By Elizabeth Chuck, msnbc.com
It didn’t push “Zombie Apocalypse” out of Twitter’s top trending topics, but President Obama’s speech about U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa was the subject of a lot of impassioned tweets Thursday.
“Breaking: Obama has just updated his Facebook Relationship status with Israel to ‘frenemies’” tweeted @Lady_Patriot as Obama endorsed Palestinians' demand for their state to be based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.“Shorter Obama speech: ‘I am boldly proposing that we do the same things that haven’t worked for 40 years,’” summarized @BenHowe after the hour-plus address. “Native Americans demand 17th century borders in Native America. Obama complies,” mocked @RELIII.
The speech, livestreamed by the White House, was controversial enough to distract the Twitterverse from May 21, 2011, which - according to a radio preacher’s prophecy - will be Judgment Day/the end of the world. Tweets shifted from End Times' ensuing “Zombie Apocalypse” (which has become a big enough Internet joke that even the CDC suggested preparations for it in a tongue-in-cheek blog post) to anger and disappointment as the president spoke.
“This Obama speech is filled with dangerous (at best) recommendations,” said @mboyle1. “Maybe those Apocalypse May 21 people are right.”
“Hypocrisy at its best,” declared @Salma_Tweets from Cairo.
Then there was the issue of what Obama didn’t say: Seven countries in the region were not mentioned in the speech, according to @assuss. “8 references to Israel or Israelis, 22 to Palestine or Palestinians. No Saudi mentions, 6 Bahrain, 7 Syria, 13 Egypt,” counted Al Jazeera’s @evanchill.
But not everyone had harsh reactions. “President Obama’s #MEspeech [Mideast speech] is an unbelievable patchwork of delicate balancing acts… almost surreal,” tweeted @weddady, a civil rights activist.
Added @LarryOrnez, “I can’t believe #MEspeech is a trending topic. The world is actually starting to CARE!”
And from Pakistan, one twitterer saw the speech as legitimate entertainment: “From now on, the only Barack Obama #MEspeech I'll watch shall be on autotune, while consuming appropriate beverages & snacks,” he said.
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