05 January 2009 - Obama does not support Israel in Gaza
Despite the best hopes for president-elect Obama's administration--and though I supported McCain, I wish him well--it is clear he does not support Israel in its fight against Hamas in Gaza. Israel's opponents wish he would be outspoken about his opposition. Nonetheless, his silence is deafening.
Obama's given excuse--that there is "one president at a time"--would not matter if he agreed with President Bush, who has fully supported Israel. Many other leading U.S. politicians from both parties have spoken out (as did Obama, on the campaign trail). They have spoken with one voice, in support of Israel.
The only way America could appear to have two presidents at once is if Obama openly disagreed with Bush, separating himself from the broad American consensus in support of Israel's right of self-defense. He has certainly spoken out on other issues on which he wanted to draw a contrast with the status quo.
His reluctance to speak on the Gaza War indicates that he does disagree, at least in part, with Bush and with Israel. He doesn't want to provoke the stiff opposition that open condemnation of Israel would invite. But I expect he will express his true feelings once he has the reins of power.
Ironically, Obama's coyness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--studded with contradictions, and abetted by media cover-ups such as the Khalidi affair--may have encouraged Israel to respond to Hamas now, before Obama takes office, in order to avoid disagreement with the new U.S. administration.