Barack Obama's back campaigning on American soil after his tour of Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Germany, Paris and London. Never has a mere "presumptive nominee" received so much press. Indeed, the three major news anchors went along with him. And depending on what you read or who you listened to, Senator Obama's world tour was a towering success, an embarrassing failure, or the second coming of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Obama supporters kvelled over his dignified mien, his ability to articulate issues and the almost nonstop adulation he received everywhere he went. "Finally, finally," his supporters cheered, "an American leader who isn't an embarrassment." Obama detractors kvetched about what they saw as nothing more than a brazen breach of diplomatic protocol. "How dare he," they sniffed, "strut about as if he were President of the United States? Who does he think he is?"
I had to laugh when a couple of the conservative talking heads referred to him as a "liberal elitist." Only in America could the mixed-race son of single mother who was raised by his grandparents be portrayed as an elitist, while the scion of an east-coast WASP dynasty who, like his ancestors, attended Andover, Harvard and Yale, become a "good-ole boy."
Poor John McCain was beside himself during Obama's week away, feeling the loneliness of the only kid on the block not invited to Disneyland. The nadir of his week came when he traveled up to New Hampshire, only to be met by a single solitary reporter. In their desperation, the McCain camp tried to turn the cameras their way, one day hinting that their guy was about to name his V.P., another questioning Senator Obama's experience, knowledge and patriotism. Try as he may though, Senator McCain just couldn't gain traction. The Obama world tour was just too overwhelming an event for anyone in the media to pay McCain much attention. What airtime they did give him wasn't especially flattering; one day he mistakenly referred to the "Afghanistan-Pakistan border," and another he claimed that "the surge" was responsible for the so-called "Sunni Awakening."
I for one was particularly interested in how Senator Obama would come across in Israel. To my way of thinking, he "hit all the right notes"-- but with a difference: he didn't sound like a politician merely attempting to curry favor. Rather he looked, sounded and spoke like a man with a passion for justice and a clear understanding of history.
Despite this, there is still a hard-core of American-Jewish voters who continue buying in to the "Obama's a Muslim," Obama's Osama's Candidate," "Obama will sell out Israel" schools of thought. To all of them -- and the numbers are apparently shrinking -- I ask that they both remember and ponder an age-old expression:
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Where in the world does the expression come from? Well, in the Hebrew Bible [Exodus, 23:22], we find God telling the Israelites that if they fully obey, then "v'ayavti et oyvecha v'tzarti et tzo-r'recha," viz: "I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries." Likewise, the Chinese have a saying that goes, "It is good to strike the serpent's head with the fist of your enemy."
One living, breathing example of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" goes back to the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.E. For those who remember their ancient history, the Greek city-states -- a tangled web of argumentative antagonists -- managed to put aside their differences in order to go to war against the Persians, who were their common enemy. In a sense, the various city-states had the Persians to thank for bringing them together -- if only to beat the daylights out of their common enemy.
You may well ask: What in the world does this have to do with Barack Obama, Israel and the American-Jewish community?
The answer is both simple and direct:
To much of the Arab world, Barack Obama, far from being their "stealth candidate" is, in fact, viewed as just another American politician in thrall to the Zionists!
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Need proof? Consider the following editorial cartoons, which have recently run in various Middle Eastern publications:
This cartoon ran in Ar-Risala ["The Message"], a Palestinian Authority publication, on June 22, 2008. The headline translates: The Wagon [that gets you] to the White House." The quip translates, "Obama's view."
This cartoon ran in Al-Ghad, Jordan's
only independent Arabic-language
paper on June 9, 2008. It simply
reads: "Obama, the American
This example comes from www.amin.org an Arabmedia website which serves as a platform for both cartoonists and columnists from all over the Arab world. This particular cartoon ran in Bahrain.
Finally, we have this example from Al-Ittihad ["The Union"], a United Arab Emirati Newspaper. Published on June 10, 2008, its headline reads: "Obama: 'Jerusalem should be Israel's Capital.'"
[Note: These and other cartoons were gleaned from the Anti-Defamation League website.]
Do the cartoons above provide conclusive proof that Barack Obama was, is, and always shall be a friend of Israel? For those who already support him, no such proof is necessary. For those who are continually suspicious, no amount of proof, I fear, will ever be enough. I can even hear some proclaiming, "Ah, it's all a conspiracy! The Muslims have banded together to make it seem like they're anti-Obama, just so that we'll vote for him." Oh well, some people just don't want to be confused with facts.
To me, the facts speak for themselves. Senator Obama went to Israel as a close ally, spoke there as a good friend, and returned home an even more enlightened candidate. Those who will continually challenge his credentials or demean the true excitement he brings by comparing him to Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton [!] are way off the mark. Those who truly love America -- its hopes and history, its dreams and energy indeed, its Constitution -- need only look at those who are disparaging Senator Obama in order to understand that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
- Those who would turn back the clock to the 1920s are my enemy; and so too are they the enemy of Senator Obama.
- Those who believe that the purpose of government is to protect the perquisites of the wealthy and oversee the morality of the masses are my enemy; and so too are they the enemy of Senator Obama.
- Those who look at the Middle East and see only pipelines and barrels of oil are my enemy; and so too are they the enemy of Senator Obama.
- Those who run on platforms of fear rather than hope are my enemy; and so too are they the enemy of Senator Obama.
Yes indeed, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
And from where I sit, Senator Barack Obama is our friend . . .