Shhh! Don't Tell Anyone Obama Spoke in the Shadow of a Huge Yasser Arafat Banner

Searches at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times done at 9:30 p.m. on "Obama Arafat" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant to the matter I am about to note. A Google News search on the same term (sorted by date) returns only about a half-dozen relevant items (another very recent one is missing, and I'll get that one in a later post this evening).

On Thursday in Ramallah, as Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard blog noted, U.S. President Barack Obama "addressed the assembled journalists while standing under a Yasser Arafat banner." Arafat is rightly considered the “father of modern terrorism.” Since U.S. establishment press coverage is non-existent, I'll take readers to an outraged Nile Gardiner at the UK Telegraph to express how utterly offensive Obama's silently condoning Arafat's legitimacy really is:


Barack Obama’s Arafat blunder is an embarrassment for the leader of the free world

... It is simply astonishing that the leader of the free world would agree to speak against a backdrop of a murderous terrorist with American and Israeli blood on his hands. What kind of message does this send to America’s enemies when the president of the United States gives a press conference standing in front of a banner celebrating one of the most brutal terrorists in history? It projects a clear signal that Washington is weak in the face of terrorism, and it is an insult to the memory of those who died at the hands of Arafat’s terror network.

While the Obama White House prides itself on having an extremely slick campaign operation, its ineptness and insensitivity in government, not least on the world stage, can be staggering. President Obama, for example, could not even pronounce the name of Burmese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi on his recent visit to Rangoon, referring to her several times as Aung YAN Suu Kyi. He also famously called the Falkland Islands "the Maldives", and succeeded in offending the whole of Poland when he referred to a "Polish death camp" in World War Two. As I’ve noted in previous pieces, President Obama’s first term was littered with embarrassing gaffes abroad, and it looks like his second term will be more of the same. This is in many respects an amateurish presidency, headed by a president who is frequently out of his depth on the world stage, and all too willing to appease America’s adversaries.

In reaction, the Weekly Standard's Halper linked to a 2004 compilation of Arafat's murderous acts done by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America shortly after Arafat's death in November of that year. It begins thusly (internal link is in original, and still works):

Yasir Arafat's Timeline of Terror

Members of the media are focusing much attention on Yasir Arafat's legacy. Many of the historical briefs and timelines being published whitewash his decades-long involvement in terrorism. While they note that Arafat led Fatah and the PLO, the terrorist acts committed by these groups are often ignored.

For example, a Nov. 4 AP timeline, reproduced in the publications and Web sites of many different media outlets, lists only one failed act of sabotage in 1965, 3 suicide bombings in December of 2001 and one in 2002.

In fact, groups under Arafat's direct or indirect command – including Fatah, Black September, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade – were responsible for hundreds of bombings, hijackings, assassinations and other attacks, including the 1972 murder of 11 of Israel's Olympic athletes in Munich, the 1973 murder of the American ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel, and the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruiseship (resulting in the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer).

Read CAMERA's full list of 50 attacks "perpetrated by groups under Arafat's command" -- and that list only covers a three-year period ending in May 2004.

Imagine a Republican or conservative president allowing himself or herself to be positioned under a banner of ... well, I was going to say Hitler, but he was an ardent socialist ... so let's say Bull Connor or David Duke, or maybe Chile's Pinochet. The U.S. establishment press would have a picture on every front page and would be leading every broadcast with hysterical coverage.

In 2006, the U.S. State Department declassified a document which acknowledged Arafat's direct role in the murder of two Americans and a Belgian:

The Khartoum (Sudan) operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat ….. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum partcipated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.

….. The terrorists extended their deadlines three times, but when they became convinced that ther demands would not be met and after they reportedly had received orders from Fatah headquarters in Beirut, they killed the two United States officials and the Belgian Charge.

The three men murdered were Americans Cleo Noel and George Curtis, and Belgian Guy Eid.

Palestinian leaders have never expressed any kind of meaningful regret over their actions. That doesn't seem to matter to President Obama.

Or is it even worse than that? The next post will leave many readers wondering.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.