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On Israel/Palestine, We’ve Convinced Obama, Now We Must Pressure Him

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The news says Rahm Emanuel is gonna be chief of staff. Here is Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the likely gatekeeper to Obama, blaming the Palestinians for the violence in Israel/Palestine in '07–Emanuel saying that a cycle of violence that has wracked Palestine for 100 years is all the Arabs' fault. Rahm Emanuel, son of an Irgun man, who ran off to serve Israel, not the U.S., in the first Gulf War.

Take heart. My friend James North says Obama is not about to become a Palestinian nationalist–he's way too careful– he knows the centrality of the issue, and he is basically on our side. Never forget: This man was friends with Rashid Khalidi. That friendship justly gave the Israel lobby the willies.

In North's capacity as Beschloss, he offered the following Vivid Presidential Anecdotes:

LBJ: "You want me to be a statesman. First you have to get me elected." 

And, brilliantly, FDR to activists who were belaboring a point: "OK, you've convinced me. Now go out and put pressure on me."

At the risk of gilding the lily, James North explains FDR's calculation: "I'm on your side. But I'm a politician. I can't expend political capital unless you show the world that I was pressured to do so."

We will pressure Obama!

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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