Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, September 2011
President Obama's UN Speech and Its Critics
By Lawrence DavidsonAl-Jazeerah, CCUN, October 10, 2011
Lawrence Davidson argues that the only way for US presidential nominees to break free from the shackles of Zionist lobbies is to get the public riled up on the issue of US policy towards the Palestine-Israel conflict “to the point where millions see it as a voting issue”.
On 21 September 2011 President Obama delivered
his latest message to the United Nations.
Actually, one of the things that make the world imperfect is the lopsided power distribution at the UN. This allows the permanent members of the Security Council (particularly the US) to decide when peace does or does not get pursued. But Obama did not call attention to this problem. Instead he pointed to Libya and the alleged achievement of freedom, security and peace in that North African land…
Obama was stuck with the conundrum that the people of Libya (and Tunisia
and Egypt and maybe Yemen and Syria but, of course, not Bahrain) deserve
self-determination and peace, while the Palestinians are apparently still
out in the cold.
Two criticsscathing report on President Obama’s speech. Here is part of what he said:, the famous reporter for the British newspaper the Independent, wrote a
Fisk is angry and frustrated and one can only empathize
with those feelings. But his piece leaves a lot unexplained.
Consider a recent poll by the Pew Research Centre. It indicates that 42 per cent of Americans are in favour of US recognition of Palestinian statehood as against 26 per cent opposed. Thirty two per cent had no opinion. That means that an energetic and savvy politician running for national office, who is also publicly in favour of Palestinian statehood, would have a pool of 74 per cent of American voters to work on. The numbers are even more impressive when considering only Democratic voters. There 54 per cent are in favour of Palestinian statehood and only 14 per cent opposed. These are telling numbers for a politician with pro-Palestinian sympathies – if the voters are really the end game here.
Unfortunately, they are not. Voters are only important at the actual time of election. At all other times the politicians’ constituencies are special interest groups. It is the special interests that supply the resources the politicians actually use to manipulate the voters at election time. The political parties know this very well. They know that what political suicide actually consists of is putting forth a candidate that displeases the special interests.
In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, 95 per cent of the time both Democrat and Republican parties won’t even nominate a candidate who expresses opinions favourable to the Palestinians. Therefore, such candidates hardly ever reach the voters. So, it is not quite as Avnery puts it, that Obama speaks lies so as to be re-elected. More accurately, he speaks lies so he can be renominated. There is no politician in America capable of getting a presidential nomination who could or would have made a speech more sympathetic to the Palestinians than the one given by .
The conclusion one can draw is that on the issue of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, public opinion presently has no leverage. And,
for it ever to actually have leverage, it must reach a point where it
overwhelms the standard factors of special interest influence: giving
campaign funding to a candidate or choosing to give it to his or her
opponent; generating lots of TV air time in favour of the candidate or
creating negative-attack advertisements against him or her; and the overall
control of the information on the subject of interest to the special
interest that goes to the candidates and their staff. In other words, unless
you can get the public riled up on this subject to the point where millions
see it as a voting issue, politicians and their party leaders won’t
respond to polls such as that recently put out by Pew. Such information
simply does not indicate a level of public focus that will sway the party
choices of candidates at the nomination level.
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