Abdel Bari Atwan is Editor-In-Chief of London based Al Quds Al Arabi, an Arab language daily newspaper published since 1989. He is a frequent guest on the BBC, known for making controversial, anti-Israeli statements and provoking heated exchanges with adversaries.
On his personal blog, he has criticized President Obama for daring to suggest that Palestinians must acknowledge Israel’s right to exist:
We thought he’d understand the Palestinians’ suffering under Israeli occupation, their humiliation at checkpoints and the whole racist infrastructure of the Zionist state.
But we were wrong. He has broken our trust and dashed our hopes, reminding us instead of Uncle Tom (from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin) – the black servant whose subservience to his white master overcame his humanity.
Barack Hussein Obama surprised us with his speech in Jerusalem when he demanded the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state and urged the Arab states to recognize Israel. People who deny Israel’s right to exit, Obama reasoned, are like people who deny the Earth and the sky.
If an Israeli journalist called President Obama an “Uncle Tom'” because he called for Israel to recognize the Palestinian’s right to their own state, there would be an outcry from the media and the political left. The journalist and the publication would be condemned. Will there be a condemnation of Mr. Atwan or will he get a pass because he is part of a politically correct protected group?