Seeing Little Choice, Arabs Back Obama

Little Enthusiasm in Region After Lack of Peace Progress

By Reuters

Published October 24, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Romney has accused Obama of being a weak steward of U.S. power, promising among other things to boost the U.S. naval presence in the Middle East. He has also said he would be a better friend of Israel, a nation Obama has not visited in office.

That kind of language rings alarm bells in the region and has drawn comparisons with the policies of President George W. Bush, reviled by many Arabs for leading an invasion of Iraq.

As Arabs watched the last of three televised presidential debates on Monday night, one viewer, Ahmed Zaki, wrote about Romney on Twitter saying: “He doesn’t differ much from Bush.”

But both candidates disappointed veteran Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi during the face-off on foreign policy in which Israel was referred to more than 30 times and the Palestinians were given only passing mention.

“What we didn’t see in the debate was any sign of who has the backbone and foresight to bring about a just peace,” said Ashrawi, adding that the candidates were competing on “who’s more loyal to Israel”.

Romney angered Palestinians earlier this year by suggesting they lacked the culture that has driven Israel’s economic success, while ignoring problems generated by Israeli occupation of territories where they Palestinians seek statehood.

He also called Jerusalem Israel’s capital. The Jewish state regards all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector that it captured in a 1967 Middle East war, as its capital, a claim that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Yet there is little enthusiasm in the region for Obama, who in his Cairo address had pledged support for a Palestinian state that now looks as much a distant prospect as at any time.

For some, like 45-year-old Iraqi shop worker Firas al-Qaisi, neither candidate will make a real difference.

“Look at the Palestinian issue, there is no change in the American policy since 1948 although many presidents came and went,” he said in Baghdad.

Yet Iraq is one place where Obama has had an impact by withdrawing U.S. troops, although Romney has accused the president of being too hasty.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.