An Open Letter To Barack Obama

Dear Senator Obama:

The forces of bigotry and fear are already sending out their opening salvos in the campaign to smear your name. John McCain may be a decent man but he is trapped within an organization which for the past forty years has entered every presidential contest with but one goal in mind-win at any cost. From the Richard Nixon campaign in 1968 which initiated the program of frightening the “white vote” even if it entaied Republicans abandoning their historic support for black Americans until 2004 when Bush went around the country seeking to discredit the loyalty of men like John Kerry who had fought bravely for their country, the Republican party has resorted to any trick in order to gain victory. You are correct to be alert to their efforts of engendering fear within America. A frightened America is the only safe tactic known to Republicans.

I was impressed by your quick response to the latest Bush tactic of using an address to the Israel Knesset to preach the politics of divisiveness. George Bush has never grapsed that once an individual becomes president of the United States, he must govern as president of the entire nation, not just for his followers. You might study the Harry Truman story of a man who was elected due to a political machine and through study and understanding of the meaning of being president became one of the great leaders of this nation. I fear John McCain will collapse under pressure from the Karl Roves of the Republican party and abandon his essential decent instincts in the name of victory.

I thought you made a mistake in countering the latest Bush fear and distort ploy, but not telling the American people more clearly how George Bush ignored opportunities for peace in the Middle East. There have been several descriptions of efforts by the reform presidency of Mohammad Khatami to reach out to the United States in 2001 and 2002 in an effort to resolve differences. Tell the American people how Iran furnished assistance to the American invasion of Afghanistan. Tell the American people how the Iranian government made a concrete offer for peace with the United States. Sadegh Kharazi, deputy foreign minister of Iran, said he sent a proposal to the Bush administration which offered to cease support for terrorism, was willing to negotiate with Israel, and was ready to cease nuclear weapon development, but the Bush response was not merely a loud, “no,” but an insulting speech in which he branded Iran part of the axis of evil. Americans know nothing about this event, and you must hammer away at telling them about all the failed foreign policy failures of the Bush administration.

John McCain already has bought into Republican endeavors to create fear among American Jews by branding you soft and weak on dealing with terrorism. Of course, over the weekend, there was a story in which Bush urged Isael to negotiate with Syria despite the Bush record of castigating that nation as being on the terrorist list. Remind the American people that every American president since 1945 has not merely talked with, but negotiated with terrorist leaders. Richard Nixon in the seventies initiated dialogue with Communist China and had a warm encounter with Mao Tse-tung who was responsible for the deaths of at least 25 million people. The Republican demi-God, Ronald Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev as Presdent Eiesenhower negotiated with Khrushchev.

Remember there is no such thing as a “Jewish vote” if the inference is that all American Jews are united in their disdain for negotiating with Palestinians. Joe Lieberman does not speak for American Jews. The most consistent concept in the minds of Jewish Americans who support Israel is a desire for peace in the region. Peace requires engaging with Hamas and Hizbullah in negotiations. Many people castigate Jimmy Carter, but the reality is he is the only American president who was actually able to help Israel reach an agreement with a former enemy. The Clinton effort to engage Arafat and the Israel government did come close to being successful and it did entail negotiating with a terrorist. Most American Jews want peace, and don’t allow anyone to push you away from working towards that end goal.

Just remember, the words of the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that it is always better to: “Jaw, jaw, not war, war.”