If you haven’t heard or read the speech you should. Our President is certainly eloquent. I enjoy hearing him speak, even when I disagree with what he may say. I like the fact that he is engaging the Muslim world. I think that engagement is almost always preferable to isolation.
The President arranged his speech to cover seven “tension areas”.
- Violent Extremism
- Nuclear Weapons
- Religious Liberty
- Women’s Rights
- Economic Development
I appreciate the fact that President Obama plainly stated that:
America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
It’s just too bad that he turned right around and spoke more harshly of Israel than he did of the Palestinians, including Hamas (those pleasant gentlemen pictured above). He did say, “Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel’s right to exist.” That’s good. But here is what he said to Israel:
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)
The aspect of the speech that I most disliked (other than the Presidents frequent allusions to and even quotations from the Quran) may be found in this quote:
I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. (Applause.) (The applause is not mine, but the emphasis is!)
While I am all for the U.S. partnering with Islamic nations I do not agree with the U.S. partnering with Islam. There is a difference. I’m sure the President would never have said anything about partnering with Christianity or Judaism. That was a silly statement.
Silly as it was, his assertion that one of his presidential responsibilities is “to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” Really?! I didn’t hear anything about that when he took the oath of office. What does that mean? It’s one of the most regrettable aspects of his talk.
I don’t believe that the United States has or needs any partnership with Islam. Dialogue with Muslin nations? Yes. Partnerships with Muslim nations? I’m all for it. But partnership with Islam? No chance! And I am certain that the President of the United States has zero responsibility of fighting against negative Islamic stereotypes.