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In scandalous new campaign video, Obama takes Israel pandering to dangerous levels

January 22, 2012

This article by Ali Abunimah is re-posted from Electronic Intifada.

Is Barack Obama running for reelection as President of the United States or Prime Minister of Israel? A new Obama campaign video makes it increasingly hard to tell, and even more ominously ratchets further the Israelization of US politics.

False hopes of change

US President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 amid expectations that he would be the president who would at last bring some balance – and less abject subservience – to the US relationship with Israel.

I knew this consensus was wrong, as I had documented Obama’s early pandering to extreme Zionists from the moment he decided to seek the US Senate seat he won in 2004, and wrote about it in “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.”

Now as Obama faces a tough reelection – and accusations from Republicans that he is insufficiently subservient to a foreign state – Obama is doubling down with a shocking video in which leaders of a foreign state – many themselves responsible for war crimes – are drafted in to attest to the US president’s commitment to this foreign state and his willingless to do whatever it takes in its service.

It’s all part of a “phony war over which US party loves Israel most.”

America & Israel: An Unbreakable Bond

The 7-minute film titled America & Israel: An Unbreakable Bond alternates video and audio of Obama speaking before the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and other Zionist groups, and clips of Israeli leaders endorsing Obama’s leadership. It begins and ends with the US flag and the Israeli flag side by side – thus bringing the Israeli flag directly into the US election campaign.

Although the clips of Israeli leaders, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy and Ambassador Michael Oren appear to have been taken from interviews, they are cut to look as if they were provided specifically for the purpose of endorsing the president.

The film even includes a clip of Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister from the Yisrael Beitenu party whose extreme anti-Palestinian policies include advocating the transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Obama wants us to know he is proud to have the support of Israeli ethnic cleansers.

As such, Obama is legitimizing the role of foreign – although certainly only Israeli leaders – to participate directly in US campaigns. Can we imagine Obama issuing a video in which he is endorsed as pro-Mexican by the President of Mexico, or pro-Canadian by Canada’s prime minister? It’s inconceivable.

And suppose any of the Israeli leaders featured in the video feel their words were twisted by the Obama campaign. Should they now be asked whether or not they were indeed endorsing Obama’s re-election as the video appears to suggest? It’s an open secret that Netanyahu does not want to see Obama reelected. So this only invites Israel deeper into US politics.

Recently, Sheldon Adelson a US-Israeli billionaire, whose main issue is support for Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, donated $5 million to a campaign organization linked to Republican contender Newt Gingrich.

Putting Israel first

The themes of the video touch all the familiar messaging of extreme Zionist groups that Obama has used from his early AIPAC speeches: There is a focus on the Holocaust, Hamas rockets, Israeli children suffering, and Iran, Iran, Iran.

Who can now doubt that US Iran policy is largely about appeasing Israel lobbyists, when Obama is heard boasting in a campaign video that his administration has imposed “the hardest hitting sanctions the Iranian regime has ever faced”? Confrontation if not outright war with Iran is a key message of the Israel lobby these days.

Of course there’s no word about Israel’s war crimes, occupation, routine murder and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians and children, the siege of Gaza or the ongoing theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank for Jews-only colonies.

On the contrary, Obama boasts in the video about how he helped stymie justice and torpedo the Goldstone report, and pulled the US out of participation in the UN Durban conference on racism.

The video also reassures viewers that:

Under Obama, US military aid to Israel increased to “unprecedented levels”

“Obama 2012 budget has rise in US aid to Israel”

“We are making our most advanced technologies available to our Israeli allies.”

While Obama boasts of his willingness to cut the federal budget – even as services for Americans are being slashed – he obviously feels politically safe increasing foreign aid, as long as the recipient is Israel.

Fighting for lobby support

Obama’s video comes as Republicans have intensified their attacks on the president, including a smear campaign on Obama-linked think tank the Center for American Progress alleging that some of its bloggers used “anti-Semitic” language.

It also follows anti-Palestinian statements by Republican contenders. Newt Gingrich notoriously declared that Palestinians are an “invented people” and that he would order the CIA to murder freed Palestinian prisoners, and Rick Santorum one-upped him, saying Palestinians don’t exist at all.

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