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Obama’s choice of Biden has much to do with Middle East
By Ray Hanania — Barack Obama is both a articulate and predictable. Since he came out of nowhere to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, he has also created uneasiness not just with those American pre-occupied with race. He’s unsettled the pro-Israel community. Will Obama, who spent a few years in a Muslim (albeit non-Arab) country with an Arab middle name (Hussein) and long standing ties to Palestinian activists in Chicago, be fair to Israel? Well, Joe Biden is Obama’s answer to the pro-Israel critics and the nominagtion just might shut them up.
Joe Biden is a self-described Zionist who believes the concerns of the Arabs are an afterthought in Middle East politics, especially when it comes to the Palestinians and their rights to a homeland.
Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which some people have sarcastically called “Israel’s personal banker.” The committee, including when Biden was “just” a member, has channeled billions in US Taxpayer money to Israel, often more than Israel has even asked for. And for what? To pander to the powerful and large pro-Israel vote.
Now, there is nothing new in pandering to any voting block. It’s not immoral. It’s not sinister. It’s the American way. Politicians have been pandering since the first time a bribe changed hands in America. Years ago, I had a great professor in college, Milton Rakove, who happened to be Jewish. He said that in Chicago, all the politicians support Israel and didn’t support the Palestinians because “Jews vote” and “Arabs don’t vote.”
Today, Arabs vote, but what Rakove also said was that they vote as an obsessive, unwavering, narrow-focused monolith when it comes to the interests of Israel. Arabs are not like that. The truth is Arabs and Muslims are driven by emotion, more than reason, and find it easier to bash themselves than to stand up to Israel’s military war crimes and violations of international law.
So what choice did poor Joe Biden ever have? He had to support Israel because supporters of Israel make a difference at the polls. Arabs do not.
Oh, don’t be shocked that this isn’t about what is right and what is wrong? Or that this isn’t about justice, morality and fairness? You don’t believe that media spin that America is the the leader of the Free World. Yea, free to support Israel or get off the bus.
Biden is the sponsor of something called “The Palestine Terrorism Act,” even though Palestinians have never attacked the United States, called for attacks on the United States or engage in organizing attacks against the United States. (They do criticize American foreign policy and Israel’s lobbyists have done a good job of translating that into evidence of “anti-American attacks.) Not even Hamas, a terrorist organization that has brainwashed children to blow themselves up and kill innocent Israeli civilians, is anti-American in a violent way. The truth is the “freedom loving” Americans only love free speech when it meshes with what they believe. Free speech that challenges their ignorance and lack of knowledge is viewed as “hostile.”
Here’s the text of the three versions of the bill that Biden sponsored. The bill basically pretends to support peace by stating support for the “two state solution.” And then it withheld funds to the Palestinians, not just organizations engaged in resistance against Israeli government terrorism, or even real acts of terrorism against Israeli civilian targets. It withheld funds to all Palestinians, including humanitarian funds. It was a “punishment” by Biden, ordered by Israel’s lobbyists, to respond to the refusal of Palestinians to accept Israel’s military war crimes and policies of land theft, annexation and expulsions of civilians. All are violations of international laws that Israel and Joe Biden have ignored.
No. Joe Biden the vice president is not a friend of Middle East peace. But he will make some critics of Barack Obama less hostile and more willing to accept his election in November over the less competent Republican John McCain.
This is a tough election choice, not just for American Jews and American Arabs and Muslims. It is a tough choice for everyone. McCain is basically a third-term Bush (Bush, as president, can only serve two terms maximum, for those who don’t understand the American system and McCain is basically a Bush cheerleader who will continue the president’s policies.) Many American Jews and supporters of Israel don’t like McCain. But they know McCain better than they know Obama, who has been zig-zagging around his past associations with Palestinians and Muslims, and who abandoned his once die-hard support of the rights of Palestinians to justice, fairness and genuine peace. They fear Barak Hussein Obama more than they fear John McCain.
And that’s why Obama chose Biden. The message is clear. The Obama-Biden administration, assuming that they win in November, will not undermine Israel’s illegal policies of building and expanding settlements in the West Bank on land stolen from Palestinians. The Obama-Biden team will not try to be “fair” and force Israel to do the right thing and return the lands it occupied in 1967. The Obama-Biden team will not force Israel to share Jerusalem, either Arab East Jerusalem and most definitely not West Jerusalem, a city that was supposed to be internationalized under the UN Partition Plan that pro-Israel activists disingenuously argue Israel supported and the Arabs opposed.
No, the Obama-Biden ticket is going to be no different than the Bush administration, which turned its back on Israeli-Palestinian peace, allowed the peace process to deteriorate so badly that the only option left to both sides has been violence and conflict.
If you are going to have someone who supports Israel be your president, you might as well pick someone who genuinely supports Israel and just mighyt be smart enough to recognize that it is in Israel’s longterm interests to make peace with the Palestinians because one-day the secular Palestinians will be replaced completely by the religious fanatics. And the religious fanatics won’t compromise. They’re as bad as Israel’s fanatics.
Watch as Biden steps up his pro-Israel pronouncements, pandering with shallow calls for peace and justice, while making a speech that will suck up to the Israeli lobby even more than Obama triued to do earlier in the year.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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