President Obama deserves apologies from countless individuals and groups across the country. He deserves apologies for the ways in which he has been falsely portrayed, for the ways in which his policies have been intentionally misrepresented, and for the ways in which racism and hate have been used to fan fictional flames against him.
He also deserves apologies from those abroad who have mirrored their right-wing American peers. Particularly, right-wing Israeli politicians, who were clear (in unprecedented fashion) about wanting America to be led by a President Romney.
That apology has come eloquently from Yossi Sarid, a long-time Knesset member and current commentator for Israel's oldest daily, Haaretz.
Yes, Sarid is a life-long liberal. However, in the wake of Binyamin Netanyahu calling Obama and making conciliatory overtures after spending months trashing him, it is clear that Sarid speaks for many in Israel.
Listen to his words:
Only my closest friends are aware of the hasty steps I was contemplating if Barack Hussein Obama had been denied a second term. That would have been really much too much for me; there's a limit.Sarid continues beautifully, acknowledging that Israel alone made clear and public its preference for Romney, and admitting that Obama was alone in his grace and patience when faced with hostile Israeli leaders.
That's just what we would've needed, for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to win not just here, but there - when winning there is more important. The three-stranded rope – Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney and Netanyahu – would have been wound around our necks, choking us. Now, at least, we can breathe.
Now that he’s won, I feel obligated, on my own behalf − on behalf of all of us − to apologize to him. Don’t be mad at us, dear friend. When we could see on your face that your Israeli guest was not exactly to your taste, we didn’t take it personally, really. Here, too, there are more than a few people like yourself, who have a hard time tolerating our leader. They, too, believe that he’s hard to believe, or believe in.This is a beautiful apology. And while Sarid cannot offer an apology for those hawkish Israeli leaders who continue to denigrate Obama in the wake of his victory, it's clear many share Sarid's desire to ask Obama's forgiveness.
And yet despite Netanyahu and his gang, you demonstrated your friendship to us. No American president before you had ever showered us with so much that was good and necessary. In an aggravating demonstration of ingratitude, you were depicted here as an enemy. Israel is the only country in the world who preferred your rival over you. Because in Israel they don’t know how to say thank you, because Israel is never satisfied − you give it a supportive finger in a hostile environment, and it always wants the whole hand. It’s a lousy national characteristic, which obligates us to apologize.
And that includes, no matter the motivation, Netanyahu himself.
The Hebrew article in Haaretz was titled, "Sorry, Obama." The English-language site interpreted that to be "So Sorry, President Obama, Please Forgive Netanyahu."
However, from context, it's clear Sarid means to apologize for more than just the prime minister. Hence my translated title.