Tales from the Trail

Hamas unendorses Obama after speech to pro-Israel lobby

June 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may have taken care of his Hamas problem on Wednesday with a speech to the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby.
 
The Illinois senator was ridiculed, criticized and generally harassed back in April when a top Hamas adviser, Ahmed Yousef, told a radio interviewer that the Palestinian militant group — considered a terrorist organization rtx6iml.jpgby the U.S. government — liked Obama and hoped he would win the U.S. presidential election.

Yousef’s remarks were labeled a Hamas endorsement and Republican John McCain used them as part of a fundraising appeal to supporters. Obama’s denunciations of Hamas and criticism of McCain over the incident did little to undo the damage.
 
That may have changed Wednesday, when Obama went before American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington a day after clinching the Democratic nomination and declared his strong support for Israel.
 
Israel’s security is sacrosanct and it must retain a qualitative military advantage, Obama said. Any peace deal must include Palestinian recognition that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital, he said.
 
Hamas promply unendorsed Obama, a Christian who has had difficulty dispelling a rumor campaign suggesting he is a Muslim and that his advisers have a pro-Arab bent.
 
“Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.
 
“The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians,” he said.
 
“Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win,” Zuhri said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

 Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama speaks at AIPAC conference)

Comments
17 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

As a supporter of the deprived people of Palestine, Hamas is totally right.

The US politicians are slaves to its Israeli masters. The book by President Carter about Israel being an apartheid state like South Africa in their crimes against its neigbhors ring true.

Another book called “The Israeli lobby” by Walt and Mearsheimer shows just how much pandering to this grotesque lobby has cost American interests in the Muslim world. Indeed terrorism, the weapon of the weak, is a result of Israeli occupation and state repression…where even the most peaceful people will lash out if they are incarcerated and held in inhuman conditions of military rule long enough…recent bloody anti-Chinese violence in Tibet is a good example.

Its time to unite behind an anti-AIPAC politician, organization, or candidate (don’t have one thus far).

Posted by Tyler J. | Report as abusive
 

So let us see what happened when Israel totally withdrew from Gaza. The ‘occupation’ of Gaza totally ended. So the Palestinians had a chance to govern themselves and set up a model for statehood. They could have shown the world that they really can live peacefully side by side with Israel. What did they do? Just read the daily reports of rockets being fired into Israel proper. Just read the reports about how factions within Gaza treat each other. Read reports about how they treat the Christian minority.
So they could have shown the world…Israel TOTALLY withdrew from Gaza. TOTALLY. The result…
A ‘model’ for what they might do no matter how much land they are given unless they are given it ALL. By the way, isn’t it amazing to watch how both in Lebanon and Iraq Muslims spend time destroying each other. Lebanon ..I suppose they’ll blame Israel for Sunnis and Shiites killing each other. Lebanon self destructs…blame Israel…It’s the easy way out. Never take responsibilty for your own actions..just find someone else to blame.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

I completely agree with your post Jim. It is so simple for people to blame Israel instead of looking at their selves and the model they are setting for others. I am certainly not blaming the Palestinians as a whole, as I am sure there are plenty of people who advocate for peace, however, they need to learn to live together and govern their people fairly. It does not seem that they can unite and do that. This problem they have of unification is certainly not Israels’ fault. Israel is trying to survive and is being attacked by Palestinian terrorist groups on a daily basis and when they try to defend their country and their people they are accused of being an “apartheid state”! That is utterly ridiculous and unfair! If Americans were having rockets and bombs thrown at them on a daily basis and could not live without fear, they would do even more than the Israeli government does in terms of defense. However, people do not seem to look at this scenario. If you want to judge Israel fairly you need to think about how hard it is for them to survive and live with constant terror of attack.

Posted by Bonnie | Report as abusive
 

TOTALLY withdrew?
you know that is not the case. Palestinians have no control over their borders, no control of airspace, no control of the land’s resources (no water), constantly left with no electricity, are not allowed to leave or enter (even Fulbright scholars are denied visas), and NOTHING…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is allowed in or out of Gaza except for humanitarian supplies after the approval of israel.
Let me see Jim or any other American or Israeli try to govern under such circumstances. Both Jim and Bonnie are delusional.
Israel is not defending itself, it is defending its occupation, its colonization, and its oppressive military rule over Palestine. Everything israel seeks to defend is ILLEGAL and morally appalling.

