By Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News
Published: August 02, 2008
A funny thing happened to Barack Obama on the way to Palestine recently - he chose to forget that there were Palestinians there who had lived and suffered grievously under a foreign occupation for 40 years.
In Israel, he visited Sderot, the town abutting the Gaza border, to express solemn sympathy for the 13 civilians killed there by Gazan militants in recent years, making no reference to the fact that this would equal the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis on a slow weekend. In the West Bank, where his motorcade skirted that wall of hate snaking in places for miles into Palestinian territory, and where for four decades Palestinians have had to endure checkpoints, land expropriation, curfews and collective punishment, there was nary a word of commiseration for the victims.
By why blame Obama, an American politician, for being an American politician? The man was trolling for American Jewish votes back home, and where else do American politicians traditionally go to do that but Israel, for which you're expected to demonstrate your undying love? That's the way it has always been for presidential candidates, who rarely worry about adjusting their comments to accomodate Arab-American internet groups but are always mindful to appease a well-organised, affluent and influential Jewish lobby. And this goes back, all the way back, to president Harry Truman who once famously remarked, "In all of my political experience, I don't ever recall the Arab vote swinging a close election".--MORE--