This afternoon, Obama made a speech to the Muslim world from the historic al-Azhar University in Cairo. In his speech, he focused on the things which unite, rather than divide; discussing things which America has in common with the Muslim world. He noted that just as stereotypes of Islam as violent and radical are wrong, so too are stereotypes of America as an imperialist evil power. Obama emphasized that the America is not at war with Islam, nor will it be, but rather is defending itself from violent extremism which threatens not only the United States ad the West, but the Muslim world as well. In a message of peace he discussed the many ways in which the United States will partner with elements within the Muslim world to help build a better future for Muslims.

He then addressed seven core issues. The first element was that of the need to combat violent extremism, where he discussed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, their goals, and American views on them. The second issue was that of the Palestinian-Israeli (and Arab-Israeli) conflict, where he reaffirmed America’s backing of a Two State solution, called for an end to Palestinian violence, and deplored Holocaust denying and calls for Israel’s destruction. The third was that of nuclearization, where he briefly discussed Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The fifth and sixth issues, respectively, were those of religious freedom and women’s rights, for both of which America is a strong advocate, and which in some [many] cases is lacking in the Muslim word. Last, Obama discussed the element of economic development and opportunity as something which must be improved int he Arab world.

Obama’s speech concluded with a call for peace for all of “God’s children,” quoting Islamic, Jewish, and Christian sources.

Representing the violent extremist element to which Obama referred, Bin Laden, yesterday, called for the Muslim world to not be seduced and deluded by Obama’s “polished words,” and promised more attacks against America.

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  • Can we not even give Osama the pleasure of mentioning his newest video as a footnote to Obama’s speech? He wants attention, and that’s just what he’s getting.

  • “Islam as violent and radical are wrong”

    Oh. I didn’t know that. I guess I need to retool my moral barometer.

  • You forgot to mention the gift of the settlements. He attacked the settlements without qualification. He also didn’t use the word “terrorism” from what was said about the speech on NPR.

  • The full text is linked above – no terror, terrorist, terrorists, nothing.

    He did not condemn Hamas, basically just saying they need to grow up (grown up Hamas=Hezbollah?). “End to violence.” Nothing about Palestinian society’s obligation to eradicate terror.

    On the other hand:
    “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements… It is time for these settlements to stop.”

    And Israel must “ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society.” I thought he wanted them to grow up – doesn’t that mean taking responsibility for your own society – not crying about no jobs to who you consider your enemy?

  • Yup, here is the link to the speech.

    Just read it all.

    It was disappointing to me as a supporter of Israel.

    It’s also clearly a new leaf for America and this speech and his goals regarding the Muslim world – if pursued and achieved – will lead to a very different view of the world by the US. What he seeks seems naive and replete with dangers to the USA, but I can see how this would be the anti-Bushian approach to things and why he seeks to try it. You also can’t know whether it will work until you try.

    I expect that as a by-product, what we see at UC Irvine and York University will, in coming years, become prevalent at many other universities.

    Where did he get his “seven million Muslims” in the USA figure?

  • Middle: “You also can’t know whether it will work until you try.”

    Isn’t that what you said about pulling out of Gaza? How’d that go again? Besides, he talked about Israel occupying Gaza and that is totally false. I see a guy who doesn’t have a clue about history in general and even more specifically, about MidEast history. He made it seem that all terrorism started with the creation of Israel and he couldn’t even call it terrorism. Limp wristed pansy biotch, that’s what I think about my president.

    Anti-Bushian? Most commentators I read stated that it, like most of his recent policy flip-flops or moves, was very Bushian. The difference is, that Bush offered Democracy to the people of the Muslim World, while Obama basically stated, that we want to be friends with dictators again and go back to the previous status quo. I hope intellectuals in the Muslim World (an Osama/Arab Nationalist concept) read between the lines and see that he just reduced their chances for freedom by at least another 7 years.

