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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Breaking the "Unbreakable Bonds"

On June 4, US President Barack Hussein Obama addressed the Muslim world from Cairo University, in a speech which is still being scrutinized and discussed in papers, on blogs, and at the coffee table.

Following this speech, which raised a lot of issues on the Israel front, I heard a lot of people commenting on how fair and balanced he was, despite his obvious courting of Arabia. How eloquent, how leaderly, how well thought out.

Moreover, those who love Israel seemed surprised at their own lack of indignance. After all, while Obama brazenly slammed Jewish outgrowth and development in their ancient biblical regions, he also soothed many a prickling Jewish soul with the following:

"Now, the second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world. 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."

Jews were relieved - America is still whole-heartedly committed in its allegiance with Israel. Things aren't as bad as we thought, they thought.

I beg to differ.

Obama is nothing if not a calculated and cunning speaker. Though he is prone to flubs from time to time, we can be sure that this speech may have been the most exacting of his young career. Every word is important.

And so I'd like to focus on the "unbreakable bonds".

What does this mean? I would like to assert that it has nothing to do with friendship or mutual respect. Let's go to the dictionary (we'll be using Princeton's Wordnet) on this word "bond".

Many people have chosen to assume that Obama said "This [bring[ing] together in a common cause or emotion] is unbreakable."

However, I have the suspicion that what Obama really meant was "This [shackle: a restraint that confines or restricts freedom ] is unbreakable."

The nice, sweet layJew was meant to hear this first message - Jews, I am your friend!

But diplomats in Israel were able to hear the true underlying message - whatever your plans are, know that we will be the ultimate decidor, Israel. We are not freeing you from the shackles with which we bind you.

Sorry, B.O. I'm not soothed by your slick tongue. I think you will stop at nothing to unite (or "bond") with the Arab world.

So count me among the ever-prickly, President Obama. I'm not investing in your bonds.

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