≡ Menu

Obama: Gaza Siege ‘Forced on Israel’

Do you think Obama is thinking of all those elderly Jewish voters he has to face in Florida in a few weeks? And of his need to fend off a potential Clinton attack from his political right?

Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,

I understand that today the UN Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.

I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in southern Israel…

All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this… Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.

The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks… If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

This letter is a perfect example of how election campaigns prostitute legitimate policy objectives. Of course, Israel was NOT forced to put Gaza under siege. To say otherwise is first of all to pander to the right-wing portion of the Jewish electorate and second to distort reality. Israel certainly has the right to respond to the Qassams but the method it has chosen has MAXIMAL impact on civilians. Unfortunately, Obama neglected to consider that fact.

Also disappointing is that Obama didn’t call for the UN ambassador to add a denunciation of the siege with his condemnation of the Qassam attacks. How many Arab-American voters do you think there are in Florida? Not many–just as I thought.

It’s no accident that this letter was first published by AIPAC’s favorite columnist, Shmuel Rosner. In fact, except for a few details in it, like the expression of concern for Gaza civilians, the letter could’ve been written by an AIPAC staffer. In fact, that’s a very strong possibility in this instance. Thanks to Racheli Gai who discovered this via the Tikkun daily newsletter.

There was talk earlier today that the Obama campaign denied he’d written the letter. But the U.S. UN Mission press office confirms that the Ambassador did receive a letter from Obama. And Rosner swears to it as well.

Bufferfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail
youtubeyoutube

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kathy January 24, 2008, 7:57 AM

    Did Clinton send the same letter?

  • Lamont Phemister January 24, 2008, 12:50 PM

    Message to Zionists:
    The Jews lost the land about AD133 when driven out by Roman Emperor Hadrian.
    The land has been owned by the Muslims for the last 1400 years, since Omar took it from
    the Byzantine Romans Christians. Omar permitted a few Jews to return, but there were
    not more than 40,000 in Palestine by 1914, shortly before the British permitted the
    start of a flood of Jews to return. Righteous Jewish scholarship has now revealed that the
    Zionist leaders intended from the start to expel the Arabs from their land.
    Israel claims the land “because God gave it to us.”
    Some Christians and Jews agree. But, orthodox Christian doctrine for 2000 years rejects
    this, believing the Old Covenant is superseded by Jesus in the New Covenant.
    Israel claims the land “because we won.” The UN Treaty of 1945 outlaws taking land by war.
    Israel claims the land “because the UN voted partition.”
    This vote was done by US arm twisting in violation of the ownership rights of the Arabs.
    It can have no legitimacy.
    The Jews introduced terrorism to Palestine against the British. Future prime minister, Itzak
    Shamir argued openly that “neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify
    terrorism as a means of combat.” and, he said there would have been no Israel without
    terrorism.
    The Arabs have the right of self defense to fight against invasion and expulsion. To call
    them terrorists is dishonest.
    The conclusion of these facts is that Israel has not right whatsover to any part of Palestine.

    Some,like Prof. Dershowitz, claim Israel deserves the land because of Christian persecution.
    Surely Christians owe Jews something because of persecution but that does not extend
    to support of Israeli oppression and expulsion of the Arabs from their land.
    American support of Israeli is destructive to this nation, makiing us complicit in their
    oppression, and stimulating the rise of Muslim extremists and entangling us in wars
    against Muslim people with whom we should be at peace.
    Israel is not our friend – Israel killed 34 of our sailors in deliberate attack on the USS Liberty,
    and spies aggressively on us and gives our military secrets to China.
    Israel as a democracy is a joke. Israel is an apartheid regime that does not treat its citizens
    equally under the law.
    Israel is a liability, not a strategic asset, and America should not be an antagonist to the
    Muslim world.
    Hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories are a violation of the
    Fourth Geneva Convention. For crushing Arabs in their homes with bulldozers, for
    restricting Arabs to 1/7 the per capita water resources the settlers get, for reprisal
    against groups, for expropriation of lands and wanton destruction of croups (over
    300,000 olive trees uprooted), and shops, for arrest and execution without due process,
    for building a wall around the West Bank which blocks farmers from their fields and
    creates the world’s largest prison, for massive retaliaion with heavy artillery, tanks,
    and aircraft, Israel is an abomination against justice.
    A two state solution is a delusion because any treated signed by Israel will be on terms of
    surrender and perpetual subjugation that Palestinians cannot endure.
    The only just and enduring solution is for the Zionists to come to the United States to live
    without oppressing others.
    There is something wrong with people who are happy to live with their boots on the necks
    of people their victims, The State of Israel is an abomination to fair minded people.
    Zionists, get out of Palestine and come to America to redeeem your souls.
    Gratification of your emotional desires to have your own state is not worth the price of
    evil that you commit.
    Jewish Americans, be thankful that you have not done such evils, but do not be complicit in
    the evil that is Israel. Tell the Zionists to live here as you do.