  • CNN interviewed CAIR reps today after the speech neglecting to mention that CAIR is being investigated by the FBI and an un-indited co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. When American Jews were asked about this omission, they stated: “Ah. Who cares. Isn’t Anderson Cooper sooo sexy? He’s practically Jewcy!”

  • I was really hoping that he would call out Egypt and Saudi Arabia for their human rights abuses.

    He did mention the abuses against Egyptian Coptic Christians, and although it was nothing more than exactly that (merely a mention, hardly a “calling out”) it was still more than I expected.

    I couldn’t help but notice that out of the two dozen or so times that he had to stop for audience applause, none of those spurred on by anything positive he said about Israel or Jews. Nobody applauded for (I’m paraphrasing) “denying the holocaust is hurtful” or “Israelis have the right to live in peace and security” or “suicide bombings on buses are wrong”. Of course any mention of Palestinian rights was met with applause, as well as any mention of the Koran … I’m not sure what any of this means, if anything.

  • I think it means exactly that. Unlike Americans, Egyptians don’t buy all this Hope&Change bullcrap. Oh, and “Death to America! Death to Israel!”

  • The Muslim demographic information is false. Some time a couple of years ago I wrote a detailed post about it.

    Alex, it’s a good thing that Israel is out of Gaza. And you have to ask yourself whether Gaza would resemble what it does today if Bush, your beloved President who was sooooo good to Israel, hadn’t forced Israel to allow Hamas to run in the elections.

  • I think this is good for Israel. The settler issue will eventually have to be confronted and heavy political pressure from the US makes it easier to do so.

    If Israel plays it smart they could probably even get some concessions from the US and Arab countries for doing something which they would have to do anyway (unless they want to end up in a “state of all its citizens”).

  • Middle, what bothered you about the speech? If you’re disappointed “as a supporter of Israel,” you must think it’s bad for Israel, specifically. How so?

    Aren’t Obama and Clinton putting US policy on track toward Israeli retreat from settlements– something you claim is an existential necessity? I’m confused.

  • I’m disappointed because he minimized the threat to Israel and gave Hamas a pass. I’m disappointed because he didn’t differentiate between settlements at all. Everything I’ve written has been careful to include the large settlement blocs and does not open Jerusalem up for discussion as a settlement. I received the impression that his baseline is quite different from mine. I am also disappointed that he didn’t make any mention of Israel’s democracy and essentially placed it as an equal party to the countries he was seeking to bring into the American fold. Egypt is an ally, undeniably, but Egypt is also a dictatorship. Israel isn’t. Finally, terrorism is a real issue and it was purposely not mentioned at all.

    Having said that, this speech wasn’t so much about Israel as it was about America and the Muslim world and he rightly emphasized many other subjects and didn’t focus on Israel. Overall, it was a good speech.

    Maybe part of my discomfort lies in perceiving that talking about peace and harmony is much easier than achieving it, but I had the impression he was going to go out of his way to engage the Muslim world in the hopes of achieving his goals. The problem is that if he’s wrong, the cost to Israel could be severe and may involve its security. As a Jew in America, I also wonder whether this will open the gates to the type of large-scale immigration from Muslim lands that has led in Europe and apparently now in Canada to a sometimes inhospitable environment for the Jewish community. All we need is a bunch more UC Irvines.

  • President Barak Hussein Obama, as he proudly called himself today, is swinging his club at Israel. He is surrounded by Extremist Radical Leftist Jewish advisers

    The Judenrat were the Jewish police assigned by the Nazis to assist in the destruction of European Jewry.

    President Hussein Obama has been getting incorrect advice from his advisers. He thinks that he can bully Israel into borders that are 10 miles wide at Netanya,in Central Israel.
    He is basing his ill advised moves on the advice of people whose faith in God is “flexible” especially when considering their personal marital status. Shotgun conversions and intermarriage among his staff is indicative of the level of their faith in God and his laws.

