Obama flexes his "pro-Israel" muscle on Gaza
Looks like the attacks on Obama’s “pro-Israel” bonafides are paying off…
Yesterday, while hundreds of thousands of Gazans flooded through the demolished border with Egypt simply to get food and basic supplies after nearly a week of complete border closures imposed by Israel, Sen. Barack Obama sent the following letter to US Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad:
Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,
I understand that today the U.N. Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.
I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in Southern Israel for over two years.
All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded by rockets on an almost daily basis. That is unacceptable and Israel has a right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.
The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.
United States Senator
To be clear, I’m one of those who actually believe Obama IS the best candidate for Israel precisely because he will be a strong supporter of Israel AND someone who can strengthen Israel’s security through peace with its Arab neighbors. So I greet this letter with sadness.
There’s no need for a letter like this. We know Obama condemns attacks on Israel and believes Israel has a right to defend itself. Even Dennis Kucinich says that. But for someone who handles every other foreign affairs issue with such nuance and care, this is disappointing.
The aggressive nature of the letter is Giuliani-esque in fake toughness. There should be “no statement” and “no resolution” if they don’t condemn the attacks. Otherwise, the Security Council should “not speak at all.” And the notion that “Israel is forced to do this” (ie, cutoff fuel and close Gaza’s borders) is foreign policy nonsense. Israel absolutely has a choice about how it responds to the rocket attacks, and Obama knows this. It has chosen blockade and the results are apparent: near humanitarian crisis in Gaza and no decrease in support for Hamas.
For someone who is so appealing because he recognizes the world as it is, complex with many shades of grey, this black and white analysis of what’s happening in Gaza can be nothing more than pure political grandstanding.
My only hope is that this letter will appease the ridiculous fears of the American Jewish center so he can get their support on his way to the White House, and that this statement and others he may still make in the weeks ahead won’t come back to haunt him when he gets down to the real work of being a US president.
And for a better way to be a “pro-Israel” candidate, check out Gershom Gorenberg’s recent article in the American Prospect, “What does it mean to be the pro-Israel candidate?“.