Friday, November 7, 2008

Israel concerned about Obama

There is no doubt that Israel is skeptical of Obama. They fear he may be too soft on Iran. John McCain was clearly favoured in Israel because throughout the campaign he regularly spoke about the need to protect Israel and ensure that there will never again be another holocaust. This naturally went down well with Israelis as it meant that he understood their plight. Israelis are furious that we in Europe apparently don't get that a nuclear Iran would be capable of carrying out what its President has threatened (albeit vaguely) to do. Even if he were not to carry out his threat to wipe Israel off the map directly, the possibility that he or some gang within his regime could do a deal with Hezbollah that would manifest itself in the form of a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv is very real. So Israel is naturally concerned that Obama does not fully appreciate this position.

On Thursday evening Israeli foreign minister, and possible Prime Minister come Februaries election, cautioned Obama on his readiness to talk to Iran stating that it could be perceived as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program.. Personally I don't agree. You legitimize the regime by meeting with it, John McCain would say. Well I got news for ya folks. The regime already has got legitimacy both in the eyes of its people and the rest of the world. It is recognised and has full relations with everyone except Washington. Not talking to Iran has never achieved anything. Talking to them and acknowledging that they too have security concerns and genuine grievances is not a sign of weakness but in fact of maturity. Talking to an enemy is not appeasement, giving something away is. So go Obama, have a chat with Ahmadinejad. You could even go to Tehran, its not a bad city, I've been, they do lovely Kebabs. Go and see what progress can be made. It is better to look them in the eyes and tell them that you will never allow them go nuclear than to continue this game of cat and mouse. Listen to the views of some Jerusalem locals on the Obama phenomenon.


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