    Throughout Jewish history some of the worst enemies of our people have been people that rejected the faith of their parents. President Hussein Obama is following the advice of people who might be considered last generation Jewish or first generation Gentile. I certainly have nothing against Gentiles, however, when President Hussein surrounds himself with a blanket of unstable advisers who have rejected their family’s faith, he risks receiving incorrect and spiteful advice.

  • but you liked her name so much…

    but yeah, very little, if any, of substance there.

  • I think that you need to look at the speech from multiple angles. From the perspective of the U.S., it was absolutely “worth a shot;” if this speech can convince a large enough percentage within the Muslim world not to be pro-American, but rather to not be anti-American, then this could lead to more support in the U.S.’ “war on terror” and ultimately to more security. Do I think it will succeed? No. But was it a strategic attempt which could cause great success? Yes.

    Now, from the Israeli perspective, I wouldn’t call it a disaster. He did say that you shouldn’t deny the Holocaust or call for wiping Israel off the map. That being said, his calls for a Jerusalem for all of its peoples, and the end to all settlement building is certainly negative and quite disturbing. It is well known that I consider Jerusalem to be the capitol of Israel, and as such, a captiol cannot be shared. Moreover, I do not see how a comparison can be made between tiny settlements on a hill consisting of little more than a fort and weapons can be compared with settlements like Maaleh Adumim. Calling for an end to natural growth of places like Maaleh Adumim or Ariel is foolish, cotrary to common logic, in addition to being contrary to understandings reached with the previous administration.

    With regards to the comments about the speech’s accuracy, I must say that I question parts of it. For example, claiming that Islam promotes religious tolerence is false. Islam allows for dhimmi status to monothiests, and “People of the Book.” However, dhimmi is certainly not equal. Moreover, Islam encourages the killing of those whose faith resembles the jahiliya, in other words, polythiests. This means that all Budhists, Hindus, etc, are allowed to be killed. Moreover, I notice he didn’t mention that masscare at khaybar or that there is a law withinIslam that Arabia may not have two religions. Nor did he mention the various massacres of Christians and Jews throughout that Golden Period of Islamic thought to which he referred.

    There is, however, one part of the speech with which I agree entirely, and that is his call for increased women’s rights.

  • Galit: I seriously challenge the point of your statement. I’d like to remind you that, according to the Tanakh, Ruth the Moabite left the religion of her parents, and joined another one (Judaism), saying “your people are my people; your god is my god.” Does this make her a bad person for rejecting the faith of her family? She became the grandmother of King David (who, while a shmuk, was a very important king who built up Jerusalem). Your arguement is deeply flawed. I disagree with most of Obama’s advisors, but not because of intermarriages, religion, or other personal status questions.

    LB: terrorism is a touchy subject right now. The U.S. wanted to garner support. Saying anything about Hamas or Hezbollah, who are seen by much of the world’s Muslim population as the avant-guard in their acts of muqawama, resistance, would only serve so as to distance potential supporters from America. That being said, I agree with you, and add that failing to mention or call out such organizations and calling out Israel is both unjust and cowardly.

  • David Horowitz in the Jerusalem Post points out that one area where Obama turned in the wrong direction is by implying that Israel is a colonialist state and that its existence is based on the Holocaust. He could have, instead, given some heed to the millenia-old connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel.

  • I couldn’t make out anything Obama said. But then, it’s hard to understand a guy when he’s choking on a gigantic Muslim schlong and trying to talk at the same time.

  • Traditional observant Judasism has rejected conversions for thousands of years for these very reasons. When these guys find out that their wives and children are not considered Jewish, they often blow a fuse and try to hurt traditional Jews. I have seen this myself.

    You guys act insulted and hurt by my words just imagine how a Jewish man who has unknowingly raised a family of non jews feels.

    So call me an idiot if it helps you feel better.
    My point about President Husseins’ advisors is completely relevant. Maybe I know facts that you don’t, maybe you guys are not as wise as you think.

    We are instructed in the Bible to treat true converts with the utmost respect and love. I fully support and understand this.

