Obama’s Propaganda War Against Israel
By Matthew M. Hausman
Since his early days in office, Barak Obama has sought to influence public thought by manipulating language. As matters of policy, acts of “terrorism” became known as “man-caused disasters,” and terrorists captured in the field were no longer considered “unlawful enemy combatants.” Now, he has purged the terms “Jihad” and “Islamic extremism” from a national security strategy document to show that the U.S. “does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror.” Thus, Obama seeks to define out of existence the essential nature of today’s terrorist threat in order to placate those who justify or condone terrorism. He also seeks to distinguish his security strategy from the “Bush Doctrine of Preventive War,” which had identified “the struggle against militant Islamic radicalism [as] the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”
Obama’s Orwellian torturing of language to sanitize the image of terrorists and their enablers is counterbalanced by the harsh terminology he uses when discussing Israel. Obama routinely refers to Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria as “occupation,” employing a term used by Israel’s enemies to mean the entire State of Israel. He has applied the term “settlements” to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, including Ramat Shlomo, though these local enclaves existed for generations before the influx of Arab immigrants during the late Ottoman and British Mandatory periods and although the city never had an Arab majority. Moreover, he refrains from using any terms that evoke Jewish ancestral rights in the Jewish homeland so as to quell any dialogue regarding the historical justification for Israel’s existence.
Mr. Obama verbally assaults Israel whenever she asserts her national self-interest, but he never directly condemns the undeniable expressions of racist antisemitism that permeate the Arab-Muslim Mideast. He simply ignores them and pretends they do not exist. He also clings to the artifice that Arab rejectionism has no religious basis, and assists in propagating the myth by blaming the failure of the peace process solely on the supposed acts and omissions of Israel. This approach is dishonest in its attempt to divorce antisemitic and anti-Israel conduct from its theological inspiration. However, one cannot separate Islamism from the terrorism it inspires any more than one can separate Basque nationalism from the terrorists who detonate bombs that kill Spanish civilians. While the majority of Basques are certainly not terrorists, the separatist movement bearing their name is undeniably motivated by a nationalist spirit. So, too, with terrorism that is motivated by a religious spirit.
After the attack on the World Trade Center, President Bush naively proclaimed that Islam was a religion of peace hijacked by extremists. He completely ignored the role that jihad, dhimmitude, and antisemitism play within Muslim society, but at least he acknowledged the religious basis for Islamist terrorism and rejectionism. In contrast, Mr. Obama attempts to obfuscate the connection between terrorism and religion through semantic deception. On a grander scale, he endeavors to absolve Islamic society for its history of conquest and subjugation, and to craft a fanciful and unhistorical narrative in which Israel is the aggressor.
Similar to the Muslim nations he obsequiously courts, Obama seems to consider Israel’s very existence to be a provocation in much the same way a rape victim is blamed for instigating her own assault.
Despite his transparent attempts to infuse American foreign policy with an absurd, lopsided political correctness, Mr. Obama is untroubled by the irony that the standards he seeks to impose on his own country do not apply to the Arab and Muslim nations with whom he seeks to forge an international partnership. The government-sponsored media in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt routinely disseminate antisemitic hate speech, and the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority continues to engage in anti-Jewish incitement. However, the President is silent regarding the language they use to denigrate Jews, Judaism and Israel.
The Palestinian Authority – which Obama claims to be a voice of reason – demonstrates time and again that it is not moderate and has no intention of negotiating a permanent peace with a Jewish State. As has been widely reported, the PA recently renamed a public square in Ramallah in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the Fatah terrorist who killed 37 Israeli civilians in 1978. Yet, Hillary Clinton sought to maintain the charade of the PA’s supposed “moderation” by blaming Hamas for both the public dedication and the terrorist it glorified. Clinton’s comments were transparent propaganda that fooled nobody; and the dedication in Ramallah was only the latest expression of a Palestinian inflexibility that has remained constant over time. But one need only examine the PLO Charter to see that this tiger has never changed its stripes.
Indeed, Article 22 of the original PLO Charter states unambiguously that:
“Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.”
The PLO was required under the Oslo Accords to change its charter, but it has consistently failed to do so. Although the Palestinian National Council voted to amend the offending passage, the charter was never amended in accordance with the vote, and thus retains language that specifically precludes the recognition of a Jewish State. Many Palestinians claim that the vote was invalid or nonbinding, while others undoubtedly justify it as an act of taqiyya.
The Hamas charter is no less offensive than the PLO’s, but it openly proclaims the religious basis for seeking the destruction of Israel and subjugation the Jewish People. Among other things, the Hamas Charter states that “‘Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.’ [From the words of] The martyr, Imam Hasan al-Banna’, Allah’s mercy be upon him.” While the PLO Charter seems to downplay the role of religion – most likely for the benefit of outside consumption – Hamas is unabashed in flaunting the theological foundation for its rejection of Israel. Moreover, there is no shortage of religious scholars who quote the Quran, Sura and Hadith to support the rejectionist position.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama seems more intent on changing the way terrorists and those who support them are perceived than in requiring them to moderate their actions. Recent polls show that most Americans continue to support Israel, however, and thus indicate that the public does not buy into this duplicitous strategy.
Mr. Obama’s attempts to obscure the religious basis for Islamist “extremism” are puzzling, particularly in light of Hamas’s clarity in acknowledging the scriptural sources for its hatred of Jews and embrace of terrorism, and its endorsement by numerous religious figures abroad and in the United States. But even without reference to the PLO and Hamas Charters or contemporary Jihad, one would have to be ignorant of world history to deny Islamic society’s traditionally contentious relations with those whom it considers infidels.
There is real concern that if the Obama Administration succeeds in blurring the link between terrorists and their ideological motivations, the government will ultimately cease monitoring the activities of those whose embrace of violent beliefs should make them suspect. Naysayers who believe the threat is exaggerated need only consider the consequences of the failure to identify Nidal Hasan – the Fort Hood shooter – as a Jihadist despite his multiple contacts with al-Qaeda and radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as his affinity for spouting Jihadist rhetoric. Rather than being recognized as a potential threat, Hasan was promoted through the military ranks and medical corps despite his documented lack of aptitude – precisely because of his ethnic and religious background.
It is difficult to accept that Obama is acting out of ignorance considering that he spent some of his formative years living in Indonesia and in light of his father’s Islamic heritage. Accordingly, we are left to ponder his political motivations, which were certainly shaped by his associations over the years with antisemites and anti-Israel ideologues and, quite possibly, his Islamic roots as well. His persistent animus towards Israel has been evident in his very public criticisms over the so-called settlements, his manufacturing of the Ramat Shlomo crisis, his degrading treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and his refusal to acknowledge the Jews’ historical connection to their homeland. Thus, it seems clear that his attempts to discourage any official reference to the foundation for Islamist terror and rejectionism are part of a larger strategy to realign the United States with totalitarian regimes and isolate Israel.
The use and abuse of language for propaganda purposes is not new in the United States. During the First World War, the Germans were referred to as “Huns” to suggest that they were as brutal as Attila’s savage army, sauerkraut was renamed “Liberty Cabbage” to obscure its Teutonic origins, and thousands of dissenters were arrested for what the progressive administration of Woodrow Wilson considered to be seditious speech. As ridiculous or ominous as those efforts may seem in retrospect, though, they were at least directed at enemies or perceived domestic threats during wartime. The critical difference between then and now is that Mr. Obama is engaging in linguistic deception at the expense of an ally – Israel – in order to curry favor with nations, NGOs, and even terrorist organizations, whose agendas conflict with the societal values and strategic interests of the United States. And this should worry all Americans.