Gaza Attack: Where is Barack Obama?

As the Israeli defense forces continue to bomb the Gaza Strip and Hamas continues to launch missiles into Israel, a small legion of bloggers have begun asking: What in the world happened to president-elect Barack Obama?

With the president-elect just a few weeks from taking the throne in Washington DC, Barack Obama has been largely absent from the diplomatic maneuverings attempting to put a halt to Israel’s military excursion into the Gaza Strip. His absence, some argue, only makes the situation worse.

At least Jewish American blogger Richard Silverstein, who writes at Tikun Olam, thinks so:

Where is Barack Obama? I know he’s in Hawaii soaking up those rays of glorious sunshine. But that’s not what I mean? Where IS he? Gaza is in flames. Bush is doing worse than nothing. He’s actually making the situation worse with his nonsense about calling Hamas thugs and claiming the Palestinian movement caused the Israeli violence and can end it.

Obama’s response is becoming less and less satisfactory as the killing mounts.

…I can understand that the Gaza massacre is not nearly as important to the American people as the Wall Street collapse. But when the economy imploded you didn’t hear Obama’s people deferring to Bush. He consulted with Bush. They worked out a common strategy. They each tried to look energetic, diligent and thoughtful.

In a post called “Stupid Logic Mr. Obama” Ampal — American Palestinian had this to say on the future president’s policy towards Palestine:

Obama said : “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

RESPONSE: If someone was starving my family, bombing my sewage and electric power plants, traumatizing my children by daily sonic booms, preventing my sick children from seeing a physician, keeping my college aged students from receiving the scholarships they deserve, causing half of the child population to have anemia, then I would launch every thing including the toilet and sink at them. Come on, Mr. Obama lets show a little more understanding than the current administration.

The “anti-zionist blog” Jews Sans Frontieres thinks maybe Obama wants to project a different image of US power.

…Obama's refusal to comment on this latest batch of war crimes may be significant if only to suggest that Obama wants to project a more reasonable image than offering open vocal support to a regime for whom violence appears to be and end itself.

Now Israel has targeted a Palestinian university you might expect Engage to at least say something but no, not a word.

After linking to a comment from Obama spokesman David Axelrod who argued that Israel is merely responding to the shelling of its cities, VivirLatino came away less than impressed:

I am ashamed and disgusted, especially if this is the change that the United States electorate was and is supposed to believe in. I am haunted by the words and images of people, men, women, and children and how my tax dollars are being used to oppress and make invisible people who aren't even deemed worthy of by some to be people, to have land, a home.

Some commenters have acknowledged that Obama needs to be careful not to step on the shoes of outgoing President George Bush.

Alex Stein, who has resided in Israel and writes the blog False Dichotomies, defended the president-elect's actions:

The criticism of Obama’s silence over the hostilities is unfair. He is right to state that there is only one president at a time, and he is right to take a holiday before embarking on what is arguably the toughest job in the world. Getting over-involved would have little point; he can have little impact until he is President, and there is no sense in compromising his stature with either party by taking sides.

Many sites are obviously looking at this situation through the lens of how the Obama administration will change U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Fayyad writing in the (mostly) Arab-American blog KABOBfest argues this is a test for the look and feel of the Obama administration towards the Middle East.

Gauging [Obama’s] response to the action from outside the Whitehouse will set the tone for what Israel gets out of him. With his chief of staff being a former IDF volunteer, it’s hard to see how he will see things any different than the IDF perspective. And the American stance of asking the rape victim to quit scratching the rapist will continue to the Washington Modus Operandi.

Window into Palestine contends that Obama is basically nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to the rights of Palestinians.

Obama no longer has to placate pro-Israel voters, including no shortage of Christian Zionists, so his lack of comment on the premeditated slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza should send us a message — an Obama administration will continue the long-standing U.S. policy of allowing Israel to wantonly kill Palestinians and pay the Israeli government handsomely to do so.

…Democrats who thought an Obama administration would bring some balance to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are probably saddened by Obama’s apparent lack of concern for the mass murder now taking place. But then what did they expect? Obama is nothing if not window dressing for the New World Order and obviously the NWO wants the carnage to continue in Palestine. Of course, the global elite have no special love for Israel, either, and its people will be sacrificed when the time is right.


