Friday, March 5, 2010
[The following is crossposted from JStreetJive]
For nearly ten months questions have swirled around the country about the identity of the speechwriter responsible for Obama's controversial address to the Muslim and Arab world delivered at Cairo University on June 4, 2009. In attendance was the Grand Sheikh Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi of that other great seat of learning and tolerance (and co-host of the speech), Al Azhar; the Sheikh has stated that there are "good Jews and bad Jews": "The good ones convert to Islam...the bad ones do not."
The much ballyhooed speech, originally scheduled for Morocco, was changed to Cairo to have the greatest impact in "correcting" the perceived Muslim hostility to the U.S.engendered by George.W. Bush. The Wall St. Journal and Politico guessed it was the product of Ben Rhodes, Obama's only foreign policy speechwriter (and erstwhile novelist: "The Oasis of Love") who traveled with him for his first major European speech, often dubbed the "Blame America First" speech.
Well, speculate no more. The writer wasn't Ben Rhodes or Chris Brose, former foreign policy speechwriter for Condoleeza Rice. If we can believe him - and there is no reason to doubt his word - it was Stephen P. Cohen. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called Cohen a week before the trip and asked him to prepare a first draft for the speech, "A New Beginning."
That's right! BHO chose a Jew to write the most important address by an American President -- in the middle of a war against Islamic terrorists -- to the Muslim world.
Steve Cohen, founder of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, Harvard PhD, visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Princeton and other high powered institutions, recently spoke at Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies beneath the smiling portraits of Harvard's stellar contributors to the landscape of failed foreign policy initiatives, notably, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. We all remember "Zbig", the guy who helped weaponize the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan along with someone called Osama Bin Laden. Now that was a brilliant move.
You might recall the less-than-rave reviews the Cairo speech garnered. Charles Krauthammer called it "abstract, vapid and self-absorbed." Anne Bayefsky had this to say:
"President Obama's Cairo speech was nothing short of an earthquake -- a distortion of history, an insult to the Jewish people, and an abandonment of very real human-rights victims in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is not surprising that Arabs and Muslims in a position to speak were enthusiastic. It is more surprising that American commentators are praising the speech for its political craftiness, rather than decrying its treachery of historic proportions.
"Obama equated the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation." In his words: "The Jewish people were persecuted. ...anti-Semitism ...culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.... Six million Jews were killed.... On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." This parallelism amounts to the fictitious Arab narrative that the deliberate mass murder of six million Jews for the crime of being Jewish is analogous to a Jewish-driven violation of Palestinian rights.
Speaking in an Arab country to Arabs and Muslims, Obama pointedly singled out European responsibility for the Holocaust -- "anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust." In other contexts, the European emphasis would be a curiosity. In Egypt, it was no accident. The Arab storyline has always been that Arabs have been forced to suffer the creation of Israel for a European crime."...
Bayefsky's piece was entitled Obama's Stunning Offense to Israel and the Jewish People. Why an "offense?" What could have prompted such visceral reactions from writers like Bayefsky and Krauthammer? Read this excerpt to find out:
"America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.(our emphasis)
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction -- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews -- is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations -- large and small -- that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own." (Applause.)
To trace the history of the Jewish People in Israel from a point 70 or so years ago is grossly and historically innacurate - and a slander. Speechwriter Cohen quickly followed up the slap with another: Imputing the seemingly endless Middle East conflict to Israel's creation by visiting "the pain of dislocation" upon the Palestinian Arabs. That one, needles to say, went over big in Cairo and around the Muslim world.
To further woo and wow his Cairo audience, Cohen decided to recount the Isra, or The Prophet's miraculous "night journey" to heaven on the back of his noble, flying steed, Buraq, during which he hangs with Moses and Jesus. Cohen reads ecumenicism into what most of the Muslim world sees as triumphalism. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran; only the term, al-Masgidu l'-Aqsa, the "farthest mosque." Considering the fact that Palestine had not yet been conquered and colonized by Muslim armies (621 CE), many scholars dismiss as ridiculous the notion that that "mosque" indicates Jerusalem. At any rate, Cohen not only buys into the story, but glorifies it.
For at least the past 75 years, Palestinian Arabs (and much of the Muslim world) have attempted to deny the abundant historical data and physical evidence that substantiate Jewish presence as the sovereign people in their own land for at least a thousand years before the birth of Mohammed and the Islamic conquest of Palestine. Official after official of both Hamas and the PA have denied Jewish existence there and have refused to acknowledge the historicity of Har ha Bayit, The Temple Mount, built by Herod the Great over 2000 years ago. The Islamic Waqf, or Holy Trust for the Haram al Sharif, has even attempted to destroy priceless Jewish (and other) artifacts uncovered on the Temple Mount during expansions of the Al Aqsa mosque.
Having erased the nettlesome matter of Jewish patrimony, Cohen then goes beyond mere dhimmitude and starts writing like a true believer. His rhapsodic rendering of Prophet's miraculous night journey to heaven could have come from the pen of a ninth century compiler of the hadiths.
When asked during the Q&A why he had traced Jewish "aspirations" for their land only as far as the end of World War II, he did show a measure of remorse - but only to extend that connection back to 1920! He still refused to acknowledge the historicity of thousands of years of Jewish presence on the land.
Listen to his answer (and my apology for the poor audio quality):
Yes, "upsetting to Israelis", but apparently not so for Mr. Cohen.
Yet in spite of his regrets over making Israelis uncomfortable, he concluded by again warning Israelis to hew to the Administration line by heeding Joe Biden's upcoming admonitions in Israel, no doubt reiterating Obama's demands for a settlement freeze.
Again, the Academy has marched the world ever closer to the abyss in its insatiable desire to become the perfect dhimmi.
[Martin Solomon adds: It may give you some further insight into Cohen's makeup by reviewing this post from January where I commented on an op-ed he wrote at that time: Boston Globe: Key to Middle East Peace is Disarming Israel.]
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Revelation at Harvard: Who Wrote Obama's Cairo Speech? [Hillel].
TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.solomonia.com/cgi-bin/mt4/mt-renamedtb.cgi/17592
Osama Hamdan of Hamas: Hillary's New Dance Partner? Rob Malley and Tom Pickering of the International Crisis Group (Preventing Crises or Causing Them?) We are approaching one month since Obama and his Vice Presiden... Read More