Why Doesn't US Condemn Israeli Human Rights Abuses UPDATE

The above question was posed to Obama one day after the SOTU address at a townhall meeting in Tampa FL. His response was on the front page of Huffington Post. Considering our humanitarian response to Haiti, it is a highly confronting question because it asks, how can America, a beacon for liberty around the world, support human rights abuses carried out by an ally, Israel. Everyday abuses of the human rights of Palestinians continue, not just through the inhumane blockade of Gaza, but even within Israel, let alone the Palestinian territories in general where nonviolent activists are being arrested, one by one. There is no need to describe the atrocities of Gaza a year ago and the continuing deprivations, but smaller human rights abuses occur daily all over the territories.

Obama was asked the above question in a public forum, why doesn't "he" condemn Israeli human rights abuses, only one day after his State of the Union speech where foreign policy was somehow ignored, especially the ideals laden in his Cairo speech of a year ago.

Instead of posting Obama's response in text, here is the CNN video of the interaction:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/obama-asked-why-us-doesnt_n_440816.html

After listening, I'm beginning to think that at this stage in his political career, Obama is capable of out slicking Clinton at this game. Nobody doesn't believe that Obama is any less scared of the Israel Lobby than any other elected politician like Clinton, but it is obvious that he will continue the practice of pandering to Israel, human rights abuses or not.

UPDATE

the bodacity of hope

Philip Weiss, January 29, 2010

Everyone is talking about Obama’s meltdown in Tampa yesterday

when a student who had worked for his campaign asked him about Palestinian human-rights. There is the president’s inane temporizing as he tried to collect his thoughts–turning to another youth and asking if he had gotten those beads in New Orleans–and then a phrase that George W. Bush could have come up with, "The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries…" Till finally Obama had mentally assembled a few hollow phrases that did not answer Laila Abdelaziz’s question. Adam Horowitz says that it is the first real gotcha moment he has seen with Obama, and it came at the hands of a young Arab-American.

This follows the State of the Union speech in which Obama never talked about Israel/Palestine, thereby walking away from the Cairo promise of last June. As well as the solidification of his neoliberal braintrust around essentially the same policy that the neoconservative braintrust of his predecessor had: we support the Israeli occupation.

I try to be optimistic, and the answer to the Establishment’s political collapse is stirring all around us. In the nonviolent movement inside the West Bank, in Judge Goldstone’s championing of Palestinian dignity, in the BDS movement on college campuses (which I keep saying that even "liberal Zionists" will have to sign on to in some way), in the Nation’s description of the West Bank as "apartheid," in the rise of firm realist opposition to Obama’s policy, and also in this 54-member Congressional letter to Obama demanding an end to "the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip." Collective punishment! 54 members of Congress finally spoke of collective punishment of Palestinians.

Yes these are all just stirrings. But the political diversity of this gathering, of those who regard the Israeli occupation as brutal and central, is remarkable. In the words of William James that Pete Seeger has painted on his barn, that’s how movements work: "I am… with the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of mans pride, if you give them time."

http://mondoweiss.net/2010/01/the-bodacity-of-hope.html

Tags: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Amnesty International, obama (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Have you thought about

what effect, if any, the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is likely to have on US politics as regards Israel and the Middle East generally?

by QTG 2010-01-29 12:47PM | 0 recs
RE: Have you thought about

I believe that SCOTUS is oblivious to the possible role of foreign governments in contributing and affecting elections in the US.

In any case, the Palestinians are hardly wealthy enough to support individual candidates for offices in the Congress or the Presidency. Alternatively, the Israel Lobby has been active for years doing just that. Although the Israel Lobby does represent a foreign country, it has been getting away with being considered a US based lobby.

 

by MainStreet 2010-01-29 01:08PM | 0 recs
Here is more for Obama to consider. What if Martin Luther King had been treated in this manner.

BILIN GRASSROOTS LEADER MOHAMMED KHATIB ARRESTED IN LATE-NIGHT RAID
Press release, Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, 28 January 2010

BILIN, occupied West Bank - At 1:45am today, Mohammed Khatib, his wife Lamia and their four young children were woken up by Israeli soldiers storming their home, which was surrounded by a large military force. Once inside the house, the soldiers arrested Khatib, conducted a quick search and left the house.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11039.shtml

Khatib is the fourth major nonviolent protest leader to be arrested in the past few months. Of three of the others, two were released, but another one, apparently more influential, is still jailed on trivial causes.

 

by MainStreet 2010-01-29 01:12PM | 0 recs
Here is more for Obama to consider. What if Martin Luther King had been treated in this manner.

BILIN GRASSROOTS LEADER MOHAMMED KHATIB ARRESTED IN LATE-NIGHT RAID
Press release, Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, 28 January 2010

BILIN, occupied West Bank - At 1:45am today, Mohammed Khatib, his wife Lamia and their four young children were woken up by Israeli soldiers storming their home, which was surrounded by a large military force. Once inside the house, the soldiers arrested Khatib, conducted a quick search and left the house.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11039.shtml

Khatib is the fourth major nonviolent protest leader to be arrested in the past few months. Of three of the others, two were released, but another one, apparently more influential, is still jailed on trivial causes.

 

by MainStreet 2010-01-29 01:12PM | 0 recs
Robert Naiman writing on TruthOut about Obama's SOTU address.

<blockquote>

To the Palestinians, President Obama said nothing. This was a spectacular omission. With the possible exception of Israel, there's no country in the world more responsible than the United States for the Palestinians' current plight. This week Israel's defense minister said the failure to achieve a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians was a more serious threat to Israel than Iran. Recently, 54 members of Congress wrote to President Obama, urging the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people, access to clean water, food, medicine construction materials for repairs and rebuilding and fuel. Could not our president spare one word of empathy for the Palestinians? The failure of the president's efforts so far to promote a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is also a failure to promote reconciliation - not only between Israel and the Palestinians, but also between Fatah and Hamas, without which any meaningful agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will not be possible.

</blockquote>

by MainStreet 2010-01-29 05:27PM | 0 recs

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