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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain: 'Hamas, Hezbullah want to destroy all West holds dear'

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain (in the photo at top left, that's Joe Lieberman on the left and McCain on the right) arrived here on Tuesday for a visit that will conclude today with him moving on to France and Britain. Significantly, McCain will not visit the 'Palestinian Authority,' although he did telephone 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, which will appear in full in Friday's edition, McCain said almost all the right things.
"If Hamas/Hizbullah succeeds here, they are going to succeed everywhere, not only in the Middle East, but everywhere. Israel isn't the only enemy."


"They are dedicated to the extinction of everything that the US, Israel and the West believe and stand for. So America does have an interest in what happens here, far above and beyond our alliance with the State of Israel." [Fatah is equally as dedicated to the same thing - it just uses different tactics. CiJ]

McCain, who arrived on Tuesday for a one-day visit accompanied by senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said that while he would never tell Israel not to speak with Hamas, he was personally against it.

"Someone is going to have to answer me the question of how you are going to negotiate with an organization that is dedicated to your extinction," McCain said in a lounge in Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel, as Lieberman and Graham listened.


"I really think that we should understand that the US and Israel are partners. Israel is not a client of the United States," he said. "If you are partners, then you don't dictate what you think the terms of the survival of a nation should be."

Asked whether Israel was using the right tactics in trying to quell the rocket fire on Sderot and the western Negev, McCain praised Defense Minister Ehud Barak - terming him "one of the great military people" he has met - and added, "I can't give you a good answer as to how you respond to these rocket attacks."

But, he then said dryly, "I can tell you that I believe that if rocket attacks came across the border of the United States of America, that the American people would probably demand pretty vigorous actions in response. I think I know my constituency in the state of Arizona, and they would be pretty exercised if rockets came across our southern border."

McCain's toughest talk, however, was reserved for Teheran, which he said unequivocally was pursuing nuclear weapons - remarks that were at odds with last year's controversial US National Intelligence Estimate.

"I think Iran is a threat to the region," McCain said, adding that not only were the Iranians "obviously pursuing nuclear weapons," they were also arming and training extremists to send into Iraq, supporting Hizbullah and influencing Syria.

"At the end of the day, we can still not afford to have Iran with nuclear weapons," he said. "We know they have ambitions that are not just aimed at the State of Israel."

These ambitions included "destabilization of the entire region upon which the United States' national security interests rest," he said.
Sounds good so far, but look what comes next:
McCain, meanwhile, made no promises regarding former secretary of state James Baker, a man who causes anxiety among many pro-Israel supporters in the US and who has been mentioned as a possible presidential envoy to the region under a McCain administration.

One thing he did promise was that whomever he picked for that role, "I would personally be engaged. I know enough about it to be personally engaged and give it my highest priority. Secondly, he said, any candidate for that position would be someone whom both sides would listen to and respect.

As to a future role for Lieberman, who has been touted as a secretary of state or defense secretary, McCain warmly thanked Lieberman for supporting him at a time when it was not the popular thing to do. "I know many ways that he can serve this country [the US], with or without me as president of the United States," McCain said.
Obviously, almost no one in Israel would be happy if James "F**k the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway" Baker had a major role to play in this region again. On the other hand, I would not be crazy about Lieberman being Secretary of State either because I fear he would bend over backwards to prove that he has no dual loyalties. Here is some of my basis for that fear:
Israel is under increasing pressure to release at least some of the money, and government officials said the issue came up in nearly every meeting Olmert held with foreign leaders. For instance, visiting US Sen. Joe Lieberman brought it up on Sunday when he met with Olmert after meeting with Abbas in Ramallah. [Et tu Joe? CiJ]
As to Baker, please recall that both McCain and Lieberman attacked Baker for the Iraq Study Group report. That makes McCain's refusal to disavow Baker more surprising.

All in all, regardless of who the dhimmicrats end up nominating, those who hold Israel dear really have little choice but to support McCain in the upcoming election (obviously, I would have rather it had been Giuliani). After that, just close your eyes and pray. At least if McCain wins, we should not be starting behind the eight-ball.


At 12:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

All of this is heartening but it should be recalled Oslo and its progeny was an Israeli as opposed to an American initiative. While American pressure does reinforce the suicidal delusions of Israel's leaders - the truth its more of a crutch, excuse or alibi than a threat or sanction. No two sovereign states, even friendly states are in complete agreement on their vital interests. And no matter who is elected President in November, the US and Israel are going to have differences over Jerusalem, the revanants and borders. Ultimately, decisions on Israel's fate will be made in Jerusalem instead of Washington.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Everything McCain said was entirely predictable, safe (come one, who's going to praise Hamas/Hizbullah?) and not good at all, it clearly shows his allegiance to present Bush/Condi approach of marginalizing Hamas/Hizbullah while supporting the fake moderates (not just within Israel, but the surrounding nations), who actually are even more of a threat because of their capacity and Islamic authority.

I also note no comment from McCain of outrage over the $150 million for the Palis Condi just pushed through with her misrepresentations to Congress about Mahmoud Abbas/Fatah. And I see there's no mention in this post about McCain's repeated serious errors of fact on Al-Qaeda and Iran.

And sorry, normanf, but Israel is rapidly becoming a post-sovereign nation. I believe McCain would speed that process up, actively aiding/abetting Israel's enemies as is being done now.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

Everything McCain said was entirely predictable, safe (come one, who's going to praise Hamas/Hizbullah?) and not good at all, it clearly shows his allegiance to present Bush/Condi approach of marginalizing Hamas/Hizbullah while supporting the fake moderates (not just within Israel, but the surrounding nations), who actually are even more of a threat because of their capacity and Islamic authority.

While I have little doubt that McCain would tow the politcally middle of the road Abbas as moderate line, he would do that because the Israeli government pushes that line.

I don't see him as wedded to any detailed position, but rather would follow a lead.

It is up to Israel to have the courage to call out Abbas for what he is, and we cannot expect the US to be more catholic than the pope.

Just as Bush has been pushed further and further away from his June 2002 speech byt Sharon's desire to stay out of jail and Olmert's desire to stay in power, so too would a president McCain follow that path if Israel continues to elect leaders who insist on negotiations with a ficticious PA as the way to keep the media and judiciary on their side.

McCain has been in the most pro-Israel governing body in the world for a long time (the US Congress) and he knows that the American people are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. All it takes is for Israel to draw a line in the sand and it will not get much to get McCain to follow. He is not an arabist to the level of George Bush, and while he no doubt believes that the Arabs need to be treated with more respect than they deserve, I don't expect to see him holding hands with Prince Bandar.


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