Wanting to believe
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
Numbers, numbers everywhere, what do they mean? In today’s world of information dissemination all sides of a political argument seem to find security in the “right set of numbers”. Focus groups, language analysis experts and pollsters are at the call of the seller-there is no end to the flood of data we are receiving.
For example, one poll posted today says that USA Jews prefer Obama to Netanyahu (15% more popular). Inside this same poll Obama maintained his popularity with 59% of American Jews even after the President displayed disrespect to PM Netanyahu. Another stat that caught my eye was the pollster Gerstein indicated that 55% of American Jews supported Obama criticizing Israel. 1 One would conclude that the USA Jewish population is distant from Israel’s political stance and Israel should take heed. Permit two of many points to be made: 1. Nowhere in the “news” story were the details of the poll presented, i.e., target population polled, design of poll. 2. The poll was sponsored, e.g., paid for, by none other than J-Street. This is a professed Progressive or Left Wing organization that indicates it is pro-Israel. To say this is under dispute is putting it mildly. This poll is in direct contrast with polls in Israel that find only 9% of Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel. Like I said one can find numbers to support any narrative.
Why all the fuss over “the numbers”? Simply put they are used as propaganda to support one’s position and thereby develop and promote public opinion that is hopefully listened to by the elected officials. More often than not, in a democracy, these eventually help to shape the policies of respective countries. Of course politicians use these same tactics to influence the general population-it is a two-way street.
Besides the numbers we know that rhetoric can be even more powerful as a tool to have the public believe in a perspective and/or current leader. Certainly how one delivers a speech dramatically influences how one is perceived and in recent history how one is elected. Mr. Obama was elected because of the perception he was different, cared more about people and was sensitive to America’s “miserable” standing on the world stage. He even convinced people that he supported and continues to support Israel. Let us set aside “the numbers” and the eloquent rhetoric of the President and examine what he has actually done, i.e., actions speak louder than words.
An old saying shared often to me by my parents when I was younger, “you become who you choose as friends”. There are multiple variations of this and they all mean that we are dramatically influenced by the people we admire and associate with-is this not your experience? Did you not “hang out” with individuals you enjoyed and/or yearned to be with or accepted by? This is a perfectly human behavior. So who were Mr. Obama’s “friends” who in turn may have helped shape his points of view? By now you know many on this list, from his Pastor Wright to his extreme left wing colleague charged with bombing public buildings (Bill Ayers). These were not casual acquaintances; he interacted with them for decades. Here are some additional influences upon his evolving view of social justice in the world: Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abunimah, Bernardine Dohrn, and even the anti-Semitic Farrakhan.2
Many others have discussed this part of Obama’s social and intellectual associations. Suffice it to say, given these individuals, his documented university experiences and his only “work experience as a community organizer, coupled with his long term interaction with ACORN through to his Presidency present an individual, over time, who associated with those who were and are to this day anti-Israel and frankly do not care for Jews. No conservative Jews among his “posse.”
The preceding certainly influenced Mr. Obama as he put together his team of advisors. Only a fraction of his desired appointees and actual appointees are to follow-please notice the nature of their backgrounds, philosophies and previous activities.3
Charles Freeman-aborted appointment to Chair of President’s National Intelligence Council -This is the man who declared on more than one occasion that he thinks all of America's problems with the Islamic world can be traced to its supposed open-ended support of the Jewish state.
Samantha Power is a product of the International Crisis Group, a think tank heavily funded by billionaire George Soros. She stopped short of saying Israel committed genocide in 2002 in Gaza.
Robert Malley is a good friend with Bashir Assad of Syria-has been close since 2006. It does appear that Mr. Malley has quite the influence over Obama and his decisions. Seems that Malley persuaded Obama to suspend enforcement of sanctions against Syria-remember they were on our terror list. He even had Obama reopen a US Embassy in Damascus-remember why we closed it?
Frederic Hof-this is the man Obama has recommended for the post in Damascus. He is an Arabist. He called the territories of Judea and Samaria “a cancer killing the Oslo Process.”