Posted by muneer | Report as abusive
 

So my dear friend…it is easier to tell have truths. Israel TOTALLY withdrew. Yes..TOTALLY. Then what happened?
Hamas took over and rockets began to fall on Israel. Please check the ORDER in which things happened. Search the NY Times. See the ORDER. Rockets..unprovoked …from Gaza into Israel. Yes…humanitarian aid can pass…but smuggling arms…that will be prevented. The Palestinians chose to go with the Hamas terrorists. Hamas that refuses to say that Israel has the right to exist alongside a free and independent state. Hamas..Their words. Their creed. Their often stated aim. No Israel. None. Rockets they rain down upon civilian cities.. And you’d expect Israel not to defend its citizens? If Canada sent rockets onto Maine on a daily basis…what would expect the United States to do? Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, Senator McCain…all know the truth…They don’t fall for the distorted propaganda coming from Hamas supporters. They had a chance. They attacked Israel and now they cry
when Israel defends itself. Simplistic labeling…you’d rather do that than tell the story of how Hamas has destroyed the hope that a free Gaza could have been. If only Hamas had simply built the land up instead of shooting rockets. Now they cry fowl as they have given their unfortunate Palestinians a miserable life. In their quest to destroy Israel at all costs, they have sacrificed their own people. Truly tragic. So many Palestinian leaders have lead their people down the wrong road….while living a rich life themselves. Sad. I only hope that someday the Palestinians will have a home.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

The Palestinians did have a state ( home) until their statehood was taken from them , annexed then their land given to someone else.
They have every right to be angry bitter or whatever you might want to call it .
And it being very degrading to have a foreign body telling you , you have to negotiate for a piece of your own home . Spin it any way you wish thats the situation .
and , oh yeah , Hamas was democratically voted in by the people , that we don’t recognize or accept this is our own folly when trying to help establish peace there .

Posted by regmaxi | Report as abusive
 

Israel is a friend to the US because politically, technologically, and culturally, they look like us. Unless and until the Arabs build functioning liberal democracies on their own, and stop blaming “the Jews”, colonialism, or the West for their problems, they will continue to have the same hostility toward Israel that often comes from rank, unbridled jealousy.

Posted by B-Rob | Report as abusive
 

Exactly how much security support does a nuclear power capable of maintaining 200-350 nuclear weapons really need?

 

Tyler J.,
Regarding your post (top), ask yourself WHY you “don’t have [a candidate] thus far” who is anti-Israel? Perhaps there is are fatal weaknesses to your position that prevents your view from gaining widespread, grassroots support in this country.
Ransour

Posted by Ransour | Report as abusive
 

In response to regmaxi…

Read your history again, please. There has NEVER been a Palestinian state. It was part of the succession of Arab Caliphates from about 650 to 1099, then became the crusader kingdoms for about 100 years. From about 1200 to 1500 it was ruled by the Mamluks from Egypt. Then until 1919 the area was part of the Ottoman Empire, not even then as a single province called “Palestine”, but as a collection of smaller administrative areas. “Palestine” was the classical Roman name resurrected by the British during the League of Nations Mandate period. From 1948 to 1967 the West Bank was part of Jordan, and Gaza was part of Egypt. (Note that neither of those countries, who have both signed peace deals with Israel, wants their territory back)

Posted by Jeff P | Report as abusive
 

I would just like to know when it happened that the U.S. and Israel decided they would rule the world and take what land and resources they wanted for themselves. And to hell with everyone else. Israel has no business controlling anyone’s borders, food or medicine, or anything else. They are not God, though it’s obvious they wish they were. As an American I’m appalled at the ignorance of what Israel is doing to Gaza and the assumption that everything Israel does is right, no matter how horrible. Wasn’t Palestine there first? Isn’t this their land that Israel has taken? Israel tries to control the people and whether or not they eat or have food or medicine or electricity. What gives Israel the right to play God with peoples lives? I don’t care what Gaza is throwing Israel’s way, no country has the right to completely control another. That is what Israel is attempting to do. That is what Bush is doing in Iraq. Both are wrong and immoral. Gaza must stop its use of rockets but they are pathetically miniscule efforts compared to what Israel does to Gaza every day.

The only pro-Palestinian liberal candidate that I’m aware of is former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party. I support her but unfortunately the media has completely ignored her candidacy. I mean, a total 100% shut-out.

 

Israel accounts for 0.33% of the land area of the middle east and 1.98% of the population. To blame Israel for being the motivation for 100% of the violence of the region is ridiculous.

Even if Israel did not exist, the region would be a hotbed of insurrection and violence. As it is also ridiculous for Israel to be dammed for controlling the borders to the Gaza strip, whose administration is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and any other state inconsistent with its viewpoint.

