Obama’s insults in Ohio were unnecessary!

Comparatively speaking, the Jewish eligible voters in the USA are determined participators in elections but seeing the focus of the front-runners, you would think they are the main determining factor on who will win a party’s nomination for presidency!

Now that the competition is as hot as it can get between Hillary and Barak for the Democratic nomination, and despite the fact that at the outset of the process they had both done everything a candidate can do to assure the Jewish voters as per their policy on Israel, they have again turned back to focus on Israel in an attempt to secure that Jewish vote and in a manner that implies that the elections are all about who is a greater supporter of Israel and therefore should become the next president!

No wonder both Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are both pissed off at Ralf Nader who decided to nominate himself; an act of aggression that can only be at the expense of the Democrat nominee. Even Nader who is blamed for aiding greatly in the losses suffered by the Democrats in the past elections came out at the outset of declaring his nomination attacking both Hillary and Barak on count that they are ardent supporters of Israel. Nader who has no chance winning the elections as usual, has every chance in taking away many of the lefties from the Democrats especially those who are fed-up with the blind support Israel gets; sometimes at the expense of the interests of the United States of America.

But now that things are getting downright dirty between Hillary and Barak, the latter is having to put huge effort in defending himself with the Jewish voters starting with insisting he is no Muslim and not ending with statements of commitment to Israel’s security and interests; again.

Not only is Barak Obama being attacked in mass emails about him being really a Muslim in disguise as if Islam is a disease, or having gone to a "madrassa" in Indonesia when he was a kid that he had to take CNN all the way to the far Asian country to show Americans the school he went to and how moderate the students there are, but everyone of his supporters who doesn’t agree with Israel’s stomach is being used as proof that Obama is just not Hillary when it comes to that vital issue of American national importance!

The latest farce is how Obama’s top aid, Samantha Power, had to give Haaretz an interview in defense of her policies on Israel, hoping that the Israeli newspaper will inform the American Jewish community of what she had to say. Her book just released on United Nations slain official, Sergio Vieira de Mello who was killed in Iraq in 2003, was dissected into every possible sentence that can be used against Samantha, of course in attempt to insinuate she is anti-Israeli and therefore Barak is by association; as supposedly was de Millo who had apparently described the Israelis after their invasion of Lebanon in 1982 as "bastards."

Samantha isn’t running to office and the Middle East is not her area of expertise. She assured everyone but non-Israeli Middle Easterners that Obama is getting his advise on the Middle East from arch-Israel supporters Dennis Ross and Obama’s Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro, yet the woman had to declare her personal take on the issue; nevertheless. She said everything Israeli supporters wanted to hear and should now be on the clear.

Before Samantha’s book was released, Obama had to defend himself on being supported by certain individuals who Israel is not very pleased with including Former Jimmy Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former adviser to Bill Clinton Rob Malley. He described them as no advisers of his, and stated how many conversations or emails he had with them and how they were too few to influence his opinion!

When African American leader Louis Farakhan went out talking about the historic achievement of Obama’s nomination and calling on his supporters to vote for the fellow African American leader, Obama went to the Jewish community in Cleveland washing his hands of Farakhan and describing him as a disgrace. Farakhan is no friend of Israel, of course, the main reason why Obama is disgraced by him. Now Farakhan is a controversial no-angel, but the occasion in which Obama assailed him was telling.

At that same meeting, Obama declared his ultimate Christianity and washed his hands of Islam despite his grandfather been a convert to Islam; a benefit had Obama wanted to give reason why he understands the Muslims, their true religion and their aspirations. But this was not on his Agenda in Ohio.

Obama is no Muslim and that is fine and by any means is no requirement of an American President. But what was wrong all through his meeting with the Jewish community in Ohio was his uncalled for hostility and insults to the Arab World and also to Islam as if such hostility is a precondition for success with Jewish voters. Even if that is the case, his statements were made with total disregard to Muslim and Arab American voters who are inclined to vote for him on the assumption he would be the most balanced candidate when it came to the Middle East and interfaith issues!

"Now keep in mind, Indonesia is not the Arab world. So its brand of Islam was always very different. Women were riding on Vespas and going to work, and people weren’t wearing headscarves until very recently - that was actually an import from the Middle East," he told the Jewish community in defense of his 4 years in the largest Muslim state. Women are still riding on vespas in Indonesia Mr. Barak and the Middle East did not stop that or even reduce it! The Middle East has no problem with it either!

Is it possible the Presidential Candidate has no idea that Muslim women in the Middle East also use transportation on their way to work? What is it exactly that he doesn’t like about the "Middle Eastern brand of Islam" and is that some new religion we haven’t met yet? Who gave Mr. Obama who feels the dire need to declare himself a non-Muslim the right to launch a new branding of the religion and on what basis?

