Martin Peretz: Obama ‘Close to Betrayal’

Monday, 31 Jan 2011 04:52 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Staunchly liberal voice Martin Peretz, longtime editor of The New Republic magazine, has unleashed an attack on President Barack Obama, saying he fears a “betrayal” on a number of issues.

Obama, Perletz, New RepublicPeretz bought The New Republic in 1974 and served as its editor in chief for 33 years beginning in 1978. He was a strong supporter of Obama in 2008. But in an article published Sunday in The New York Times Magazine, Peretz revealed his disenchantment with Obama.

“I’m not sure I feel betrayed, but it’s close,” Peretz told the Times. “Our first African-American president has done less to fight AIDS in Africa than George Bush. He’s done nothing on human rights, nothing to fight rape in Africa.”

Peretz, an outspoken supporter of Israel, has been increasingly critical of Obama. He wrote in one column: “Frankly, I am sick and tired of President Obama's eldering — more accurately, hectoring — Israel's leaders. It is, after all, they whose country is the target of an armed and ideological cyclone that Obama has done precious little to ease.”

In November, Peretz suggested that Democrats might be better served if they did not nominate Obama for re-election: “Wouldn't it be better that, rather than have a Republican candidate trounce him in the general elections, a Democrat try to unseat him in the party primaries and at the convention. Surely, there are many sensible Democrats who realize that the ‘yes, we can’ dream is, in fact, Obama's own hallucination.”

A number of other interesting points emerge from Stephen Rodrick’s New York Times Magazine article:

Regarding Democratic Sen. and former presidential candidate John Kerry, Peretz states: “For 35 years, I’ve hated him. He would say I sucked up to Al [Gore], and I would say Al is a much more interesting guy. He called me last year, and we had dinner. Now we’re fine. It turns out that most of our problems were personal, not political.”
Peretz took issue with a New Republic columnist who wrote a blog denouncing Henry Kissinger for telling President Richard Nixon it wasn’t America’s place to intervene on behalf of Soviet Jews even if their survival was at stake. “Kissinger provided the arms in the 1973 war when Israel was about to be destroyed,” Peretz said. “Kissinger is the savior of Israel. Whatever anti-Semitic things he allowed the president to say, I don’t care.”
After New Republic reporter Stephen Glass was found to have fabricated at least two dozen stories for Peretz’s magazine, Peretz actually testified on Glass’ behalf at an appeals hearing to determine if he should be allowed to join the California bar. Peretz said of the appeals board: “Who are they to sit in judgment?”
Peretz expressed pessimism about Jews co-existing with Arabs: “There is no history of the Arabs being kind to the Jews.”
He also asserted: “If you think Iran had a nuclear weapon that could destroy Israel [and] they would worry about the millions of Arabs that would be killed, you’re naïve.”

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