[Marxism] Slight shift in policy emphasis in Obama's Jan. 22 remarks on Middle East

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jan 27 11:53:08 MST 2009

The following are the comments made on the Middle East by President Barack
Hussein Obama in commenting on the appointment of George Mitchell as special
envoy to the Middle East.

The comments appeared in the March 22 Washington Post:
l -

Basically, his comments reiterate the main themes of imperialist policy over
the years. Noticeable is his evasion of the issue of the Palestinian state,
in favor of a generality about peoples living together. This doesn't mean an
end to proposals for a "two-state solution", but it is a reminder of how the
supposed "two-state solution" assumes and is founded exclusively on the
complete statelessness of the Palestinians anywhere (including any assertion
of sovereignty and independence even in tiny Gaza.

However, the comments do reflect a slight but significant diplomatic shift,
reflecting the fact that the Palestinian political position is a bit
stronger morally because of the international wave of outrage over the
grisly criminality of the Zionist state.

"Obama stated: As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings
should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate
monitoring regime, with the international and Palestinian Authority
participating ....

Not a call for an immediate end to the blockade by both Israel and Egypt,
not a call for an end to the blockade, and certainly not the defiance of the
blockade and calls for international condemnation that a US President who
was a genuine moral leader would feel obliged to make.

And certainly no defense of Gaza sovereignty, despite UN resolutions that
claim to guarantee the ultimate sovereignty of this and other Palestinian
territories. The US rulers, Obama included, see Gaza independence and
sovereignty as a threat to the Israeli settler colonialist and apartheid
structures, just as the independence and sovereignty of neighboring Angola.

But a shift nonetheless. I note this in part because the Palestinian
solidarity movement in the US is taking note of it as I think they should. I
think that, as the now quasi-and-long-fully Zionist Shlomo Avneri has noted,
changes in US politics that include the election of Obama are creating
initial traces of a rift between the US and Israeli governments and, to some
extent, societies. Actually, I first saw signs of a gap opening when Bush
refused to give Israel weapons for attacking Iran's nuclear-energy plants a
few months ago after beating the drums for this over years.

How far this will go and, even more, how quickly, noone can tell. But Israel
is beginning to face a trace of the isolation that eventually brought down
South African apartheid with the US and other imperialist powers painfully
pulled along. It's easy to forget the days when the US rulers were pretty
open supporters of apartheid in South Africa.

Of course, it's hard to submit such posts as this when a certain
witch-hunting attitude has come to prevail on the list toward noting
anything the Obama administration does or says that offers opening to our
side, or reflects where we are getting stronger.

The statements of Artesian, Louis, and others have made it clear that Walter
was unsubbed, removed, expelled, or lethally ejected from the list on the
political ground that he was supporting, defending or apologizing for
Obama's continuation and evident plans to deepen the wars in Pakistan or
Afghanistan, and opposing protests against them.  This is pure witch-hunting
in my opinion, no matter now much professional factional prosecutors (and I
know quite a bit from more than one side about that profession) can twist
this or that hurriedly written quote for purely factional scandal-mongering

Those who have followed Walter on the list know that he has never supported
any military campaign of imperialism, by whatever president it was launched.
This stuff is just part of the sectarian hard-factional gotcha game. If I
was any longer interested in it, I know enough how to play it to have any
denouncer of Walter by the short hairs in no time at all.

I also note the view of a small but significant group of list members that
the basis of the Marxism list should be modified to exclude "Cubaphilia",
anything but the hard line on Obama, unconditional opposition to every
government held to be capitalist in every country, etc.

Further I note that though Louis makes much of Walter's use of
characterizations like Obama-phobic, he has not a word to say against the
use of the term "Obama-philiac" (meaning "Obama-lover," no less!)to
characterize all but the most feverish expressions of what the new
administration represents historically and in US and world politics.

He is absolutely uncritical of his own characterizations or of Artesian's,
as long as Artesian is more or less politically in agreement. The strictures
seem to me always to be for the language of those who are disagreeing with
him at the moment. (Personally, I suggest that Louis appoint Artesian as the
list's Witchfinder General, should he decide we need one.)
General. Of course, I would be against unsubbing him for any of his comments
including his repugnant and untrue characterizations of Lippmann.

Yes, I think Walter s


More information about the Marxism mailing list