Obama and Kerry Sensitive to Palestinian Needs


By Ben Cohen

Phil Weiss over at Mondoweiss writes an interesting article on his recent trip to Israel and the occupied territories. He met several people convinced that Obama (and John Kerry who has also visited the region) are extremely sensitive to the needs of the Palestinians, and understand the negative effect AIPAC has on U.S policy towards Israel. There is cause for hope:

The first report is from Felice Gelman, who
headed my original delegation to Gaza. She told me she was at a New
York fundraiser for Obama a little over a year ago when she elbowed her
way up to talk to him. "I said to him, 'I'm here to tell you that there
are tens of thousands of Jewish Americans who do not agree with our
policy toward Israel and Palestine. We think [and Gelman is married to
a Jew, but isn't Jewish herself] it is counterproductive for the U.S.
and for the Jews.'"

Gelman says that Obama responded:

"I hear what you're saying. I have studied the situation and I
believe I understand it and I promise you, that I will do my best not
to pander to AIPAC."

A few weeks later Obama did just that, pander to AIPAC--but Gelman
is convinced, and so am I, that he signalled his agreement with
her--and that it is a measure of the power of the Israel lobby that in
the event he did do his best not to pander, but had no choice
politically but to do so.