This week Clayton Swisher interviewed Israelis on a Jerusalem street about President Obama. It is a very disturbing clip. Israel has been galloping to the right since 2000 or so but this particular type of racist attitude appears new.
Of course, there are many people who speak that way about Obama here in the US too.
Here is the clip:
The cable networks are full of hate directed against Obama, along with the insistence that he is a Muslim and a terrorist sympathiser.
The difference between these Israelis and the Americans who say the same things is that in the US, Jews do not talk about Obama that way. He received 78 per cent of the Jewish vote and still has a high level of support in the Jewish community.
This clip demonstrates that there is a wide gap between American Jews and Israeli Jews on Barack Obama. American Jews, who know him well, like him and trust him. Israelis do not.
The racist attitude toward Obama that we see in this clip will make it harder for Obama to produce an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Israelis miss George Bush who was very unpopular with American Jews. Israelis thought he was the "best friend" Israel ever had while American Jews thought he was disastrous for America and Israel.
The good news is that if the Obama administration decided to push hard for an agreement, it won't matter what these racists on the Israeli street say. Even if these people represented a majority of Israelis, and I don't think they do, their views would not matter. An American president has the power and authority to achieve an end to the occupation and peace if he has the will.
At this point, we do not know if Obama has the will. He should not be daunted by people like those in the clip. The racists will always be among us, in the US and in Israel. A president's job is to ignore them and push ahead.
But time is running out.
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