  • Leila January 24, 2008, 9:57 PM

    Rami Zurayk, an agricultural specialist and social justice blogger, reprints a long report from Gaza about the situation for farmers and food there. It’s heartbreaking:

    http://landandpeople.blogspot.com/2008/01/long-update-from-gaza.html

  • Violet January 25, 2008, 3:51 PM

    It’s a pity that Obama or whoever wrote that tripe didn’t engage their brain before typing. Saying Israel was forced to place an entire population under siege so that they can’t even get hold of day to day necessities is like an abusive spouse saying that the victim of their abuse forced them to abuse them. How can anyone have the gall to make that comment and then follow it up with ‘while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians’?

  • mattes January 26, 2008, 9:13 AM

    May I cross post this excellent article to a couple liberal blogs??? I will link back to this site.

  • Steph January 27, 2008, 5:42 AM

    I have not doubt that Obama was pandering to right wing voters, but Florida!? The State Democratic Party violated the rules by scheduling their primary early and therefore no delegates from Florida will be recognized so there’s not much campaigning going on there. In any event, the letter is to be condemned!

  • Richard Silverstein January 27, 2008, 6:00 PM

    Steph: The NY Times yesterday wrote that despite the supposed non-primary in FL both Clinton & Obama’s are seeing FL as important as a precursor to Feb. 5th. So while what you say is correct, in light of Obama’s S.C. victory FL looms much larger than it previously did.

    But you’re right in the sense that Obama’s interests may be larger than merely FL. On Feb. 5th, he’ll be trying to win Jewish votes in lots of states with substantial Jewish populations like NY, NJ & CA.

  • Lewis January 28, 2008, 2:11 PM

    What was the famous Daily Express headline? “Jews declare war on Germany”

  • Mary Baine Campbell January 28, 2008, 8:51 PM

    I’m still not convinced about the authenticity of this troubling letter. It’s very strangely written, and the mysterious ellipses would surely have been edited out before being sent to Khalilzid by the office of a leading candidate for the presidency of the United States. That the UN received it is no guarantee that “Obama” wrote it. If some student intern wrote it for him, the fact that it wasn’t better written or edited–that indeed it doesn’t seem to have been vetted at all–is a bit alarming itself. No trouble believing that presidential candidates would stoop to anything, and contradict themselves with a hand on the Bible, but it doesn’t sound like Obama. And it got so invisibly little press in the US, where most of the voters live: what would have been the motive to sell his soul, apologizing thus inaudibly for a crime against humanity, an infraction of international law not too different from the kind he promises we’ll stop making ourselves?

  • Richard Silverstein January 28, 2008, 9:49 PM

    Alas, Mary it IS authentic. Obama’s staff confirmed they sent it. They are getting flack for it and deserve getting more. The reason it doesn’t sound like Obama to you (& it certainly has none of the wonderful rhetoric he’s capable of) is that he didn’t write it. If we’re lucky it was written by a staffer for him. But it’s entirely possible it was written for him by AIPAC & that he merely affixed his signature to it.

