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CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Responses to Obama's Cairo Speech
WASHINGTON - June 4 -JOEL BEININ
Professor of Middle East History at Sanford, Beinin was recently a visiting professor at the American University in Cairo.
Currently in Cairo, Benjamin is a founder of CodePink and was just in Gaza, where she was given a letter to Obama from Hamas. She said today: "While Osama bin Laden used the occasion of President Obama's visit to deliver a scathing attack, Hamas reached out to a feminist U.S. peace group to deliver a letter to Obama urging dialogue, mutual respect and adherence to international law." The letter is here.
Col. Wright is also in Cairo and was in Gaza. She is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.
KATHY KELLY, DAN PEARSON
Kelly and Pearson are coordinators of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Obama made repeated calls for nonviolence in his speech. Kelly said today: "We've spent a fair amount of time where there's no electricity and with people who have fled the fighting as well as with the well-to-do. There's a general sense of disappointment to U.S. policy toward Pakistan."
Executive director of the Muslim American Society, Bray watched the speech this morning with a group of Muslims. He said today: "It was eloquent and a departure from the bellicose rhetoric of the last administration. It was encouraging to hear Obama's comments indicating that the U.S. government would stop its persecution of Islamic charities.
"I wish he had spent more time on democracy. Our government is allied with oppressive regimes, including where he spoke from. Also, Obama hasn't really done a very good job of reaching out to the Muslim community in the U.S. -- he goes to mosques around the world, but not here."
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: "Obama referred to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and stated: 'No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.' But he has refused to even acknowledge Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal. He was asked about it at his first news conference in February by Helen Thomas and replied that he didn't want to 'speculate' -- and he hasn't called on Thomas since. So it's remarkable to hear Obama's rhetorical flourishes about 'speaking the truth' and ending 'suspicion' when he goes on about Iran's alleged nuclear designs, doesn't apologize for the Iraq war WMD pretext -- and doesn't acknowledge Israel's arsenal."