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July 13, 2009: The Double Standard

August 9, 2009

Because I’ve run up against that perennial problem of insufficient hours in the day, and because I wrote a major article today (hopefully to be shared very soon), and worked on my UNRWA report to boot, this posting will be exceedingly short.

But there are a couple of items I want to share here.


The Double Standard:

Obama was in Ghana over the weekend and delivered a talk to the Ghanaian Parliament. Among his words to them were these:

“This is a new moment of great promise. To realize that promise, we must first recognize a fundamental truth:…Development depends upon good governance.

“…No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves…

“…No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery.

“…That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there, and now is the time for that style of governance to end.

“Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”


These words you’ve just read could — should!! — be directed to the Palestinian Authority: The PA, rife with corruption. The PA, with its weak institutions. The PA, where clans and mobs sometimes rule the street, and the veneer of democracy is so thin that dates for elections are rearranged.

Obama understands the need for reform when it comes to Ghana. Ask yourself why he doesn’t see the need for it in the Palestinian Authority. Why, instead of delivering sound advice regarding reform and development, he promotes the formation of a Palestinian state as quickly as possible.

Then, ask your elected representatives these very same questions.


For your Congresspersons:


For your Senators:


Why does the US government cut the PA slack? Why does Obama not ensure that the Palestinians have established good governance before promoting a state? We now know that he understands these issues, so what is going on here?


The answer, of course, is that he CARES about Ghana and wants to see it succeed, but his promotion of a Palestinian state is designed to serve other ends. His concern is not intrinsically for the democratic and commercial success of such a state. It matters little to him if the Palestinians have good governance, and even less if this Palestinian state presents a security risk, or an existential risk, to Israel.

What matters is that he can say to the Muslim/Arab world that he is courting — look, look what I made happen! I am your friend as none other.

Then ask yourself, and your elected representatives, why Obama should be permitted to pursue this course when it’s clear the PA is not ready and good cannot come from what he intends.


The Palestinian Media Watch has released a bulletin that describes the words of Fatah activist Kifah Radaydeh, who was interviewed on PA TV.

“…we perceive peace as one of the strategies, but we say that all forms of the struggle exist, and we do not rule out the possibility of the armed struggle or any other struggle. The struggle exists in all its forms, on the basis of what we are capable of at a given time, and according to what seems right…

“It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; the goal is Palestine (i.e., the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea).”


See here for the interview on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=Qc-7GK6F4RI


“The Good News Corner”

Last Friday, in The Jerusalem Post magazine, columnist Barbara Sofer wrote a splendid piece, “A jest for health,” about medical clowns who work in the service of cheering up those who are ill, and frightened — especially children.

The clown project was started as an experiment, called “Dream Doctors,” in Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, in 2002, during the heavy days of the intifada. Now these very special clowns work in hospitals all over Israel.

I will not attempt here to tell the story of one extraordinary clown, Chris, who hails from France. Read the piece in its entirety and you, too, will be moved, and impressed.

But I did want to repeat one statement of his here. “Why,” he was asked, “would you choose to do this in Israel? Why not France?”

Said Chris:

“I went around the world, and when I got to Israel I saw that it was very special. It had something unique that nowhere else has. A spirit. A goodness. People are hard — don’t think they’re not — but they’re good.”

Amen to this. Amen.






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