• 21 May 2009
  • Posted By nakhshab
  • Israel


Our friends over at Avaaz just released a poll following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. this week showing that a majority of Israeli’s trust Barack Obama more than Netanyahu.  59% of the Israeli population said they view Obama as “honest and trustworthy” whereas only 31% said the same for their own Prime Minister.

Netanyahu who was elected in February of this year is a hardliner who does not support a two state solution. During the Bush years the peace process was never whole-heartedly pursued by the American government. Now, however, with Obama being elected, a new era seems to have begun in terms of American engagement in the Middle East.

Looking back in history, the more aggressive Israeli policies have been (such as expanding settlements, wars in Gaza and Lebanon, etc), the further away we have gotten from achieving our goals in the region.  And more recently, more aggressive Israeli policies have actually been counterproductive to Israeli security objectives.

To me, this new Avaaz poll makes it seem like, especially after Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S., the Israeli people are convinced Obama is more serious about bringing an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, a view that is reflected among the Palestinians.

It is at an interesting point in time that the two governments meet, both on quite the opposite side of the spectrum. This time around, it seems like the U.S. will not settle for anything less than a two state solution and the people of Israel seem to be in favor of this. Polls made by J Street [PCD1] here in the U.S. show that a majority of the Jewish-American population are in favor of the same thing as the majority of the Israeli population, which is that Obama should get directly involved in the peace process and take the lead in negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Throughout the years even political figures such as former White House spokesman Joe Lockhart have found Netanyahu to be not the most trustworthy person and described him as “a liar and a cheat”. The fact that even political figures find him to be so difficult to work with could have now become reflected in the general populous who simply want a peaceful solution to the conflict rather than more armed struggle, which some agree seems to be where Netanyahu’s rhetoric could lead the country. Still, this is the same Israeli population who just elected Netanyahu to be Prime Minister in a fair election.

Israeli foreign minister Lieberman recently said that the U.S. (and with that Obama) “accepts all Israel’s decisions”. [PCD2] Let’s hope that Obama does accept Israel’s decision, not necessarily its government’s, but rather that of its people.

Posted By nakhshab

    One Response to “Fewer trust Netanyahu and increased support for Obama among Israeli’s”

  1. Car In Water says:

    Great article! I’m loving your website;

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Sign the Petition


7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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