Obama's pro-Israel Speech Before AIPAC Riles Arab Press

Presumptive Democratic nominee's vow that 'Jerusalem to remain undivided' incurs wrath of newspapers in Arab world.

Yoav Stern
Haaretz Correspondent
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Yoav Stern
Haaretz Correspondent

The statements by the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC reverberated badly in the Arab world on Thursday.

A major sore point was Obama's declaration Wednesday that "Jerusalem will remain the eternal, undivided capital of Israel" and that "Israel's security is sacrosanct," even though he is by and large the preferred U.S. presidential candidate in the Arab world.

The Lebanese opposition daily Al-Safir, which supports Hezbollah, declared Obama's statements "an oath of allegiance by the U.S. presidency to AIPAC." An article described Obama's address as "thunderous" and said it was Obama's "most Zionist" speech to date.

The Kuwait-based Al-Watan wrote that the speech was a "slap in the face" for Arabs and Muslims, who were shocked by it.

The Arab press has often used Obama's middle name, Hussein, but Al-Watan noted Thursday that he was a murated - an apostate from Islam. Orthodox Islam considers this a violation punishable by death.

An article on the Palestinian Web site Dunya al-Watan said that many Arabs preferred Obama over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton because they thought he would save them. "They forgot that he is an American Zionist who turned his back on Islam, and that he is hostile to Islam more than the infidels, the Christians and the Jews," the site said.

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