parties to support Israeli imperialism and the oppression of the Palestinians.

Addleson, for example, who was profiled in the NEW YORKER, has 25 billion dollars and funds and pressures Aipac to go still further to the right.  One percent of this is 250 million dollars, and you can buy a lot of American political leaders with that much money.  And the Elite media, such as the NYTimes is also, more subtlely, Zionist, and influences Elite thought.

These people are religious fanatics, even though most of them don’t believe in God.  Inherit considers me anti-Semitic because I “hate the Homeland”, by which he means Israel, the Homeland of the Jews, not of the Palestinians living there.  Since this makes no rational political sense, Zionists are quite irrational and generally argue by smearing their oppoenents as anti-Semetic and censoring their appearances and truths, and getting them fired from their jobs, as Finklestein was.  Sepharad, a TD truther, is a journalist who works with a Zionist organization attacking pro-Palistinian comment in the media.

However, there is also a universalist, rationalist wing of the Jewish tradition, to which famous Western truthers have belonged.  Many of them have been socialists of various kinds and consequently political enemies of the Jewish nationalists.  Consequently the most effective Western opposition to Zionist has been led by universalist Jews who identify with progressive thought. Zionists hate this and brand them as “self-hating anti-Semites” and censor and get them fired whenever they can.

The reason that this is important now is that Obama is now firmly in the Zionist camp, having appointed Biden, a Zionist warmonger as VP, and Emmanuel, a Zionist fund raiser,  as chief of staff. The wars that he is going to fight are partially going to be in Israel’s imperialist interests, not the US.  Indeed, the whole War on Terrorism was initiated in a conference in Jeruselem in 1979 attended by high Israeli and US leaders.

Therefore to effectively oppose the War on Terrorism, which fraudulently focuses on a minor world police problem to further imperialism, it is necessary to oppose Zionism.  As the writer of the above piece does in Israel.  But it must be opposed in the US as well.

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By dsmith, November 11, 2008 at 4:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Because so much of the “Mainstream Media” is controlled by people of the Jewish cult you cannot criticize Israel for fear of being branded anti-semitic. Look at what they did to Jimmy Carter for pointing out that Israel is denying men, women and children medicine, water and electricity.

It was reported recently in Haaretz that a man needing serious medical attention wanted to leave Gaza to seek medical care, since none was available in Gaza. The old man was told by the Israeli military, “You may leave if…you promise to become an informant on your fellow villagers.” The man refused.

I personally don’t want my taxes funding a neo-nazi mentality like this!

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By thebeerdoctor, November 11, 2008 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

re: Fadel Abdallah

“There are two kinds of people coming out of Auschwitz. Those who said never again for the Jews and those like me who say never again for any human beings.”
Avaraham Burg

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By abdo, November 11, 2008 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

if enough people inside and outside Israel became friends of the Jewish people and not the imperial Israeli project, the world will be a different place. The good will of the Jewish people in the longer run will be determined by their middle eastern neighbors. The American presidents comes and goes, but we the people will be always around.

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By Folktruther, November 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me, Fadel.

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By Folktruther, November 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Me too, Fidel.

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By Fadel Abdallah, November 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Gideon Levy is one of the sober Israelis who has not been intoxicated with the Zionist power, nor has he been permanently mentally damaged by the complex of Masada and the Holocaust! And that’s why he is one healthy and firm Jew who can speak the truths and wishes he expresses in this piece. Gideon Levy is a true patriotic Israeli that other Israelis need to emulate for the sake of their long term survival and peace. 

Likewise, I have to commend the ever-enlightened Haaretz newspaper for its clear and thoughtful commitment to truth and peace. It’s the only Israeli institution that I envy Israel for having. I wish to see one such publication in each country of the Arab world and in each state of this sad United States of America!

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