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Home Breaking Down Obama's AIPAC Speech

Breaking Down Obama's AIPAC Speech

Bottom lining Obama's AIPAC speech, it's an incredibly condescending speech that manages to set a world record for retracting campaign promises and which pours on phony sentimentality for civil rights and the Holocaust as a vehicle for delivering his real platform, appeasing Iran.

The Obama campaign has already retracted the splashiest part of Obama's speech, his supposed commitment to an undivided Jerusalem. Not that anyone with half a cup of common sense should have taken it seriously.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided," his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

The way to work with politician's campaign speeches is to multiply by 10. Bush promises to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Instead he's currently dividing Jerusalem. Obama is promising a contiguous Palestinian state, a focus on a two state solution from the start, aid for Fatah, lots of diplomacy with Iran. Change everywhere but not in America's relationship with Israel. Yeah right.

Brushing through an Obama speech for any actual meaning is always hard work because it requires clearing away tangles and false trails. Premises are advanced, vague rhetoric is offered that never actually leads anyway. But to break it down, this is the semantic analysis of Obama's speech.

1. Hi AIPAC. I really love AIPAC.

2. I really love Israel based on my personal experiences as a black man. Great uncle. Holocaust.

3. Our current foreign policy has made Israel less safe. How do we move forward. (Obama conveniently fails to specify what actions he disagrees with at this stage or how he will move forward and instead switches over to condemning Israel bashers. This is typical of the bait and switch premises in Obama's speeches.)

4. Israel is America's ally. Israel bashers are wrong.

5. Blah blah shared values, allies, alliance boilerplate

6. Military aid for Israel. This is the upfront giveaway meant to dampen the effects of what he says next.

7. Security through peace. Obama vows to focus on creating a Palestinian state from the start of his administration, instead of waiting until the end to crack down on Israel like Bush did.

8. Isolate Hamas. Elections were a mistake. No deals with terrorists, except with Fatah. No actual change from Bush Admin policy, despite a shot taken at the Bush Admin.

9. Support Fatah and Egypt. Aid to terrorists. Israel must improve freedom of movement, open borders, no settlements. Supports Annapolis.

10. Israel's security is non-negotiable. Will carve up Israel to make a contiguous cohesive Palestinian state. Promises not to divide Jerusalem.

11. Difficult decisions will be required. Israel is strong enough to make them. Promises not to pressure Israel, just help Israel make difficult decisions and avoid not making decisions and prevent Israel from ending negotiations because of terrorist violence.

12. Syria is bad.

13. Supports negotiating with Syria, promises not to use force on Israel. Full enforcement of UN Resolution 1701.

14. Iran is bad.

15. Iran is really bad.

16. Fighting Iran only makes it stronger.

17. Negotiating with Iran is the only answer.

18. Running away from Iraq and turning it over to Iran will weaken Iran. Somehow.

19. Aggressive diplomacy with Iran.

20. More diplomacy with lines of communication.

21. Diplomacy can be tough. My diplomacy will be tough. Really tough. Very very tough. There will be lines of communication involved. Also agendas and allies.

22. If our diplomacy doesn't work, Iran will look bad and China and Russia will support UN sanctions, (even though they're Iran's allies)

23. Divestment from Iran. Obama's Iran divestment bill blocked by mysterious anonymous Senator.

24. Reduce price of oil. New technologies. Bush State of the Union speech regurgitated.

25. Joint research with Israel. Thanks.

26. Military action will be somewhere on the table too. Probably under all the diplomacy folders.

27. Change. Change. Change everywhere. But no change for America's relationship with Israel. Uh?

28. AIPAC is great. Mention my name when you talk to Congresspeople. I haven't been there in a while.

29. Israel is great. Ethiopia. Holocaust. Tikkun Olam.

30. I like Jews. Civil Rights. Other black people may hate Jews but I still remember that whole Mississippi civil rights workers thing.

31. We must vigilantly face down every foe. (With aggressive diplomacy)

AIPAC and Bnai Brit speeches by candidates, particularly Democratic candidates follow a pretty typical pattern. A pattern that makes one virtually a carbon copy of the other. Obama's AIPAC speech is just a carbon copy of all the other speeches given at AIPAC dinners over the years, including Bush's own AIPAC speech.

There's a very specific pattern to these speeches. In the opening the candidate praises AIPAC for all their great work with stock phrases combined with namedropping.

Here's an excerpt from how Bush did it in 2004

I want to thank Amy for her leadership. I appreciate you taking time to serve a cause that -- in which you believe deeply. I want to thank Bernice for her willingness to serve, as well. I've known Howard for a long time. He's effective. I want to thank the AIPAC board -- AIPAC board members for their friendship and leadership.

Here's how Obama did it

It’s great to see so many friends from across the country. I want to congratulate Howard Friedman, David Victor and Howard Kohr on a successful conference, and on the completion of a new headquarters just a few blocks away.

Then you praise AIPAC and mention the shared values and bonds that bring Israel and America together. Here's how Bush did it in 2004.

I'm honored to be here at AIPAC, thank you for such a warm welcome. It's good to be with so many friends -- friends of mine and friends of Israel. For more than 50 years, the United States and Israel have been steadfast allies. AIPAC is one of the reasons why. You've worked tirelessly to strengthen the ties that bind our nations -- our shared values, our strong commitment to freedom.

