Obama for Palestinians (we ask the question again)?

8 Nov

A story like this gets to me because it demonstrates how Israel is getting away with murder, literally. And with American support.

As Obama is preparing to enter office, the fate of Palestinians will not be any much better. This has been explained in my previous posting, ‘Are Palestinians part of Obama’s concern?’ in which he point-blanket told Palestinian students he met in Ramallah that his ‘commitment to Israel is non-negotiable’.

Now that he’s President, he has already set his eye on Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. A candidate whose track record is not only pro-Israel but also pro big business. Change? What change?

According to Opensecrets.org, Emanuel ‘was an aide in the Clinton White House, was the top House recipient in the 2008 election cycle of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the larger securities/investment industry…  Since being elected to Congress in 2002, after working as an investment banker, Emanuel has received more money from individuals and PACs in the securities and investment business than any other industry‘. Not only that, he was on the director board of Freddie Mac when a ‘scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot “red flags” ‘.

His credentials on the Israel-Palestinian dispute is less than even-handed. As Ali Abuminah notes in a Democracy Now! roundtable interview, Emanuel is, ‘one of the most hard-line supporters of Israel in the Congress and has been for many years’.

Cockburn’s commentary is more scathing: ‘… a former Israeli citizen, who volunteered to serve in Israel in 1991 and who made brisk millions in Wall Street. He is a super-Likudnik hawk, whose father was in the fascist Irgun in the late Forties, responsible for cold-blooded massacres of Palestinians. Dad’s unreconstructed ethnic outlook has been memorably embodied in his recent remark to the Ma’ariv newspaper that “Obviously he [Rahm] will influence the president to be pro-Israel… Why wouldn’t he be [influential]? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

Working in the Clinton White House, Emanuel helped push through NAFTA, the crime bill, the balanced budget and welfare reform. He favored the war in Iraq, and when he was chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 he made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates…

… In 2006 Emanuel had just published a book with Bruce Reed called The Plan: Big Ideas for America, with one section focused on “the war on terror”. Emanuel and Reed wrote, “We need to fortify the military’s ‘thin green line ‘around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. …

… Emanuel and Reed had fond words for the mad-dog Peter Beinart, neocon warrior theoretician for the Democrats, roosting Marty Peretz’s The New Republic, and author of The Good Fight where Beinart explained why a tough new national security policy is as essential to the future of of progressive politics as a united front against totalitarianism and communism was to the New Deal and the Great Society. Emanuel and Reed also commended Anne-Marie Slaughter’s proposal for “a new division of labor in which the United Nations takes on economic and social assistance and an expanded NATO takes over the burden of collective security.” In other words, let NATO shoot the natives and the UN clean the floors…’

Robert Fisk’s opinion piece on Obama’s presidency made similar critical observations (which I have noted in my previous posting, ‘Media Brainwash, Optimism and the Obama Presidency’). He comments, ‘He [Obama] wants to draw down in Iraq in order to concentrate more firepower in Afghanistan. He’s not going to take on the lobby in Washington and he’s not going to stop further Jewish colonisation of the occupied territories or talk to Israel’s enemies. With AIPAC supporter Rahm Emanuel as his new chief of staff – “our man in the White House”, as the Israeli daily Maariv called him this week – Obama will toe the line’.

This is why I find it hard to believe that Obama is for change. This is why Palestinians will continue to suffer the brunt of Israel’s apartheid policies in the Occupied Territories. This is why stories such as Majda’s father’s failure to obtain kidney analysis in Gaza due to the closure is an abberation to the promises made by Obama.


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