Obama celebrates Netflix screening amid the backlash from his recent Israel-Palestine comments

 November 12, 2023

Former President Barrack Obama, on Saturday, seemed unbothered by the backlash that he is facing when he made a "surprise" appearance at the screening of Netflix's Rustin. 

The backlash comes from Obama's recent Israel-Palestine comments. There will be more on this in a moment.

The screening was held, according to The Hollywood Reporter, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

The outlet reports that Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama made a "surprise appearance" at the event.

All smiles

For those unfamiliar with Rustin, it comes from the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground.

The Netflix billing states:

The powerful story of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black Civil Rights leader who dedicated his life to a quest for racial equality, is finally getting the spotlight. Colman Domingo plays the driving force behind the 1963 March on Washington in a new film from DGA Award and three-time Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).

The Obamas did speak at the screening. Barrack Obama is reported to have celebrated the end of the Hollywood strike, saying, "It’s great to see even more of you since the strikes are over."

"As somebody who cares a lot about the power of workers in this country and as the father of somebody who writes in film, I am glad that both the actors and the writers came to an agreement that recognizes their worth and their work," the former president said.

All-in-all, it appears that, based on reports from the screening, you would never know that Obama is currently in the middle of a large controversy.

The controversy

Obama has faced significant criticism for remarks that he has made on the Israel-Palestine conflict on two recent occasions.

First, there was Obama's appearance on Pod Save America. There, he said:

If there’s any chance of us being able to act constructively, to do something, it will require an admission of complexity. And, maintaining what on the surface may seem contradictory ideas — that what Hamas did was horrific, and there’s no justification for it; and what is also true is that the occupation [sic] and what’s happening to Palestinians is unbearable . . . So, if you want to solve the problem, you have to take in the whole truth, and you then have to admit nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree.

Then, there was Obama's more recent appearance at the Obama Foundation's Democracy Forum.

There, Obama called for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, while also calling, ambiguously, for an end to "occupation."

Obama has found himself facing a serious backlash for these remarks, which many have deemed anti-Israel. But, as stated, it does not appear that the backlash is bothering Obama one bit.

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