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Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a man with a long track record of racist and anti-Semitic statements, was a prefect fit for this latest Palestinian PR endeavor. And despite the fact that Wright was president Obama’s spiritual mentor for over twenty years, the White House has refrained from commenting on his involvement with a movement designed to produce more violence and more bloodshed. Wright long ago offered his reasoning for being off the president’s radar. “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office,” said the Reverend during a 2009 interview. He also criticized the president at the time for not sending a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism, an annual, anti-Semitic hate-fest that unfailingly singles out Israel for condemnation. “Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing (by) the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel,” Wright contended.
Yet the president’s silence on the issue is disturbing. As recently as March 5th, Mr. Obama assured American Jewish leaders that he “will always have Israel’s back.” Yet even if one assumes that such assurances are specifically limited to Iranian belligerence, the White House is undoubtedly aware that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly expressed his support for the GMJ in February, that Iran established local committees to help organize it, and that the Iranian-backed Islamic Centre of England is one of the top European organizers of the event. How is it that the same president who is more than willing to lend his voice to a variety of issues, even a controversial racial case involving a single death in Florida, has nothing to say about an internationally-organized demonstration that presents such a clear assault to Israel’s existence?
At the very least, the president might have warned the demonstrators that a breach of Israeli borders is unacceptable. With respect to the countries allowing the demonstrators access to Israel’s borders, the president might have also expressed the idea that foreign aid contributions are tied to responsible behavior. And since Jeremiah Wright sits on the advisory board of the GMJ, the president could have re-established contact with Wright to express his concern.
None of it has happened. Furthermore, in a remarkable exchange on Tuesday with reporter Matt Lee, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland revealed that the Obama administration does not consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. “We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem,” said Nuland. The administration also “scrubbed” at least one photo caption (and possibly others as well) of Vice President Joe Biden. The Biden photo had previously stated he was dining in the “David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel.” The photo now reads simply “Jerusalem.” Administration apologists contend that the Bush administration was equally un-definitive regarding Jerusalem. But the attempt to equate Bush administration documents that avoided the issue with the Obama administration’s active efforts to alter documents is absurd.
Thus the Global March to Jerusalem, a march purporting “to change the nature of the confrontation by compelling the occupiers to face millions of demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capital Jerusalem” from the “racist state of Israel” proceeded with no resistance from the President Obama — and perhaps tacit approval. In another time, the president might even have participated in such an anti-Israel crusade along with Wright — before it got politically inconvenient, anyway.
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