Thursday, June 04, 2009

He watched some other speech

Bush White House operative Peter Wehner Marc Thiessen reacts to Barack Obama's Cairo speech --

His speech was rife with moral equivalence ... The Holocaust was bad, but “on the other hand” so is the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The events are not comparable.

What did Obama say? --

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction -- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews -- is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.


Thiessen ignores the detailed discussion of the Holocaust and the specific attack on Iranian President Ahmadinejad for denying it, but in addition he appears to be using a definition of "moral equivalance" which only requires that several topics are mentioned within the same general theme regardless of the words used to describe them.

Back to Thiessen --

Also little noticed was the fact that Obama announced a major shift in U.S. policy in the Holy Land. In 2002, President Bush declared in his Rose Garden address that America would only engage “Palestinian leaders not compromised by terror.” In Cairo today, Obama reversed this policy, declaring that Hamas has “to play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people.” This is na├»ve and dangerous.

What did Obama say? --

Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist.

Those conditions are no different than has been imposed on any other group, not least Fatah, which also has a "past compromised by terror".

We could go on. Thiessen apparently wanted Obama go to Cairo and say how great the US military is. But it's a waste of time dealing with pure Rovian political hackery.

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