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An Israeli’s Response to McCain’s AIPAC Speech

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Daniel Levy at Prospects for Peace posted an essay on McCain’s keynote address at the annual AIPAC conference.  Some of his remarks about Iran are pasted below.  The entire article is definitely worth a read:

Senator McCain gave the keynote address at today’s opening of the annual AIPAC Conference and promised that the same vision of perpetual warfare served up by Bush, and offered as an option to Americans in November, would also be available to his Israeli friends were he to become the next occupant of the White House.  If I may speak for a moment from my Israeli perspective—I found the enthusiastic response to the= unappetizing fare proffered by McCain, while not surprising, thoroughly distasteful.


McCain’s speech ran to just under 3000 words.  Exactly half of that was devoted to Iran and Iraq.  If one removes the tops and tails—his flowery references to visiting Israel, the obligatory name check to his buddy Senator Lieberman, and reference to Henry “Scoop” Jackson (a none-too-subtle bow to the neocons), then just 725 words of that speech remained for such trivialities as Israel’s relations with its neighbors, al-Qaeda, the Gulf, etc.; not surprising then that these barely got a mention.

In McCain’s world the Middle East is reduced to Iran, Iraq and some terrorists running around in Gaza and Lebanon.  Egypt and Jordan, the two neighbors with which Israel has formal peace treaties, and the anchors for Israel’s acceptance and peaceful existence in the region, did not merit a single mention.  Likewise Saudi Arabia, or any of the Gulf States with whom Israel is keen to formalize links, who were even present at the Annapolis conference and who have mobilized a platform for regional acceptance of Israel in the Saudi Initiative.  McCain ain’t interested.  On the Saudis and the Gulf—nada.


So what of the subjects he did talk about—Iran and Iraq primarily?

On Iran, McCain parrots the positions of that wing of the Bush administration least troubled by reality.  He slammed the door shut on diplomacy:

We hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden  inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before…

and suggests more of the ramped-up sanctions and threats that have served to bolster the hardliners in Tehran and whatever nuclear ambitions they have.  In doing so, he even rejects the positions recently voiced by Defense Sectrary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus advocating that US policy create the conditions for constructive engagement with Iran.  That puts McCain way out of touch with US public opinion, 59% of which says that “the US President should meet with the President of Iran”.

In a snub to 60s music fans, McCain offered no rendition of his cover of the Beach Boy’s classic “Barbara Ann”, and notably did not sign up to the naval blockade of Iran recently suggested by some senior Israeli officials.

Irancove @ June 4, 2008

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