CounterPunch March 26, 2008
Obama's Pandering to Israel The Audacity of Hypocrisy
By Joe MOWREY
Enough already. I can hardly stand to read the relentless insipid back and forth about Barak Obama's recent speech on race. Somebody writes a clever bit of cliched rhetoric for him and the Right can't quit hosing it while at the same time the Left can't quit drooling over it. What a slippery mess. I keep waiting for some one, somewhere, PLEASE, to point out the giant pimple on Barak Obama's rhetorical nose. But no one seems to get it. No one seems to want to say what the real problem is with "The Speech."
I won't quote any of the wonderful sound bites he uses. It's tough to argue against that kind of pablum. Race is bad. Americans are good. And who in their right minds would criticize cute little Ashley and the Martin Luther King references? One sentence (and a bit of a run on sentence at that) provides all the basis we need for analysis of Mr. Obama's breathtaking moment of historical pandering. In reference to remarks critical of the United States made by his pastor (which, by the way, were accurate assessments of historical fact) Obama says, "They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam."
Right. First of all, who actually believes that white racism is not "endemic" in this country? And who doesn't get it that most of what is "right with America" is in fact little more than a series of flowery myths which obscure our deep-seated narcissism and rampant history of imperialist war mongering? But the most "audacious" hypocrisy in the entire speech is the implication that the conflicts in the Middle East emanate from "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical islam." Of course, European and Western colonialism and imperialism have no bearing on the discussion and our stalwart ally, Israel, has nothing to do with the situation. Radical islam just popped up out of the fertile sands of the cradle of civilization with no provocation or rational historical context.
Praising Israel in a speech about racism is like praising the history of White South Africa in a speech about civil rights. Has the fact that Israel is a Zionist state completely escaped the minds of all the Obamakins?
For a brief update: Zionism is the political ideology which promotes the exclusivity of Jews in Israel over any other racial, religious or ethnic group. Zionism, by definition, is racism. Israel, with the full support and funding of the United States, flagrantly violates international law and engages in the systematic ethnic cleansing and oppression of the Palestinian people as well as in the establishment of an apartheid system, not just in the West Bank and Gaza, but in Israel proper. The illegal colonization of Palestinian lands is an international crime and a model of institutionalized racism which is without equal any where in the world in that it is so widely ignored and even encouraged by the majority of so-called civilized nations. More importantly, what is largely forgotten in the little discussion there is of illegal settlement activities being practiced by Israel, is that the settlements themselves are racially exclusive. Jews only need apply. Palestinians aren't even allowed to drive on the same roads as the Israelis in the Palestinians' own territory. I wonder how Mr. Obama would respond if Canada decided to build huge whites-only cities in U.S. territory. I wonder if he would be willing to refrain from driving on a series of Canadians-only roads connecting those illegal colonies. It would only be a security precaution, after all, and Canada is such a stalwart ally or ours.
So-called liberals should examine their consciences before they bow down at the alter of Obamakinism. He has a lot of wonderful, albeit vapid things to say on the subject of race. Indeed, he has a unique platform and perspective from which to address this and other issues. Unfortunately, he is too busy selling out to the Israel lobby and a vast array of corporate interests to actually rise to the occasion in any substantive fashion.
On the surface Barak Obama may constitute one of the more palatable lesser of two evils we have been offered in quite some time. But he is still only the lesser of two evils. He offers us nothing more than a continuation of the United States' corporate militarism and imperialist policies as well as the unquestioning support of a racist regime in Israel. For the last 60 years (at least) we have "lesser-of-two-evilled" ourselves into the position we are currently in on this planet. If we want actual "change" in our country and the world, we must move toward a true social revolution and not accept more of the same sound-bite political rhetoric. No matter what color the candidate may be on the outside, and no matter how inspiring his speeches and slogans may be, it is an honest examination of what is in his head, his heart and his bank account (and who put it there) that matters.
Obama represents the same old wine in a brand new bottle. And the bottle is too opaque to see into, even if "progressives" were willing to take off their rose colored glasses long enough to have a look inside. To quote one more line from Obama's speech: "But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now." I couldn't agree more. Too bad Obama doesn't have the courage to include Israel's state-sponsored bigotry against the Palestinian people in his definition of racism.
Joe Mowrey is a Palestinian rights and antiwar activist . He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his equally traitorous spouse and their four canine coconspirators. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org