As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama left some fuzzy edges to his biography. He affirmed strong support for Israel but implied a strong empathy for Palestinians. His personal story played up his introduction to the black church, leaving his father's Islamic roots in the shadows.Actually, the Times is being way too objective here.
It was a narrative designed to ease any voter concern about Obama's background and counter false Internet rumors that he was a Muslim.
But now, with Thursday's speech in Cairo, Obama is laying bare more of his sympathies and inclinations in the volatile area of Middle East politics.
Obama spoke, for example, of Palestinian "resistance" -- a word that can cast Israel as an illegitimate occupier. He drew parallels between Palestinians and the struggles of black Americans in slavery and of black South Africans during apartheid. Both references made some allies of Israel uneasy.
Moreover, in his defense of Israel's legitimacy, Obama cited the Holocaust and centuries of anti-Semitism, but not the belief of some Jews that their claim to the land is rooted in the Bible and reaches back thousands of years.
A close examination of the speech underscored how Obama, four months into his presidency and five years after stepping onto the national stage, is still introducing himself - and what he stands for - to Americans and the world.
Check out Caroline Glick at National Review, "The End of America’s Strategic Alliance with Israel?":
From an Israeli perspective, Pres. Barack Obama’s speech today in Cairo was deeply disturbing. Both rhetorically and programmatically, Obama’s speech was a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel ....Read Glick's entire piece, here. More analysis at Memeorandum.
The only silver lining for Israelis from the president’s speech in Cairo and his general positions on the Middle East is that Obama has overplayed his hand. Far from bending to his will, a large majority of Israelis perceives Obama as a hostile force and has rallied in support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu against the administration. This public support gives Netanyahu the maneuver room he needs to take the actions that Israel needs to take to defend against the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran and to assert its national rights and to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists and other Arab and non-Arab anti-Semites who wish it ill.