Obama’s Skewed Reality: From Charleston to Jerusalem

At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” (Obama, 6/18/2015)

Really, Mr. President?? There were four mass murders in 2015:

  1. The one you are referring to, this week, when a racist Caucasian killed 9 African-Americans in a church
  2. In January, Muslim terrorists killed 12 people in France at the Hebdo magazine
  3. Also in January, a Muslim terrorist killed 4 Jews in a bakery in Paris, on the eve of Shabbat
  4. In March, a crazy German co-pilot killed 150 people when he purposely crashed his plane

Maybe what President Obama meant is that France and Germany are not “advanced countries”?

Or did he mean that lives of those who are not African-Americans are not as important as the lives lost in last week’s despicable attack?

Or maybe President Obama lives in another world and carefully picked his advisors and speechwriters to make sure that they live in the same world that he does.

I tend to believe that the last option is the most plausible one. It’s not just this case that leads me to conclude that his reality is different from where most of us live.

This exact same behavior is what prompts him to put constant pressure on the Israeli government, while giving a pass to the Palestinians. Concessions? Only Israel needs to make them. Take his statement, for instance:

“If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time — if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.” (interview to Jeff Goldberg, Feb. 27, 2014)

In the same interview, Obama goes on and says: “I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people of Israel.”

Really, Mr. President?? Have you read Abbas’ speech to the United Nations in 2014? Most people that read it agree that this was the most hateful and inciting speech seen in a long time. Is this what you refer as Abbas’ willingness “to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion?

If you were to show a balanced position, I would have expected the following statement from you in that same interview to Goldberg: “If you see no peace deal and continued incitement, like the one in Abbas’ UN speech — and we have seen more aggressive incitement and terrorist attacks in the last few years — if Israelis come to believe that the possibility of a secure Israeli state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited”.

But at this point, after almost 7 years since you’ve come to power, I have no illusions. Honestly, I never did. After I read what you said in 2004 to Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada, how could I trust you? Here’s what you said: “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” …. “Keep up the good work!” (The Electronic Intifada, 3/4/2007)

The same way mass violence like the one seen this week does not happen only in the United States, a just peace agreement does not depend only on Israel.

Mr. President, you still have eighteen months before ending your term. I can give you better advice than the people that are surrounding you so that you can be brought back to reality – both in domestic and international affairs.

Contact me any time.

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About the Author
Max Blankfeld is a Houston based entrepreneur and pro-Israel activist; Born in Germany, he moved at the age of 2 to Brazil, where destiny took his parents who were Holocaust survivors; From 1970 to 1976 he studied at the Technion and Tel Aviv University, and was a stringer for Brazilian newspapers; Upon his return to Brazil he was the local correspondent for Yedioth Aharonot for two years; He serves on the Boards of Honest Reporting, FIDF and the Jewish Studies Program at Rice University. Follow me on twitter @mblankfeld .