McCainBLOG_2.jpgAnother day, another round of accusations that Obama is surrounded by people with strong anti-Israel positions. In this case, the person extends his antipathy to American Jews who live in “New York” and “Miami.”

Obama’s national campaign co-chairman is Merrill “Tony” McPeak and he’s also his military advisor. The good general has just put himself in the media spotlight by attacking Bill Clinton, otherwise I wouldn’t know who he is. The Republican Jewish Coalition does know who he is, however. What did McPeak say in an interview to an Oregon newspaper in 2003? This:

[A]We don’t have a playbook for the Middle East. You know, for instance, obviously, a part of that long-term strategy would be getting the Israelis and the Palestinians together at . . . something other than a peace process. Process is not a substitute for achievement or settlement. And even so the process has gone off the tracks, but the process isn’t enough. . . . We eed to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that.

[Q] So where’s the problem? State? White House?

[A]New York City. Miami. We have a large vote – vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.

Aah, he clearly loves New York!

Those who want to stick a knife in the Obama campaign are focusing on that statement and his later response:

. . There’s an element in Oregon, you know, that’s always going to be radical in some pernicious way, and likely to clothe it in religious garments, so it makes it harder to attack.

Is he talking about Jews again? Perhaps. But he does continue:

So there’s craziness all over the place. I think there is enough good will on the Israeli side – I’ve spent a lot of time in Israel, worked at one time very closely with the Israeli air force as a junior officer, and so – but that’s maybe the more cosmopolitan, liberal version of the Israeli population – I think there’s enough good will there – I don’t know if there is still on the Palestinian side, because they’ve been radicalized pretty well. But there’s enough good will, I would hope, on both sides that you can get the majority into some kind of a big tent, and make something better than what you’ve got now. If you do that, you’ll still have radicals on both sides doing stupid things, but that is basically a problem in internal security. Hopefully. You can handle it with police. But if you don’t do that, I don’t see any way to put together a strategy for the Middle East. I mean it’s just kind of a linchpin .

Not unreasonable.

He also said,

“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. Let’s say you are a born-again Christian and you think that Armageddon and the rapture are about to happen any minute and what you want to do is retrace steps you think are laid out in Revelations, then it makes sense”.

Shades of Walt & Mearsheimer’s update on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with a few Christian Zionists thrown in for good measure.

Well, Christian Zionists ain’t voting for Obama anyway so there’s little to lose there. But Jewish voters are voting for Obama and darn it, can’t he get just one adviser who actually has something positive to say about Israel or American Jewry?

Anyway, the Republicans are on this like flies to goat excrement:

Washington, D.C. (March 25, 2008) — The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today called on Sen. Barack Obama to remove Gen. Merrill “Tony” McPeak as his military advisor and national campaign co-chairman.

“By choosing to have a military advisor and national campaign co-chairman like General McPeak, serious questions and doubts are once again being raised about Senator Obama’s positions and judgment on Middle East issues,” said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.

In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, Gen. McPeak resorted to old stereotypes and unfortunate language by blaming the lack of progress with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the undue political influence of American Jewry. The problem, said McPeak is “New York City. Miami. We have a large vote — vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”

“Rather than putting the blame where it belongs — on the Palestinian leadership and their continued reliance on terror, General McPeak finds it more convenient to blame American Jewry and their perceived influence,” said Brooks. “This is the same dangerous and disturbing canard being promoted by the likes of Jimmy Carter and authors Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby.”

In addition, Gen. McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not returning to the 1967 borders or returning the Golan Heights to Syria, as he wrote in Foreign Affairs in April 1976.

“Senator Obama continues to surround himself with advisors holding troubling and disturbing anti-Israel bias. General McPeak’s views are alarming. We call on Senator Obama to immediately remove General McPeak from his campaign leadership role and as a key advisor,” said Brooks.

Not to worry, folks. Today the NY Times ran their 13,429th op-ed attacking Hillary Clinton viciously.

McCain must be laughing himself silly, as are all the Republicans who now know that you can go to a war under false premises, have thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians die without any exit in sight, accumulate debt hand over fist, destroy confidence in the justice system, undermine the relationship between the branches of government, appoint extreme right wing justices to the Supreme Court, let corporate America get away with whatever they want, watch gas prices double, watch the US Dollar melt down so that it is no longer the international rock-solid currency it was, take the country to the verge of a deep recession, AND THEN WATCH THE DEMOCRATS BLOW A GIMME CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT OVER THE MOST IDIOTIC MISTAKES.

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  • Uh, why is this an “idiotic mistake”? The general’s remarks are fully consistent with Obama’s earlier-posted remarks in Cleveland. Sadly, Middle may have to reconsider his comfy opinion that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference amongst the pres. candidates on Israel/Palestine.

    If Obama’s elected, there will be shift in direction vis-a-vis the ‘peace process’– a more neutral approach which will be more Fatah-friendly and more distant toward Tel Aviv. It’s becoming increasingly obvious, isn’t it?

    To call David Brooks’ piece a “vicious attack” is way, way over the top. He’s doing the math, basing his argument on the numbers and on Hillary’s own advisers’ views, so what’s your problem? Address his arguments on the merits. Hillary’s own folks give her a five per cent chance, so what’s your quarrel with Brooks?

