Israel & Obama

From Sunera Thobani at rabble:

In one fell swoop, the Israelis have destroyed whatever momentum Obama might have mobilized for a peaceful resolution of the blockade of Gaza and the siege that Gazans and Hamas have endured. Israel has pushed Obama into a corner with this attack, intensifying the suffering of the Palestinian people and making it all but inevitable that retribution will follow.

A state of war with its neighbours benefits Israel’s ambitions in the region, even as it secures support for Zionist lobbies in the western world. During the U.S. election campaign, Vice-President Elect Joe Biden had warned that Obama would be tested early in his presidency. Few expected the challenge to come from a staunch U.S. ally and not from those contesting U.S. power.

Obama’s silence on the Gaza crisis grows more curious by the day; it has already cost him much political capital. He appears weak and ineffectual even before his inauguration, one more symbol of hope capitulating to the realpolitik of the ‘special’ U.S./Israeli relationship.

Read the whole thing here

Obama has seen fit both to comment upon and to act upon matters of economic interest.  Why not upon Israel’s attack on Gaza?  Thobani seeks an answer.

Rabbi Michael Lerner has some suggestions for Obama.  He concludes:

The most significant contribution the new Obama Administration could make to Middle East Peace would be to embrace an alternative strategy: that homeland security is best achieved through generosity and caring for others. If the US were to announce its embrace of a Global Marshall Plan, beginning with the Middle East and backed up with money and the conscious articulation of a Strategy of Generosity, it would do more to help Israel than all the armaments it can promise and all the shuttle diplomacy it might facilitate. If this new way of thinking could become a major part of US policy, it would have an immense impact on undermining the fearful consciousness of Israelis who still see the world more through the frame of the Holocaust than through the frame of their actual present power in the world.

Meanwhile, it breaks my heart to see the terrible suffering in Gaza and Israel, as it does when witnessing the suffering brought to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Darfur—and the list goes one. For me as a religious Jew it is all the worse, because under the guise of serving God, both Jews and Arabs are actually acting out their accumulated pain in ways that will generate future suffering. At the same time Jews in the US who yearn to justify Israel’s actions only confirm to many young Jews that there is no place for them in the Jewish world if they hold a normal ethical sensibility, and further confirms to me how easy it is to pervert the loving message of Judaism into a message of hatred and domination. So I remain in mourning for the Jewish people, for Israel, and for the world.

It’s well worth reading Lerner’s article, here

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