Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama Bows to the Muslim World

Obama's speech in Cairo Thursday called for a sweeping change in Muslim-American relations, based on the establishment of a Palestinian state. He told 3,000 guests at Cairo University that he will put pressure on Israel to cease a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. He did not specifically state whether Jerusalem neighborhoods are part of the “occupation” that he said must end.
Obama opened the speech with the Islamic greeting, “Peace unto you” in Arabic and reminded his listeners of his Muslim background and quoted the Koran several times.
Concerning Israel, he made it clear that he will personally pressure for an end to the "occupation” that he said has caused displacement to the Arab population in Israel for 60 years. His speech specifically defined the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as a “Palestinian people,” and he mentioned their “suffering” immediately after referring to the Holocaust. He accused Israel of being responsible for "humiliation” of Arabs and blamed Israel for the lack of opportunity for Arabs under PA rule, despite the local Arab economy having enjoyed unprecedented economic growth following the end of Jordanian and Egyptian occupation in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Concerning Iran, he capitulated by asserting that it can have nuclear power if it abides by international treaties.
Speaking in the police state of Egypt, Obama addressed the issue of democracy, which he said the U.S. cannot impose. He added that the U.S. will work with countries “that recognize the will of the people.”
He then praised Islam as a force of religious tolerance and racial equality (!!!) and stated that “Muslims have enriched the U.S. and have won Nobel prizes,” although in fact less than handful of Muslims have won international Nobel prices.
In Israel, Obama's speech was met with mixed reactions ranging from sharp criticism coming from the right to foolish remarks (such as Ofier Pines' or Zeev Boim's) from the left.

Obama strived to strike a conciliatory tone in his speech to the Muslim world, in a balanced tone. So what is the problem? It is exactly in the "balanced tone". US policy should not be balanced! It should side with those who fight terror, not those who either engage in it or are too weak to prevent it.

Palestinians must be sent the message that they have to put an end to terrorism, violence, and incitement against Israel. US should stand by Israel - a fellow democracy and committed ally - in its efforts to achieve lasting security for its citizens. Israel's good faith efforts have been met by unremitting Palestinian violence and what is in effect an internal Palestinian civil war. Peace and security go hand in hand - Israel has repeatedly reached out her hand in peace only to have it slapped back. Obama's remarks to the world's Muslims today appear to mark the beginning of a worrisome shift in U.S. policy.