One way of knowing someone is by who their friends are. Another way is by their enemies. You can get a sense of the humanity (or lack thereof) of Barack Obama’s enemies by reading some of their responses to his Nobel Peace Prize.
Zvi Solow, professor at Ben Gurion University, writes of a few telling Israeli right-wing responses to the announcement. Zvi doesn’t name this source:
” The Norwegian Nobel committee was established by a leftist Parliament & the prize to Obama is the appreciation of a grateful world for the end of the Bush era”
The N.Y. Times puts the lie to this smear with the following information about the composition of the Nobel committee:
…In his [Alfred Nobel’s] will, he instructed the Norwegian Parliament to appoint the selection committee. Because it is chosen to reflect roughly the balance of party strength in Norway, the current committee has members across the spectrum, from the Socialist Left Party to the far-right Progress Party.
An especially interesting reaction is this one from current Knesset speaker, Likud MK Reuven Rivlin:
“The problem is that now Obama will find it easier to mobilise the world to force a peace agreement on us. But an imposed peace will be short lived.”
This of course, goes to the commonly accepted Israeli right wing notion that the entire world is against and out to get us. This of course makes the obligation of Israel’s political leaders to maneuver among the world’s anti-Israel sharks to avoid being eaten. It never involves working with anyone outside Israel to actually try to come to terms with Israel’s traditional enemies. There is also a note of almost resigned acceptance of the notion that it may eventually come to the fact that the world will impose a peace agreement on Israel. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such sentiment expressed on the Israeli right.
It is indicative of the enormous disconnect between world, and Israeli opinion of Obama’s Middle East peace diplomacy, that he is viewed as pro-Israel by around 6% of Israelis. Unlike right wing Israelis, I’m not overly disturbed by this number because Obama isn’t president of Israel and doesn’t have to run in an Israeli election. Also, George Bush’s approval ratings were through the roof in Israel. And that is a reflection of how sycophantic his relationship was with that country. In order for there to be peace, perhaps an American president will have to endure some unpopularity. Do we really want a president who Bibi Netanyahu can proudly call “pro-Israel?”
Time Magazine offers a similarly downbeat assessment of the reception within Israel and the Arab world of the Nobel news:
…Beneath the veneer of formal congratulations, the Obama Nobel award is being viewed as an as yet undeserved laurel, as an embarrassment, by some even as an impediment to a sustainable peace.
…Bloggers have been harsher. “Thank you Nobel Prize Committee for awarding the most ridiculous Nobel Prize for Peace since 1994, when you awarded one to the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat,” wrote jewliscious.com blogger Dahlia, a student living in Israel. “Well done and kudos!”
Leave it to the scabrous Jewlicious to feature some of the more clueless commentary on the Peace Prize. StandWithUs or CAMERA couldn’t have said it better themselves. In fact, maybe Dahia is one of those SWU Israel fellows who are brought here on hasbara junkets. We’ve got a few making the rounds here in Seattle visiting unsuspecting Hebrew and high schools to offer their patriotic slant on “life in Israel.”
Zhu Bajie says
“This of course, goes to the commonly accepted Israeli right wing notion that the entire world is against and out to get us. ”
I can assure them that no one in China cares. Most have never heard of Israel.
As for George Bush, how many of his Israeli supporters know about Dispensationalism, the Rapture, etc.? It’s not a philo-judaic point of view, not really.
Marc Silverstein says
One other thought. The Peace Prize historically has been given to those who have worked to throw off the yoke of racial discrimination and segregation (Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu). I think the Nobel committee, in awarding Obama the prize, was also rewarding the fact that something profound had happened in a nation that was founded on racial genocide, built on racist slavery, and held back for a hundred-plus years by vestiges of hateful bigotry (which can still be found on display at teabagger rallies and daily talk radio). The fact that this one man could cause this seismic historical event to occur — and to do so with such grace and humility, never succumbing to the bait, but still not backing down (yes, he asked to be sworn in as “Barack Hussein Obama”!) — is more than reason enough he should be in Oslo to meet the King on December 10. Maybe he could take us along with him. ‘Cause I also suspect the Nobel committee was tipping its hat to all of us — we, the American people, had conquered some of our racism and did the truly unexpected. After seeing searing images of our black fellow citizens left to drown in New Orleans — and poor whites seeing their own treated no better than the black man they had been raised to hate — we had all seen enough. It was time for change.