The presidential election of Barack Obama has so electrified the world, that expectations have swept past reality into the realm of the silly.
Some of this is surely driven by the corporate media, which no longer covers the news, but engages in what might be called 'pre-news', as it tends to predict what will (or may) happen, the better to not be scooped by competitors. And as news makes its hard turn to opinion, it sometimes builds up Obama as a world leader, in ways that are simply unreasonable.
This was seen in the run-up to the Iranian presidential elections, where news coverage all but predicted the election of opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, and the fall of the irascible Mahoud Ahmadinejad. The result predicted, talking heads opined about the global influence of Obama over the elections. (As for stolen elections, did millions of Americans take to the streets to protest the stolen elections here -- in 2000?
Similarly, much news coverage centered on Obama's hard-line on the Israelis, as in his Cairo address when he called for a freeze in settlements.
So slanted is U.S. policy towards Israel that a halt in construction in illegal settlements is seen as somehow 'hard-line.'
For their part, Israeli right-wingers, many supporters of newly-elected president Binyamin Netanyahu, has postered Tel Aviv with images of Obama wearing an Arab headdress (known as a kaffiyeh),
emblazoned with the words "Jew Hater", and "Anti-Semite" in English and Hebrew (an allusion to his Muslim name and family background)
To "freeze" a situation that is fundamentally unjust, is to preserve the status quo--a state of affairs that leaves the Palestinian people in an unjust and untenable situation.
On top of that, Netanyahu recently announced an essential rejection of Obama's 'freeze', and an alleged support of the establishment of a Palestinian state -albeit a demilitarized one, with foreign affairs to be overseen by Israel.
This is a state only in the sense that the old South African Bantustans were independent territories (that is to say, not at all).
The Palestinians have had their best lands seized and Swiss-cheesed by settlements, their parliament has been cast into prison, their water is rationed, and their homes have been bulldozed, all while western leaders crow about a 'peace process' that is, ultimately, a freeze in oppression.
Meanwhile, Israel, not only the most powerful military in the region, but an undeclared nuclear-armed state, accepts the idea of a Palestinian state, but only if demilitarized -- and this is seen as progress!
--(c) 6/15/09 Mumia Abu-Jamal