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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Webcast of President Obama's speech in Cairo

I hope you all find this useful (picture added at Shy Guy's request). I will be liveblogging below this post. For those in Israel, this post will not have the Hebrew translation that you are stuck with on the radio and television here.

Here's the webcast.

[Webcast has ended]

You can also find it here.

After 15 minutes recounting the history of America's relations with Islam, here we go with the list of things that 'we have to confront.'

The first is 'violent extremism in all its forms.' Obama seems to believe that the only form of 'violent extremism' - or at least the only form of 'violent extremism' connected to Islam - is al-Qaeda. Note that when he was applauded (after several minutes of this), you could hear someone heckling in the background.

He says he's ordered Gitmo closed - perhaps he missed that little vote in Congress? Heh.

The second major source of tension is Israelis and 'Palestinians.' Bond with Israel is 'unbreakable' and based on cultural and historical ties. He talks about persecution of Jews for centuries and the Holocaust. He says that he will visit Buchenwald tomorrow.

But he says that it's 'undeniable' that the 'Palestinian people' have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For 60 years they have suffered the 'pain of dislocation.' They endure 'daily humiliations' that come with 'occupation.' America will not turn our backs on the 'legitimate aspirations' of the 'Palestinians' for dignity and a state of their own.

The only resolution - says Obama - is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states where each live in 'peace and security.' He says he will personally pursue this outcome with all the dedication required. He says that obligations agreed under the 'road map' are clear. 'Palestinians' must abandon violence. It doesn't work. It's a dead end. He mentions rockets and suicide bombings and says they are wrong. 'Palestinians' have to focus on what they can build, develop the capacity to govern.

Hamas has to recognize that it has responsibilities. It must end violence. Recognize past agreements and Israel's right to exist.

Israelis - says Obama - have to recognize 'Palestine's right to exist. US does not accept continuation of Israeli 'settlements' (applause). Time for 'settlements' to stop (applause). 'Continuing humanitarian crisis' in Gaza and 'continuing lack of opportunity in West Bank' don't serve Israel.

Arab states have to recognize that 'peace initiative' only a beginning, not an end. It must be a call for action.

America will align its policies with those who pursue peace and will say in public what they say in private. Time to act on what 'everyone knows to be true.'

Third source of tension is shared responsibility of nations on nuclear weapons.

US played a role in overthrowing a democratically elected Iranian government during the Cold War. But he doesn't want to remain trapped in the past. US is ready to move forward.

No single nation should determine what nations hold nuclear weapons. He wants to seek a world in which no nation holds nuclear weapons, but all nations - including Iran - can pursue peaceful nuclear power so long as they don't pursue nuclear weapons.

Fourth issue is democracy. I'm surprised he's discussing it at all.

Fifth issue is religious freedom. I wonder how many Copts are at this speech. I wonder if he raised this issue in Saudi Arabia. I suspect not. He does mention the Copts. He wants to work with American Muslims to help them fulfill their charitable obligations (does this mean he's going to help people like the Holy Land Foundation?).

Sixth issue is women's rights.

I didn't have much patience for the rest.

Let's go to the videotape.


I'll add some more comments in a bit.


Israel Radio is all excited about how Obama was explicit about the Holocaust and Holocaust denial. I'm not. We're not here because of the Holocaust.

They also point out the way he speaks like an Arab (the 'holy Koran,' 'peace be upon them'). Earlier, they pointed out how Obama is the first US President to pronounce words in Arabic correctly. They claim Arab hearts were opened by this.

The 'Palestinians' note that Obama said that Jerusalem belongs not just to Jews - but to Muslims and Christians. The 'Palestinians' are not disappointed.

All in all, I don't think we saw anything surprising here.


At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was someone in the crowd who shout out against Obama when he quoted the Quran regarding saving a life (1 - plagiarized from the Talmud; 2 - taken out of context).

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't need your "tragic history", Obama.

We are not here because of the Holocaust.

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it. We either fall for America or break from it.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Utopia! Carl, bring out the rainbow unicorn pic.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

At the beginning, Hussein said, quite erroneously, that there are 7 million Muslims in America. Maybe he wishes there were.

Hussein took a few swipes at Ahmadinejad, who will be the guest of honor in Cairo tomorrow. Heh.

He bemoaned the poor, suffering Palithugs under "occupation" and called their situation “intolerable.” I recall that Abu Mazen just got through saying that he can sit around and wait - "Life is good for Palestinians".

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

Elder has more good points: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2009/06/quick-notes-on-obamas-speech.html

BHO: That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest.

EoZ: This may be the first time a sitting American president referred to the Palestinian Arabs as if they already have a country.

BHO: ...it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty 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.

EoZ: And why exactly are there still "refugee" camps in Gaza and the West Bank? Is Israel somehow stopping Palestinian Arabs from leaving these camps and buying homes?

BHO: Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. 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.

EoZ:Is he comparing Palestinian Arabs to slaves???? And Israelis to white slaveowners????

BHO: Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.

EoZ: Oh, please. That tradition is exclusively when Islam is dominant and they are "tolerant" to people who explicitly accept second-class status.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Blue Collar Todd said...

Kind of frightening that he holds up King Abdullah for a model on "interfaith" dialogue. In America we should get ready for Hijabs and Burkas to start popping up everywhere. I now know that they are symbols of Islam, a freedom loving religion of peace.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did worse. He directly compared the Arab's suffering to that of the Jews in the holocaust.

Full speech transcript can be found here.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger dwave said...

I don't think the speech was too bad, rather a bit naïve about the harsh realities on the ground. But harsh realities haven't been the major issues in any speech by any US president or US state department deputy in the last decades.
If Israel retreats strategically from the Shomron, immediately a civil war will break out with intense Fatah-Hamas clashes. It has already started.
If in Egypt the Ikhwaan would take over, Obama couldn't go near this place without sending in Marines first.
Sadly, these scenarios are very real. Yet, the hard and unfortunate facts are obviously not on Obama's radar. I feel sorry for him because it'd make him look very amateurish indeed. I am no Obama fan, but I feel pained by the idea that an US Prez would fail so miserably. He would have to rely on the shaky stimulus plan then, a matter that is much more of concern for the average US citizen than the near/middle east.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

Did any of you notice that not only did he throw Israel under the bus, but if his plan fails he will blame Israel and only Israel?

He is a bad historian. Every instance of Muslim achievements were first invented by non-Muslims. They stole them.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

How about this howler: "No single nation should pick and choose which nations should hold nuclear weapons."

1. Yet another dig at Israel.
2. So what's this jerk gonna do about North Korea? He's already said that it's OK for Iran to have nukes. (After all, that's one of several ways to get rid of Israel.)

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Mother Effingby said...

Carl, you might be interested in knowing where that picture of Obama on the unicorn came from, if you don't know already. It's worth watching just to see Obama prance around on the unicorn...among other things.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I don't think it was historic as people thought. It was a flubbed opportunity. Nothing is going to change when Obama leaves Cairo - my point being the speech is full of generalities and boiler plate platitudes. I thought Israelis should have stopped being seized with worry. Obama is many things but the Messiah he ain't.


At 7:14 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Charles Krauthammer has a devastating critique of the Obama speech and its ramifications, with a rather appropriate title:

A Collection Of Canards For The Cairo Crowd

The money quote worth reproducing in full:

Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas:

Sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter.

Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.

There's lot more to what he says about Obama's address at Al-Azhar.

Read it all.


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