"Can I get a Witness?" Obama on Israel, Iran, and Palestine
Most of the entries you'll be reading over the next few days were written a single sitting at the Jerusalem Hotel in a mad attempt to make the most of limited internet access. As I've sat here writing, I've found myself feeling more and more sad and frustrated. And now I come to what has become the icing on a very depressing cake.
Barak Obama, now the democratic nominee for President, recently gave what I can only describe as an appalling speech to AIPAC. There were many things to criticize about what he said, especially his words on "eliminating" Iranian "threat", but let's just take a look at this line:
"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided."
Let's take a look at what an undivided Jerusalem looks like. An undivided, Israeli-controlled capital means inequitable social services in Palestinian neighborhoods. It means Muslims cut off from their holy sites. It means Israeli settlements crowding out Palestinian homes. It means Israelis in military uniform harassing Palestinian shop owners in the old city market. It means a 25 high wall running around the city.
Jerusalem is a city holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims and Obama knows that. Somehow, it feels right that I'm listening to Marvin Gaye singing "Can I get a Witness?" while I write. I feel like like I've been having a political love affair and I've just been cheated on. I'm an Obama supporter - though I can't say that I'm all that surprised that he's abandoning principle on this issue. I still think he'll certainly be better than Clinton, even for Palestine. But I'm not above criticizing the candidate I support during his campaign. In fact, I think that is a great idea.
Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi journalist and blogger, recently came over to our house in Vancouver, Washington and politely eat my baba ganoush before giving a presentation to Vancouver for Peace. During his talk, he pointed out that history Presidential candidates have to be pressured during their campaigns for them to change their policies. And Obama's got to change his policies on Iraq, Iran, and Palestine.
So, let's do it. Obama's got a lot going for him - let's remind him that we like the Obama who says what he believes and who represents change, not the right-wing dreams of AIPAC. A teammate and I are trying to get a campaign together to pressure him - we'll give you details when we're organized.