Posted by Charles Smyth | Report as abusive
 

I’m of the opinion that no candidate, especially one battling rumours of adopting anything but a conservative Christian faith in America, will have a snowball’s chance in hell at the presidency in the next 30 years.
As America is tumbling around in this holy war it’s initiated, radical evangelicalism is finding new strength in political voices. Christians for years have been taught that Israel is god’s chosen people and that any country that threatens it is pretty much doomed. With this attitude dominating such a percentage of the US, it would be political suicide to not endorse Israel, as Obama previously experienced once Hamas took him in and almost got him shot. It’s pandering to the extreme right wing evangelism, which found a new source of kryptonite in the Bush administration.
Whether or not either candidate actually acts upon their campaign promises or endorsements is an entirely different matter. One that Americans don’t seem very concerned about. If elected officials were fined for failing to deliver to their electorates, this kind of pandering would be more of a liability.
As far as Israel and Palestine, both are behaving absolutley vile – almost a mirror image of Sri Lankan government and the LTT. Iraqi extremists and the US. All the same. Both refuse to give up the cycle of violence and vicimization and fear that keeps the others at their grassroots in the same cycle. A big problem in it seems to be government with too much power. This includes the power to instill fear into people and fail to bring about the peace leaders promise. They don’t have to be accountable!

Posted by Sarah Marie | Report as abusive
 

It is a pity that Barack Obama had to declare that Jerusalem would remain the capital of State of Israel when it was the postion of previous US Democrat Administrations to leave that for the Palestians and the Isrealis to negotialte it between themselves in the future. But, the fact that Obama had to state this only affirms that the Israel Lobby, led by AIPAC, is indeed a King-Maker par excellece and that Obama defintely wasn’t to be left out from paying his homage to his TRUE masters. Afer all, McCain had to travel all the way to to Israel, accmpanied by none other than Joe Lieberman, to the same. As they say, the way to White House is through Jerusalem and the way to governing once in the White House is through — you got it, AIPAC. ********

Posted by Zeyhilel | Report as abusive
 

Upon reading many of the blogs posted here, I must clarify something.
Most Americans agree with the lofty words and visions for world peace that Obama so eloquently pontificates in his speeches … It’s Obama we don’t trust. those of you who hypnotically fawn over Obama take everything he says as gospel. But, you don’t even know the man. You assume that because his words are worthy, he is trustworthy. People they are just words! Obama, the man who is speaking those words has a horrible track record. He did nothing as a senator. He spent the last 20 years accepting an anti-American racist as his mentor. His associations have been with extremely unsavory people. However, you Obamabots keep trying to characterize the rest of us as disagreeing with what Obama says … when it’s Obama himself we don’t trust … nor should you!

Posted by Lee | Report as abusive
 

Israel does Provide humanitarian Aid

 

No ‘Siege’ of Gaza

•A Siege is an act of surrounding and attacking in order to cut off supply and aid.

•Israel is neither surrounding nor attacking Gaza, nor has Israel cut off supplies or aid.

•Israel has withdrawn from Gaza to promote peace, whilst facing a constant barrage of rocket attacks perpetrated by Hamas.

•Israel maintains a constant flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza to relieve the suffering of Palestinians under the Hamas regime, whilst admitting thousands of sick Palestinians into Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

Hospital Access Facts: (Source COGAT, Israel’s Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in Territories)

o 2006 4,754 hospital entry permits given to Palestinians from Gaza into Israel
o 2007 7,226 hospital entry permits given
o 2008 2,317 hospital permits given in Jan to Feb alone.

•All permits include one family member
•Palestinians receive world class treatment in major Israeli hospitals.
•No distinction made by doctors between Palestinian and Israeli patients
•Hamas members are treated in Israeli hospitals regardless of their previous actions
•Barzilai hospital treated Gazan Palestinians whilst the hospital was under rocket attack.
•From Jan 2007 to Feb 2008, 14,297 Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals
•During the same period Israel suffered 1,110 rocket attacks and 1,384 mortar attacks.
•These attacks have a devastating effect on the 200,000 residents of Israeli towns near Gaza

Conclusion
The term ‘siege’ when applied to Israel’s policy towards Gaza is a fallacy. The Israeli Government continues to uphold its ethical commitment to providing medical care for Palestinians living under Hamas control, even whilst local Israeli towns suffer Gazan rocket attacks. This shows Israel’s high level of commitment to provision of hospital access to civilians in Gaza regardless of the constant attacks on Israeli population centers.

 

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