Lebanese leftist academic & blogger The Angry Arab on Obama:
"Well, it took just 2 days for Obama to dispel any notions of a change in US Middle East policy. For some reason, many Arabs and many American leftists I know have wanted to believe so bad that Obama would deviate from the Zionist path of US foreign policy. I thought it would be a matter of weeks before he'd prove me right, not a matter of hours. His speech on the Middle East today could easily have been written by Benjamin Netanyahu. The fact that he is - unlike Bush - intelligent, competent, and articulate is irrelevant. The set of Zionist (or rather Revisionist Zionist because American establishment Zionism has been largely Revisionist Zionism since the days of the Reagan administration) dogmas that guide US foreign policy will remain in place even if a potato or Sarah Palin is president of the US... Obama's speech was quite something. It was like sprinkling sulfuric acid on the wounds of the children in Gaza - those who survived the Israeli terrorist festival of butchery and massacre that is. His remarks left you with the impression that there are 2 sets of problems in the holy land: terrorism against civilians in 'southern Israel', and then some vague, undefined civilian suffering in Gaza caused by some vague, undefined natural disaster - an earthquake or hurricane maybe. He specifically mentioned the violence against 'southern Israel', but left what happened in Gaza unclear. He saluted Mubarak not only for oppressing his own people, but for oppressing the Palestinians and imposing the siege on them. He then followed the Zionist line that all aid should pass through the transparent gangs in Ramallah, Fatah having a long record of transparency, integrity, and high ethical standards - not to mention collaboration with Israel. He also defined the requirements for implementing 'the Arab peace plan': Arab governments have to normalise relations with Israel. All Arabs must now hug the nearest Israeli; and no, shoes are not accepted as tokens of affection, not in Western culture. But you might say, optimistically, that he didn't mention Dahlan. I say, Oh, no - he did mention Dahlan! He made reference to the Jordanian oppressive state's training of 'Palestinian security forces', which is just a fancy name for the Dahlan gangs. But I also noticed that when he left the podium, he began to shake hands, and the first head I saw was none other than Martin Indyk... PS Now I'm pissed off. Al-Jazeera is playing (and I mean distorting) Obama's remarks as if they were a message of love and compassion for the Palestinian people. How much longer will some supporters of the Palestinian people go on deluding themselves about Obama?" (Obama &... Indyk: I told you so, damn it, The Angry Arab news Service, 22/1/09) The Angry Arab has since taken to calling Obama Bushama.
His polar opposite, Zio-conservative propagandist & foreign editor of The Australian Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, though long beaten to the punch by The Angry Arab, concurs:
"[O]n all the big foreign policy questions, Obama has continued Bush's policies. The predator drones still fly over Pakistan, destroying any al-Qa'ida operative dumb enough to talk on the phone. The terrorists are still in Guantanamo as Obama's administration develops the Bush administration's decision to shut Guantanamo, as a necessity of global PR, while trying to stop the terrorists from going back to killing civilians. Like Bush, Obama is pursuing an attempt to engage the Iranian regime and even using the same official Bush did. He is withdrawing from Iraq very slowly, on a timetable improved by Republican senator John McCain. He acknowledges the success of the US troop surge in Iraq and wants to emulate it in Afghanistan. He stands four square behind Israel's security. And so on... As someone who broadly supported neo-conservative foreign policy, long live the cult of Obama, say I." (Obama is Dubya's acceptable face, 11/4/09)
We have consensus. But then, in the same piece, Sheridan typically stuffs up with a characteristic broad-brush smear: "Most Arab political cultures are awash in the most bizarre paranoia and conspiracy theories." Bizarre paranoia & conspiracy theories, Greg? You mean, like this:
"Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion, and is, in my view, more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option." Then Israeli prime minister (now president), Shimon Peres, 1996 (Israel cries wolf, Roger Cohen, The New York Times, 9/4/09)
"You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran." Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, 2009, (ibid)
"Hamas is really a problem for the Palestinians and for Egypt more than Israel. It must be clear that the problem of our region and of Israel is Iran by proxy, because Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad are really Iran by proxy, as is Hezbollah. Without Iranian support, they cannot exist. It's Iranian money, Iranian ideology, it's political support, Iranian technology." (Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister, 2009 (A conversation with Avigdor Lieberman, Lally Weymouth, The Washington Post, 1/3/09)