Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Wasn't Said in Berlin

David Bedein | 7/31/2008

Back in April, this reporter, writing for the Bulletin in Philadelphia, flew to the U.S. to cover the Middle East policies of Senator Obama, just before Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary. Only a month before, Senator McCain, Obama's likely November rival, had visited the missile-torn town of Sderot in Israel, where the Republican candidate had visited the home of Pinchas Amar, which had been devastated by a Gaza missile.

It was therefore a natural question for the Bulletin to ask Obama's Middle East advisors if he would also visit Israel and make it a point to visit Sderot. Last Wednesday, Obama arrived in Israel on a whirlwind tour.

A terror attack preceded Obama's visit by a few hours. Only a block away from Obam's hotel, a Hamas terrorist used a tractor to crush dozens of vehicles, until an armed school teacher who was passing by killed the terrorist.

On Wednesday, after a series of pro forma political meetings with Israeli and Arab leaders, Obama helicoptered into Sderot to meet the same Amar family who had greeted McCain. The Amar home was still in a shambles from the Gaza missile devastation. Obama also visited the family of a young boy whose leg was amputated by a Gaza missile.

Both Sderot families related that Obama kept saying to them that he would always remember the human toll of terror in Israel that he had witnessed.

Obama left Sderot for Jerusalem, made a (soon-publicized) prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall, and flew on to address a rally in Berlin. Yet when the senator addressed matters of terror in Germany, his memories of terrorism in Israel proved to be short lived.

Addressing a throng of thousands in Berlin, Obama proclaimed:

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it...If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York....

Note the city, indeed the entire nation, missing from that statement.

It would seem that Obama's pledge to the people of Sderot to remember the human toll of terrorism in Israel did not outlast his flight from Israel.
David Bedein, author of the forthcoming book, "Swimming Against the Mainstream", has run the Israel Resource News Agency., since 1987, at the Beit Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also heads the Center for Near East Policy Research and serves as the Middle East correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin,

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