Sunday, January 4, 2009

Obama's silence on Gaza is complicity with war crimes

Barack Obama has been very outspoken on the economy and what needs to be done to fix it. There is no "one president at a time" rhetoric on the issues he chooses to speak out on.

But on Israel's attack on Gaza, which has caused dozens of civilian lives--by definition a violation of international law--Obama is silent. With just a sentence or two of disapproval, Obama could signal to Israel and the world that his election will make a difference on the world stage. He could save lives--many of them.

George W. Bush is a lame duck president for whom only a small minority of Americans have any remaining respect, and his international reputation is much worse. There is too much at stake to let his administration continue to stain and shame America's reputation in the world. Bush has abdicated any serious responsibility for domestic and international affairs and he has de facto given up his role as America's leader to Barack Obama.

Obama promised us change, domestically and internationally. We are waiting for him to take a stand--one way or the other.

Obama speaks. According to the New York Times, Jan 6: Barack Obama, the United States president-elect, broke his silence about the Israeli assault on Gaza on Tuesday, saying “the loss of civilian life in Gaza and in Israel is a source of deep concern for me." He did not comment more, repeating his statement that the United States has only one president at a time.
Obama will be leader of the "free world" in two weeks. Let's hope he does better then.

U.S. stands in the way of peace. The New York Times reports what we all should have suspected, that the U.S. was the primary obstacle to a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire.

Shame on the New York Times. Another day in Israel's assault on Gaza has passed, and that's another day that the Times has taken no editorial position on the matter. But today (Jan 5) we do find a William Kristol column, "Why Israel Fights," which is in full support of the war. Perhaps the editors feel that their front page story on civilian casualties in Gaza says it all, but if so, what are editorial pages for? The Times needs to tell us where it stands, unless, as I suggested earlier, it can't make up its collective mind.

Voices from Gaza. From the receiving end of Israel's attack, on the BBC Web site.

Giving away other peoples' countries. Former U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, suggests that Egypt take over Gaza and Jordan take over the West Bank. No further comment needed.


terryt said...

Does anyone have any idea as to why Western governments, especially that of the USA, are so reluctant to criticise Israel in any way? Are the conspiracy theorists correct in claiming it's because powerful Jewish interests control the money supply?

I knew the Palestinians were still in trouble, even if Obama won the Presidency, after I'd heard that Samantha Power had been sacked after the BBC interview. Her sacking had nothing whatsoever to do with her comments regarding Mrs. Clinton, but everything to do with the fact she argued for dialogue with Hamas, and with the Iranian leaders.

Richard said...

Re the New York Times - you Americans haven't got a single newspaper or TV station that hasn't been bought.

Try any provincial newspaper in France or Spain (not just the big ones like Le Monde or El Pais) and you'll find a surprising sophistication and attention to real detail.

Richard said...


Para 1 - Yes

Para 2 - Interesting news to me, but par for the course.

Obama will be perfectly useless on the Middle East, but may get some publicity for something - like Clinton (Part 1).

Whatever progress is made will be firmly stopped by Clinton (Par t2)

Richard said...

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Martin Niemoller

You've got a word processor. Just change the labels.

terryt said...

Richard. I'll try to find the BBC 'Hard Talk' interview in the Net. I'm pretty sure I looked once before and couldn't find it though. Perhaps Michael can help.

Regarding your partial answers to my questions, one still remains. WHY are most governments so supportive of whatever Israel does?

terryt said...

Here's a bit of the Hard Talk interview. It's not the bit where the interviewer pushes her into conceding it would be a reasonable idea to talk to people the USA regards as terrorists, although she tries to dodge the particular issue of Hamas.

Michael Balter said...

terryt, I think your question why so many governments, especially the US and Europe, is difficult to answer because the situation has changed over the years. The Soviet Union was the first nation to recognize Israel after it declared independence in 1948, but most others quickly fell into line clearly in part due to guilt over the Holocaust. Eventually Israel became a proxy for US policy in the Middle East, which it still is to some extent although that has not worked very well in recent years as we all know (after the 1973 war and the so-called energy crisis, the US and Europe began to take the Arab nations more seriously.)

What we have now may be a combination of force of habit and currying favor with Jewish voters, certainly in the US, who although small in numbers are critical to winning elections. But given the extent of Jewish opposition to Israeli policies these days, which is considerable, that factor may be changing soon.

sadunkal said...

This documentary is related to the "conspiracy theories": The Israel Lobby (Marije Meerman, VPRO Backlight 2007)

And this short excerpt was also interesting to me: Kay Griggs on US-Israel

What Kay Griggs says may be too conspiracy minded for some though...

terryt said...

Thanks for those comments Michael.

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