The speech Obama didn’t give

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Last week, Pres­i­dent Obama gave a ma­jor ad­dress in Cairo to the Mus­lim world. Here is what an hon­est ad­dress would sound like: “Thank you for the honor of ad­dress­ing the Egyp­tian peo­ple and the wider Mus­lim world.

“I am here pri­mar­ily to dis­pel some of the er­ro­neous be­liefs many Mus­lims have about Amer­ica and to thereby re­as­sure you that Amer­ica has no de­sire to be at war with the Mus­lim world.

“To my great dis­ap­point­ment, many Mus­lims have come to be­lieve that my coun­try has de­clared war on Mus­lims and Is­lam.

“Be­cause of this wide­spread be­lief, I said in an in­ter­view with al-Ara­biya a few months ago, that we need to re­store “the same re­spect and part­ner­ship that Amer­ica had with the Mus­lim world as re­cently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

“Let’s look a lit­tle deeper at that re­la­tion­ship. For the truth is, in the last 20-30 years Amer­ica did not just re­spect Mus­lims, it bled for Mus­lims. We Amer­i­cans en­gaged in five mil­i­tary cam­paigns on be­half of Mus­lims, each one re­sult­ing in the lib­er­a­tion of a Mus­lim peo­ple: Bos­nia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Bos­nia and Kosovo, as well as the failed 1992-93 So­ma­lia in­ter­ven­tion to feed starv­ing African Mus­lims — in which] 43 Amer­i­cans were killed — were all hu­man­i­tar­ian ex­er­cises. In none of them was there a sig­nif­i­cant U.S. strate­gic in­ter­est at stake. So, in fact, in th­ese 20 years, my coun­try, the United States of Amer­ica has done more for suf­fer­ing and op­pressed Mus­lims than any other na­tion, Mus­lim or non-Mus­lim.

“Amer­ica has not only not re­ceived lit­tle grat­i­tude from the Mus­lim world, it has been the ob­ject of ha­tred, mass mur­der, and eco­nomic at­tack from Mus­lim in­di­vid­u­als, groups, and coun­tries. Just to cite a few of many ex­am­ples from the last 40 years: In 1973, Mus­lim ter­ror­ists at­tacked the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Su­dan and mur­dered our coun­try’s am­bas­sador, Cleo Noel, and the chief deputy of the mis­sion, Ge­orge C. Moore. In 1979 rad­i­cal Mus­lims vio- lently at­tacked my coun­try’s em­bassy in Te­heran, and for 14 months held Amer­i­can diplo­mats hostage, of­ten in ap­palling con­di­tions. In 1998, Mus­lim mil­i­tants bombed the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Nairobi, killing 12 Amer­i­cans and 280 Kenyans, and bombed our em­bassy in Tan­za­nia, killing an­other 11 Amer­i­cans. Then, on Sept. 11, 2001, 19 Mus­lims who had been liv­ing in Amer­ica slit the throats of Amer­i­can pi­lots and flight at­ten­dants and then flew air­planes into civil­ian build­ings in New York City, burn­ing 3,000 in­no­cent Amer­i­cans to death.

“I have enor­mous dif­fer­ences with my pre­de­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush. But please re­mem­ber that less than a week af­ter thou­sands of Amer­i­cans were slaugh­tered in the name of your re­li­gion, Pres­i­dent Bush went to the Is­lamic Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and an­nounced that Is­lam was a re­li­gion of peace. More­over, in a coun­try of 300 mil­lion peo­ple, of whom only a few mil­lion are Mus­lim, there is vir­tu­ally no recorded in­ci­dent of anti-mosque or other anti-Mus- lim vi­o­lence de­spite the butch­ery of 9/11 and the pop­u­lar sup­port for Osama Bin Laden that we saw in the Mus­lim world af­ter 9/11.

“I ask you to please ask your­selves what Egypt’s re­ac­tion would have been had 19 Chris­tians, in the name of Chris­tian­ity, slaugh­tered 3,000 Egyp­tians.

“As it is, be­cause of per­se­cu­tion by Mus­lim ma­jori­ties, Chris­tians have been leav­ing the Mid­dle East in such great num­bers that for the first time since Christ, there are large parts of the Mid­dle East that have be­come empty of both Jews and Chris­tians.

“Yet, at the same time, mil­lions of Mus­lims have moved to West­ern coun­tries and to Amer­ica. It is fair to say that the freest, and of­ten the safest, place in the world for a prac­tic­ing Mus­lim is the United States of Amer­ica.

“Mus­lim-Amer­i­cans are treated ex­actly as other Amer­i­cans are treated. Un­for­tu­nately, in much of the Mus­lim world to­day anti-Jewish speeches and writ­ing are fre­quently iden­ti­cal to the geno­ci­dal anti-Semitism one heard and read in Nazi Ger­many. I know that you would like me to an­nounce that Amer­ica is aban­don­ing its sup­port for Is­rael. But ev­ery pres­i­dent since Harry Tru­man, Demo­crat and Repub­li­can, has been pas­sion­ate about en­abling Is­rael to de­fend it­self from those who wish to de­stroy it. And that, dear Mus­lims, is the is­sue. Amer­ica will con­tinue to sup­port a two-state so­lu­tion to the Arab-Is­raeli dis­pute, but the is­sue has never re­ally been about two states. It has al­ways been about Pales­tini­ans and other Arabs and Mus­lims rec­og­niz­ing Is­rael’s right to ex­ist as a Jewish state. As a friend of Egypt and of the Mus­lim world, I want to say some­thing from the bot­tom of my heart: The day the Arab world ceases ob­sess­ing over the ex­is­tence of a Jewish state the size of Belize will be a great day for the Arab and Mus­lim worlds. Fi­nally, my fel­low Amer­i­cans would feel more con­fi­dent in Amer­i­can-Mus­lim re­la­tions if they had ever seen a large demon­stra­tion of Mus­lims any­where against all the ter­ror com­mit­ted by Mus­lims in the name of Is­lam. The mark of a great civ­i­liza­tion — and Arab civ­i­liza­tion was in­deed once great — is a will­ing­ness to crit­i­cize it­self.

“Thank you again for this op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress you. I could have pa­tron­ized you by ex­ag­ger­at­ing Amer­i­can mis­deeds and ig­nor­ing yours. But I have too much re­spect for you.

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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