Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama's vision for Middle East peace

During a telephone interview Tuesday with President Obama about his speech to Arabs and Muslims in Cairo on Thursday, I got to tell the president my favorite Middle East joke. It gave him a good laugh. It goes like this:

There is this very pious Jew named Goldberg who always dreamed of winning the lottery. Every Sabbath, he’d go to synagogue and pray: “God, I have been such a pious Jew all my life. What would be so bad if I won the lottery?” But the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win. Week after week, Goldberg would pray to win the lottery, but the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win. Finally, one Sabbath, Goldberg wails to the heavens and says: “God, I have been so pious for so long, what do I have to do to win the lottery?”

And the heavens parted and the voice of God came down: “Goldberg, give me a chance! Buy a ticket!

I told the president that joke because in reading the Arab and Israeli press this week, everyone seemed to be telling him what he needed to do and say in Cairo, but nobody was indicating how they were going to step up and do something different. Everyone wants peace, but nobody wants to buy a ticket.

“We have a joke around the White House,” the president said. “We’re just going to keep on telling the truth until it stops working — and nowhere is truth-telling more important than the Middle East.”

A key part of his message, he said, will be: “Stop saying one thing behind closed doors and saying something else publicly.” He then explained: “There are a lot of Arab countries more concerned about Iran developing a nuclear weapon than the ‘threat’ from Israel, but won’t admit it.” There are a lot of Israelis, “who recognize that their current path is unsustainable, and they need to make some tough choices on settlements to achieve a two-state solution — that is in their long-term interest — but not enough folks are willing to recognize that publicly.”[...]


  1. Who even cares about the views of a self-loathing Jew like Thomas Friedman?

    Who even reads his junk?

  2. Joseph said...

    Who even cares about the views of a self-loathing Jew like Thomas Friedman?

    Who even reads his junk?
    The posting was to give an understanding of Obama's views

  3. Recipients and PublicityJune 3, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    Obama says: USA is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world"

    The veritable NY Times is not ashamed to blog and report uncritically the fantasy-land views of one Barack Hussein Obama, as he delusionally calls the USA "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world" and hallucinates about "outreach to Iran" and still no sign that he has a clue about the reality of Islamofascism, this is unbelievable, and why would he expect Israelis to be relaxed when he courts Muslims with such abandon?:

    "June 2, 2009, 7:39 pm

    Obama Says U.S. Could Be Seen as a Muslim Country, Too

    By Jeff Zeleny

    HAHN, Germany — As President Obama prepared to leave Washington to fly to the Middle East, he conducted several television and radio interviews at the White House to frame the goals for a five-day trip, including the highly-anticipated speech Thursday at Cairo University in Egypt.

    In an interview with Laura Haim on Canal Plus, a French television station, Mr. Obama noted that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” He sought to downplay the expectations of the speech, but he said he hoped the address would raise awareness about Muslims.

    “Now, I think it’s very important to understand that one speech is not going to solve all the problems in the Middle East,” Mr. Obama said. “And so I think expectations should be somewhat modest.”

    He previewed several themes and objectives for the speech, which aides said the president intended to tinker with — and rewrite — aboard Air Force One during his 12-hour flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    “What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States, but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Mr. Obama said.

    The president said the United States and other parts of the Western world “have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”

    “And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.”

    The speech on Thursday has many intended audiences, but among them are the young people in Cairo and beyond.

    “I think the most important thing I want to tell young people is that, regardless of your faith, those who build as opposed to those who destroy I think leave a lasting legacy, not only for themselves but also for their nations,” Mr. Obama said. “And the impulse towards destruction as opposed to how can we study science and mathematics and restore the incredible scientific and knowledge — the output that came about during centuries of Islamic culture.”

    The president is flying Air Force One directly from Washington to Riyadh. The White House press corps — traveling on a chartered United 767 — is refueling in Hahn, Germany."

  4. Recipients and PublicityJune 3, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    US media muzzled -- photos verboten -- on Obama trip in Saudi Arabia but the servile Obama-loving journalists take it lying down without protest

    What use is a modern media "without their cameras"?

    While they have no problem photographing and videoing every last detail that any Israeli does. So much for a free unbiased press!

    "June 2, 2009, 9:25 am


    By Jeff Zeleny

    Even before President Obama sets off for Saudi Arabia, a minor diplomatic brouhaha unfolded between the two governments.

    Can the entourage of reporters accompanying the president – a few dozen American and foreign journalists – freely move about while visiting Riyadh?

    At first, the answer was no.

    “While in Saudi Arabia, therefore, journalists are expressly prohibited from leaving the hotel or engaging in any journalistic activities outside of coverage of the POTUS visit,” a memorandum from the United States Embassy said on Monday. “Those who do so risk arrest and detention by Saudi authorities.”

    The strict rules, for journalists to be confined to the Marriott hotel in Riyadh, touched off a bit of a stir throughout the day on Monday. By evening, a communications firm in Washington hired by the Saudi Arabian government sent a clarification.

    “We don’t know where the guidance to journalists came from but it is not at all accurate,” Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi envoy to the United States said in a message passed along to reporters. “Journalists coming to Saudi are encouraged to go wherever and cover whatever they wish.”

    Officials offered no explanation for the change in policy. By Tuesday morning, the United States embassy in Riyadh issued its own correction. But the other rules still apply, including this: “Do not photograph women, mosques, government buildings, airports, military facilities, souqs, old buildings, homes or Saudi nationals.”

    So as the White House press corps departed Andrew Air Force Base on Tuesday, reporters suddenly had a few hours of exploration in Riyadh to look forward to – outside the hotel, without their cameras – before Mr. Obama arrives on Wednesday to begin a five-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany and France."

  5. Recipients and PublicityJune 3, 2009 at 10:07 PM

    Origins of Obama's "USA a large Islam country" idea

    "June 3, 2009

    Did Obama get the idea the America was one of the world's largest Muslim countries from Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison?

    Obama said yesterday, according to the official White House transcript (thanks to Hillel Stavis):

    Now, the flip side is I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam. And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims [sic] Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. And so there's got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.

    As I noted here, this was a very, very strange statement. It is not remotely true that "if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Indonesia has 200 million Muslims; India has 156 million Muslims; Pakistan has over 150 million Muslims. The United States, according to the Pew Research Center, has 2.3 million Muslims. Even if one accepts the wildly inflated figures favored by Islamic advocacy groups in the U.S., that only brings the number up to 6 or 7 million.

    So where did Obama get this crazy idea?

    Maybe from Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN). This morning Melanie Phillips sent me this: "Has America Become an Islamic Country?," by Saad El Deen Ibrahim, a translation by Asmaa Sharaf El Deen of an article from Egypt's Al-Masry al-Youm for Watching America, May 9. It contains an account of a speech Ellison gave at the annual congress of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) on May 5. It says that Ellison says this:

    All this talk about America’s relationships with the Islamic world undeniably indicates how America will become a part of the Islamic world. This is especially evident now, when the number of American Muslims exceeds six million. This is more than the entire population of the 11 countries which are members of the organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the same organization which must call America to join (and here, the hall was swept by thunderous applause).
    There are 57 members of the OIC, not eleven. Maybe Ellison said that the Muslim population of the U.S. was larger than that of eleven OIC members -- that would at least make sense as a claim.

    Did Obama get his wild assertion from Ellison? If so, why didn't it ring false for this learned man, so expert in his knowledge of Islam and the Islamic world? Wherever he got it, why didn't he do some basic fact-checking?

    Note also that Ellison wants the U.S. to join the OIC, the chief enemy of free speech in the world today."


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