Obama walks into traffic in Jerusalem.
The Daily News tells us something we already know: ‘Barack Obama faces tough task to please Arabs & Jews on Mideast’
Look, Obama, just have some hummus. That’s something agreeable to both Arabs and Jews.
But even during that delicious snack, things could blow up all around him. Next year in Jerusalem? It’ll still be dangerous. He’s literally walking into the capital city of the longest-running religious war on the planet.
All credit, however, to the News for having the intestinal fortitude to insert the word “kishkes” — love that word! — into the Middle East debate (read this seven-graf excerpt to get the full effect):
Barack Obama sets out Tuesday on the most politically perilous part of his foreign trip – to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, where his every word will be scrutinized by Jewish and Arab voters back home.
Obama’s recent declaration that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel – and his immediate back-pedal – created confusion over the candidate’s stance on the bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
U.S. Jewish and Arab community leaders told the Daily News Monday that Obama has a “second chance” to define himself on Middle East policy.
After leaving Iraq, Obama heads first to Jordan before reaching Israel Tuesday.
Obama told pro-Israeli lobbyists last month that Jerusalem must “remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.” He and his campaign quickly retreated, saying Jerusalem’s final status was up to the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate.
Nathan Diament, public affairs director for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, said Obama “blew it” with that speech. The controversy “raises the magnification of the microscope” on his trip “because people are going to be watching even more closely,” he said.
“What people in our community are looking for – to put it in very Jewish terms – is to try to get a better sense of what’s in Obama’s kishkes, what’s in his gut,” Diament said. “People will be watching when he’s on the ground there more for the body language than sound bites.”
I won’t be satisfied until some U.S. paper has the balls to use the word baitsim.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2008