Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Israel is "bullying the United States" over the alleged threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon; using the prospect of an Israeli military attack on Iran to force President Obama into military action. Considered "persona non grata" among Westerners, at the 67th U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Ahmadinejad made what is likely his final address to the world body. As in previous years, Ahmadinejad assailed the United States, Israel and Europe, and called for a new world order. He also said, "Americans should be insulted if their government takes marching orders from Israel." Ahmadinejad's perspective is that Israel has no rightful place in the Middle East and is "an inconsequential interloper." Ahmadinejad's assessment is that "a few occupying Zionists" are telling the U.S. and President Obama "what to do" concerning Iran's nuclear issues.
The U.S. Senate just voted 90-1 to support the Israeli position, but to be fair, Ahmadinejad made valid points worth considering. For decades, the U.S. has been at Israel's beck and call. During recent months, Israel has stepped up threats of a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. With the U.S. Congress on its side and elections just weeks away, the pro-Israel lobby is exerting concentrated pressure on Washington to lay down certain "red lines" before Iran. It is with a high level of chutzpah that Israel, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], is threatening an NPT signatory state for supposedly not complying with the treaty. Also, according to U.S. intelligence estimates, Iran is "not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon" and has "not made a decision to pursue one."
President Obama is "being bullied" by a premiere power in American politics and popular culture, because he continues to resist military adventures for Israel. Ralph Bunche, an African American, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, for agreements he brought about that started the new state of Israel. Since then, Israel has regularly violated international laws and defied numerous U.N. resolutions.
Most of the world opposes Israel's policies, and especially its oppression of the Palestinians. Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, said, "The whole world demands that Israel withdraw from occupied Palestinian territories." But on these shores, politicians and the media fervently support Israel. For decades, the U.S. provided Israel with critical military, diplomatic and financial backing, including more than $3 billion each year in aid. For more than 60 years, Black politicians who call themselves the "conscience of Congress" have been reliable supporters of Israeli issues and practices.
Though Blacks oppose any criticism of Obama, the Israeli lobby openly castigates the president. Amid tension between the U.S. and Israel over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Israeli-supporters criticize President Obama for "failing to put Israel at ease." When Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly, he issued a stern warning to Iran, but stopped short of drawing the "red lines" Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded.
Some segments of America's population are saying Obama has "insulted and disrespected Israel." Through it all, Obama continues to have most Jewish voters on his side. People who say they "have the president's back" refuse to allow any criticism of Obama will be shocked when they see the Republican Jewish Coalition's $6.5 million campaign to convince Jewish voters that it's OK to vote against Obama because of the "defiant" stance he has taken on Israeli-Palestinian issues.
It's time to make peace in the Middle East. Instead of a new war front, Obama needs encouragement and support toward taking fair and measured actions on this issue.
William Reed is president of the Business Exchange Network and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org