Saturday, May 24, 2008

Barack Obama and Israel, Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 I acknowledged that Senator Barack Obama, now the likely Democratic nominee for President, has generally been supportive of Israel and has a solid voting record during his four year tenure in the U.S. Senate. I expressed deep reservations, however, about his choice of foreign policy advisers, specifically Robert Malley and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both of whom are stridently anti-Israel and have a history of blaming all the ills of the Middle East on Israel in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

Even more worrisome is Obama campaign co-chair and chief military adviser, General Merrill "Tony" McPeak. Writing about McPeak in the conservative American Spectator Robert Goldberg describes the General's views:
He also has a penchant for bashing Israel or, more particularly, Jews who oppose negotiating with terrorists.

McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not going back to the 1967 borders as part of any peace agreement with Arab states. In 1976 McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs magazine questioning Israel's insistence on holding on to the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank.

In a 2003 interview in The Oregonian newspaper, when asked why efforts at peacemaking between Palestinians and Israel have failed McPeak had the audacity (to borrow Obama's favorite term) to blame it on American Jewry. Asked where the problem lies, McPeak responded:
New York City. Miami. We have a large vote - vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.
McPeak also blames Jewish and Christian Zionists of manipulating U.S. policy in Iraq:
Let's say that one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq.

While Senator Obama has recently started distancing himself from Zbigniew Brzezinski and has clearly staed that he disagrees with Brzezinski on Israel he has made no similar statements about McPeak. Quite the contrary. In the run up to Tuesday's Oregon primary television commercials with Obama and McPeak together appeared. (McPeak is an Oregon native.) Obama turned to McPeak to boost his credibility as a future Commander-In-Chief.

McPeak clearly doeen't believe that Israeli interests and American interests coincide in the Middle East. If Obama's top military man is McPeak can an Obama administration be trusted to do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons? Would McPeak simply dismiss any calls to do so as another attempt at manipulation of U.S. foreign policy by Jews and Christian Zionists? Would Obama take his advice? I don't know for certain but I certainly don't want to find out.

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