As I was watching his speech in front of AIPAC (video)
I was very disappointed to hear him give such an 'extreme' conciliatory and Israel-centric Middle East policy speech. Perhaps given the audience and how he was booed by some members during his last years speech at the same conference it was to be expected that he would take a different tone. But as a supporter I had hoped the pandering wouldn't have at least been to this degree.
Now I am not idealistic enough to expect that in this day and age a legitimate mainstream American politician can go head to head against one of the most powerful lobbying forces in the country and still expect to be elected. However it is one thing to not go head to head and it is another matter to bend over backward and pander so much especially to an organization representing the interests of a foreign country that has not register as such under the terms of the Foreign Agent Registration Act -- even if it is an ally.
Ironically as it was reported on MoJo blog even with this speech Obama wasn't as successful as he had hoped as McCain apparently got a better reception two days ago. It seems the applause on Obama's Iran comments was very lackluster - and the cheers seemed to largely come from the student delegation there.
Anyways here are just some of what was disappointing to hear:
The question is how to move forward. There are those who would continue and intensify this failed status quo, ignoring eight years of accumulated evidence that our foreign policy is dangerously flawed. And then there are those who would lay all of the problems of the Middle East at the doorstep of Israel and its supporters, as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in the region. These voices blame the Middle East’s only democracy for the region’s extremism. They offer the false promise that abandoning a stalwart ally is somehow the path to strength. It is not, it never has been, and it never will be.
As President, I will work to help Israel achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security. Israel can also advance the cause of peace by taking appropriate steps – consistent with its security – to ease the freedom of movement for Palestinians, improve economic conditions in the West Bank, and to refrain from building new settlements.
As president I will use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything.
... Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.
Let me start by what was really surprising to hear and that was to hear him say that he is now going along with the suggestion made in the Kyl-Lieberman bill labeling a branch of Iranian army the IRGC as a terrorist organization. A bill that was pushed by both Bush administration and of course Pro-Israeli lobbying firms like AIPAC to give this administration ability to initiate a war with Iran on the grounds of fighting terrorism. Initially he had voted absent on this bill which I was willing to let him slide on it, but to now do a 180 degree turn is pretty awful. I don't know if it was just bad advice or if this was an intentional change of mind on his own part but whatever it was I know both the McCain campaign and even some remaining hardcore Clinton supporters will call him out on this flip flop.
It was unfortunate to see him break down the situation and solution in Middle East the way he did as I copied in the first excerpt. I do agree that not ALL the problems in Middle East is rooted in the actions of Israeli government but to dismiss and not address any one of the many numerous human rights violations as well as UN resolution violations by the Israeli government is not the type of 'change' we were promised by him - it is status quo US policy. It is what he referred to as doing the same thing over and over expecting a new result!!
His recommendation on the two state solution seems to put most of the onerous on everybody but the occupying country Israel. Is this his way of presenting himself as an honest broker? What he is suggesting is not change - it is status quo US policy. You can't have a viable country if your citizens have to each day go through various checkpoint just to go to work, school or shop.
Finally in as far as his everything comment. It is no news that he is OK with a military strike on Iran, as he had been open to such an attack back in 2004. But to repeat the word 'everything' three times - especially the way he did it, did come across as a desperate attempt to show he too is willing to be as forceful as even Hillary Clinton by obliterating Iran.
Now for those who know me to be an active supporter of his presidential campaign this critic may come as a surprise. But as I had mentioned in my post after his speech in Minnesota, we as supporters have a responsibility in not only supporting him but also holding him accountable for what he promised. Of course he will make mistake and may veer away as I think he has done in this case but it is our responsibility to at least voice our opinion and exert our pressure.
In this case I 'think' this is part political posturing to show the Jewish-American voters that he won't actually stop supporting Israel, and part preparation for any future diplomatic talks with Iranian regime to show that he is not a pushover. But what was unsettling was his openness to start another preemptive war with a country that at best even if assuming they develop bunch of nuclear weapons will be just a minor strategic threat to US vs. a real one in a military sense.
Originally posted on: Essence of Wisdom
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