Obama @ 50 days

Early indications about the emerging Obama doctrine in foreign policy are positive. As Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian, repudiation of the Bush legacy, some plain talking and a few imaginative diplomatic initiatives are all good. 

But last week there was a disturbing turn, in the withdrawal of Charles Freeman’s appointment to the National Intelligence Council. Freeman was forced out because — in the words of NY Democrat Senator Charles Schumer — “his statements against Israel were way over the top.” Apparently Freeman declared that until “Israeli violence against Palestinians” is halted, “it is utterly unrealistic to expect that Palestinians will stand down from violent resistance”. Against Israel? Way over the top?

When it comes to Israeli policy, plain speaking is not acceptable in Washington. Whether Obama dumped Freeman or simply failed to fight on this behalf, this —  as the background to this story makes clear — is a bad sign for future American policy on the occupation of Palestinian territory and the strangulation of Palestinian life, not to mention the long term guarantee of Israeli security.