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Gaza Attack: Where is Barack Obama?

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Democratic Party, Terrorism and Security, War & Conflict

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 [1], 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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 [7], 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 [8] 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 [9] 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.