Iran and the Democrats ~ a JPost editorial
This week, Democratic candidates for US president spoke to the National Jewish Democratic Council. What do their speeches tell us about where they would lead American foreign policy in a post-Bush era?
Among the Democrats, Sen. Barack Obama raised eyebrows by saying that, while Israel should not be asked to "take risks with respect to its security," the US "can ask Israel to say that... [there is] more than just the status quo of fear, terror, division. That can't be our long-term aspiration."
This is an unfortunate statement, since it wrongly implies that Israel has not repeatedly said such things. Worse, it suggests that Israel must be prodded to seek peace, as if this is not something that almost every Israeli citizen and leader has yearned for more deeply, perhaps, than most Americans can imagine.
It would be a mistake, however, for Israelis - who will be dramatically affected by American foreign policy - to measure American candidates solely by their attitudes toward the Arab-Israeli conflict. All express strong support for Israel, which should be accepted as sincere and reflective of the great majority of Americans.
The more pertinent question is how these candidates will steer the American ship of state through the wider storm - the global conflict between Islamo-fascism and the West, between Iran and the United States. As this conflict goes, so go the prospects for peace in this region and in the world.
On this, it is instructive to go back to what, to many Americans, now seems a strikingly prescient speech by Obama to an anti-war rally, before the US toppled Saddam Hussein.
"After September 11th... I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars...
"What I am opposed to is a dumb war... What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."
Setting aside the troubling attempt to pin the war in Iraq on two Jews, one of whom was long out of government, what is striking here is Obama's distinction between necessary and "dumb" war.
Whether and how the war in Iraq should have been fought is the subject of heated debate. The burning question now, though, is not just how to end it, but whether the confrontation with Iran is another "dumb war" in the Democrats' book.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - area commuters will be inundated with a controversial poster-ad campaign when they take the city’s subway system next month.
Starting May 13 for four weeks, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has ordered 20 of its subway stations to place posters advertising a June 10 rally to end “Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.”
Initiated by a charity called the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the 46-by-60-inch posters depict an imposing tank pointing its main firing turret at a child with a schoolbag walking along a dirt road.
“Imagine if this were your child’s path to school. Palestinians don’t have to imagine,” the poster states, before continuing to call for an end to U.S. aid for “Israel’s brutal military occupation… paid for by U.S. taxpayers like you.”
CBS Outdoor, the New York-based firm that places in-station advertising for WMATA, at first refused to consider the poster, but eventually relented to pressure from WMATA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).