No American paying even slight attention -- or anyone else, for that matter -- could be so thick as to miss the insidious and, frankly, insulting symbolism of the backdrops before which Barack Obama chooses to deliver himself of his jeremiads.
Recall that in April, 2009, deferring to White House "request," Georgetown University covered up religious symbols significant to Christians everywhere. This so that the Oracle could harangue without those symbols "distracting" his audience. With thoughts of anything but him, of course.
Yet today, in a press conference in Ramallah, the peace-prize-winning One spoke before an overlarge banner of Yasser Arafat the Sordid. And this somehow, it seems, without throwing his audience off even the least little bit.
A putative Christian president makes sure no glimpse of his putative religion's iconography could be had by his putative Christian brethren, and in his own putative nation. Yet, that same president and ostensible supporter of Israel bloviates before the iconic face of modern Jew-hatred, and one so hagiographic that none of the sworn enemies of Israel in his audience could mistake his sotto voce meaning. Or intent.
This is fey irony by conscienceless artifice. "To beguile the time, / Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, / Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under't." (Macbeth, Act I, Scene V.)
Richard Kantro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org