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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.