  • “But Jewish voters are voting for Obama”

    Yeah, the entrenched idiot Jews, that’s for sure.

    McPeak, is also the same guy who said, “Who wants to volunteer to get cross-ways with us? We’ll be there a century, hopefully. If it works right.” when speaking about Iraq, and they’re trying to go after McCain for the 100 years or more comment? Re-f’in-diculous. I know McCain has a hypocritical track record, but compared to these two Democratic spoiled cry babies, he stands out like a leader, and those two stand out like liars.

    Lastly, I thought you were going to write about this Obama anti-Semitic guy, not McPeak. I guess Obama has too many to count:

  • Alex, the good reverend wouldn’t give most Jewish voters pause even if he’d distributed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the pews. (Hmm– maybe he did….)

    If McCain had these advisers/mentors/spiritual counselors, the Middles of the world would be all over him like a cheap suit. As it is, all is forgiven if a typical white person like Dennis Ross joins the team; Middle tells us he’ll then look the other way about everyone else.

  • Tom, it’s “idiotic mistakes” not the singular that I’m talking about. For example, having a sea of advisers who lean in this anti-Israel or anti-Jewish direction while trying to convince everybody that the candidate’s views are not in line with theirs. It’s idiotic not to understand that many voters will be put off by these types of views.

    It’s an idiotic mistake to keep fighting each other as Obama and Clinton are and about the issues about which they are arguing. For example, tactically, having Obama raise the race card in S.C was brilliant – until then he didn’t have the black vote locked up – but it has now become a dominant issue in the campaign and when the election becomes national, this will come back to haunt the Dems. The Republicans are salivating over Wright-infested commercials.

    The two sumo wrestlers are destroying each other in the pre-championship bout, but they both belong to the same stable of fighters and their opponent belongs to the champion stable.

    As to David Brooks, I don’t think I’m over-reacting. I believe I’ve been seeing almost a daily editorial attacking Hillary or praising Obama. Other than Krugman, who rarely discusses the race, the NY Times editors have consistently been partisan to Obama and I don’t think he deserves it. The latest article by Brooks is his interpretation of the 10% comment made by one of her advisers.

    First of all, advisers can be wrong. Second, as I recall, in the Super Bowl this year, the 18-0 unbeatable Patriots had their clocks cleaned by a team that was supposed to be their fodder. You have to play to win and nobody is pre-ordained as the winner. Did Brooks write an article 3 months ago telling Obama to quit because it was inevitable that Hillary should win? Every day, Obama shows bigger and bigger cracks in his candidacy. I’m talking about openings for Republicans about which he’s going to be pummelled and where I believe Hillary will fare better. Instead of viewing this objectively, we get a daily diet of how horrible Hillary must be.

  • I’m not suggesting Brooks is right, simply that he’s a far cry from Marty Peretz among Hillaryophobes. Nice job at dredging up the traumatic past there, Middle, but the Pats were never two scores up on the G-Men.

    As for Hillary and Obama engaging in mutually-assured destruction: Dem voters will rally around the winner, but more importantly, let’s vet the bad stuff now, let’s see how Hillary reacts to a gaffe, etc. I disagree with Brooks that she somehow should feel obliged to get out now or soon. She, her supporters and her donors, have every right to take this to the convention if they wish.

    Alex’s link is quite interesting. Here’s a Christian’s take: Obama immersed himself in an anti-semitic version of Christianity, in which the Jews’ alleged genocidal campaigns are part and parcel of theology. This is qualitatively different than the Wright Obama portrayed, a Wright upset by SA apartheid. Nor is this akin to the lefty Episcopal bishop who trashes Israel on Wednesday, but is orthodox on in church on Sunday.

    The firewall Obama suggests between politics and religion in his church is falling apart. Can anyone doubt there will be more to come? And isn’t this, at the least, fair game for a superdelegate trying to make up his or her mind?

  • Hey, I never claimed Jews were perfect. The fact that so many Jews still vote overwhelmingly Democrat is proof we have a long way to go. Don’t get me wrong, becoming Republican isn’t he answer nor the goal, but supporting the candidate best for your people and Israel is, and objectively voting rather than continuing on the voting traditions of your parents and grandparents is the first step in the right direction. Back when they were voting Democrat, it was probably the right thing to do, but nowadays, the Democrat Party has told the Jews to take a hike years ago. I for one listened and took their advice after 2000.

  • Tom – If Obama’s elected,

    I disagree. It might sound like something a normal person might want to do, but the US prez soon finds himself back in the MidEast trying to do ‘something’, or anything. It’s like some drug, they just feel like they have to try.

