Obama and Israel: The Inevitable Backlash

by Dax-Devlon Ross

According to an Associated Press report, a recent statement Barack Obama made about Palestinians is being criticized. I wish I could say I am surprised. According to a letter the Obama campaign received from a prominent Israel lobbyist, Obama’s statement, “nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people” was “deeply troubling and in need of clarification.” Considering the exceptionally pro-Israel remarks that Obama made a week ago to a Chicago audience, this response seems not only unwarranted but indicative of the reason so many people have animus toward  America’s policy on Israel.  A part of me wonders ‘Where exactly does this Iowa lobbyist come off ?? Who the hell is he to dictate an opinion expressed by someone who has seen and studied the situation himself?’ Furthermore, it’s not as if Obama said the Israelis had suffered any less. He only said no one has suffered more than the Palestinians, which doesn’t exclude an equal amount of suffering on the part of Israelis, if that’s what the lobbyist was upset about.

Another part of me looks at the actual statement Obama made and wonders if his critic has a point. No one has suffered more than the Palestinian people? That’s a pretty sweeping statement to make considering the amount of suffering that goes on in the world. One need only look to Darfur or Rwanda or Iraq or a number of places to find tremendous amounts of suffering. Looked at in this light, I understand where the lobbyist, David Adelman is his name, is coming from. The letter he sent could’ve come from a number of sources, but what makes it “newsworthy” I suppose is that it came from a pro-Israel source.

 This, I imagine, is what happens when you toe the line like Obama is trying to do. He says he wants to maintain the status quo when it comes to the United States’ relationship with Israel but then he says he wants to see a Palestinian state astride Israel. He’s going to have to make some tough choices in the coming months because, clearly, it’s not enough for him to say he supports Israel. He must, it seems, pledge his allegiance to them as well.