Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The president's enemies never rest

Now this is impressive. It's been less than 24 hours since the presidents address at the University of Indonesia and I've already received an email from the Committee to Destroy the President's Reputation which misrepresents his remarks and provides a bogus interpretation of what happened.

Here's an excerpt from the email:
Yesterday Obama praised Indonesia as tolerant and condemned Israel.
President Obama praised Indonesia as tolerant when just within the last year or so, Jews had to run away, afraid of terror threats against their synagogue. (Okay, I know only Muslims need protection and get to build mosques anywhere)
President Obama praised Indonesia as tolerant when Indonesia won’t recognize Judaism but recognizes other religions. (Can’t have that gutter religion soiling the country).
President Obama praised Indonesia as tolerant when it will not allow Israeli citizens into the country
And Israel is condemned in Indonesia by our President on the same day
Israel where our Holy Temple mountain is allowed to be controlled by the Muslims
I am sorry. The stench of hypocrisy and antiSemitismis too strong. It assaults us
And here's the reality:

The president delivered an address in which he used the word "tolerance" exactly twice. Here  are the two passages:
Because Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, and hundreds of languages, and people from scores of regions and ethnic groups, my time here helped me appreciate the common humanity of all people. And while my stepfather, like most Indonesians, was raised a Muslim, he firmly believed that all religions were worthy of respect. And in this way -- (applause) -- in this way he reflected the spirit of religious tolerance that is enshrined in Indonesia’s Constitution, and that remains one of this country’s defining and inspiring characteristics. (Applause.)
-snip -
But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia -- that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution; symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other; that spirit that’s embodied in your people -- that still lives on. (Applause.) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika -- unity in diversity. (Applause.) This is the foundation of Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will play such an important part in the 21st century.
Earlier in the day Obama spoke about Israel. His so called-criticism had nothing to do with religion (if it was criticism at all) and was an unscripted answer to a question at a press conference.
Last question on our side is Stephen Collinson of AFP.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. As the President [of Indonesia] mentioned, events in the Middle East are watched very closely here. Does Israel’s advanced planning for more than a thousand new homes in Jerusalem undermine trust between the parties and undermine your peace efforts?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have not -- I’ve been out of town, so I’m just seeing the press reports. I have not had a full briefing on Israel’s intentions and what they’ve communicated to our administration. But this kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations. And I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side made the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough that could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side and side -- side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestine.
Is this criticism? Did the president actually compliment Indonesia for its treatment of Jews? I honestly don't think so, but unlike the author of the WE HATE OBAMA email, I'm content to provide you with the source material, and let you decide for yourself.

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