I shouldn’t have voted

March 7, 2008 § 11 Comments

I voted for Obama in the democratic primaries, convincing myself that his policy toward Israel might be more “balanced” — meaning, Obama might acknowledge the atrocities committed against Palestinians by the Israeli army; that Obama might recognize that Israel has failed to be an adequate partner in peace negotiations; and that Obama might attempt to engage Hamas officials in a dialogue.

I think I was very wrong. Here’s Obama:

One of the enemies we have to fight — it’s not just terrorists, it’s not just Hezbollah, it’s not just Hamas — it’s also cynicism.” (NY Times, March 14, 2007)

I start with the premise that Israel is a stalwart ally of ours and their security cannot be compromised.” (The Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2008)

Our hearts go out to the family of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and we are praying for a recovery on his part, and I think the entire world is watching because we recognize that his presence here in the entire process was absolutely important and constructive.” (Associated Press, January 6, 2006)

In response to a US decision to provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel over a decade:

The Administration’s failed policies in Iraq, in a war that never should have been authorized, have strengthened Iran and emboldened Hamas and Hezbollah. That makes it more important that ever that the United States live up to its commitment to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in a dangerous region. For that reason, I support the agreement on military assistance reached today.” (States News Service, August 16, 2007.)

I looked to see if Obama had made any comments on the recent killings in Gaza — over 110 Palestinians killed by Israel in a few days — but I found nothing.

So, what is the solution? Do we vote for Obama and tell ourselves that he represents “Change We Can Believe In”? Or do we come to terms that Obama is not really offering any kind of substantial change, but that instead, the prospect of a Clinton or McCain presidency is just too frightening?

I say, vote for Obama, but don’t feel good about it.

Here is a much-circulated article by Ali Abunimah on Obama’s shift from Palestinian sympathizer to Israel supporter.

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