Mida’s Middle East reporter explains how he left Barack Obama for throwing Middle Eastern minorities to the wolves.
‘Mida’ Middle East reporter David Oman, an American citizen and traditional Democratic voter, discusses how he came to distance himself from Obama in the wake of his immoral foreign policy, which abandons the minorities of the Middle East to the non-existent mercy of the Islamist tidal wave • A personal journey
Some of my friends think my baldness is due to my having torn out all my hair in frustration over the Obama Administration’s conduct over the past six years. My relatives know that I’m bald because of genetics, not policy, but also that like many people, I underwent a painful process of disillusionment: in the latest presidential elections, I voted Mitt Romney instead of my former favorite, Barack Obama.
As an Israeli with American citizenship, the son of American parents who was raised in Israel, I “voted early and often” in every election, Presidential or Congressional, since I was 18. Most of my extended family lives in the United States and I feel a very strong connection to this great nation, as well as the honor given me to influence this greatest of our friends.
The Jewish Voter as a Sports Fan
Like most of American Jewry, which traditionally voted Democrat, I have consistently voted for Democratic candidates over the years. Yes, that includes John Kerry when he ran against George Bush in 2004. I didn’t go to deep into the reasons my relatives gave me for supporting the Democratic party: more representation of minorities and less of the WASPS, the rich and of Christian fundamentalists, relative affinity for the liberal outlook of most Jews including my family, it’s support for a social safety net and other such ideas.
I was a ‘Democrat’ in the way people are soccer or basketball fans: you support your team because it’s your team, period. Furthermore, like all those who supported Obama in 2008, I felt a genuine atmosphere of hope in the air when he was inaugurated and became a mega-celebrity. I felt “this land is your land, this land is my land”, as Pete Seeger, who was at the Inaugural Celebration, would sing.
Although I was deeply impressed by W.’s support for Israel and his moral clarity – “you are either with us or you are with the terrorists” – his worldview seemed a little simplistic to me, and his invasion of Iraq in 2003 at the expense of paying attention to Iran only strengthened that intuition. Besides, I’d been raised on the idea that American support for Israel was a principle not dependent on who occupies the White House.
Disillusionment Sets In
The first crack in my euphoria over Obama came with his famous Cairo speech in 2009. Beyond anything he actually said, the very fact that Obama invited the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood to sit in the first row, in spite of Mubarak’s protests, raised a red flag the size of Texas for me.
This crack grew into to the size of the Grand Canyon during his first term, in the wake of a long list of mistaken moves and failures, too long to be laid out here. These attested to the complete lack of a coherent foreign policy, the lack of a basic understanding of the Middle East, disgust with America’s status as a superpower and from even the appearance of leadership which is outside the framework of the “international community” or “leading from behind”. Most importantly, it showed the complete lack of a moral compass in the form of support for Islamism in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular.
By the way, the administration’s distinction between “moderate” and “extreme” Islamists – which serves as the logic for supporting the former when in power so that they can fight the latter – made me pine for the days of W. the “anti-intellectual”. If this policy is the result of all that brainstorming of smart people around the uber-intellectual Obama, then I prefer the “simpleton” President with common sense and morality.
Not that this distinction works anyway: the hatred and contempt the Brotherhood and Erdogan show towards the West and America show that in contrast to Roosevelt’s famous quip that “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch,” Islamists are from the pliant clients Obama and his people were hoping for. If we’re already mentioning Roosevelt, the massive enlistment of minorities, including Jews, into the Democratic Party, only began in 1936, during his first term. After all, it was a Republican President who freed the slaves.
Liberalism is not a Suicide Pact
At some point during Obama’s first term, I realized I need to shed my loyalties to the Democratic party for all the reasons I mentioned. I realized I need to see myself for who I am: an Israeli and a Jew – in other words, part of a Middle Eastern minority. The support of the White House and the State Department for Islamism is not god for the Jews, but it’s even worse for the other minorities in the Middle East: Christians, Yezidis, Berbers, Bahais, Liberals, Secular Muslims, Women and others are all being persecuted, murdered or driven out with hardly a peep from Washington.
If Obama abandons his own soldiers and ambassador at Benghazi because of cold political calculations, what chance do Middle East minorities have? So I decided to switch my support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney (gasp!) and I even convinced my father to do the same. As Bob Dylan once said: “I’m liberal, but to a degree.”
English translation by Avi Woolf.