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Is Obama a Political Fraud? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Even the Israelis cannot believe the promises which Barack Hussein Obama, the US Democratic Presidential Candidate, made to them and the affection he displayed during his speech at AIPAC. Israeli writer Uri Avneri published an article titled “It Is not Possible.” The gist of his article is that he does not believe that Obama means what he said. Ophir Pines-Paz, an Israeli Labor Knesset member, published an article in Ma’arif titled “I respect him but Doubt him.” The Israelis have doubts about Obama because he told them more than they had wished to hear.

The speech that Obama delivered at the Israeli lobby’s headquarters on that evening that witnessed the largest political rally in its history still reverberates in the United States. So many people came to see that charismatic young man who excites both admiration and fear.

Why did Obama lavish promises and sweet talk on Israel, to the extent that none of the former US presidents had done?

I believe that even if Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Hamas leader, himself ran for US elections; he would do the same as Obama did. No one who aspires to the US presidential post could ignore the important Jewish voters in the elections, particularly in the decisive states, nor reject the funds necessary for the election campaign and success. We cannot blame Obama for supporting the US stand [on Israel], although we are right to be surprised and shocked. Those who censure him because his father’s name is Hussein, and because he has his roots in Africa, and so want him to stand against Israel, are mistaken. As I have just said, any US presidential candidate, even if he were Ismail Haniyeh, would visit the AIPAC headquarters, would promise to support Israel and guarantee its security, and would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and would make other such promises, which recur every four years and which are not all fulfilled.

There are promises that every US president is compelled to commit himself to, such as Israel’s security, because it is part of the US security. In the era of conflict with the Soviet Union, Israel served the United States more than any other Middle Eastern country did. The United States considers Israel as its big stick, which it uses when needed, a service that none of the friendly Arab countries can do. The price is relatively inexpensive, for the United States spent funds in Iraq in five years, to no avail, more than it has spent on Israel in 60 years. This viewpoint does not seem clear to Arabs.

Some might say that Obama introduced himself as a man of principle, so why he should side with one party against another, particularly because the other is unjust and occupier of others’ land. The answer to this question requires understanding of both the nature of the US political system and personal motives, not just lays the blame on Obama. Obama now does not represent himself only; he is responsible for the democratic candidates in the general congressional elections and on the level of states and governors. If he loses, he will not be alone; he may cause the democratic ship to sink.

What for? To satisfy the Arabs?

The Arabs themselves are unable to satisfy one another, and are ashamed to sit at the negotiating table [with Israel] if not in secret.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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