Here's how Obama did it 4 years later in 2008.

One of the many things that I admire about AIPAC is that you fight for this common cause from the bottom up. The lifeblood of AIPAC is here in this room — grass-roots activists of all ages, from all parts of the country, who come to Washington year after year to make your voices heard. Nothing reflects the face of AIPAC more than the 1,200 students who have traveled here to make it clear to the world that the bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interests — it’s rooted in the shared values and shared stories of our people. And as president, I will work with you to ensure that this bond is strengthened.

Step after that involves forging a "personal connection" to Israel through personal anecdotes. Bush did this in 04 with mentions of his visits to Israel because Bush had plenty of visits, Obama was short in that department so he went light on his visit and instead babbled about his camp counselor who inspired in him a love of now blowing up Israel. Then he goes whole hog throwing in his Grandfather\Greatuncle who can give him an excuse to introduce the Holocaust.

Obama drags this on working overtime to forge that personal connection but the actual semantic content here is nil, it's typical of Obama's hollow speeches as he attempts to get his audience to identify with him. It's a particularly effective tactic with the young, the weak minded and the gullible.

Both speeches are full of boilerplate rhetoric about "Peace" and "Security" and "Freedom."
Bush mentions Security 6 times. Obama mentioned Security twice as often with 14 mentions and mentioned Peace 15 times. Bush mentioned it 26 times. 9 mentions of Freedom for Bush, Obama only mentioned it 3 times, usually in a Palestinian context. There are the usual repeated mentions of Israel and America's alliance. More boilerplate.

In the end all Obama did at AIPAC was mirror the same old campaign rhetoric so typical of AIPAC dinners. His speech when boiled down proposes lots of negotiations, a military giveaway and lots of attention to push a peace deal while appeasing Iran. Strip away all the hollow compliments and that's all you have.


  1. Brilliant article once again :)

    I have just a couple of first impressions on Obama's AIPAC speech and the applause he received:

    Obama's "Security through Peace" sounds a lot like FDR's "Liberation through Victory." Sounds nice but really amounts to little more than sitting on your *&^% while Jews are being killed.

    Obama mentioned peace 15 times?

    I wondered if that was calculated too? Fifteen times...the tzeva adom alert goes off 15 times. It's word association for me. I hear Israel and 15 and think of tzeva adom , 15 seconds and Sderot. I can't help it.

    Disgusting that Obama comes out with this insincere "I Love Israel" speech on the heels of his exploitation of his great uncle's liberation of a concentration camp.

    A news website censored a comment I made about Obama exploiting his uncle's holocaust experience. I guess that is something I am not supposed to say or think.

    Other thoughts--it's heartbreaking that Jews and Israel will latch on to anyone who says the right buzz words, words that offer nothing more than false reassurances of support and love.

    My use of the phrase "latch on" is deliberate. It does remind me of how a helpless and hungry baby "latches on" to feed from its mother. If you know about breast-feeding infants that phrase will mean more.

    I just find all of this incredibly sad. Anyone who comes along and says "I Love Israel" in so many words is latched on to with an almost desperateness and desire for it to really be true.

  2. Washington, D.C. (May 30, 2008) - The Republican Jewish Coalition today
    responded to the announcement that former Rep. David Bonior will be representing the Obama campaign at the Democratic National Committee meeting this weekend in Washington, D.C. As a Congressman, David Bonior was known for his strong opposition to pro-Israel policies, being called by some "the biggest supporter of the anti-Israel Arab lobby in Congress."[1] The RJC cited Bonior as the latest in a string of advisors and campaign officials to Barack Obama that harbor anti-Israel views.

    "Barack Obama's path to strengthening ties with the Jewish community is severely blocked when appointing an anti-Israel figure like David Bonior. While in Congress, Bonior refused to stand by Israel after repeated terrorist attacks, was known as a stalwart opponent to Israel, and is now a representative for Barack Obama. Bonior's appointment is the latest in a series that raises serious questions and doubts about Barack Obama's positions and judgments on the Middle East."

    During his Congressional career, David Bonior repeatedly opposed pro-Israel legislation. In 1997, David Bonior was one of 15 Congressmen who signed a letter asking then-President Clinton to pressure Israelis into making concessions to the Palestinians. In 2002, David Bonior was one of only 21 Congressmen who opposed H.R. 392, which publicly affirmed Congress's support of Israel's right to self-defense and called for the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.[2] In 1990, David Bonior was one of only 34 Congressman to vote against a measure naming Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.[3] In 1989, Bonior was one of six House members to vote against a bill that prevented US funds from going to UN entities that granted the PLO membership.[4] Throughout his career, Bonior repeatedly opposed US aid to Israel and supported arms sales to Arab states opposed to Israel's existence.

    "The appointment of yet another anti-Israel advisor like David Bonior to represent Barack Obama speaks volumes to the Jewish community. The pattern
    including Tony McPeak, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Robert Malley continues with
    this appointment. It's no wonder the Jewish community remains deeply skeptical and troubled by Barack Obama."

  3. Good job.I wont rewrite a post here. lol ;)

  4. (Re my nursing analogy--probably not the best analogy I could come up with but I was reading about Noami nursing Oved.)

    I really do feel that no matter how many times Israel latches on to the US, or CUFI or a politician claiming to be "pro-Israel" they will never find sustenance. They can never--in nursing lingo--feed nutritively.


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