Last week we were overly preoccupied with the Winograd report so we failed to notice minor developments in America. Here is what we missed: Martin Peretz, the editor-in-chief of the elitist The New Republic magazine, announced his unequivocal support for Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the US presidential elections.
The New Republic is a publication known for its overwhelming support for hawkish Israeli views and for its outspoken and blatant struggle against political Islam. The magazine’s editor in chief completely backed the two Lebanon wars, Israel’s operations in the territories, and a possible Iran bombing. He has disagreed with the Clinton family because of its alleged support for the Palestinians.
At the same time, Barak Obama received the support of a Jewish paper on the other end of the American political spectrum: The super-conservative New York Sun, which has been expressing traditional Likud positions, also gave Jewish approval to Obama’s presidential campaign.
The two newspapers were not doing anything exceptional. The American media has enlisted in support of Obama via an enthusiastic campaign the likes of which has not been seen in recent decades. Obama’s shallow, kitschy, empty-of-substance speeches are perceived as a zenith of charisma by the American media.
We are all one people, there is no Left or Right around here, there is only one people seeking change, Obama repeatedly utters his collection of clichés, and commentators are thrilled.
Obama is therefore heading into “Super Tuesday” with the choir of public opinion shapers offering its unequivocal support. To an outside observer it may seem as though Americans lost their sense of judgment and have been caught up in a type of blinding euphoria. And this includes the Jews as well.
Is Obama’s support for Israel sincere?
In recent months, Obama has done everything, and I mean everything, in order to appease American Jews and win their support. He has been doing it successfully. For example, Michael Chabon, a celebrated Jewish-American author, wrote an incredibly enthusiastic piece in favor of Obama for the leftist Huffington Post website.
Chabon spoke out against those daring to question the deep personal ties between Obama with Jeremiah Wright, an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel pastor. Obama belongs to Wright’s church and says he views him as a moral source of inspiration to this day. Wright, by the way, awarded a special medal of honor to another Israel hater last year, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
On the other hand, Obama is a student and product of the best American universities, and his public statements have no trace of Wright’s malicious preaching against Jews and Zionism. Obama is unrelated in any way, shape, or form to Nation of Islam or to the terrible Farrakhan.
And still, there are some who argue – particularly Jewish bloggers – that Obama keeps his “real” views to himself and that his displays of support for Israel are insincere. They base their argument on one Obama slip of the tongue (he said that Palestinians in the Middle East suffered the most, during a closed-door session, yet later he publicly added that it was a result of their leadership.) Critics also point to his team of political advisors, arguing that it consists of too many leftist Jews. Does this attest to Obama’s “inconvenient for Israel” nature if and when he is elected?
I doubt it. Obama, in contradiction to what it may appear on the face of it, may turn out to be an unexpected asset for Israel. He is good for the Jews because he enjoys immense support among those parts of American and global public opinion that are hostile to Israel, openly or behind closed doors. For them, Obama is the new oracle, and if he says that Israel has a right to exist forever as a Jewish State and therefore the Palestinians must forget about the right of return – and he indeed said that – his words will resonate among and have an effect on sectors which the Israeli public relations effort does not even reach.