Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama: Now He'll Let Ahmadinejad Talk...Now He Won't

The Weekly Standard points out that Obama has changed his position on having Ahmadinejad speak at the UN--

From a September 2007 news conference:
The other point I'd make about President Ahmadinejad's presence here in New York is that although I probably would not have invited him to speak [at Columbia]--he's got other forums, he's got the United Nations available to him--hateful lies that he may utter about Israel or the Holocaust, the answer to those lies is for us to promote the truth and show the world the kind of values and ideals that we hold dear. ... We don't need to be fearful of the rantings of somebody like Ahmadinejad.
That was then, this is now:
"I strongly condemn President Ahmadinejad's outrageous remarks at the United Nations, and am disappointed that he had a platform to air his hateful and anti-Semitic views. The threat from Iran's nuclear program is grave. Now is the time for Americans to unite on behalf of the strong sanctions that are needed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime.

"Once again, I call upon Senator McCain to join me in supporting a bipartisan bill to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by allowing states and private companies to divest from companies doing business in Iran. The security of our ally Israel is too important to play partisan politics, and it is deeply disappointing that Senator McCain and a few of his allies in Congress feel otherwise," said Senator Barack Obama.
Question 1: So where exactly does Obama stand now on Ahmadinejad?
Question 2: Where will Obama stand on Ahmadinejad should he get elected?

Just wondering out loud...

[Hat tip: Jennifer Rubin]

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E.D. Kain said...


I suppose, to me, I'm just glad to hear the strong rhetoric from Obama. I think that despite many concerns over the Illinois Senator, he will be a strong supporter of Israel. Whether he will be strong enough against Iran is another question...but I hope so.



Daled Amos said...

My concern is that he has flip-flopped on enough issues that regardless of how strong he comes out on Israel:

1. Given his past support of the Muslim community, as exemplified by his close relationship with Rashid Khalidi which he later denied, where will Obama stand when he does not immediately need Jewish/Muslim support?

2. Will Obama assume that strong Israel support means pushing for a two-state solution in the short term? Remember, Obama is inexperienced when it comes to national affairs and a blank slate for whatever his advisers tell him (and those advisers are not particularly pro-Israel)

E.D. Kain said...

Valid concerns, all. For one, I would not worry too much about his support of the Muslim community. I think he has the discretion to see the difference between Muslims and Hamastinians. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think not. Maybe having some experience dealing with Muslims will even lend him credibility or at least knowledge when dealing with the crisis.

Regarding his support once he no longer needs the Jewish vote, this is more a concern to me. Certainly his dedication to helping solve this conflict is an open question.

And so much will depend, also, on the direction of the Israeli government...

(I am speaking these days as though Obama is a sure thing, because I think he is. I don't think McCain will win given the current financial crisis...)

Daled Amos said...

Since Obama continues to be a big unknown, I don't know where he stands on the Muslim community, although we have seen how he will back off when the Muslim community gives a yell--as in the AIPAC speech. True, just about any politician would back off, but just any would have made Obama's mistake.

Also, whether or not 'he has the discretion to see the difference between Muslims and Hamastinians', does he have the discretion to differentiate between Hamas and Fatah? Or will he buy the line that Abbas is a 'moderate'?

His experience with Muslims is not a matter of mere credibility to Muslims--to them it is a matter of allegiance. They are not too open to the idea of even-handedness. Besides, the AIPAC incident will cause Muslims to keep a close eye on him.

Obama will not want to lose the Muslim vote the way Bush did.

As far as his attitude towards Israel goes--no politician will go out on a limb for Israel for anything more than what Israel itself is demanding. These days, when Israel demands so little, it is increasingly easy for politicians to portray themselves as 'friends' of Israel without having to do much.