In the head of Obama and his advisers, appeasing the Jewish voters must have to come at the expense of Arab and Muslim voters whose votes must not matter much; especially those moderate Muslim women who choose to wear a headscarf and who are now being described by Obama as a recent Saudi influenced phenomenon! What are his views about the Orthodox Jewish women who wear headscarves or their men in Black who wear long beards and sideburns and walk around in the heat of summer in long dark coats and hats? Is there no need to insult them just because no one demands it in return for votes? No need to insult them or anyone else for their faith.

With total disregard for other factors at play in the rise of Islamist fundamentalism worldwide, including the ongoing one-sided and unjust American foreign policy which is seen by experts worldwide as the one major reason for hatred of US government, Obama declares that the phenomenon of Islamism in Indonesia is something that suddenly happened after his departure, therefore he is innocent of it, and according to him it happened as follows:

"Partly it was exported by Saudi Wahabist schools that were sent in and financing schools there, and suddenly you started seeing head scarves on the streets and Islamic organizations that were parroting some of the fundamentalist and more fanatical brands of Islam that we associate with the Middle East."

Despite his knowledge of the size of Muslims versus the extreme Islamists which he estimated at 20,000 to 40,000 of the 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, Obama is willing to simplify issues to the degree of insult in an attempt to score with the Jewish community which may have preset generalizations on that; a form of racism however one looks at it.

Obama’s message was a straight forward statement: Despite the fact the we are different on count of you being Jewish and I being African American, we are the same regarding the ridiculous misperceptions that "we associate with the Middle East" including not being able to differentiate between what is Islamic such as the practice of Islamic faith and what is Islamist such as the politics that uses religion for its purposes ranging from the "moderates" who the USA is nourishing to those who kill in the name of the Almighty who the USA used to support. Not only that, but we are all innocent of violence and we can have a party blaming the "Middle East" less Israel for it. Wrong! Violence is the specialty of Israel, Sir.

Now, Obama broke grounds with the American public because he is perceived to be a straight talker who genuinely is out to fix the mistakes of George Bush. To be fair he gave it a shot. At his Ohio meeting he told the audience that whereas there is freedom to debate the solution of the conflict in Israel there isn’t in the USA and it is not right. Right. He also declared his disagreement with those in the community who think that disagreeing with the policy of Likud is disagreeing with Israel. Sure. He justified why talks with Iran, an issue that angers Israel which seems to prefer bloodshed rather than communications with the Shiite state, is for the sake of Israel! Okay. Obama must realize that the Jewish Community is no longer expecting total and utter allegiance to the hardliners in Israel to have said all of that with a strong heart.

Hillary, was seen to be more popular with the Jewish community and she had won the Jewish votes of New York and New Jersey as well as the votes of Democrats residing in Israel. But that was no longer the case when Barak went making his politically incorrect statements in Ohio.

He had already won the Jewish votes of Connecticut and Massachusetts and defeated Hillary in almost all other 30 countries from which democrats voted without having to insult Muslims or Arabs! Obama is doing so well, he does not need to appease the bigots from amongst the Jewish community to win these elections.

His unnecessary inaccurate and cheap shots at Islam and the "Middle East" show that he is the typical politician who will do anything for the vote of a few even if it was at the expense of 1.3 billion people and their religion. If that is not true, then worse!

It means that Barak is really in need of experience and knowledge, just like Hillary and her husband claim, and therefore will not be much help in tackling the danger we all face: the divide that is growing between the Muslim World and the West.

Comparatively speaking, when it comes to Israel and peace in the Middle East, Obama may still be the better bet. Comparatively speaking, let us just expect the unfair best!

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About Ramzi Khoury

Ramzi Khoury is an opinion columnist and satirist who publishes a weekly page, Piece of Mind, at the Saudi Gazette and elsewhere every Wednesday, Ramzi E. Khoury started his career in Granada Television in the 80s working on documentaries and since then has worked in the print, television and radio media all over the world. In addition to reporting with international news agencies he held several posts in the media including Chief Sub Editor/Political Editor of the Jordan Times, Editor in Chief of the Arab Daily newspaper and Secretary General of the Arab Media Organization. He continues to be adviser to several newspapers, television and radio stations as well as online media. He has worked with numerous satellite channels on television programs, documentaries and news and is often invited to offer his political analysis on television and radio stations from all over the world especially on Mideast and related issues. Currently based in Malaysia with extensive travel in the Middle East and Europe Khoury advices governments and private sector organizations on Perception Management with focus on issues related to politics and religion including the divide between the Muslim World and the West and is active with several non-government organizations. Before Malaysia he was based in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, USA and the UK in order.

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