Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Obama vs. Romney in Arabic

For years, the Arabic press promoted the conspiracy that Jews fixed U.S. elections. That’s changing.

Print Email
(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photo Getty Images)

Ubaydli’s ideas are not new to ruling elites in the Gulf who read Al-Watan. To the extent Gulf rulers use such tools like oil-price fixing, as Saudis have in the past, they would probably put them at the service of the Republican Party. “There is a broad consensus here that Romney would be better for us,” Abdullah Elmadani, a royalist intellectual in Bahrain with ties to the monarchy, told me. Elmadani noted the Gulf sheikhs’ enduring gratitude to Republicans for liberating Kuwait, their hawkish stand on Iran (known thanks to Wikileaks cables), thinly veiled anger at the Obama Administration for abandoning Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last year, and sympathy for the plight of Syria’s rebels. Yet Gulf rulers’ internal deliberations are notoriously opaque, which invites speculation as to why the Bahraini kingdom would allow Ubaydli’s piece to run in a newspaper it controls. Perhaps it amounts to a warning of sorts.

But while elites in the Gulf favor Romney, others in the region prefer the incumbent. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Brotherhood source told me that the movement’s affiliates in the United States understandably regret their support for George W. Bush in 2000 and recognize that their unpopularity among Americans means that any expression of support by the Brotherhood for a given candidate would only hurt him. Nonetheless, R’hayyil Gharaibeh, chief of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political bureau, told me his preference: “Of course Obama is better,” he said. “He is a big improvement on Bush in terms of the tone of his rhetoric and his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.” My sense from travel and reporting in North Africa and the Middle East since the Arab Spring is that most Arab Muslims share Gharaibeh’s preference to see Obama win this November—and that some will find ways to say as much in English in the remaining weeks of the campaign.

Arabs’ growing recognition that American power is fluid probably owes something to the novelty of free elections in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. The natural human tendency to project one’s own reality onto others means that a person living under tyranny would be more likely to believe that America, too, is unfree—whereas newly liberated societies can more easily reexamine the United States with an open mind. Last month’s tragedy in Libya reminded Americans how little even a superpower can do to affect the course of distant peoples. Yet the reverberations of our domestic politics in the Arab world this season demonstrate that the power of our example may have a greater impact than we know.

***

Like this article? Sign up for our Daily Digest to get Tablet Magazine’s new content in your inbox each morning.

1 2View as single page
Print Email
DSarna says:

I know the author meant well, and also to be fair and balanced. The piece comes across naive and full of wishful thinking. I assume his comments from Al Wattan and elsewhere are from [mis]translations on their English-language website meant to influence to gullible.

Bernhardt says:

Guess Obama gets to speak in the language of his youth . Is an Arabic teleprompter read from right to left ? Is that why he is shifty eyed?

While American Jews worry about abortion and women rights, both of which I am very much in favor of, they’re throwing Israel under the bus. For some strange reason Jews have always favored blacks over themselves (Jews). I remember in the 1960 at a national conventionof B’nai Brit held in the Catskills, the president of BB told us,”If there is a choice for a job between a Jew or a Negro we must give the job to the Negro.” Would any other group including Eskimos ever give an outsider something over their own especially with the history which we Jews have historially as a great people and persecuted because of it for centries?
Jews! Obama is pro-Arab, anti-Israel and pro-Muslim. Forget about the fact that FDR did nothing for the Jews during the Holocaust? Obama is the greatest threat to the security of Jews in the world and Israel will be destroyed because of him unless you don’tl ike being a Jew or are embarrassed to be a Jew because you lack self-esteem.
Stand up and be counted and save American Jewry, save your parents and siblings and your family because if Obama is elected where will you run to when Israel is destroyed.
Have you no sense of history especially Jewish history?

Jacob Arnon says:

Wishful thinking? Read this.

“Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy”

http://www.arabnews.com/arab-spring-and-israeli-enemy

I wouldn’t generalize from a few articles, but they are there and this is news.

What it means, time will tell.

brynababy says:

Your comments are ridiculous and without foundation. It’s people like you, filled with biggotted hatred, that we should be afraid of.

brynababy says:

disgusting- you are!

Pam Green says:

Brynababy: You have never written a comment that you have documented, proved, substantiated, defended rationally, argued intelligently, or otherwise justified through any acceptable means. What you are known for, here on Tablet, is calling names, heckling, insulting, spewing filth and slandering honest and thoughtful people. Can’t you find some hate-site to infest with your poison, and leave us alone?

