Obama’s Speech Proof Israel Lobby Weaker? Stephen Walt

Is the Israel Lobby getting weaker?

Wed, 06/03/2009 – 12:40pm

Several people have recently asked me if the Obama administration’s tough line towards Israel’s settlements and its insistence on a two-state solution invalidates the arguments that John Mearsheimer and I made about the political influence of the “Israel lobby.” Not surprisingly, a few critics have made similar points in print. For what it’s worth, I think Obama’s approach is largely consistent with the views we set forth in the book, and certainly with our overall aim in writing it.

To review: in our book we argued that U.S. Middle East policy in recent decades has been strongly influenced by a loose coalition of individuals and groups which we termed the “Israel lobby.” We pointed out that the lobby did not “control” U.S. Middle East policy (though it was a powerful influence), and we emphasized that the various groups that made up this loose coalition didn’t agree on everything (such as the merits of a two-state solution). All of them have sought to encourage a “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel, however, and all to maintain nearly-unconditional U.S. support. Absent their influence, we argued, U.S. policy in the region would be substantially (though not entirely) different. Continue reading

Obama’s First 100 Days – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

national-obamaWajahat Ali, April 17-19

Originally Published in The National

President Obama flew gracefully and confidently – albeit experiencing some minor turbulence – through his first 100 days as he ambitiously donned the uniform of the multicultural Superman of the 21st century.


Obama, the biracial, Hawaiian born son of a Kenyan father and a White Kansan mother adorned with a multi-syllabic Arabic name, who sowed his oats from Indonesia to California, now emerges as the ideal aesthetic leader – and much hoped for redeemer – of this brave, new globalized world fragilely teetering towards potential calamity. 


Unfortunately, Obama’s hour glass only allows four years to remedy the paralyzing economic crisis at home and the smoldering fires of political and religious extremism abroad primarily fueled by the belligerent tone and myopic policies of George W. Bush’s

Trigger happy administration.


Most noticeably, Obama’s inclusive and humble rhetoric immediately sets him apart from his arrogant predecessor, whose indignant adherence to right wing fundamentalism and unilateral aggression contradicts Obama’s professed desire of mutual understanding, engagement and partnership. Unlike the profoundly anti-intellectual Bush, the Ivy league educated, former law professor Obama can thankfully name the 20 countries comprising the G20 Summit. Continue reading

Obama’s Silence on the Gaza Crisis

EDITORIAL: Silence has become complicity

Silence has become complicity

Is the incoming president, world-renowned for his eloquence, about to become better known for his silence?

Barack Obama may not have assumed office yet but a war is already being conducted in his name.

Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, now says that Israel is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in Gaza. And in justifying this war to Israel’s state assembly, the Knesset, Barak said: “Obama said that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to prevent it.”

Barak’s war has become Barack’s war — unless he breaks his silence.

Obama chooses his words carefully. He did so when speaking to the press in Sderot in southern Israel, during the presidential election campaign this summer. While he was clearly and shamelessly pandering to American Jewish voters, his statement expressed sympathy for the Israelis being targeted by Qassam rocket fire, but it also underlined that an effective response would focus on preventing further attacks — not merely the retaliatory and bellicose response with which Israelis are so familiar, that is, a military operation whose purpose is “to teach the Palestinians a lesson.” Continue reading

An Open Letter to Barack Obama: Great Piece by Nader

Between Hope and Reality

by Ralph Nader / November 4th, 2008


Dear Senator Obama:

In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words “hope and change,” “change and hope” have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not “hope and change” but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo. Continue reading

DEAR JOHN McCAIN – A Farewell note by Wajahat Ali

Dear John McCain, Sarah Palin, the RNC, Charlie Black, the corrosive spirit of Lee Atwater, Rove-ian politics, Sean Hannity, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Elizabeth Hasselback, Joe the Plumber and other respected members of your respected ilk:

Please stop. Just stop. Enough. No more. Is this how you really want to go out? Do you want the following hate filled gems to be the final symbol of your failed campaign? Is this how you want to be remembered?

According to you, Obama is now a cowardly, pseudo-Muslimy, Iran-first traitor who is more loyal to the “radical Muslim world” than to his own country.

[See McCain’s latest ad]

Really? That’s fascinating considering most of the Muslim world has the intelligence and common sense to recognize Obama’s Arabic name neither makes him Muslim nor Arab. And as a Muslim, I should know, we Muslims are like the Borg – we can identify one of our own through innate, radical “Muslim-y” powers. But, that’s our little secret – don’t tell anyone. Continue reading