Thursday, May 26, 2011

Would a "President McCain" have been any better?



Just in case you don't believe me, Accuracy in Media notes the following in an article dated May 17, 2011:

The Arab-funded Al-Jazeera is hosting a two-day inaugural “Al Jazeera U.S. Forum” in Washington, D.C., featuring Bob Woodward of The Washington Post among the celebrity journalists. But of particular interest is Politico’s revelation that Republican Senator John McCain showed up at the opening night of the forum to praise the channel’s coverage of the Middle East.

I don't know how fair this article is.  All I know is that John McCain's passionate words of support for Israel have always come with the asterisk that comes with cooperation with the Saudi Petrochemical Lobby.  If he's showing up to praise Al-Jazeera, what does that say about his confrontation of Barack O'Bama's proposed  U.S./Israel policy when he was running for President in 2008? 

While I'm at it, let's note that Senator McCain was a loud proponent of U.S. military intervention in the Libyan Civil War.  Who benefits from that war?  Let me give you a hint.

Upon the start of U.S. Armed Forces intervention against Libya, Saudi Arabia "re-assured" the U.S. and our allies that they would "make up" any deficit in petroleum production caused by the Libyan "unrest".  This might sound like a generous offer but think about it!  With prices for petroleum skyrocketing past $100/barrel, Saudi Arabia is CASHING IN on the war against Libya.  "Such a deal I have for you!"

As the Libyan war drags on and the Saudis get richer from it, Americans continue to struggle with rising gasoline prices.  American politicians from both parties run to make kissy-face with the Saudis and their Persian Gulf OPEC conspirators.  Just to make sure you don't notice, the President offers a "bold new policy" dealing with the War Against Israel.
See how it works?  


My friend Debbie Schlussel has informed me that Accuracy in Media is anything but.  I've known Debbie for a long time and I trust her judgment on this.  Debbie's views aside, the nature of the headlines on their website are too loaded to be automatically accepted as objective. That is why I made sure to qualify my column with "I don't know how fair this article is."

If someone can confirm that Sen. McCain and Nancy Pelosi attended the Al-Jazeera U.S. Forum and offered praise for that news organization, please let me know.  It certainly wouldn't surprise me, but for now, I have to question the accuracy of the claim and seek additional confirmation that Sen. McCain's participation actually occurred as it was described by Accuracy in Media.  

In retrospect, I have to be fair so let me extend my comments a little to clarify one point that came up yesterday during a lunchtime conversation with some Friends of Israel.  While it seems likely that Sen. McCain's diplomacy would have been very similar to President O'Bama's had the former been elected, I believe there would be one significant difference.  That difference becomes clear when you go down to the column below to read my entry regarding the President O'Bama's scapegoating of Israel.

President Bush pressured Israel for political and territorial concessions.  That much was made clear by his Sec. of State Condeleeza Rice.  However, when President Bush spoke of Israel, he always presented the Jewish State in the most positive terms.  President Bush routinely acknowledged Israel's past territorial concessions and the risks it had taken for peace.  Moreover, President Bush was willing to acknowledge that these risks often failed to bring about the expected results.  President Bush routinely rallied American public support for Israel. 

In observing Sen. McCain, I can say that I've personally witnessed him doing the same thing.  Had John McCain been elected President, the policies probably would have been much the same.   The difference would be that the President's "bully pulpit" would rally public support behind Israel and avoid scapegoating Jews for his diplomatic failures throughout the Muslim world.   

I won't elaborate on how this differs from President O'Bama's public presentation of the War Against Israel.  I've already done that in a column below.   I just thought I'd take a moment to put my comments in perspective regarding Sen. McCain. 


Monday, May 23, 2011

Scapegoating Israel

There are some who say that President O'Bama is "pressuring Israel" for more concessions.  I disagree. The President is not pressuring Israel. He is scapegoating the Jewish State.

Any sentence the President utters that includes "Israel" and "borders" is problematic to Israel's enemies. Israel's enemies will resent it.   President O'Bama knows that.  Thus, he has incited additional enmity toward the Jewish State by its enemies.  He has not advanced the cause of peace between Israel and its enemies.  That might be a problem for Jews, but there's a bigger problem for America. 

