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Note to Obama

Dear President Obama,

I am writing today with a somewhat unusual request. First and foremost, I will be asking that you return America to its August 20th, 1959 borders so that Hawaii is no longer a state and you are no longer a citizen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jimbo Be Sorry

Former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter sent a seasonal message to the Jewish community, asking for forgiveness for any stigma he may have caused Israel. The conclusion of the letter read:

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

National director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, was pleased by the statement, calling it a “beginning of reconciliation”:

“We welcome any statement from a significant individual such as a former president who asks for Al Het…to what extent it is an epiphany, time will tell. There certainly is hurt which needs to be repaired.”

Carter has angered many Jews in recent years with writings and statements which place the burden of peacemaking on the Jewish country, by likening Israel’s settlement policies to apartheid, and blaming the pro-Israel lobby for inhibiting a fair US foreign policy.

Born in Plains, GA on October 1st, 1924, Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States of America, from 1977 to 1981.

His books “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” from 2006, and “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work” from 2009, were both best-sellers which brewed much controversy and negative sentiments toward Israel.

Compensation Instead of Right of Return? Or Extortion Instead of Demise?

Obama With Mubarak In Egypt
A new buzz is coming around the corner today. Word has it that US President Obama and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak are meeting at the White House to discuss resolving the Middle East conflict by offering compensation to Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence instead of having millions of them and their descendents flood the Jewish State.

First, let’s state the obvious, and from there we’ll proceed to the less obvious, and finally to the hidden. As for the obvious, let’s say it like it is. If millions of Arabs flood Israel in return for some kind of peace agreement, then every Jew in Israel will either be slaughtered by the newly found Arab majority, or otherwise be expelled if they are brave enough to put up a fight, and the Jewish People will find themselves, once again, landless and wandering in yet another exile.

Here’s the less obvious. Which “Barak” is missing in the meeting between President Barack and Mubarak? That’s right, Ehud Barak. Not that he must personally participate, but when discussing Israel’s future, wouldn’t it be best if all Bara(c)ks are present and Israel were actually…represented, in the room I mean, discussing if it would like paying billions to Arabs who live in Abu Dhabi somewhere, probably working at an oil rig? What we have here are two countries with their own interests at heart discussing the future of another country without her consent. Doesn’t this seem a bit odd to you? It shouldn’t, because it’s well known that both Barack Obama and Mubarak are not fans of the current Israeli government, and especially Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It’s to be expected, this kind of thing.

Here’s the hidden. We always hear about these holistic comprehensive grandiose Middle East Peace Plans, most recently a 57-state solution involving the withdrawal to the ’67 borders followed by pan-Arab recognition of Israel, with the help and applause of the European Union etc. etc. But is the Israeli compensation of Arab refugees of ’48 that holistic? Or is it actually one-sided?

Personally, I’d be perfectly happy compensating every single ’48 Arab refugee and all of their descendents if the Arabs compensated every single ’48 Jewish refugee from their countries, and we could even get the EU into the fray as they generally love to be on these issues by having England, France, and Spain compensate the descendants of the 13th, 14th, and 15th century Jewish expulsions from their respective countries as well (AKA, all of us). As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to completely forgive all debt and have everything cancel out, have all monetary transactions not take place in the first place and call it a deal. I think it would just be easier on all sides, and we could all save a LOT of money on bank fees.

Having just the Jews pay the Arabs, sounds like extortion to me. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

Obama’s Egyptian Overture

He came with all the fanfare and adulation as a newly crowned Prince of Peace. Only this time, Barack Hussein Obama came to speak in Cairo as the 44th President of the United States of America, and spoke before a packed audience within the opulent Presidential Palace, the former residence of King Faruk, the last Egyptian king. He began his fine toned and eloquent address by saying “Al Salaam Aleikum”, May Peace be Upon You, and told the packed auditorium that he hopes to usher in a new era of relations between his country and the Nation of Islam, of which he said, the country of Egypt and City of Cairo are one of that religion’s finest realms.

Obama in EgyptIn regards to the religion of Islam, Obama told his audience that America is “not at war with Islam”, but will confront violent extremism and their aspiration to “kill as many innocent people as they can”, especially those small groups (such as Al Qaeda) which have gone against the positive dictates of the religion and have committed gross acts of terror, such as 9-11; and who still vow to commit more such acts.

