Thursday, October 30, 2008

McCainism: how to demagogue the Israel question

McCain has now poisoned the well to the point that it is considered treasonous to be in dialogue with Palestinian scholars and activists. Can't a person be a loyal friend to Israel and also be open to and curious about Palestinian perspectives?

Apparently not if you're McCain who seems to reject the idea of contact at any level with anyone outside the ever shrinking circle of friends of America in the Middle East. Worst of all is the obvious fact that McCain is demagoguing this issue. In 1996 in his capacity as director of the International Republican Institute, he directed a grant of nearly half a million dollars be sent to a Palestinian research organization co-founded by the selfsame Khalidi.

Obama was asked about his relationship with Khalidi in May at a town hall with Jewish voters.

“I do know him because I taught at the University of Chicago,” Obama said. “And he is a Palestinian. And I do know him and I have had conversations. He is not one of my advisors; he’s not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy.”

“To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take,” Obama said. “so we got to be careful about guilt by association.”

Predictably, McCain frames this entire issue as evidence of a left wing media bias. Here's what he said.

"I’m not in the business about talking about media bias but what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet. I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different."

That's an interesting hypothetical given the fact that there is a tape of McCain with the Reverend John Hagee, an end-of-days whack job whose endorsement McCain actively solicited and whose contributions he accepted.

Then there's Ron Parsely who McCain called one of his "spiritual guides". Listen to this clip and ask yourself how in God's name can an American president who is guided by such a voice ever hope to win hearts and minds in the Arab world? Parsely doesn't make any pretense to wanting peace; he envisions war, spiritual and temporal war, holy war.

But here's the interesting thing...neither the media nor the Obama campaign have pressed on with the material in these video clips for public consumption since McCain "distanced himself" from these pastors. Isn't it interesting that the press and Obama take McCain at his word in this matter yet Obama does not get the same kind of treatment when he tries to do the same thing?
Liberal bias indeed.


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