Jonathan Schell on the candidates and Israel
VOICE OF PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: One of the critical issues that many voters are going to have to decide on in choosing their candidate is foreign policy and certainly the Middle East. And to a large extent, that comes down to the question: what’s one’s policy towards the state of Israel? So what is the policy of Obama and Clinton? Is there any difference between them?
JONATHN SCHELL, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: I can’t really find any difference whatsoever between them. They, all three have, and Romney as well, really bought into the current consensus, which is one of really unreserved backing for the state of Israel. Obama, for instance, gave a speech to AIPAC, the very conservative Jewish lobbying organization here in the United States. And he said that he’d gone and visited one of the villages that had been struck by a Katusha rockets fired by the Palestinians and what a treasured moment that was for him, and he really sort of sealed an emotional bond with his audience that way. And I couldn’t find a single word expressing any regret for the suffering of the Palestinians, for example. Let me just give you a little quotation. This again is in an AIPAC speech: [text on screen] “And we can, then, more effectively deal with one of the greatest threats to the United States, Israel and world peace: Iran.” (Barack Obama, March 2, 2007, AIPAC Policy Forum.) So in other words you see really in a sort of light version the Bush policy of essentially approaching so-called rogue states or proliferators, yes, with diplomacy, yes, with words, yes, with getting together with leaders, and so on and so forth, but again, at the end of the day, you have the big stick, which will have just gotten bigger by 80,000 troops, to take care of the problem if that seems to be necessary. And once again the idea is no option should be taken off the table. As for McCain, you know, he chose to have a meeting with the Christians for Israel. Now, this is really a sort of very far-out group that is in love with these theories of the rapture or the end of the world, in which Israel is going to be converted to Christianity, and then Christ is going to come and rule the Earth and this kind of thing. But none of that crazy stuff deterred McCain from going and giving a speech to that group. But as far as policy goes, he’s probably pretty much the same as Bush, as Clinton before him, and Hillary, and Obama. So once again there’s not a great choice presented to the voters on these matters.
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