Juan Cole slams Obama for his blatantly hypocritical stance on the Palestinian move towards statehood:
President Barack Obama appears to have thought that he could go to the UN with a liberation of Libya and a further postponement of Palestinian rights to boast of, and that these stances would make him popular in the global south. But in fact he just looked inconsistent and hypocritical and self-interested….
The Obama administration’s response to the bid of the Palestinians for membership in the United Nations has been to seek to forestall it, to strong-arm Mahmoud “Abu Mazen” Abbas, and to twist the arms of countries like Nigeria and Gabon to get them to vote against it. Obama’s argument, which simply echoes that of the Likud government in Israel is that the Palestine Authority is sidestepping the peace process by going to the UN. But that is a ridiculous proposition.There is no peace process. Obama failed to provide one.
Sadly, the Palestinians are no more than a political calculation for the President. Obama most likely sympathizes with the Palestinian cause and is horrified by Israeli expansionism. The problem is, if he stands up to Netanyahu, he risks alienating Jewish voters in the 2012 election – a block he simply cannot afford to lose (particularly in the swing state of Florida).
Obama has been weak and spineless when dealing with the Israelis, and his administration’s complete lack of leadership on the issue will go down in history as another massive wasted opportunity (thus far at least).
However, regardless of the immorality of the US position, the Palestinians are still better off with Obama in power. Rick Perry/Mitt Romney/any of the other GOP candidates would not even bother meeting with the Palestinian government and would allow Israel to do as it pleases without any interference.
I’m for Palestinian statehood – firstly for moral reasons, but secondly because it has the potential to change the political dynamic. The Israelis expand into Palestinian land and put ‘facts on the ground’ (buildings, villages, infrastructure etc). With the declaration of statehood, the Palestinians are essentially doing the same. A new Palestinian state will become a fact that the international community, including the US and Israel, will have to deal with. It’s not much given Israel’s control of the borders, airspace and tax collection, but it is something. And right now, the Palestinians must take whatever they can get.
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.