After noting what his country plans to do in regards to the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where American soldiers are still on active duty, Obama reached the part of speech we all had been waiting for , i.e. that part regarding his plans and desires for dealing with the situation involving Israel and the Palestinians. While he did say that his country has a ” very close and historic relationship with the State of Israel”, and mentioned the long persecution of the Jewish People and the horrors of the Holocaust ( “anybody who denies the Holocaust is ignorant and hateful”) he then countered by comparing this with the “suffering of the Palestinians in pursuit of a homeland” and that for more than 60 years they have lived in refugee and displaced person’s camps due to the occupation ( in all of Israel, perhaps?).

And again, he received loud applause when he spoke about “two states for two peoples to live side by side in peace and security” and that “America will not turn her back on a state for the Palestinian People”.

Side by side – peace and security. Many in Israel wonder how this will be accomplished, especially in light of current realities; and in light of Hamas’ (and even Fatah’s ) relations with Israel.

Obama also went on to speak about achieving democracy in the Middle East, saying that “elections alone do not make democracy”. He was obviously referring to the situation in counties like Egypt where the situation is far from being democratic (probably making his host Hosnei Mubarak squirm a bit). He also talked about women’s rights (a topic probably added by his wife Michelle and by his Sec. of State Hillary Clinton), saying that women who are denied an education are denied equality. He said: “I am convinced that our daughters (he has two) can contribute as much as our sons to society” and promised that his country will help Muslim countries to give more opportunities to women” (that must have gone over like a lead balloon to any male listening in countries like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan).

We’re sure Mr. Obama does realize that Israel gives more opportunities to women than any country in the entire region, and that this will always be the case. Perhaps Palestinian women might pick up on this message though, providing their men-folk are willing to let them do so.

He ended his speech by quoting the Golden Rule, which he noted is also found in the Quran: “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. In a way, this “rule” has been practiced in this region, although not exactly in a positive framework. And that is where the entire matter may be found; i.e. in how this rule can be more positively applied.

In any respect, people will be analyzing his speech in the weeks and months to come, as well as being on the lookout for any hidden meanings. He did tell the young people of the region (including young Israelis we presume) that “you have the ability to change and reshape this world”.

Let’s all hope that this “changing and reshaping” will be within a positive framework.

A White House first: Obama’s Passover Seder

White House SederIn a never-before act of commemoration, U.S. President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and a selected group of Jewish and Non-Jewish guests celebrated the Second Passover Seder on Thursday night in the While House. The event had never been celebrated there before, although many U.S. presidents had issued official Passover greetings to the American and World Jewish community on this annual festival of redemption and freedom.

Obama has appeared especially moved to be celebrating an event which he described the story of the Children of Israel’s redemption from human bondage as “one of the most powerful stories of suffering and redemption in human history”. Among those attending was Obama’s Chief of Staff Ram Emanuel, himself not only Jewish but Israeli by birth. A Seder had been conducted at the White House during the Clinton administration, the President himself had not attended. What made this event even more significant was that Obama, a descendent of both Christian and Muslim backgrounds, felt the holiday was worthy enough to be celebrated by himself and his family.

Members of the American Jewish Community, have expressed their satisfaction over the vent saying that American Jews have come a long way by this gesture, especially since U.S. President Franklin kept a very low profile and even “used the back door” to escape facing a protest of American Jewish rabbis protesting Roosevelt’s lack of assistance to save Jews who were dying in the Holocaust during World War II. Jews were prevented from entering the U.S. in large numbers before and during the war and it has been estimated that at least a million might have been saved if the U.S. immigration authorities had allowed a greater number to enter the U.S.

In a letter sent to the American Jewish community prior to the onset of the holiday Obama wrote of the symbolism of Passover highlights the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. “As part of a larger global community, we all must work to ensure that our brothers and sisters of every race, religion, culture and nationality are free from bondage and repression, and are able to live in peace.”

Obama has attended Passover Seders in the past, including one last year in Harrisburg Pennsylvania during a campaign visit.

Duck George, Duck!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8GOrc0-Ygg[/youtube]

When I saw this I was actually surprised by the responsiveness of the American president. Not bad at all. I think that most world leaders, especially some of the guys we have here would definitely have gotten whacked by one of those shoes.

I was also surprised by the ease with which one could approach the US President and the really slow reaction of the Secret Service. They were really in slow mode. I guess all the good guys are watching the new guy 🙂

In any case about the shoes themselves: In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt (Al Jazeera) in case you had any doubt.. So of course is calling someone a dog.

And on the topics of dogs… This is a new YouTube hit:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVuBPaJsNQc[/youtube]

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