Obama speech gets mixed early reaction at home

June 4th, 2009 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 4 (IANS) President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday to the Muslim world has been receiving mixed reactions so far at home with supporters calling it “absolutely critical” in signalling a new era and critics taking issue with his “balanced tone” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Senator John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 said: “President Obama’s blunt, honest address in Cairo was absolutely critical in signalling a new era of understanding with Muslim communities worldwide.”

“He shattered stereotypes on both sides, reminded the west and the Muslim world of our responsibilities, and reaffirmed one of America’s highest ideals and traditional roles - that those who seek freedom and democracy, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have no greater friend than the United States of America.”

However, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Matthew Brooks, noting that Obama had struck a “balanced tone with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, said “that’s what was wrong with this speech.

“American policy should not be balanced - it should side with those who fight terror, not those who either engage in it or are too weak to prevent it,” he said.

“This conflict will not reach a peaceful conclusion until the Palestinians put an end to terrorism, violence, and incitement against Israel.”

Democratic senator Russ Feingold said Obama’s “historic speech was delivered with the kind of honesty and boldness needed to help secure a more peaceful and secure future.

“Though it emphasised broader themes more than specific steps, it was precisely the kind of public diplomacy that must be a greater part of our national security strategy,” he said.

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