Saturday, June 7, 2008

Obama and Israel

I've never been more excited about a presidential candidate as I am about Barack Obama, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he is black - it's because his views on foreign policy are in sharp contrast to any other presidential candidate before him. In an earlier campaign stop in Iowa, Obama said, "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." This was an unprecedented comment to be made by a presidential candidate because it can be political suicide to not only speak out against Israel, but to stand up for anyone in the Middle East and, yet, here was Barack Obama doing just that - standing up for an unpopular cause.

The current system of apartheid in Palestine by the Israeli government is one of the greatest injustices in the world today and because Israel is an ally of the U.S., we have turned a blind eye to it. Our hypocrisy towards the Middle East does more to promote terrorism than it does to suppress it and, yet, we continue blindly down the path of our own destruction because of our misguided policies.

However, in a speech on Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC), Obama pledged his full support for Israel and insisted that any peace deal between Israel and Palestine must preserve Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital, despite the fact that Jerusalem is not recognised internationally as the capital of the Jewish state because the east side was captured by Israel in violation of international law. This has upset many Palestinians and rightly so, but you have to realize that Obama faces an uphill battle in his bid for the presidency because, first and foremost, he is black and this country's history of race relations hasn't been a smooth one. I think reality has finally set in for Obama and he realizes that he is going to have to say some things that he doesn't agree with ideologically in order to win the presidency. In Abraham Lincoln's bid for the presidency, he often spouted racist rhetoric and, had he not, the greatest president this country has ever known would have simply become a minor footnote in history. The reality of politics is that you need votes to get elected and in order to obtain those votes, you have to sometimes say things that you don't agree with. Despite his recent comments, I have full faith that, if he is elected president, Barack Obama will do his best to undo the mess created in the Middle East by U.S. foreign policy. If, however, is the first hurdle.

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