Amos Carmel
Obama thinks we’re dumb
Op-ed: President belittling our intelligence, implying we don’t see his anti-Israel moves
The current White House resident requires the financial and political support of US Jews ahead of the November 2010 elections. He boasts of the fact that his two top aides are Jewish, hence making it clear that it highly values their wisdom, and moreover, that he should not be suspected of anti-Semitism.


However, it appears the president belittles the intelligence of Israel’s citizens. Otherwise it’s hard to explain his claim that some of our suspicion towards him stems from his middle name being Hussein.


We’ve been aware of this fact since Obama embarked on the political campaign that brought him to his current post. The highlights of his biography were extensively covered by global media and reached us too. These fundamentals, including his middle name, did not prevent many US Jews from supporting him in the Democratic elections and of course in the presidential elections.


This information also did not undermine the enthused welcome he encountered when he arrived here as a candidate. His middle name did not prevent a great number of Israelis from being inspired by his election victory, even when his victory speech did not include any substantive declaration – with the exception of his pledge to buy a new puppy for his daughters.


The fond attachment to his simplistic slogans – “Yes, we can” – to his looks, and to his impressive rhetorical abilities reached great heights in Israel to, with almost no attention given to his middle name. Didn’t his Jewish advisors tell him about that?


Cairo speech 

So the man took office, joined the list of Nobel prize candidates in his first two weeks in office, yet in his view we kept on suspecting him because of his “Hussein.” By saying this he implies that we failed to notice his clear signals, as well as ones conveyed by his close associates and his US media fans, who indicated that Israel is about to lose some of the “special” status it enjoyed with Obama’s predecessors.


As if we did not hear his Cairo speech, where he lavished inexplicable praise on Islam (including some nonsense about its tolerance “during the inquisition”) and linked Israel’s establishment to the Holocaust. As if we failed to notice that in the wake of that speech, he blatantly refrained from a called-for polite gesture of a brief visit in Israel.


In short, Obama apparently estimates that we did not see what’s happening right under our noses, and that the only thing that scares us is his middle name, because we’re just so uncomprehending and dumb.


Yet Obama may feel he can afford to belittle our collective IQ because we ask for it. This may be the lesson he drew from the repeated demand around here for him to address the Israeli public directly. It’s not the demand in and of itself, but rather, the magical qualities attributed to such direct approach.


Experience shows that rhetorical stunts, such as the ones Obama and former President Clinton distinguished themselves with, cast a magic spell on quite a few Israelis. Nonetheless, a direct approach is no substitute for a to-the-point approach. Under the current state of affairs, the US president cannot deliver the goods he seeks.


Regardless of the suspicions some Israelis hold, Obama has no applicable formula for establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state while annulling all “right of return” demands. If such formula appears, we will understand it even without him addressing us directly. As opposed to what appears to be his basic assumption, our intellectual capabilities are not particularly weak.



First published: 07.15.10, 00:45
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