You see, the real problem is that U.S./Pakistani relations are in free-fall. A quick look at a map should tell you (or anyone) what that means to U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Last year, the Administration gave a $500 Million aid package to Pakistan only to find Osama bin Laden (i.e. "Public Enemy Number One") enjoying safe haven there. The "Arab Spring" has resulted in Arab regimes (either existing or in-waiting) losing trust in America.  As the euphoria of the bin Laden assassination quickly wears off the U.S. public in an election season, it is only natural for the President's domestic political adversaries to criticize the Administration's handling of affairs in that region.

In order to deflect attention away from these problems, the O'Bama Administration has decided to direct attention away from their mis-management of the ongoing turmoil in Arab/Muslim nations and focused on  Israel.  This is being done with the knowledge that the news media will quickly respond in knee-jerk reaction and take the ongoing turmoil in Arab/Muslim nations off the front pages of their news reports. 

Scapegoating Israel deflects attention away from mounting problems in Pakistan (quite unrelated to the War Against Israel) and throughout the region before they bite the American public. The established governments throughout the Muslim world are being de-stabilized with little hope that any of these countries will be  more friendly toward the United States under new management.  This is all happening on President O'Bama's watch.  Many of these situations are bringing the O'Bama Administration under severe criticism from its political opponents (and even amongst its allies).  Faced with this criticism, President O'Bama has returned to his "Plan A" thesis established on day two of his Administration: "Solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict and 'all these other problems' go away." Since President Nixon resigned from office, virtually every one-term President has applied this thesis. 

President Bush's policy toward Israel was hardly any better.  However, President Bush always had the basic courtesy to mention that Israel had taken MANY risks for peace (i.e. one-sided concessions).  In doing so, President Bush avoided the stigma that he was scapegoating Israel.   

President O'Bama rarely (if ever) acknowledges past Israeli concessions in the Jewish State's search for peace.  Both Administrations demanded more concessions.  While I did not appreciate Bush Administration policy on the War Against Israel, at least I appreciated his personal statements acknowledging that Israel was making an effort to pursue peace.  President O'Bama's personal statements are void of these acknowledgments.  That is why I believe President O'Bama's statements, including his comments last week, scapegoat Israel.  

President O'Bama and his recent comments on the War Against Israel

Over the next few days, I hope to share with you some of my thoughts and comments regarding President O'Bama's policy speech last Thursday (May 19 2011) and some of the media/political frakus that has followed.  This is the first of a series of comments.

Well! Wadda ya know! The news media LIED.

Sunday morning, May 22 2011, President O’Bama addressed the AIPAC policy conference. It contained statements that were insincere and untrue, but one thing he made certain: He did not use the words “1967 borders” in his Thursday 5/19/11 policy speech. He used the words “1967 LINES” [emphasis mine] in his speech last Thursday.

I haven’t read an exact transcript of last Thursday’s speech, but I’ve listened to President O’Bama’s speech this morning to AIPAC and believe he stated his words exactly as he made them on Thursday.

OK. That’s the good news. The bad news is that President O’Bama continues to call for a Palestinian State with “contiguous borders”. I think we know what that means. This condition was unilaterally INSERTED by the Bush Administration and was never agreed to by the Israelis. Certainly, arrangements for travel between Gaza and the West Bank were discussed during the Clinton Administration, but a Palestinian State with “contiguous borders” was never an ingredient in public U.S. Policy until the Bush Administration. I believe this element has stalled peace talks more than any other American policy.

Lastly, the statement in President O’Bama’s AIPAC speech that he will prevent Israel from being “singled out at the U.N. or any other international forum” is a bold-faced LIE. Time and time again, this President has singled Israel out as the soul source of failure in peace talks. The constant harangue that “Israel must act boldly to advance a lasting peace” is the routine line. The numerous territorial and political concessions  by Israel, have been met with no reciprocation, end-of-violence, end of incitement, or even continuing negotiations.  The obvious conclusion that these calls on Israel to "act boldly to advance a lasting peace"  are demands for one-sided concessions. 

And frankly, I’ve grown tired of people who are not Israeli citizens routinely saying that “Israel should….”, or worse, “Israel must….”. 

As an American, I believe my President needs to stop making policy statements that he knows (darn well) the news media will deliberately interpret as demands on Israel, one-sided or otherwise. The news media clearly mis-reported his speech. 

Public opinion drives public policy. News reporting shapes public opinion. If the President stops making these kinds of policy statements, few will question his claim of support for Israel.