The Obama administration is set to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ease the blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip during the premier’s visit to Washington this coming week, according to Israeli diplomatic sources.
Separately, a senior Palestinian Authority negotiator said the Obama administration has taken a harder line against Israel on the issue than even the European Union or Arab states. “This attitude is emboldening Hamas,” he said.
The PA has been at odds with Hamas since the Islamist group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
An Egyptian security official, meanwhile, said the Obama administration pressured his country to open the Egypt-Gaza border last month without first implementing a security agreement previously brokered by the Bush administration that calls for PA guards to be stationed alongside Hamas on the Gaza side of the border.
The Egyptian security official said that in discussions with the Obama administration, U.S. officials have been claiming they want to scale back the blockade of Gaza to generate popular opposition to Hamas.
The official said that according to this line of thinking, the White House said it believes Hamas uses the blockade as an excuse to rule from a position of a government under siege. The official said the White House surmises that once the blockage of Gaza is lifted and Hamas needs to take more responsibility in Gaza, the territory’s population will revolt against Hamas.
The official, however, called the White House position “naive.”
“The [Obama] administration is playing with fire,” he said.
DSA Wants Private Healthcare Eliminated
A socialist organization with close ties to Barack Obama has outlined a plan to turn the president’s healthcare legislation into a government-run system that will ultimately eliminate private insurance companies.
“[Obama’s health care bill] should create millions of new stakeholders in a health care system governed by democratically established rules rather than by the fiats of private insurers,” wrote Frank Llewellyn, national director of Democratic Socialists of America.
Writing in the latest issue of the socialist Democratic Left magazine, Llewellyn also said “progressives” must use Obama’s healthcare legislation “to build support for the elimination of private insurers.”
Llewellyn recommended removing Democratic lawmakers who oppose single-payer and socialized healthcare. He argued the passage of Obama’s healthcare bill opens the door for other “progressive” policies, such as immigration reform, anti-corporate measures and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The DSA has outlined its goal as destroying private ownership in the U.S. “Our goal as socialists is to abolish private ownership of the means of production,” wrote DSA National Political Committee member David Green.
Top DSA members have been closely linked for years to Obama. Obama himself spoke at a DSA-organized forum at the University of Chicago in early 1996 entitled, “Employment and Survival in Urban America.”
He also spoke at the March 29, 1998 memorial service for Chicago DSA member Saul Mendelson.
Quentin Young, considered the father of the U.S. “single-payer” movement, is a longtime DSA activist. He has had a relationship with Obama, particularly in the 1990s, when he reportedly advised Obama on issues of healthcare. Young was reportedly present at a 1995 meeting at the home of former Weathermen terrorist Bill Ayers that was said to have launched Obama’s political career.
Timuel Black, a DSA activist, mediated political disputes on behalf of Obama in the 1990s and was reportedly involved in Obama’s campaign committee during his successful 2004 Senate race.
Longtime DSA activist Arnold Wolf was a member of “Rabbis for Obama” and has held fundraisers in his home for Obama, including a function in 1995 that was aimed at introducing Obama to the Hyde Park activist community.
Eliseo Medina, international executive vice-president of Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, has been honored by the DSA. During the most recent presidential campaign, Medina served on Obama’s National Latino Advisory Council.
White House Fellow Has Ties To Ayers
A scholar and charity head appointed to President Obama’s White House Fellowships Commission served as a point man in granting $49.2 million in startup capital to an education-reform project founded by Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers and chaired by Obama.
Documentation shows the White House fellow, Vartan Gregorian, was central in Ayers’s recruitment of Obama to serve as the first chairman of the project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge – a job in which Obama worked closely on a regular basis with Ayers. Obama also later touted his job at the project as qualifying him to run for public office.
Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corp. charitable foundation, was appointed by Obama last year as a White House fellow.
In his role as president of Brown University (1989-1997), Gregorian served on the selection committee of the Annenberg Foundation, which funded Ayers’s Chicago Annenberg Challenge with a $49.2 million, 2-to-1 matching challenge grant over five years. Ayers was one of five founding members of the Challenge who wrote to the Annenberg Foundation for the initial funding.
Ayers and other founding Challenge members then recruited Obama to serve as the project chairman after Gregorian recommended in a letter obtained by this column that Ayers “compose the governing board” of the Challenge with “people who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Chicago.”
National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz examined the project archives housed at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, finding Obama and Ayers worked closely at the project.
The documents showed Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through the project’s first year. Ayers also served on the board’s governance committee with Obama and worked with him to craft project bylaws, according to the documents.
Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama’s board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the project documents reviewed by Kurtz show.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.