Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thoughts on Obama's Cairo Speech

I have read the transcript of President Obama's speech in Cairo titled "A New Beginning."

Not surprisingly it's mostly pablum and platitudes.

But some parts do warrant comment.

Take this paragraph from early on in the speech:

I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

How can Islam promote the dignity of all human beings when the word of a woman is half that of a man? Somehow I don't think Michelle Obama believes her word is half that of President Obama.

Yet Obama thinks we should take the Muslim world's lead on this issue:

Issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we've seen Muslim majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

The last time I checked Benazir Bhutto was the only woman to lead a Muslim state. I also seem to recall Benazir Bhutto was killed by an assassin's bullet. I don't think Hillary Clinton had to fear for her life when running for office. Sorry but the lack of equal pay doesn't quite measure up to being stoned to death.

The President talked at length about Israel and the Palestinians:

(I)t is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in the pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

If the Palestinians have endured 60 years worth of pain from dislocation then why have they only been advocating for statehood for 40 years? Could it be the Palestinians didn't mind so much when Egypt and Jordan ruled Gaza and the West Bank, respectively?

Note how about states the Palestinians wait to live a life of peace and security "in neighboring lands." You see there are refugees and then there are Palestinian refugees. They are the only refugees who transcend generations. Simply put someone living a life of peace and security in the United States whose grandfather lost his home or livelihood as a result of the 1948 War of Independence can claim Palestinian refugee status. It's absurd. But when has that ever stopped Obama?

For decades then, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It's easy to point fingers -- for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.

Quite frankly there's one hell of a difference between having survived Auschwitz and living through a problem of your own making. The 1947 UN Partition Plan established both a Jewish and an Arab state. The Jews said yes, the Arabs said no. This has repeated itself over and over again with the Palestinians playing the role of the Arabs. During the War of Independence, the Arab leaders told those in Israel to leave Israel and they did not expecting to lose. But the Arabs lost and thus not only couldn't go back to Israel but to the Arab countries that told them to leave Israel in the first place. Funny how Obama doesn't speak about Jews forced to leave Arab countries. It can hardly be called pointing fingers when one side says we just want to be and the other side says we won't let you be.

Then there are the settlements:

Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

So Obama doesn't accept "the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." Does this mean all settlements must be dismantled? So Obama thinks the settlements "violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace." So I guess the birth of a Jewish child violates the Road Map? Doesn't Palestinian terrorism violate the Road Map? Yet Obama never explicitly called upon the Palestinians to stop terrorism. Why?

But O.K. if he wants the settlements gone then fine. But mark my words. You could dismantle every settlement and this would change nothing. Sure as the sun sets in the west, the Palestinians would find a reason to object to Israel. Palestinians didn't stop launching rockets into Israel when it withdrew from Gaza. Why would they behave any differently regarding settlements? The idea that settlements undermine efforts to achieve peace is sheer stupidity on the part of Obama.

Obama ventures further into la-la land when it comes to Iran.

Forget the hostages in the American Embassy. Forget 241 dead marines in Beirut. Obama says simply, "There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect."

But where I come from to get respect you have to give it first. What measure of respect has Iran extended to the United States? Where it concerns Iran, respect is a one way street for the Obama Administration.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

Yes, well I'd like to pitch for the Red Sox but that isn't going to happen either. President Obama does not understand the difference between optimism and wishful thinking.

President Obama also wants more Americans to study in Muslim communities. Ah yes, let's do with young Americans what we're doing with prisoners (particularly African-Americans) who study Islam. Let's just create a new breed of Islamic radical subsidized by your tax dollars.

Obama also announced the U.S. will also enter into a partnership with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to eradicate polio. Yes, that OIC which gave Mahatir Mohammed, then the Prime Minister of Malaysia, a standing ovation for declaring the Jews rule the world by proxy. It has also refused to agree to a definition of terrorism as it considers suicide bombing a form of legitimate self-defense.

Yes, there is a problem with polio in the Muslim world. That's because Muslim clerics in Pakistan tell their people the polio vaccine is an anti-Muslim plot by the U.S. government. Kind of like Reverend Wright telling the folks at Trinity United Church that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus to be spread into the African-American community. Or perhaps Obama was just in the bathroom when Wright said those things. I'm only surprised those clerics didn't just blame it on the Jews.


Anonymous said...

its funny how all comments must be approved by you Aaron trying to prevent freedom of speech? Oh "goldstein" now we see why there are so many negative comments towards the muslim world appear.

Aaron Goldstein said...

Well,in forums such as these comments do have to be approved by someone. And, yes that someone might have a last name you don't like.