“During his address (at the Iftar dinner) , U.S. President Barack Obama said, “No country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens,” Obama said. “And so we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”………”We knew it was all bad when we saw this tweet surface a few minutes into the iftar by none other than Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer,” one website, The Thrival Room, wrote. Meanwhile, scholar Tariq Ramadan published a statement describing this year’s dinner as “political instrumentalisation of (voluntarily) trapped Muslim leaders listening to President Obama justify the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians, declaring Israel has the right to defend itself. One wonders what is the relationship between the Iftar celebration and Israel?………”
There was no reason at all to politicize this Ramadan Iftar by focusing on Israel or its Gaza targets. No reason to make it into an almost ‘Israeli’ political rally. But Mr. Obama’s advisers are creatures of habit. Maybe it was force of habit: every time a US politician sees a bunch of Muslim faces he claims that he thinks of a ‘threatened’ Israel. But the Saudi ambassador Mr. Adle Al-Jubair, was there resplendent in his native attire, and he is hardly a threat: he is the envoy of the Likud’s best Arab ally. On the other hand, some of the Muslims attending are also reported to have complained about surveillance of their communities. Funny, I don’t feel ‘surveilled’, but maybe that is the point.
Even the Israeli daily Haaretz has more sense than the groupies and advisers at the White House who put Mr. Obama in this silly position of using an Islamic occasion to justify the Netanyahu war tactics.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum