The grotesque injustice of Obama’s speech at the Washington synagogue

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The issue with President Obama’s speech to Adas Israel Congregation in Washington yesterday was the sense of entitlement. Obama is pandering to alleged liberals at this synagogue, liberal Zionists, and he gets laughter for saying that Palestinians are not easy partners–

Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land, as well.  (Applause.) Now, I want to emphasize — that’s not easy.  The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.  (Laughter.)

and applause for completely ignoring the Nakba and every act of Israeli violence from 1948 to the present.
But he does mention Sderot.
As many of you know, I’ve visited the houses hit by rocket fire in Sderot.  I’ve been to Yad Vashem and made that solemn vow:  “Never forget.  Never again.”  When someone threatens Israel’s citizens or its very right to exist, Israelis necessarily that seriously.  And so do I.  Today, the military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries is stronger than ever.
The only way in which he ever mentions Palestinian suffering is in terms of the lack of opportunity for a Palestinian child in Ramallah.
And the rights of the Jewish people then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that feels trapped without opportunity.  That’s what Jewish values teach me.  That’s what the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches me.
That’s fine as far as it goes, but then he talks about how Israel can’t be expected to take “existential risks”, as though the Palestinians posed an existential threat.
And we cannot expect Israel to take existential risks with their security so that any deal that takes place has to take into account the genuine dangers of terrorism and hostility.
This is why the discussion in the US is so screwed up–the so-called liberals on the Zionist side (and I exclude a few genuine liberals like Jerome Slater) laughed when Obama made that No-easy-partner comment.
If they were real liberals they should have booed him.  Imagine him saying that about Israelis in general.  Imagine the reaction if he told Palestinians he was an honorary member of their tribe.

Jeff [Goldberg] reminded me that he once called me “the first Jewish President.”  (Laughter.)… I was flattered. And as an honorary member of the tribe, not to mention somebody who’s hosted seven White House Seders and been advised by — (applause) — and been advised by two Jewish chiefs of staff, I can also proudly say that I’m getting a little bit of the hang of the lingo.

If he told them he was inspired by their struggle:

And to a young man like me, grappling with his own identity, recognizing the scars of race here in this nation, inspired by the civil rights struggle, the idea that you could be grounded in your history, as Israel was, but not be trapped by it, to be able to repair the world — that idea was liberating.  The example of Israel and its values was inspiring.
Imagine Obama giving an equivalent speech to Palestinian-Americans. Says he’s same tribe, mentions the Gaza bombing and the shooting of fishermen, maybe the Nakba, too. The national reaction would be fun to watch.
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Obama is disappointing to say the least. It is hard to stomach the fact that he has to grovel and show such devotion to the American masters in Israel. All that, and he expects the victims of Israel’s occupation and other Arab people, to have confidence that he is truly devoted to a 2SS. It is all an eye wash, typical of American leaders. Next time Israel starts their massacre in Gaza, Obama will hand… Read more »

A photo on the front page of the New York Times showed President Obama as he addressed a Jewish group at Adas Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C. He wore a yarmulke which has become the de rigueur sartorial accessory for presidents when they speak to Jews, particularly when they are assuring their audience of America’s ” unshakable bond ” to the self-proclaimed ” Jewish State ”. So, I have a question: Who was… Read more »

“The idea that you could be grounded in your history, as Israel was, but not be trapped by it” I can’t believe he said that; he must be kidding. Does anyone seriously think Israel and Israelis are not trapped in history? That they are not trapped in a hell of their own making, seeing Nazis everywhere, seeing anti-semitism in every other nations actions. Seeing conspiracies against them in the shapes of the clouds? These are… Read more »

Well, Donald, welcome to reality. Israelis and Palestinians are not equal in the United States. The Israelis have deep connections with the United States on every level – political, economic, military. The Palestinians do not. So if you think that these simplistic analogies carry any currency, or that they should, you’re being delusional.

“Never forget. Never again.”

Unless it’s being done by Israel to the Palestinians.