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Obama criticized ‘wall’ once in Jerusalem– and ten times in Berlin

Israel/Palestine
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There is an actual wall, sometimes nearly 26 feet high, going through Palestine and East Jerusalem. In his speech in Jerusalem “to the people of Israel” 3 months ago, President Obama referred to that wall once, and elliptically, when urging the Israelis to make peace with Palestinians:

Given the frustration in the international community about this conflict, Israel needs to reverse an undertow of isolation.  And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people over the long term is through the absence of war.  Because no wall is high enough and no Iron Dome is strong enough or perfect enough to stop every enemy that is intent on doing so from inflicting harm.  (Applause.)

The Berlin wall fell 24 years ago. At Brandenburg Gate yesterday, President Obama repeatedly spoke of the Berlin wall as a blockade against democracy and history itself. Here are all the references, with some of his additional statements.

But the fact that we can stand here today, along the fault line where a city was divided, speaks to an eternal truth:  No wall can stand against the yearning of justice, the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings for peace that burns in the human heart.  (Applause.)…

Today, 60 years after they rose up against oppression, we remember the East German heroes of June 17th.  When the wall finally came down, it was their dreams that were fulfilled.  Their strength and their passion, their enduring example remind us that for all the power of militaries, for all the authority of governments, it is citizens who choose whether to be defined by a wall, or whether to tear it down…

And this is what was at stake here in Berlin all those years.  And because courageous crowds climbed atop that wall, because corrupt dictatorships gave way to new democracies, because millions across this continent now breathe the fresh air of freedom, we can say, here in Berlin, here in Europe — our values won.  Openness won.  Tolerance won.  And freedom won here in Berlin.  (Applause.)…

And yet, more than two decades after that triumph, we must acknowledge that there can, at times, be a complacency among our Western democracies.  Today, people often come together in places like this to remember history — not to make it.  After all, we face no concrete walls, no barbed wire.  There are no tanks poised across a border…

And as long as walls exist in our hearts to separate us from those who don’t look like us, or think like us, or worship as we do, then we’re going to have to work harder, together, to bring those walls of division down. Peace with justice means free enterprise that unleashes the talents and creativity that reside in each of us; in other models, direct economic growth from the top down or relies solely on the resources extracted from the earth.  But we believe that real prosperity comes from our most precious resource — our people. ..

But we must accept the challenge that all of us in democratic governments face:  to listen to the voices who disagree with us; to have an open debate about how we use our powers and how we must constrain them; and to always remember that government exists to serve the power of the individual, and not the other way around.  That’s what makes us who we are, and that’s what makes us different from those on the other side of the wall. ..

[H]ere they will find the people who emerged from the ruins of war to reap the blessings of peace; from the pain of division to the joy of reunification.  And here, they will recall how people trapped behind a wall braved bullets, and jumped barbed wire, and dashed across minefields, and dug through tunnels, and leapt from buildings, and swam across the Spree to claim their most basic right of freedom…

The wall belongs to history.  But we have history to make as well.  And the heroes that came before us now call to us to live up to those highest ideals —

It’s always easy to take a stand later.

We have history to make as well.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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16 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    June 20, 2013, 5:14 pm

    If only the Stasi had an organized lobby in Washington, maybe Obama would have shut up about the one in Berlin, too. Oh, well…

  2. just
    just
    June 20, 2013, 5:20 pm

    US hypocrisy at its most strident. I’d laugh out loud if I didn’t feel like crying. Maybe I’ll just give in to total hysterics.

    It appears that the Emperor has no clothes, and I am sick and tired of following the Pied Piper of Zion.

  3. American
    American
    June 20, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Well O is no hero. The only thing I can give him credit for is not attacking Iran..yet anyway.
    Other than that he’s a zero.
    Good thing he didnt become a doctor, he’d probably recommend letting a disease take it’s course to all his patients.

  4. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    June 20, 2013, 9:27 pm

    No wall can stand against the yearning of justice, the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings for peace that burns in the human heart. (Applause.)…..no sense of irony whatsoever. Such a disappointment .

    • annie
      annie
      June 20, 2013, 10:00 pm

      they will recall how people trapped behind a wall braved bullets, and jumped barbed wire, and dashed across minefields, and dug through tunnels, and leapt from buildings, and swam across the Spree to claim their most basic right of freedom…

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      June 21, 2013, 4:17 am

      “No wall can stand against the yearning of justice, the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings for peace that burns in the human heart”*

      * Offer may not be available in all languages. One per person only.

