I accept that Obama's target audience needed to be charmed before they could really hear his words re seeing the world through Palestinian eyes, but I cannot agree that the substance of the speech is anything but deplorable. One chilling passage was 'your children will grow up knowing that people they have never met hate them because of who they are'. This is straight from George W and his neo-con ilk who justified their war on terror on the basis that extremists hate America because of who they are; not what they do. In the Israeli case, Palestinians do regularly met Israelis - the kitted up IDF who man the checkpoints, arrest Palestinian children in midnight raids, who watch languidly while the vile amongst the settlers destroy their olive trees, physically assault them and who mete out violence in response to non-violent demonstrations by Palestinian villagers. I rather think the Palestinians do meet Israelis rather a little too much. Its true that Obama clearly warned against trying to acheive security by way of occupation or expulsion but he followed this up with the usual statement of 'unshakable support' of Israel by the US; presumably this financial, diplomatic and military support will not be shaken by anything Israel may do to the Palestinians. Why should Israel change? I know Levy is hopeful that Obama's appeal to the Israelis to be just will bear fruit but I think the odds are that Obama's reinforcement of the standard Zionist narrative of justified return of Jews after the supposed exile, the absence of any reference to the long history of non-Jews in the region, the analogy to European colonisation of the USA (no mention of the dispossessed native American Indian in this little speech) and the vailidation of trying for religious/ethnic purity by referring to the birth of non-Jews as a demographic threat, will be main messages that resonate with the most Israeli Jews. This is the speech of an AIPAC slapped down President who is reduced to appealing to the better nature of Israelis to be just (and wise) whilst reinforcing Zionism - the ideology that justifies the occupation and the attempt to gain Jewish domination in Greater Israel to begin with. I think that this is dangerous stuff more likely to enhance an Israeli sense of entitlement and sense of impunity - the good ole USA will always be there no matter what we do to the Palestinians. Expect more settlements, more arrests and more arrogence in the coming months but prehaps with a gentle smile and the odd act of kindness and Israelis will be overcome with a sense of their nobility and think tht they have responded fully to Obama's call for justice. A light unto the nations indeed.
Policeman killed by blast in Bahrain village, interior ministry (Reuters)
from the article: Barack Obama has a dream, and we should listen