Obama’s Rock-Star Status Challenged in Gaza-Israel Conflict

Much of the world cheered when Barack Obama won the 2008 US Presidential Election. Never has there been such an international out pour of delight. However, Obama’s recent cabinet appointments and decision to refrain from calling for a cease fire in the current Israel-Gaza/Lebanon conflict has drawn the sharp criticism of Progressives, Greens and Black Nationalists. As if that’s not enough, Democratic House members are also responding to appointments with ruffled feathers.

Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford has been critical of Obama for a long time, pointing out that while the President-Elect holds celebrity status amongst many in the black community, their vision is short-sighted. Ford indicates that Obama stands on the shoulders of Martin Luther King, Jr. but does not fulfill the promise of the Civil Rights leader.

Ford, an outspoken Black Nationalist, points instead to Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney as “Black America’s moral emissary to the world…Thanks to the presence of the former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate on the mission, millions of Arabs have been made aware of a different Black America, one that is not silent, like Barack Obama, in the face of a purposely inflicted human rights catastrophe.”

Obama has asserted that he is very concerned with the recent conflict but that “there is only one President at a time.” This defense is sour sloganism for activists who are impatient for solutions to the conditions of Palestinians in Gaza. Progressive Democrats are more patient, but still critical. Ben Cohen writes in the Huffington Post that Obama and Clinton’s silence on the Gaza is a failure that will lead to the strengthening of Hamas.

Given that President Bush is already halfway to the Crawford Ranch, Obama’s deference leaves a vacuum of opinion from the White House.

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