Melanie Phillips: Obama In Cairo


First, the good bits in Obama’s speech in Cairo:

He told the Palestinians unequivocally that violence was wrong.

He said that there was an unbreakable bond between America and Israel.

He told the Arab states firmly:

The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

He condemned the persecution of non-Muslims in the Islamic world and urged equal rights for Muslim women.

He referred to Iran’s role since 1979 in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians.


                                       * Knight of the Wahabi order:

bling                                     Michelle Malkin: Obama’s Wahhabi bling-bling

  • President Obama was awarded Saudi Arabia’s highest honor yesterday — an elaborate gold necklace and medallion fit for a king or a rap mogul.
  • Make no mistake. Barack Obama is no Rudy Giuliani.


Now the bad bits – and they were really bad:

He revealed gross ignorance of the Jews’ unique claim to the land of Israel. He said that America’s unbreakable bond with Israel was based upon

the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…

The Jews’ aspiration for their homeland does not derive from the Holocaust, nor their overall tragic history. It derives from Judaism itself, which is composed of the inseparable elements of the religion, the people and the land. Their unique claim upon the land rests upon the fact that the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their nation, which it was for hundreds of years – centuries before the Arabs and Muslims came on the scene. As for antisemitism, he made no mention of the alliance between the Palestinians and the Nazis during the 1930s, and the fact that Nazi-style Jew-hatred continues to pour out of the Arab and Muslim world to this day.

Worse, Obama appeared to draw a subliminal equivalence between the Holocaust extermination camps and the Palestinian ‘refugee’ camps:

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, ignorant, and 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. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

And with this awful and revealing linkage, he duly segued seamlessly into the distorted Arab and Muslim narrative of Israel’s history. It is not undeniable that the Palestinians ‘have suffered in pursuit of a homeland’ because it is untrue. The Palestinians have been offered a homeland repeatedly – in 1936, 1947, 2000 and last year. They have repeatedly turned it down. The Arabs could have created it between 1948 and 1967, when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. They chose not to do so. They could have created it after 1967, when Israel offered the land to them in return for peace with Israel. They refused the offer. The Palestinians have suffered because they have tried for six decades to destroy the Jews’ homeland.

For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation.

The ‘pain of dislocation’ was caused by the fact that six decades ago they went to war against the newly recreated Israel to destroy it, and were subsequently deliberately kept in ‘refugee’ camps by the Arab world. What other aggressors in the world are described as suffering ‘the pain of dislocation’ caused by their own aggression — which has continued for sixty years without remission and shows no sign of ending?

Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

There is one reason for that and one reason alone – the Palestinians have ensured that Israel has never lived in peace or security, because they have continued to attack it and murder its citizens. And Gaza? Doesn’t Obama realise the Israelis no longer occupy Gaza?  It is run by Hamas, which shows its commitment to the peace and security of its inhabitants by throwing them off the tops of tall buildings.

So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.

And what about the intolerable situation of Israel, forced to live in a state of siege for sixty years because of the unending aggression of the Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim world? The Palestinians could have lived in peace and prosperity alongside Israel at any time since 1948. If they were to end their attempt to destroy Israel and accept instead the right of Israel to existas a Jewish state – that crucial qualification Obama omitted to mention – they could do so tomorrow. The only reason their position is intolerable is because they themselves have made it so. What other aggressors in the world have their situation described as ‘intolerable’?

Palestinians must abandon violence.

Good. But then:

Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.

Resistance’? ‘Resistance’ is a term of moral approval. ‘Resistance’ describes a fight against injustice. But the Palestinians have been engaged in an attempt to wipe out Israel. Obama sees this as ‘resistance’ – even though he says violence is wrong. And then this:

For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.

So Obama has equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the true resistance against apartheid in South Africa. Thus the moral bankruptcy of the moral relativist.

Next, he repeated that the settlements (all of them? just new ones?) undermined peace and so had to stop. But they don’t undermine peace. It is Arab rejectionism that prevents peace in the Middle East, and the settlements are a palpable excuse. Yet Obama delivered no ultimatum of any kind to Iran, the real threat to peace in the region and the world; indeed, he repeated that Iran

should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,

an alarming indication that he might view as acceptable a formulation which might enable Iran to continue to make nuclear weapons under some kind of verbal and political camouflage.

For his egregious sanitising of Islam and its history, and his absurd claims about its contribution to western civilisation, read Robert Spencer here. But in this regard, one of Obama’s references in particular made me catch my breath. It was this:

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

This is boilerplate misrepresentation by Islamists and their apologists. The fact is that it is Judaism which teaches this as a cardinal precept. The Talmud states:

Whoever destroys a single soul, he is guilty as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whoever preserves a single soul, it is as though he had preserved a whole world.

The Koran appropriated this precept – but altered it to mean something very different. Thus (verses 5:32-5:35):

That was why we laid it down for the Israelites that whoever killed a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all mankind; and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind. Our apostles brought them veritable proofs: yet many among them, even after that, did prodigious evil in the land. Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. (My emphasis)

In other words, this turns a Talmudic precept affirming the value of preserving human life into a prescription for violence and murder against Jews and ‘unbelievers’. Yet Obama passed it off as evidence of the pacific nature of Islam.

So in conclusion, yes, there was some positive stuff in this speech – but it was outweighed by the United States President’s shocking historical misrepresentations, gross ignorance, disgusting moral equivalence between aggressors and their victims, and disturbing sanitising of Islamist supremacism.

In short, deeply troubling.