  • Jeeezus Middle. Why is any concern raised over Hillary’s tortured relationship with things like, you know, telling the truth, a vicious attack? Obama’s not perfect and there are potentially incredible problems that are being aired and explored ad infinitum. What’s wrong with looking into Hillary’s negatives? It’s almost like you don’t want her discussed in any way that doesn’t leave a ringing endorsement, which is exactly the same approach the Republicans took toward W. Bush. Look where that got them. Vet Her Infallible Highness. I mean, if even Sinbad can do it…

    You need to stop pretending that telling everyone to hush-hush and to keep quiet about her lying, etc., is going to make her look more positive. People talk regardless so it’s better to respond to their concerns. If you tell them to shut up they’ll assume she’s hiding something and will lose credibility in any event. But of course, if you can’t respond to those concerns, then, well, it’s hard to know what to tell ya and I guess I could understand where you’re coming from…

  • Middle, you do realize that Brooks is hired to give the conservative perspective, no? I think his column is what’s known as an “Op-Ed” (opposition editorial). NYT, along w/so many other papers, seems to refer to all their columns as “op-eds” nowadays (opinion editorials), but last I checked, Brooks is still under no Democratic party stricture to speak well of Democrats. I think the NYT editors are aware of this.

  • MUL, when you’re done setting up and knocking down straw men, let me know. At least you got another jibe at Hillary. Well done!

    Got anything to say about the Obama campaign co-chairman’s thoughts about Jews in America?

  • I want to find the people who started the Republican Jewish Coalition and smack them upside the head. Do you have any idea what would happen if we Jews started moving in large numbers over the Republican party? Our say in politics would be diluted to approximately zero. The only reason people take Jewish voters into account is because we constitute significant numbers in basically only a couple of really important states, and because we solidly belong to one party. That way we get a *huge* say over at least one party’s nominee. Something like 10% of the vote in the Democratic primaries in some states is Jews! If we Jews were split between two parties, or, heaven forbid, if our population were more evenly distributed among more states, then we wouldn’t even be detectable above the margin of error.

    I mean, for heaven’s sake, look at how hard the Democratic candidates have been working to woo Jewish voters this election! Even if you question their motives, you simply cannot deny all the time they have both spent trying to win over Jewish voters! If Jews split between the two parties, say goodbye to that! And say goodbye to Israel being a bipartisan cause.


  • Oh come on Matt. Relax because things aren’t so bad. There have always been some prominent Jews involved in Republican circles, including both donors and ideologues. Jews, as a constituency, are pursued by both parties because we vote in large numbers. As a result, in close states, we can be the difference between winning and losing. There are also a few significant donors who are Jewish and Republican and they also help keep the attention of that party. If you just focus on one party, then contrary to your assertion, you end up being out of power when your party isn’t in. It’s better to have Jews of all stripes if what we’re talking about is what’s “good” for the Jewish community.

  • “Got anything to say about the Obama campaign co-chairman’s thoughts about Jews in America?”

    Nah. I haven’t been paying that much attention. They’ve got enough of their own problems. And Hillary’s problems are more entertaining due to the extent that she lies in explaining them. Usually I like non-fiction, but unwittingly fictionalized self-histories do have good entertainment value.

    “MUL, when you’re done setting up and knocking down straw men, let me know. At least you got another jibe at Hillary. Well done!”

    This is about as hilarious an exercise in self-contradiction as her very own Kosovo production. You say I’m “setting up and knocking down straw men” by pointing out the way you resort to crying foul over any criticisms of Hillary. And then you proceed to do exactly that, and cry foul over my criticism of Hillary. Well done!

  • “It’s better to have Jews of all stripes if what we’re talking about is what’s “good” for the Jewish community.”

    Except for the stripe that doesn’t look the other way or proclaim Hillary to be innocent of everything she’s caught on tape doing, apparently. Or did you think that Jews criticizing Hillary is “good” for Jews but just “not good” for you to hear? Let me know.

  • Middle, I’m reading over McPeak’s statement. Is this really what’s got your panties in a bunch? A statement from 2003 on how Operation Iraqi Freedom might have benefitted Israel? Rumsfeld said as much back then. And since then it’s not really clear how it would or would not have benefitted Israel. Since then. You know, as in five years later. Clearly the internal contradictions in his statement speak for themselves. Isn’t it incoherent to speculate on how the invasion would benefit Israel if in the next sentence he implies that it would lead to a disastrous war? And you’re taking this guy seriously… in what sense exactly? As an anti-semite? As a pre-Mearsheimer and Walt peddler of their since lambasted conspiracy theories? No wonder you’re digging back to 2003. It’s harder to take M & W or their ideas seriously since their publication. Or McPeak if his clumsy statements are as similar to their ideas as you imply. Would it kill you to stop being so afraid of free speech for a minute?

  • Is that the best you can do Middle? There, there now.

    Obama’s been linked to advisers who’ve been known to give questionable advice on the Middle East – none of them as clearly as McPeak is, though. But these have all been individuals with views nowhere near as notoriously or stridently held to as that mainstream politician who’s been linked to so many other politicians, Pat Buchanan. It’s not as if I’m saying it’s not a problem; I’m asking if people are really that insecure to think that such a ridiculous, vague and insignificant blurb as the one you clipped from McPeak should really cause Jewish bloggers to shudder.

    Wright’s a problem. Obama’s well-publicized penchant for listening to diverse and antagonistic views in order to better defend and understand his own, however, isn’t. Again, Defend Hillary No Matter What Types might be unfamiliar with the utility of this characteristic.