Chuck Hagel was appointed as an Intelligence Aide to the President. This is the same man who spoke at the pro-Arab J-Street “conference”. This is part of what he said: “…meeting the demand of the Palestinian Authority for a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders “is central, not peripheral, to U.S. vital security interests in combating terrorism.” He also said that the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel “must not come at the expense of our Arab relationships.”4
Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft are two “unofficial” advisors to Obama. You remember them, yes? Brzezinski is a former member of the carter Administration and works with Samatha Power on the board of the anti-Israel International Crisis Group. He ridiculed Israel’s concern for Iran’s push for nuclear weapons. Scowcroft was the hard line advocate against Israel during his days with George H.W. Bush. Scowcroft, Board member of US Middle East Project created a Board including 7 Arab members that favored imposing a Fatah/Hamas regime in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
It has been Mr. Scowcroft who has advocated loudly and continuously to keep the Palestinian plight on the front burner. He is very influential with Mr. Obama and we witness this every day. There are so many others to mention such as General James Jones and Susan Rice. Jones and other Obama officials who embarrassed IDF COS in Washington about a year ago-does this not sound familiar? Rice, she immediately asked for a seat on the UN’s “Human Rights Council”-this is hardly a pro-Israel group. For more thorough analysis of these advisors please read Bill Mehlman’s article listed in my endnotes.
The point is obvious-President Obama has surrounded himself with individuals who do not like Israel and suggest the USA begin a separation process. Several of his “advisors” border on being anti-Semitic. He hears every day, from “his people”, comments that bash Israel and their dislike for Jews. These are people who tell him to appease, appease, appease the Arabs and with several useful idiot type Jews pushing him on, it is no wonder Obama has arrived at his current stance vis ‘a vis Israel.
What messages would you be hearing each day if you had these and others with like viewpoints in your ear all the time? Let’s face it, the President has many items on his daily agenda and does not have time to do the research. This is the role and responsibility of his “team”. Couple this fact of life with his predisposition to the ideology of socialism and his years of tutelage by far left wing individuals his current actions are not surprising.
Let me ask you, when you invite a friend to your home for an evening of good discourse and dinner do you actually sit down with your guests and break bread with them? Would you consider it rude to tell your guests that you and your wife, upset with some things you may have discussed, are having dinner alone in the dining room-your guests can eat in the kitchen. This is how you treat a friend? Oh, then you announce this to your entire neighborhood and send out tweets and messages on facebook what you have done; you think this is how to act with a true friend?
Yet this is precisely what Mr. Obama did with the PM of Israel last week-you all heard some version of the story. This has become a tactic used by him and members of his staff. If you do not get what you want or do not like what you are told, then create a humiliating scene. I remember this from my upper elementary, junior high school days.
Let’s be honest and at least acknowledge that those we choose to associate with over time influence us. Our beliefs are formed by what we learn and what we experience. Ideologies are formed, learned and then these become the lens through which we view the world. Mr. Obama is no different than any of us in this regard-simply notice who he has chosen to make up his support team and group.
I understand the need to believe in something and/or someone. I also know needing and wanting to believe are two different modes of viewing the world. I offer that needing to believe takes personal power away from the individual and puts it into the hands of others. Wanting something really is about conveying information to another person understanding that in the end it is up to the individual (to me) to make a choice/decision. For multiple reasons Americans needed to believe in someone different than the previous leaders-I get it.
However, the very act of needing gave away your personal responsibility to know the facts. To hang onto your belief, that the current Administration from Obama through his advisors to his worker bees in the field, authentically support Israel is the perfect storm for “Needing to believe” in something that is simply not born out by the facts. Yes, I do understand that operating out of a position of need does not initially enable one to recognize or even acknowledge this possibility.
As someone who chooses to live in Israel, is an owner of two small businesses employing Jewish, Arab and Christian Israeli citizens I do challenge everyone to step back for a moment and consider the possibility the preceding is correct. Perhaps there are other solutions than the Obama Administration is opting to use. Maybe it is possible to coexist-I know that the path the President wants us to travel is not going to lead us to peace and harmony. Unfortunately, he is on a well-trodden path so many have been down before him!