Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Obama's Cairo Speech

On my shul's listserv, there's a debate going on about Obama's speech in Cairo. The debate starts with that perennial, parochial question:

"But is it good for the Jews?"

This link is the most recent one suggesting the answer is a resounding NO.

I disagreed. I liked my contribution so much I wanted to give it wider distribution.

Here 'tis:

"I’m reading these [links] with interest, albeit cringingly.

We’ll be [in Israel] for 10 days this summer.

It will be my fifth visit, but [RFB]’s second and young [MiDC]’s first, so we’ll be on a standard tour.

Still, I hope to talk with friends and teachers on the ground.

I may even break away to try to spend a day at a high school I attended in September/October of 1979.

Here in the galut [Diaspora], a Zionist must be sure his own views make sense on the ground.

The best guidepost is actual Israelis, for whom these are existential questions, not debate fodder on a Northern Virginia listserv.

In my experience, the range of views expressed by Israelis is wide. Abie Nathan and Zeev Jabotinsky are both treasured Zionist icons.

When I’m back, I hope to be able to add useful responses to the fears generated by parts of one point in the masterful, inspirational, six-point speech President Obama delivered in Cairo.

In the meantime, I’ll just say that, taken as a whole, the speech was a much bigger challenge to the Muslim and Arab worlds than to Zion.

The man speaks truth to power.

In Cairo, he challenged governments that purport to be democracies but deny their citizens basic human rights and hold “elections” unworthy of the name.


In the cradle of the Muslim Brotherhood, he demanded justice for Muslim women.

In the birthplace of jihidi mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri --- bin Laden’s second-in-command [and] the planner of Anwar Sadat’s assassination --- he called out al Queda’s twisted theology. He then proceeded to slice it, dice it, and display its remains for the blasphemous corruptions they are.

Call me Jack Valenti, but if I weren’t a chronic insomniac, I would sleep better at night knowing Obama is President.



1 comment:

Churlita said...

Very well written and thoughtful response.