    While I don’t defend this awful letter, he IS in the fight of his political life for the nomination & feels he must innoculate himself with pro-Israel chicken soup to confirm his credentials. He’s worried that if he leaves a stone unturned that Hillary will go after him & take advantage of such a weakness. Remember that FL has become a crucial contest even though it is non-official & Super Tuesday has many states w. substantial Jewish populations.

  • Steven January 29, 2008, 9:38 AM

    everytime i notice the US elections .. i feel it as for israel.. both dems and republicans go to AIPAC to appease the zionists by rhetorics against supposed enemies.. in order to attract votes and money.. it’s shame in my opinion .. that instead of thecandidates to vow for peace.. they support a thug in ME which increase the hte agains US.. the american should wake up and take the lead instead of some zionists which harm the image of US among the world.!

  • eman December 31, 2008, 11:00 PM

    THE ISRAELI GOVERMENT PAYS EVERY DAY A LOT OF MONY IN ORDER TO FIGHT AND KILL “HAMAS” GROUPS ;INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN GAZA; CHILDREN AND WOMEN ETC…)IMAGINE HOW MUCH BETTER IF ISRAEL GOV. PAYS THESE ACCOUNTS OF MONY ON THE WELFARE OF THE CIVILIANS THAT SUFFER AND WILL GO ON SUFFERING FROM THIS NONSTOP ISSUES…..
    FROM 1970 TILL NOW ISRAEL DID’NT FULFILL HER AIM…THE PEACE’S KEY IS WITH ISRAEL …BUT SHE LOST IT’….

  • TheRationalist January 3, 2009, 1:55 PM

    The sad truth of the conflict is that israel will only condone a democracy it sees fit. even after hamas won the vote of palistinians by a rate of nearly 95% they are STILL regarded as terrorists. The world remains silent for fear if they interfere with israel they will be called anti jew racists because 70 years ago a bunch of christians decided to kill some jews, and they see fit to punish muslims.

    4 isralies killed to 400 arabs? War crime much?

    Israel: “God gave us the land as described in the torah”.

    If the bible condones killing jews, shall we all go out and do that too? If i write a book that says i am entitled to the worlds wealth am i permitted to bypass all laws to get it because it was written? No.
    And they have the audacity to tell palistinans to get out of the combat zones. WHERE ARE CAN THEY GO?

  • Bahjat Tabbara January 4, 2009, 12:27 PM

    The siege of Gaza is at least 18 months old, but began in 2005 when the first shortages of supplies were reported. Everybody knows (or should know) that the disparity between the Israeli military & HAMAS is not only enormous, but claims that HAMAS poses a threat to Israel & that Israel is ‘defending itself’ is an odious statement to say the least.

    HAMAS doesn’t have the advantage of F-15s, F-16s, AH-64 ‘Apache’ & thick skinned Merkava tanks. By contrast Israel has all these & yet claims it is the victim of ‘garage projects’ that HAMAS has fired for a mere x4 casualties thus far. A lucky hit would be just that, a lucky hit. By contrast Israel is using high powered weaponry in populated areas. Do they expect HAMAS commanders to go out in the open? Certainly they’re not hiding among civilians or using human shields.

    Yet perhaps one must look to find out that 450-500 Israelis die on the roads every year from road accidents. That’s far more in two years than the number of Israelis who were killed in any if the Intifadas & certainly more than HAMAS rockets have inflicted. If anything any body in Israel (or visiting Israel) is more likely to die in a car accident than a HAMAS suicide bomb or rocket.

  • Cameron Kirchhoff January 4, 2009, 9:23 PM

    Israel is nothing more than a terrorist state.

  • Ted Marcus January 4, 2009, 10:21 PM

    So my advice to the Palestinians- hang on, you’ll get your state, a bigger state actually, one that includes the present-day Israel. Surely, there’ll be a Jewish diaspora again & you’ll get all you’ve been fighting for.
    The new economic powers of the East will need more Arab oil than anything the Jews can offer