McCain, Hagee, Lieberman, Clinton, Obama: Who’s good for Israel

John McCain is coming to Israel in order to attract Jewish voters back home, James Besser reports in The Jewish Week.

It’s difficult to decide which of the Republican Jews that Jim quotes win the chutzpah award.

“No one in this race has a more consistent record in support of Israel than Sen. McCain,” said Fred Zeidman, a longtime Jewish Republican leader and a top McCain fundraiser. “He has a proven record on Israel, and that resonates with our community.” Zeidman said McCain’s hawkish stands on national security and the war on terrorism will also appeal to Jewish voters…

Is this the same John McCain who has unstintingly supported an unnecessary war in Iraq that has “aggrandized Iranian power” (to cite Israeli strategic analyst Yossi Alpher), given Al-Qaeda a base in the region, and unleashed a flood of refugees that could destabilize Jordan, a strategic partner of Israel? That’s a proven record, but it doesn’t prove McCain is good for Israel.

Not to mention the latest AJC survey of American Jewish opinion, which shows that US Jews disapprove of how the current president – embraced by McCain – is handling terror by a 59-31 percent margin. And why should a hawkish record appeal to a constituency that thinks the war in Iraq was a mistake (67-27 percent margin) and opposes attacking Iran (57-35 percent)?

But for gold in chutzpah, Ziedman must compete with Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who defends McCain’s connection with John Hagee by saying,

“The fact [Hagee] has been kashered by AIPAC makes it very difficult to attack him…”

Folks, if your rabbi gives a kashrut certificate to a restaurant serving ham and cheese sandwiches, it’s time to find a new rabbi. This is the Rev. John Hagee who has said,

“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day…”

and the Hagee who has offered a thinly veiled defense of Yigal Amir, assassin of Yitzhak Rabin.

So if Aipac says Hagee is kosher , the question is whether anyone should credit Aipac with speaking for Jews. The same applies to Joe Lieberman, who seems interested in achieving the same status among Jews that Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas have achieved among Africa-Americans. (Abbie Hoffman to Judge Hoffman, Chicago, 1969: “You shtunk. Shande vor de goyim, huh?”) I urge any journalistic colleagues who accompany the McCain Medicine Show to Israel to ask the candidate at each question session: “Senator, do you still accept John Hagee’s endorsement?”

Enough of that. There are two candidates who obviously concern the majority of Jews. For now, let’s keep to the narrow question of which is better for Israel. Both HRC and Obama have position papers on Israel available online. To save time for you practiced Talmudists of 10-point papers, here’s the Big Difference: Hillary’s does not say one word about a two-state solution. Obama’s says:

Work towards Two States Living Side by Side in Peace and Security: Barack Obama believes in working towards a two-state solution, with both states living side by side in peace and security…

Listen, I could say this a lot of times. I have said it a lot of times. I could start sounding as repetitive as Tom Friedman talking about energy independence. Israel needs a two-state solution. This is the only way for Israel to remain a Jewish state and a functioning democracy. Even Ehud Olmert, heaven help us, thinks so. Obama wants to help him. Hillary acts like she never heard of the Clinton parameters. To whatever extent one’s vote is affected by where a candidate stands on Israel, is there anything unclear here?

3 thoughts on “McCain, Hagee, Lieberman, Clinton, Obama: Who’s good for Israel”

  1. All Presidents of the United States support the same policies….Israel should more or less withdraw to the pre-67 lines and a Palestinian state should be set up that “will live in peace side-by-side with Israel”. McCain will push for this no less than Obama and Hillary. The problem comes when it becomes apparent that NO SUCH PEACE AGREEMENT IS ATTAINABLE. So then the question is “how do we manage the current unresolvable conflict?”. Will policies taken damp down or exacerbate the situation? It seems to most people that Obama intends to take a “Jimmy-Carter-like” approach to foreign affairs…i.e. military might is “embarrassing” and passe, countries that are hostile to the US are at least somewhat justified in their hostility due to supposed American obtuseness, problematic allies of the US like Israel should be continually repremanded and pushed to appease hostile aversaries like the Syrians and Iranians. History has proven that this is a formula for INCREASED tension, not a relaxation.
    Carter’s policy of appeasement contributed to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis, which, in turn, directly led to Carter’s ouster by the American electorate.
    I think if Obama is the Democratic nominee, a significant number of American Jews will vote for McCain on the basis of what I have written. There are plenty of grounds for concern.

  2. Jimmy Carter was also the greatest Middle East peacemaker among American Presidents (by “appeasing” Egypt’s territorial demands), the statesman who solved the Panama Canal issue, and the resolver of the Iranian hostage crisis without war. I’ll be happy if Obama finds in this president a model for emulation.

  3. I can’t agree with Y. Ben-David. For starters, Zbigniew Brezinski seems to have provoked the Soviets to extend themselves into the colonial graveyard that is Afghanistan, correctly calculating that it would hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union. (See this interview.)

    Nah, I don’t think the US would be harmed by a little subtlety and leadership in its foreign policy. Obama looks like the best of the bunch, even if only for his expressed willingness to talk to his enemies and push back against the rampant militarism that seems to have gripped all US foreign policy discussion.

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