Obama's policy toward Israel received rave reviews -- from the head of the Islamic bloc.
The mainstream media was very selective in covering the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit and the opening of the new General Assembly session. The media focused on President Obama's two bland speeches and the incendiary 9/11 conspiracy charges that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered during his speech. But there was much more lunacy afoot at the U.N. summit last week. The following offers just a sample of some of the more egregious incidents that the media neglected to record.
First, Bolivian President Evo Morales, a socialist who believes that "Mother Earth" has its own legal rights separate and apart from human beings, told reporters at a press briefing last week that "we will need two planets" if the world consumes at the level of North America and Europe. In other words, we must lower our consumption levels and de-develop to save the planet. Capitalists believe that only human beings have the right to life and regeneration, Morales said, but Mother Earth has those same rights. It was therefore essential, he insisted, that in the twenty-first century, human beings were able to guarantee "Her" rights. Thus, Morales proposed a change in key world policies and approaches, claiming, as all good socialists do, that an unfair distribution of wealth was mainly to blame for global poverty.
After attacking capitalism as an exploitative system that offers "no solution for humanity or for life," Morales tore into President Obama. He charged that U.S. aid to Bolivia under the Obama administration was being used to finance groups that dare to organize protests against Morales' regime. He urged the people of the United States to keep tabs on President Obama to ensure that the United States’ money was not used to conspire against other countries' presidents.
Then, in his most shocking statement of all, the Bolivian president (who has declared himself to be the first Amerindian president) actually came out with the following racist remark: “It seems that it is difficult for a black man and an Indian to work together for peace in the world.”
President Obama did not fare any better at the United Nations Secretary General's annual luncheon for world leaders. During his toast, with Obama and other heads of state (but not Ahmadinejad, who was not seen at the luncheon), Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim took Obama to the proverbial woodshed. First, the foreign minister praised Iran for having accepted Brazil's joint proposal with Turkey to restart negotiations on the nuclear issue and pointedly asked for others - meaning, no doubt, the United States and its allies - to do the same.
Second, during the same toast, Mr. Amorim sharply criticized Obama's agricultural trade policies, as it affected Africa in particular. He remarked, "[T]here is no reason why Africa should not be an exporter of agriculture."
Here is Brazilian Foreign Minister's lunchtime retort on the matter:
The biggest instrument to really improve lives of people is trade and the opening of markets for the products of developing countries, and if this does not take place. For all due respect, I saw (sic) President Obama that Africa should export more agricultural products. Well, if you eliminate your subsidies here in the United States, that would help a lot Africa to export...It's a decision that can be taken by one country that will influence everyone else.
So much for diplomatic niceties, even during toasts with the president of the United States.
Ahmadinejad's rant about his 9/11 conspiracy theory has received extensive press coverage. And, to his credit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning Ahmadinejad's hateful and irresponsible rhetoric, although Ban's statement got much less attention from the press than Ahmadinejad's remarks.
When given the chance to issue his own condemnation at a press conference held on September 27th at UN headquarters, the Secretary General of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu , declined to do so. He said that he disagreed with Ahmadinejad's conspiracy theory, but refused to criticize him for spewing such filth from the podium of the UN General Assembly.
Ihsanoglu then claimed that all of his 57 OIC member states support the Arab peace initiative, which would recognize Israel under certain conditions as part of a two-state solution. How he can say this with a straight face, when Iran's president has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction, is baffling.
All we ever hear about from the Secretary General of the second largest intergovernmental organization in the world - after the UN itself - is Islamophobia. There is never an acknowledgement of the intolerance and hatred against Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and other non-Muslim faiths which are so widespread in the Muslim world today. Nevertheless, the OIC's Secretary General Ihsanoglu most likely made President Obama's day. Ihsanoglu told reporters that the OIC was delighted with Obama's position towards Israel. He also said in a speech last week at the UN to the OIC's foreign ministers that "we have achieved a breakthrough in our relations with the United States...[T]he U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid an unprecedented visit to the OIC headquarters in Jeddah at the head of a group of senior U.S. officials, noticeable among them is the Special Envoy of President Barack Obama to the OIC. "
Thus, Obama's policy of aggressive engagement with the Muslim world appears to be paying off - for the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference. These are the same Islamic nations, along with their anti-Western allies, who happen to control the UN General Assembly and its Human Rights Council, in which the Obama administration places so much esteem.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.