Thursday, July 08, 2010

Not just occupying a space


As part of this week’s goal of sucking up to AIPAC (they will never love you, Barack, never), Obama was interviewed by Israeli TV.

He adopted Israeli rhetoric about Palestinians wholesale (as I typed wholesale I spotted the joke I think you all spotted too, but we’re better than that, people). For example: “There’s a constant contest between moderates and rejectionists within the Arab world.” And: “then there’s the demographic challenges that Israel is going to be facing if it wants to remain not only a Jewish state but a democratic state.” Yes, they’re not Palestinian babies but little bundles of demographic challenge. Because their whole significance as human beings is in relation to the Israeli Jews.

He said that Netanyahu might be the perfect leader to make peace because only Nixon etc etc.

Now here’s an unfortunate turn of phrase: “And in our conversations yesterday, I had the impression that Prime Minister Netanyahu isn’t interested in just occupying a space, a position, but he’s interested in being a statesman and putting his country on a more secure track.”

Obama again insisted that reports of tension between Netanyahu and himself have been “greatly overstated. I mean, the last time that the Prime Minister came here, we had a terrific meeting.” You could tell by their happy smiling faces in the photographs that Obama refused to let be taken.

Asked if he had asked Bibi to extend the settlement “freeze,” he ignored the question and responded, “You know, what I want is for us to get into direct talks. I think that if you have direct talks between Abu Mazen, Netanyahu, their teams, that builds trust. And trust then allows for both sides to not be so jumpy or paranoid about every single move that’s being made”. Hate for Palestinians to get all paranoid about the seizure of their land and the illegal implantation of still more violent settlers and the flotillacide.

He thinks Israelis are suspicious of him because his middle name is Hussein. And because of his outreach to Muslims (remember when he was supposed to be reaching out to Muslims? What did that consist of, giving one speech?). But “the truth of the matter is, is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West.” Again, the only significance of Muslims as human beings is as threats. If they just stopped being so gosh-darned hostile, we could go back to ignoring them.

He said, “One of my favorite phrases is from Martin Luther King, who said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ And I believe that. And I think that that’s consummate with Jewish traditions”. A Bushian malapropism if I ever heard one. Maybe there’s something in the White House drinking water that makes people get stupider the longer they live there. Arsenic, or Lincoln’s gold, or Jenna’s old stash.

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