    Shabbat Shalom.
    May we all be blessed with true peace and love.


  • “Traditional observant Judasism has rejected conversions for thousands of years for these very reasons.”

    What are you talking about??

  • Yep Galit,

    you’re an idiot, something Middle and I can agree on

  • Its hard to believe there are so many idiots in the world. I think Obama is right on. The settlements must stop yesterday. If they don’t stop, then stop the aid, baby. Let’s see how Israel makes it without our money and weapons. We give Israel billions and they tell us to kiss off? Fine. Get your weapons and billions elsewhere. The arrogrant is obscene. They kill left & right with our weapons, this is why Osama sent the mad men over here. Americans are tired of Israel’s bullshit. Sorry, we don’t wanna die for Israel. The solution is simple. Israel must give the people of Palastine a state. This is the bottom line. Make peace, give them a state. End of story. Ofcourse, any American,anybody for that matter, simply wants the fair thing done is ANTI SEMETIC. We simply are pro life; we wanna be able to ravel without being murdered because we support everything Israel does.

  • chuck, you are an idiot. If you truly believe that “This is the bottom line. Make peace, give them a state. End of story. is anywhere near realistic than either you have not the first idea about the Middle East, but you choose to shoot your mouth off anyway. Nice move.

    “Sorry, we don’t wanna die for Israel.” Which Americans are dying for Israel again? Oh, you think terrorists are attacking America because of Israel? Oh, right. See point 1 – you are still an idiot.

    “then stop the aid, baby.” Yes, please! I’ve been calling for that for a while. It kind of pains me that I agree with Israel-haters, but in the end it’s good – people like chuck think that it will bring Israel to her knees. But it won’t – Israel will be all the better for it. American aid brings along American unwanted pressure. And the aid is 4% of Israel’s budget – not an insurmountable figure by any means. Getting rid of this crutch will make Israel stronger, walking on her own two feet. Case in point.

  • Typical leftist response, you ignore the facts and respond with name-calling.

    People who do not respect their own heritage will unlikely respect mine.

    I suggest that if I was a Muslim, you would not be so quick to call me an idiot.

  • You did not respond to my contention that you are a leftist.

    Do you finally admit it?

  • Chuck: I’m confused. Which Americans are dying at the hands of jihadists because of Israel? I can’t think of any. PLease enlighten us. Also, I’d like to point out that at Camp David, Barak offer Arafat 96% of the West Bank,East Jerusalem, and a bi of land near Gaza to compensate for the 4% of the West Bank which Israel was keeping, and Arafat refused. It’s difficult for a people whose identity is that of muqawama (resistance) to make peace.

    Galit: What facts are being ignored? And which response has been leftis; certainly not one of mine. Also, who here is disrespecting their own heritage. It seems to me that you just identified a sincere problem with what you term “tradition observant judaism.” If someone converts, leaves their previous religion, and lives a life committed to Judaism, why would they not be considered Jewish? Perhaps the issue is that there are individuls who, as a humans, wish to take the role of a diety in defining that which god would accept as Jewish and that which he/she/it would not.

  • To Dahlia and Others,

    I do regret raising the issue because I am in a catch 22 situation. I will not identify the people involved.
    I have no intention of hurting these people. I respect their rights to privacy. If you don’t believe me,
    thats cool.

    The facts that I stated are true!!

    In regards to my being a deity, thank you.
    The current model of membership into our Jewish club as defined by certain liberal sects’ “rules of law” does not resemble the model as we knew it prior to +/_1800.
    With all due respect, Judaism is not the boy scouts.

    You want to change the sweetner and still claim to be Coke Classic. I am not being defining people, I am simply stating the obvious. You changed the membership rules not me.
    If I live the life of a commited Cuban Exile, does that make me a Cuban Exile?? Have I just taken “the role of a diety in defining that which god would accept as Cuban Exile and that which he/she/it would not” as Dahlia implies?

    My point was that rewriting the laws that have existed for thousands of years is the cause of much divisivness.