      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-to-step-up-gaza-assassinations-1.239064

      “Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit was vociferous in his demands for action. “We are trying to talk in English to a population that only understands Arabic,” he said.”

  5. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    June 20, 2013, 10:19 pm

    Speaking of which, I just saw Lives of Others for the first time about the Stasi in East Germany. There seems to be a spike of renewed interest in this film with Snowden’s revelations of the extent of NSA spying on the American people

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      June 21, 2013, 4:20 am

      Obama is such a fraud. Here he is in 2008 nailing Clinton for the Iraq vote.

      http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/the-us-presidential-campaignits-turning-not-so-nice-good/

      “Mr Obama’s best moment came in response to Mrs Clinton’s claim that their records on the Iraq war were identical since he became a US senator in 2005. Mr Obama said Mrs Clinton could not escape from the fact that she voted to authorise the use of force against Iraq. “The fact was this was a big strategic blunder. It was not a matter of, ‘Well, here is the initial decision, but since then we’ve voted the same way’,” he said. “Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out. The question is: Who’s making the decision initially to drive the bus into the ditch?

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      June 21, 2013, 6:04 am

      I just saw Lives of Others for the first time about the Stasi in East Germany. There seems to be a spike of renewed interest in this film with Snowden’s revelations of the extent of NSA spying on the American people
      In Germany, the USA’s surveillance program is indeed compared to the Stasi. The BILD newspaper referred to PRISM as “tapping and snooping orgy”. A recent political talk show was titled: “Obama reads along – Stasi reloaded?” One of the reader comments on Obama’s speech: “Obama makes the Stasi look like amateurs.”

      The strangest thing about Obama’s speech was that he spoke out against walls while being behind bulletproof glass. Some German comments:
      President Obama gives a speech in front of 4,000 people. Thanks to PRISM they are all familiar faces.
      Obama takes off his jacket and says, “We can be more informal among friends.” Was he referring to PRISM?
      Climate change? Coming from a US president? Interesting.
      Again the promise to close Guantanamo – let’s see how many years we will have to wait.
      Obama: “In this century, these are the citizens who long to join the free world. In their own way, they are citizens of Berlin. And wherever they live: My drones will find them.”
      A public address between drone strike and heat stroke.
      Tear down this glass panel!
      Pontifications about walls and divisions carried out behind bulletproof crystals sound pretty hollow.
      Today, walls and citizens are transparent.
      Change … Ronald Reagan in Berlin, “Tear down this wall”. Barack Obama in Berlin, “Tear down your firewall.”
      This huge bulletproof glass was so ridiculous. Very folksy – a speech behind 20 centimetres of glass.
      What a ridiculous sight. Obama faces his audience from behind glass. The Mona Lisa, okay. But she is irreplaceable.
      Obama behind bulletproof glass. Did nobody tell him that we have different gun laws and no gun lobby?
      Obama and Merkel behind bulletproof glass. Can we close it completely and then fill it with water? Problems solved!
      “A one-third reduction in nuclear weapons” means in other words: Then we will only be able to destroy the earth twenty times. Applause!
      Because one million nuclear weapons are less terrible than two million! Yeah, right!
      A mere one-third reduction in nuclear weapons. Sorry, but that’s not really a success. The world can still be destroyed at least ten times.
      Regarding the nuclear warheads: Probably it’s just too expensive to replace the third by new ones.
      Obama touched a lot of issues but made not a single clear statement. Disappointing.
      Somehow Obama talked a lot, but he didn’t actually say anything.
      I found Obama’s speech disappointing. Lots of vague statements.
      Sadly too little talk about the future and too much talk about the past.
      Obama shall go home and overtext and lie to his own people.
      Wow, what a hypocrite! Commander-in-chief of the biggest war machine that the world has ever seen and then he talks about worldwide disarmament. Am I the only one who feels fooled?
      The master of lies makes a lot of promises but only keeps a few.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    June 21, 2013, 2:38 am

    Think back on the character of our presidents, starting with JFK, through to Obama. Now think of those we, the people, rejected as POTUS, especially the third party candidates.

  7. Krauss
    Krauss
    June 21, 2013, 2:55 am

    More shameful acts by Obama.

    By the way, Annie and Phil and the rest, have you guys seen this?
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-turkey-world-war-z-is-no-world-war-zion/

    I wonder who financed the film.

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