Oscar for Obama
By Israel Shamir
“ A US president is not an omnipotent ruler: he is rather an actor chosen by the off-scene producer and director to act this important role. He does not write his speeches any more than Leonardo DiCaprio wrote the Romeo monologue. He does not make his politics, either. That is why his words and deeds are important: they represent the ruling elites’ will to change.”
Obama’s Cairo speech was a thing of great beauty. It had the best production, best actor, best script we have seen for many years, it deserves the Oscar of Oscars. America’s ruling elites have pulled up their socks and gotten their country the best leader to improve the rundown image. Obama is a next-generation model of a leader, not yet available abroad. He is a great speaker, full of charisma, tall, slim, youthful. He proved: yes, they can. Our friend and former US presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney explained Obama phenomenon: “things don’t happen like that in US politics, probably in politics any where in the world, where a veritable unknown ascends to the Senate unopposed and then is a candidate for the White House two years later. It just doesn’t happen that way. Unless it is by design.”
Apparently Obama was designed to make peace with the Muslim world. A US president is not an omnipotent ruler: he is rather an actor chosen by the off-scene producer and director to act this important role. He does not write his speeches any more than Leonardo DiCaprio wrote the Romeo monologue. He does not make his politics, either. That is why his words and deeds are important: they represent the ruling elites’ will to change. This change is necessarily slow, as the huge dreadnought America can’t just be turned around on the spot.
At this time of change, of shifting priorities it is notoriously difficult to predict developments for they depend on us as well. The world needs more inward-looking America, but even a less aggressive one would be a step forward. Looking back, American hostility towards the Islamic world flared in 2001, peaked in 2003, had run its course and seems to be over. These years of war against Islam weren’t specially pleasant or profitable for America. Now the moment has come to shift priorities. The Kite Runner, a bestseller by Khaled Hosseini, offered a new scheme of things – the protagonist of the novel is a Muslim by birth and tradition, who hates Muslim clergy, likes whisky, loves America and Israel and hates Russia. The bad guy loves Hitler, is a pedophile and rapist, and yes, he is a Taliban militant. Persecution of an ethnic minority is a local equivalent of Jewish story. This book offers the integration of such non-religious Muslims into the American narrative.
Well, why not? The US is a political, not ethnic nation, and Muslims can be admitted and they often are. Though non-Americans often imagine American elites consisting of WASPs and Jews, there are people of all sorts, immigrants from all countries. This is a source of power: America can easily find a Russian to speak with Russians, or a Chinese to speak to China. Muslims are doing well in America, some of them are extremely wealthy.
This turn means downgrading for the Israeli Lobby. The Jewish Zionist right-wing has abused American patience for too long. It just so happens that they overestimated their hold on this administration. The removal of Charles Freeman was their last, Pyrrhic victory. The arrival of starry-eyed Netanyahu preaching Amalek was a next step in their undoing. “Amalek” is a code-word for a call to genocide, shorthand for asking Obama to slaughter Iranians down to the last child and the last cat. That was too much even for the patient Obama.
Thus, a dream came true: after a long rule by the Jewish Centre-Right, now the positions of influence have passed into the able hands of the Jewish Left. Do not think that their positions are anti-Israeli. Yes, Israeli and American Jewish right hates Obama; but Israeli left loved the speech: it could have been written by Yossi Sarid or by Uri Avnery. J-Street, a Jewish American leftist lobby organization also loved it.
It should not come as any great surprise. In an interview given to the Jewish newspaper a year ago, Obama mentioned The Yellow Wind by David Grossman as a book that influenced his view. This is a wonderful book, probably the best non-fiction by a Hebrew writer about the state of things, describing the horrors of settler rule in the occupied territories. Grossman is a Zionist Left icon, creator of the left wing of the leftist Meretz party. The divergence of America and Israel, the great and the small Jewish states, is now a fact: Barak Obama and his administration are positioned to the left of centre, while Israel and its supporters in the US are well to the right of centre.
A few years ago, Ariel Sharon, then the Prime Minister of Israel, allegedly said that the Jewish People control America. After the last elections, the new Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman interpreted this maxim as “Israel controls America”. He was over-optimistic and over-simplistic. Maybe the US Jews occupy many positions of power, maybe they care a lot about the Middle-Eastern Jewish state, but they still have their priorities straight: America is more important, and they do not intend to lose it because of their cousins overseas.
In 2001, I’ve compared the US Jews with the elder sister in Raymond Chandler’s Big Sleep, who covers up the crimes of her wild kid sister. Probably you remember it as one of the best American movies of all times, scripted by William Faulkner, directed by Howard Hawks, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. As the cover up continues, the young sister comes to believe that she has immunity and keeps on her killing spree. Eventually her crimes endanger the seemingly secure position of the elder sister. It is not a day too early for misguided Lauren to call for Bogart and to rein in the crazed youth , before she will bring the house down on the heads of her blind supporters, I wrote. Eight years later, comes Bogart Obama.
Do not expect that American Jews will weep and run to Israel. The Jewish position in the US remains strong, and Obama reiterated their Zionist-lite narrative: after the Holocaust of six million Jews, (and don’t you ever dare to doubt it!) the long-suffering Jewish people came to the land of their ancestors, and America’s ties with them are “unbreakable”. However, the right-wing Jewish Lobby, or “American Likudniks” as they were called, suffered a defeat. Now we can say that Bernie Madoff’s undoing was not an accident but a direct attack on their ability to influence politics: many right-wing Jewish individuals and organisations have lost their surplus meddling money.
A warning shot across the bow was fired a few days ago, when a survivor of Israeli 1967 attack on the USS Liberty was awarded a Silver Star for valour, as we have reported. The mainstream US media (mainly Jewish-owned and edited) intentionally omitted this news, as Google search of “silver star Halbardier” shows. A careful reader could find it on a US military info site and that was it. The average American reader or TV viewer was deprived of this news, though oh boy, was it newsworthy: after forty two years of denial, the US top brass admitted that its best ally Israel intentionally and knowingly attacked their intelligence ship with torpedoes and strafing aircraft, killing and wounding two thirds of the crew, while president Lyndon B. Johnson covered up the massacre and let it be.
This media silence was as important as the news: it served as a warning that the administration has to act in agreement with media lords; otherwise its deeds will never reach the American people. Despite his blog and informal contacts with hundreds of thousands Americans, Obama has no means to speak effectively to his citizens but via the media. And right-wing media can be cruel enemy.
Many friends of Palestine, including Noam Chomsky, found fault in the Cairo speech. Surely Obama did not go as far as we would like. His supporters are Zionists-lite, not some indifferent gentiles. Still wonderful that he went that far. He promised to remove his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, to rebuild Afghanistan, to spend some money on development. He confirmed that Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He called upon Israel to deal with Palestinians justly. Let him survive this speech and continue to push on. Yes, Obama is carefully designed and promoted by the elites, but it does not mean he has no free will. Many kings and leaders were elected thanks to Jewish money or influence, and changed their attitude afterwards. Joseph Stalin became a Soviet leader thanks to Kamenev and Zinoviev, two powerful Bolshevik Jews, but some years later he had them shot, and the Soviet Jewish Lobby was taken a few pegs down. This still can happen with Barak Obama.