The War Party Targets Obama
They'll never let him become president
He's said it many times, in many different venues, and perhaps the words change a bit over time, and the cadences, too, but the message is always the same:This of course scares the hell out of the Israel is always right crowd - the neocons and they are mining for dirt.
"I think the pundits have it wrong. I think the American people have had enough of politicians who go out of their way to look tough, who say one thing in a caucus and another in a general election. When I am the nominee of our party, the choice will be clear. My Republican opponent won't be able to say that we both supported this war in Iraq. He won't be able to say that we really agree about using the war in Iraq to justify military action against Iran, or about the diplomacy of not talking and saber-rattling. He won't be able to say that I haven't been open and straight with the American people, or that I've changed my positions. And you know what? The American people want that choice. Because I believe that's what we need in our next President.
"We've had enough of a misguided war in Iraq that never should have been fought – a war that needs to end."
Barack Obama said that in a Des Moines speech back in October, but he's been repeating it – with added emphasis – as his campaign has taken off. It's that last line that always gets the loudest, most prolonged applause: the audience goes wild, people stand and cheer – as well they should. We are told that the ideological differences between Obama and the Clintons aren't all that great, that in fact they barely exist, which I think is a highly dubious proposition, but, in any case, on this issue – the vital question of war and peace – the gulf between them could not be wider, or deeper.
She, after all, voted for the war, and she's been saber-rattling over Iran – much to AIPAC's delight. Obama, on the other hand, has taken a clear and consistent antiwar position on the Iraq war, as angular as one could hope for in a mainstream politician, while her insincere pandering to the antiwar instincts of the Democratic base has been absolutely shameless.
Jewish functionaries stirring the Clinton-Obama race
Tensions in the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination are mirrored in the American Jewish community. As the gap between the front-runners narrowed in the primaries, the clash between the two Jewish camps has become more heated.Now these same people would be more than happy with Hillary. As I discussed here Hillary Clinton can rattle sabers with the best of the neocons. Raimondo reports that the Likudniks in Israel and their neocon allies in the US are ready for an all out attack on Obama.
Official Israel is making an effort to maintain a respectable neutrality. Has-beens are being called into the ring, like a former ambassador to Washington, Dan Ayalon, who jabbed Obama in a sensitive spot - the volume of his support for Israel. Ayalon is not alone. Jewish advisers and non-Jewish supporters are almost obsessively occupied with searching for skeletons in the black candidate's past.
The Republican Party's neoconservative clique is trawling archives for "anti-Israeli" essays by advisers who had been seen in Obama's staff. Robert Malley, who was President Bill Clinton's special assistant during the Camp David talks, joined Obama. The neoconservatives reached Malley's father, a Jew of Egyptian descent, who, alas, kept childhood ties with Yasser Arafat. Malley junior is accused of publishing a joint article with an Oslo-supporting Palestinian, in which they dared to argue that Ehud Barak played a major role in the Camp David summit's failure in July 2000.
Obama is working hard to allay the fears of "Israel's friends," a description reserved mainly for activists of the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC and for Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents. As far as they're concerned, whoever doesn't support the Israeli government's policy 100 percent is unfit for leadership.
This election year, warns Hoenlein, is signaling a sea change away from unconditional support to Israel, which most Americans see, he avers, as "a dark and militaristic place." Gee, I wonder why? Could it be the repeated invasions of neighboring states by the IDF? Or perhaps it's the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories, which is both brutal and seemingly never-ending.We know they will try to slime Obama but with a war weary electorate will they be able to make it stick?
Oh well, never mind that: what Señor Hoenlein is worried about is "the greater tolerance of anti-Israel statements that wouldn't have been allowed in the past." Could he perhaps be referring to Obama's statement that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians."? By the standards of our American Likudniks, such a remark is evidence of vehemently "anti-Israel" sentiments. After all, doesn't he know that the Israelis have a monopoly on suffering? Has he no respect?
In fact, I give it until sometime next week, when we'll be hearing that Obama is an anti-Semite – or, at least, that he is close to "known" anti-Semites (specifically, the Nation of Islam and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright); that he's anti-Israel, and that he – Barack Hussein Obama – is an "appeaser" whose foreign policy views are way to the "left" of right-reason. I wonder if Marty Peretz will assign Jamie Kirchick to do the job….
The War Party's agenda is clear and simple: de-legitimize anyone who advances foreign policy ideas that go against the grain of militarism and slavish appeasement of Israel. Anyone who questions why we are in a war in the midst of Mesopotamia for no apparently good reason is going to be smeared, and brought down. The War Party – and by that I don't just mean Republicans – plays dirty, and they play for keeps.