It is no secret I have been no fan of Obama. I find his socialist leanings to be of concern, and his foreign policy nothing short of naive and potentially damaging to the US, Israel and the world. Having said that, I don’t subscribe to the Obama is Satan/a Muslim/evil school of thought. At worst, he’s an ideologue whose ideology is fundamentally flawed. And dangerous.
I really wanted to hate everything Obama did and said on this visit. Especially after I learned students from Ariel University were excluded from his speech. Really, I did. But intellectually honesty is a pursuit of mine, and it dictates I call things as I see them, without being chained to preconceived notions.
To me, President Barack Obama came across as someone who seems to genuinely care about Israel and her people. His warm words seemed to contain less teleprompt-and-circumstance than usual, and they also contained some very important elements. In his impassioned speech (shrewdly) aimed directly at the Israeli people (instead of the Knesset), Obama recognized Israel as a Jewish state and he called for the palestinians to do so too. It is no wonder the palestinians got their kaffiyehs in a knot over it.
Having said all of that, his seeming distinction between Hamas and Hizbullah – the former apparently capable of redemption and the latter recognized as the unrepentant terrorists they are – is problematic. As is his naivety when it comes to the Palestinian Authority, who I believe only differ with Hamas with regards to their veneer of respectability. And I of course do not think the two-state solution can work, although I can’t blame Obama or any US president for promoting it. After all, our own Israeli governments have done so for years, and the US government can’t exactly be more right-wing than our own.
Does this mean I have joined the Barack Obama fan-club? Heck no. But I do admit that he surprised me in a good way. Perhaps that is partly because my expectations were so low.
At the end of the day, we need to be masters of our own fate. And it should not matter who is in the Oval Office as much as who is in the Knesset.
Update: I take it all back. Israel were beating Portugal in the World Cup qualifier until Obama left, and then Portugal equalized. He’s evil, evil I tell you!