  • Rocket88

    OBAMA IS NOT THE PRESIDENT! I don’t know why people have such a hard time understanding this. Until January 20, 2009, Barack Obama is not the president of the United States and it would be irresponsible in the extreme to take a public position on an unfolding crisis. It would also be irresponsible for the Bush White House to commit the US to a long-term course of action without at least consulting with Obama.

    Until January 20, 2009, Obama is doing what he should be doing: keeping his mouth shut.

  • Jennifer Brea

    There are political realities which make a full reversal of US Middle East policy impossible, even under an Obama administration. But he has to do something different, he has to be at least modestly critical of Israel. His goals and vision are too idealistic to survive a continuation of the previous administrations’ hypocrisies.

  • numbersdude

    Hellooooo. Obama isnt President yet? The question should have been Where is the Current President and why is he vactioning at Camp David?

  • Rustom

    All the politics is discouraging. Obama is still not the president. But did he wait for to be President to present his ideas on the Auto industry? We need the same reaction from Obama! We are fed up with disappointments and bias in the Middle East which is nurturing only more hate and killings. Both sides want the end to this but if the states and the world doesn’t deal with this in the manner required, the US can kiss away a very precious moment to reflect to the world that it is on the side of Justice once again. I laugh when I hear Rice talking about not wanting a truce until the facts are changed so that the truce doesn’t bring us back to the start. Rice, wasn’t this what you said about the war on Lebanon in 06? Only after 1000 Lebanese civilians and massive infrastructural damage was done and over a 100 Israelis were killed did they rethink their failed strategy and asked for a truce. The case is the same now, do we need the blood count to reach a 1000 before we act and still get us back to the start? the problem is not Hamas, the problem is a real initiative for peace with the world holding both sides accountable for their actions! and for gods sake, we need the UN to do its worth even if it goes against the US policies.

  • Mark

    I just find it monsterous and evil the way Isreal has been bombing innocent men, women and for the question where is Obama. (Obama is nit the President of the United States.

  • Hamza

    Elected officials brown-nosing the pro-Israeli lobbyist agenda, what else is new? The fact is that no politician can become the President, or the Senator (Hillary Clinton) without getting the support and the funds of the wealthy and influential Israeli interest-groups. As much as I and the rest of the world hope from Obama, it’s sadly a little unrealistic to expect him to come out with a pro-Palestinian statement/agenda and unless this pro-Israel American bias is removed, a permanent solution to this conflict is unlikely.

  • I said it once in my blog I’ll repeat it here: Anyone who voted for Obama hoping for a change is going to get a hard surprise. He is not still president but he has a mouth, why is he not using it as seldom as he used it when he was candidate and was speaking about everything, he was not president then. What is the difference? He is president elect now. People need to hear his voice and his message of “hope”. His silence on this issue is louder than anything he said during his campaign.

  • Dena

    Obama said : “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

    If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that?

    How would you answer that question? Think about it!

    President-elect Obama said this in July of 2008. He is not President; Bush is. I would not want Bush to intervene anymore in the situation in Palestine if I were Obama. There is a potential for that since he is a rouge President, and don’t forget Cheney. Plus the man has 16 days before he can do anything! He has NO power!

    This is all speculation. He is briefed every day, but look who is briefing him. The people Bush put in charge. He’s too intelligent to miss this point.

    Michael Castro says: “Anyone who voted for Obama hoping for a change is going to get a hard surprise.”

    How do you know this? Have you read his mind? Speaking about American car companies is one thing; talking about a war in 2 other countries is another. And please tell me why everybody is looking in this direction anyhow? Where are the Arab leaders? Nobody seems to be speaking about that!

  • hans

    [ If the USA is in debt why are we sending billions to Israel to commit acts….spread this URL for the TRUTH ….

  • Yayang

    Would Obama wait to be the President of the United States to stop his neighbor sends his house rockets? No, he wouldn’t either!!
    We do not expect him to do “real” thing to stop Israeli’s attack on Gaza, we just need to hear his comment on the killing that has been happening in Gaza. A sentence that makes people in the world see the “hope” he promised to do. Open up your eyes Obama!! Many children are dying and in the next 15 days the world will watch you..

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