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Saturday Articles – Obama’s Palestinian Friend and South Tel Aviv

December 6th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve decided to start a weekly post about good articles that I read on Saturdays. I have a subscription to Haaretz / International Herald Tribune combo paper daily. There’s nothing I love more than to veg out on Saturdays, read the weekend-shabbat paper, and drink some coffee. So here’s my wrap up of what I was perusing over while eating some left-over-challa-french-toast:

Obama’s Palestinian Friend

a couple of excerpts:

Something that I noticed as well during the election – Obama has amazing ideas and inspired hope for a post-race ideal. Unfortunately, if you want to become President of all of America, you still have to be careful where you go and who you associate with. Now that he’s going to be President, it will be interesting to see if he comes back to those ideals instead of pandering a bit.

What have you learned from the political-media affair in regard to your relations with Obama?

“It proved once again that to be of Palestinian origin and to be publicly opposed to the occupation and critical of U.S. policy is grounds for public defamation as a ‘terrorist.’ It attests to the survival of McCarthyite tendencies in the U.S. media and politics. It also reaffirmed that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians specifically are still the ‘other’ in American society. A higher percentage of Arab-Americans voted for Obama than any other ethnic group besides African-Americans, and they voted in record numbers too, I believe, and yet they are still pushed aside, almost literally. For instance, two Arab-American women in hijab were removed from the camera’s gaze at one of Obama’s rallies during the election. Obama did not visit one mosque or Arab community center throughout the entire two-year campaign, and he never mentioned Arab- or Muslim-Americans in his speeches. Whatever may have been the ‘strategic’ political reasons for these actions, they show the kind of atmosphere we in the U.S. live in. “

Another bit I liked…I really believe that the American ‘pro-israel’ lobby needs to be more diverse and more accurately represent American Jewish (and Israeli for that matter) public opinion.

Do you believe that J-street and Arab-American peaceniks can contain AIPAC and Jewish right-wing organizations?

“They appear to have begun to make some headway. They need to convince American politicians, Democrats in particular, that where Israel and Palestine are concerned, leaders of the main institutions of the American Jewish establishment, notably AIPAC, do not represent the views of the majority of the American Jewish community. In fact, the hawkish views of most of these leaders are far closer to those of the 24 percent of that community who voted for McCain than they are to the 76 percent who voted for Obama.”

Lastly, Khalidi asserts that the old american veterans of the peace process (Dennis Ross, etc) will make the same ‘mistakes’ in future agreements – that while they have experience.. it will be detrimental:

That was when Khalidi formed his opinion of the coordinator – the U.S. mediator Dennis Ross, who is one of Obama’s advisors on foreign affairs. Khalidi alludes to him when he says in the interview that he hopes the new president will not bring back the same people who contributed to the failure of the peace process here. Nor was Khalidi thrilled to hear that Obama has appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Clinton’s courting of Israel during the darkest days of the intifada made her a darling of the Jewish community and distanced her from the Palestinian community.

The next article is a bit of a lighter note. My favorite columnist, Sayed Kashua, has been on an unexplained hiatus. So i’ve been reading a bit of Avner Bernheimer, a pretty funny gay writer… here he talks about southern neighborhoods in tel aviv, and pioneering run-down plaes that will eventually become hispter havens (like Florentine became where I live…)

Go South, Young Man

My cousin is amazed at me. Where do I want him to go? He is almost in tears, as though I sent him to Rishon. “I don’t know where, start looking,” I shout. “Did anyone tell me about Geula? Did anyone direct the young people of Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn? The refugees from the East Village to the Lower East Side? Be adventurers, discover new areas. Be the Columbus of real estate. Try Jaffa on the border of Bat Yam, try Bat Yam, the area of the old Central Bus Station south of Salameh, rent there, buy there, renovate there, start cafes, galleries that will turn into boutiques, move your asses and stop complaining that they don’t let you live on Sheinkin or at Kikar Hamedina. You two nudnik pishers! Now bring me my walker because Uncle Avner has a lot of peepee from his prostate, thank you.”

Happy reading …

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