Why Doesn't US Condemn Israeli Human Rights Abuses UPDATE
by MainStreet, Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 09:49:59 AM EST
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:
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.
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."