Obama’s Middle East: ‘Change we can believe in’?

Obama does AIPAC The Washington Post ran an editorial today entitled "Mr. Obama’s Middle East" in which they opined that Obama "doesn’t see the region much differently than President Bush does."

This editorial comes right after Obama’s speech to the Jewish lobbyist group AIPAC earlier in the week during which he said, "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided." His speech also revealed him to be hawkish about Iran.

For those that have not been following the latest developments, Obama’s speech angered many in the Arab world, especially Palestinians. After the interview, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera Thursday: "This is the worst thing to happen to us since 1967 … he has given ammunition to extremists across the region. What really disappoints me is that someone like Barack Obama, who runs a campaign on the theme of change — when it comes to AIPAC and what’s needed to be said differently about the Palestinian state — he fails.”

The Post argues:

Mr. Obama opened his general election campaign this week with a major speech on Middle East policy, the substantive strategy he outlined was, in many respects, not very much different from that of the Bush administration — or that of Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). That’s not a bad thing; rather, it’s a demonstration that there is a strong bipartisan consensus about America’s vital interests in the Middle East and that the sensible options for defending them are relatively limited.”

As I said before on this blog, I think Obama is charismatic but I never completely bought his message of "change." At least when it comes to the Middle East, it doesn’t seem he will bring any tangible change. When I endorsed Clinton, my friends and readers of this blog were unimpressed. A comment from reader Arabi put it like this:

Actually to put it differently, its not Hillary that is hated in the Arab world, its Hillary that hates the Arab world. Hillary was viewed positively for a long time until she made her choice and instead of trying to be an honest broker (as possible as that is given the influence of the Jewish community) like Bill did, she chose to [alienate] herself from many including the Palestinians. It does not surprise me though that you would support her. At the end of the day, the Jewish community will buy Obama as well (already started to).

I’m currently halfway through Obama’s biography Dreams from My Father, and I’m enjoying it. If my citizenship application is finalized before November, I would vote for him over McCain. However, I do not foresee any radical change if he becomes president, especially when it comes to the Middle East. Actually, I still believe Hillary would have been a better choice. But ah well, the people chose and they chose Obama. I need to get over it and move on. Anyway, let’s see what the future holds. Meanwhile, my friend Dan is ecstatic.


  1. Arabi June 7, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    hI’m very glad to see that you used my quote. I’m also glad you rminded me and others about what I thought of Obama being bought by the Jews and to see that I was right. In all honesty in today’s American politics it does not matter who wins Dems or Reps when it comes to Middle East politics as both parties run to do quite a bit of AIPAC and Jewish ass kissing. Can’t blame anyone but the Arabs for it. Heck our leaders today compete in kissing Israel’s ass.

    For the economy’s sake, I hope that the Dems win.


  2. Hareega June 7, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    he won’t change much but he won’t screw people as much as Bush did or as much as Mccain will.
    Hillary is definitely the candidate of change, she changes from one day to another.

  3. biesan June 11, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Well I think Obama is the one true to his message of change…By actually changing his views by day…He compromises what he thinks after being attacked. And what he said at AIPAC about Iran proves that.
    What scares me the most is that he can be as catastrophic as Bush because he is not sure of himself or his views…AND because he does not have good judgment. And the best example is his association with Jeremiah Wright, after being attacked he just dropped the guy and the church.
    I don’t think i can trust someone who does not stand true to what he says…

  4. Hareega June 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Biesan, I hope you’re not standing for MCain either because this man has changed 180 degrees since 2000, the people he called EVIL then are his best friends these days.
    McCain dropped the support of a lunatic pastor only after he claimed the Holocaust was allowed by God. He didn’t revoke him when he was calling for the wiping out of all Isalmic nations for example, but when it came for the Holocaust he had to change his mind.
    Same applies to his position on torture and immigration.
    The only area where he’s not changing his mind on is unfortunately the war, an area where he claims to be an expert in and very clearly he is not.

  5. Irving Isler June 17, 2008 at 1:23 am

    A message of change is not change itself.

    In fact, how many message of changes were simply a thin veneer of rhetoric on a solid foundation of sameness?

    Just a thought. Wonderful post by the way.

  6. Biesan June 17, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Hell No!!! Not McCain. I was for Hillary but now i don’t support anyone. I don’t relate to either Obama or McCain!!!

  7. Hareega June 18, 2008 at 4:29 am

    Biesan, I don’t know if you’re a religious person, but I’ve been to church many times where the priest would say many outrageously crazy things that don’t make sense. I know many Muslims who also feel amny things the imam says in a Friday sermon is plain crazy, and that doesn’t change at all when you switch from one priest or imam to another, every one of them will say something stupid every once in a while. Hillar Clinton changed her CHURCH how about that?

    Experience! Yes Hillary has more exprience than Obama and that’s the very scary part. She was in the white house for 8 years and was very much involved in politics and still made a very wrong decision by supporting the war in Iraq and standing behind Bush in it. How scary is that?

  8. jack June 22, 2008 at 7:53 am

    He promised change and delivered!

    I will NOT take money from _______?

    Oppsss I will take all the money I can get!


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