Barack Obama was elected on a wave of hope following eight years of the warmongering neoliberal George Bush.
But Obama’s failure to condemn Israel’s barbaric attack on Gaza has sparked anger among ordinary people.
It is a sign of the shift that has taken place in US and world opinion that Obama cannot simply come out in support of Israel.
He is caught between his base among ordinary Americans – most of who are appalled at the slaughter in Gaza – and his supporters in the ruling class who back US imperialism in the Middle East.
So Obama has tried to fudge the issue – using the excuse that he is not yet president.
This has left many Americans fuming. “The silence from the Obama team regarding the Israeli attacks on Gaza has been deafening,” Nithya Krishnan, a student at Northwestern university in Chicago, told Socialist Worker.
“Polls show that Palestine is one of the most popular topics of discussion. Yet people are waiting for a response from the anti-war candidate who they voted into office.”
Shefali Kaul, an optical engineer in Columbia, Maryland, agrees. “Obama has stated that he cannot comment on foreign policy,” she said.
“So why has Obama been actively involved with issues around the US economy?
“We are witnessing a massacre in Gaza. And since the US is the largest provider of weapons for Israel, we are directly complicit.”
Others are not surprised by Obama’s stance. Loren Balhorn, another student at Northwestern university, said, “Over the last year Obama has increasingly positioned himself further to the right on US foreign policy.”
Many activists are determined to put pressure on Obama. Over 100 emergency protests were called across the US to show solidarity with the people of Gaza and condemn the Israeli attack – bringing thousands of people onto the streets.
“It has been the goal of the anti-war community in the US to harness the energy created by the Obama campaign and encourage voters to continue their political engagements,” said Nithya.
“The time has come for the people of the US to agitate for a just response to the Israeli assault on Gaza and urge Obama to uphold his promise for change.”
“It’s important to capitalise on this political vacuum between Obama’s supporters and his actual positions, and continue to build the mass resistance that will finally bring the change we’ve been waiting for,” added Loren.
Additional reporting by Virginia Rodino