Category Archives: middle east tour

>OBSERVATION: Obama’s Jewish problem

>Obama has a Jewish problem. They are not voting for the Democrat candidate in traditional numbers. Some say it is this Muslim myth. Well … get real. Barack Obama NOT a Muslim. However, that silly debate takes away from a more serious issue. Okay, Obama may not be a face-the-East, pork rejecting, dress like and actor in a biblical movie Muslim but he IS the most pro Arab candidate for President since the creation of Israel.

Though he pays lip service to a strong and secure Jewish state as a political necessity, and has notable Jewish personalities on his team (including key members the powerful Pritzker family), there is not doubt that Obama is more comfortable with and appreciating of the Arab ambitions in the Middle East.

His popularity in the Arab world is not without justification. From his earliest days, he was surrounded by Muslim influences. He was raised in a Muslim environment. He have visited the Arab enclaves, and conferred with its leaders. He has given encouragement to Arab causes. What little record he has created in his remarkably undocumented life shows his sympathy of Arab aspirations.

His maladroit offer to sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) was indicative of Obama’s own belief that he can be a persuasive “friend” to achieve concessions. Of more concern to Jewish-Americans are the concessions Obama is willing to make for “peace in our time.”

Next to African-Americans**, Arab-Americans support Obama in the highest percentages. World Arab leaders have expressed their hope in an Obama victory — even the Arab terrorist factions. Arab money, both domestic and international, legal and illegal, have flowed into the Obama coffers. In this day of world communication, Middle East phone banks have barraged U.S. Arabs with get-out-the-vote calls.

While Obama says he would defend Israel from an unlikely Arab invasion or all-out attack, it is his view on the source of the problems and the complex negotiations required to bring about evenutal peace in the region that is most relevant. Most alarming to the Jewish community is the almost certainty that Obama will change the long-standing American view that
Arab terrorism is the primary problem, with Israel as the victim. Obama’s pre-campaign views are more sympathetic to the hopes and apirations of the

All this has led to an understandable anxiety and concern on the part of American Jews — especially those with deeper emotional commitments to the preservation and security of Israel.

**Whether it is because they share the African continent or due to historic prejdices against Jewish merchants in the inner cities, or both, African-American leaders have been among the most consistent ethnic groups in supporte of Arab positions. If not anti-Semitism, there is certainly a pro-Arab bias in the black culture. This was reflected in Jesse Jackson’s derogatory reference to New York City as “Hymietown.”

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>REACT: Obama’s tour de farce.

>Was the Barack Obama world tour as successful as his media boosters claim? And … will it resonate and sustain with the voters?

Answering the last question first … probably not. By the time the election comes around there will be two major conventions and a lot of attention grabbing campaign issues and events. The only residual benefit appears to be raw footage for future television advertising – and how much will be aired on this theme is questionable, since most pros think the economic issues will be driving the election.

As far as success, the bar of achievement for this foray was set very low. Since this was purely a public relations tour, without any substantive issues to be addressed and resolved in the various meetings, it was a fail safe gimmick. If you look at the tour, it was nothing but a series of photo-op meetings.

They say there were no major gaffes. How in heaven’s name can a reasonably intelligent (and Obama exceeds that standard) person screw up a social call. His carefully crafted remarks were well delivered.

Some of the John McCain-ites nitpicked a few things – such as Obama’s failure to meet with wounded troops in Germany – but they miss the big picture. The fairer and more substantial criticism of his tour was the superficiality of it all – and the ruse that it was NOT a political junket. (You should remember that he claims he was only part of a Senate delegation [wink wink] that included another Democrat senator and, in the interest of bipartisanship [wink again], included Republican apostolate Chuck Hagel – who is on Obama’s short VP list.)

The “success” of Obama’s tour was a forgone and inevitable conclusion. As long as he did not pee on the Wailing Wall, Obama was assured the acclamation of the predisposed media.

There are two sides of a candidate – actor and policy wonk. So far, Obama has proven himself to be the consummate actor. He has stage presence. Charisma. He delivers his lines perfectly on cue. What is lacking is the policy wonk. To resurrect an old advertising slogan, “Where’s the beef?”

His so-called “plans” for education, healthcare, Middle East wars, gas prices, etc. are vague approaches lacking the specificity by which they can be judged objectively. If his cavalier tendency to promise expensive solutions to every problem were implemented, it would add trillions to the already beleaguered budget. He is, by all measure, a “promising candidate” – promising just about everything to everybody.

After months and months of a highly contested primaries, and a short one-on-one run with McCain, Obama has been able to sustain almost solely on notoriety, uniqueness and personal charm. His world tour is only the latest and grandest example of the “elect me because I am … ME” strategy.