You claim to be a pro-Israel Jew who has visited for months on end, because your children made aliyah and your grandchildren live in Israel. I don’t believe it for a second! But if you are a Jew, you’re precisely the kind of Jew that William Levy describes! Do you have a death wish? Do you not realize that you are endangering your family, and Jews in general? You are apparently proud of yourself for being an ignorant fool; I pity those who have to deal with you personally.

Pam Green says:

Good one, Bernhardt!

Contrary to the Iranian Military chief of staff, I love the Jewish People, even when “they” elect our presidents for us ; p

Oh look another garden variety racist. Simmer down sonny.

Pam, a death wish? And who is speaking of comments without foundation?

Obama is not W, or Clinton when it comes to Israel. But then again, he’s also not W’s father, or Eisenhower (“let them boil in their own oil”), or especially the anti-Semitic Nixon. He got some things wrong, and his relationship with Bibi is bad, but I do not believe for a minute that he is out to kill us all.

Take Iran. What do you think the effect of a strike on Iran would be for world Jewry? This is not 1981, and Iran is not Iraq. (And it is especially not Syria.) I doubt McCain would have handled this situation any better; I know Romney will not.

So please, stop with the fear. You can resurrect it when we are told that we can no longer marry citizens.

Pam Green says:

I’ve provided substantiation for many comments in the past at Brynababy’s request; the favor was never returned. And your allusions to past presidents are hardly enough foundation for your Obama defense. So, please, stop with the complacency.

Obama’s anti-Semitism is not merely a personality contest with “Bibi”, as you “believe”. Obama supports, arms and funds Islamist terrorists. The media’s presentation of the Arab Spring as some spontaneous, spreading revolt of ‘the people’ was as deceitful as its more recent presentation of the ‘protests’ in Benghazi and elsewhere. It is due to Obama that stable Arab countries were allowed to fall like dominos into the hands of the most extremist Islamist factions. And now Jordan looks ready to fall. As for Iran, Obama approved so many exceptions to the sanctions that their effect is moot, and Obama’s manner of withdrawal from Iraq left Iran in place to rule there by proxy. So, it’s not as if Obama is merely reacting to adverse events; he’s staging them.

Pam Green says:

Try not to mix your metaphors, you old communist.

I am worried that Mitt will get in because I do not think I can handle looking at his Mom Jeans for four years!!!

http://www.zimbio.com/Is+Mitt+Romney+Wearing+%27Mom+Jeans%27?utm_source=outb&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Z-Politics-1

Pam, while it is true that as Jews we may not be complacent about global threats from bigots, we must also be on the alert from a wild sense of paranoia and fear that causes us to overextend ourselves militarily. Put another way: you do not know me, so don’t accuse me of complacency.

I stagger at the gall people like you have in thinking how simple all of this is. Stay full boat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Invade Iran. Maintain and defend friendly dictatorships in Arab monarchies. Screw Europe. Oh, and cut taxes. And if the Pres. won’t do all of it, he’s an anti-Semite, actively working to eliminate the Jews from Allah’s green Earth.

Allusions to past presidents is exactly what is needed here for some perspective, which folks like yourself seem to be severely lacking.

A world such as yours will be a lonely world for Jewish people. And far, far more dangerous.

PS…why did you put “believe” in quotes? Do I not have actual beliefs because I disagree with you? Or…maybe I’m really an enemy agent and just take orders from the mullahs and ayatollahs. Boo!

Pam Green says:

If you are such an expert on foreign policy and history, please enlighten us! I’d love to know who is taking such a condescending tone with me, without a shred of substantiation for any of her/his opinions. Your grammar is poor, your allusions to past presidents are incorrect, and you have the nerve to say I have gall, and that people like me have a simplistic view of the world, while you, of course, grasp the crisis in all its complexity! “We” see no evidence of that!

Sad that I would have to explain this to one as erudite as you, but I put “believe” in quotes because your attachment to Obama is driven by belief, not knowledge. Conviction, not proof. Emotion, not reason.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Obama vs. Romney in Arabic

For years, the Arabic press promoted the conspiracy that Jews fixed U.S. elections. That’s changing.

More on Tablet:

Amal Alamuddin, Please Put George Clooney on Hold, and Investigate War Crimes in Gaza

By Lee Smith — How the international human rights lawyer could help save Gaza and Lebanon