Has Obama forgotten everything?

Gideon Levy writes: Barack Obama has decided to punish the Israelis: He is talking to them as if they were ignoramuses. The U.S. president has also decided to punish himself: He is betraying his principles, those that have won him international acclaim and the Nobel Peace Prize.

There’s no other way to understand what he said in his interview with Channel 2 on the eve of his visit here. The flattery he heaped on Israel’s leader considerably exceeded diplomatic protocol and even phony American manners. His denial of his values deviated even from the opportunism one might expect from a politician. Obama said he wants to “connect to the Israeli people.” This he actually did well; he told Israelis what they wanted to hear.

But from Obama we could have expected a lot more. When Obama said he admires Israel’s “core values,” which values was he talking about? The dehumanization of the Palestinians? The attitude toward African migrants? The arrogance, racism and nationalism? Is this what he admires? Don’t separate buses for Palestinians remind him of something? Doesn’t two communities living on the same land, one with full rights and the other with no rights, “ring a bell,” as they say in America?

To admire “core values” while knowing we’re talking about one of the most racist countries there is, with a separation wall and apartheid-like policies, means betraying the core values of the American civil rights movement that made the Obama miracle possible. Too bad he can’t fulfill his fantasy of wearing a fake mustache and wandering around to have conversations with Israelis; he would hear how they talk about blacks like him. Too bad he can’t sit in a cafe and “just hang out,” as he’d like. He’d hear which “core values” really move Israelis.

Obama wants to lower expectations of his visit. Well, they can’t get any lower. [Continue reading…]

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4 thoughts on “Has Obama forgotten everything?

  1. Norman

    Interesting take from an Israeli. I didn’t continue the story due to not wanting to engage the cost of doing so. We will see just what does come of the visit, but no prior expectations from Obama, for he seems to always say one thing, but does another. Of course, he’s probably already been told that if he speaks not to the liking of the “Bibi” or the neocons @ home, then he just might become a martyr!

  2. hquain

    I love the picture of Obama in the poster. Despite being كوفية‎-clad, his poised reasonable visage peers out calmly, ready as always to accept and compromise and take some imagined middle way.

    What fury of delusion turns that mild look into an image of the Great Satan?

  3. Abe Bird

    Do you count on Gideon Levy? Most Israelis don’t count him at all. He already took stand for the Arab side of the conflict and ignores every other aspect of the conflict. Obama is different, Obama learned the hard way the Middle East, paying in blood and dollars. Obama understood that the Islamic story is complex, difficult to decipher, unpredictable and can not be trusted. Obama understands the threat of a nuclear Iran. Obama understands that North Korea is a raw model for Islamic countries. Obama sees the next storm in the Far East. He wants to calm the Middle East and not let the U.S. to sink in its mud [mad]. Therefore he will try to bring a solution, even partial and temporary, to the Palestinian problem as much as he can, but in concert with Israel and not by forcing her.

    Israel will explore the way Obama seeks not only by this planned visit, but later, through the sane political path. Israel can accept Obama’s path or reject it. After all, Israel is a sovereign state and has its own way to promote her interests, as there is also to the United States and any other sovereign state.

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