How exhausting it is — the constant banter about McCain vs. Obama. What I have found particularly draining is my experience with pro-Obama people who simply don’t/won’t engage on the issues, so enchanted with their new “Hope” are they. I’m finding a saddening tendency to brush off every critique as not important, as well as an incredible amount of rationalization.
And so, for the most part, I’ve had my say — with one last mention of an article below. Then, it will fall as it falls. What I’ve been pondering is how Obama supporters are going to feel — if Obama does win — when things don’t play out as expected: when there is not more hope in the country, but more fear, when divisions have increased rather than being reduced, and when our enemies are emboldened.
Last week I cited from a major Jerusalem Post magazine article on Jews who knew Obama in Chicago. This past Friday there was a similar article about McCain and Jews in Arizona in the same magazine. A few short mentions are in order here.
One of McCain’s earliest supporters was Sid Rosen, a Democratic political activist who came to hear McCain at the Phoenix Kiwanis Club 28 years ago, before he held office. Rosen ended up telling him he would support him in any election. Among other things in McCain’s favor, said Rosen, was that “He’d laid out the most incredible pro-Israel analysis I’d ever heard.” And, points out Rosen, there were exactly two Jews in this Kiwanis chapter, so this was not a statement intended to garner support, but one of conviction.
Morris Amitay, who served as AIPAC’s executive director, says that McCain is ‘instinctively pro-Israel.” Farley Weiss, Phoenix lawyer agrees, recalling McCain’s willingness to stand against his own party, criticizing President George H.W. Bush, who made disparaging remarks about Israel.
Michael Bell, also of Phoenix, says he’ll be voting Republican for just the second time in his life this week, primarily because of McCain’s foreign policy and defense positions. And..”he’s a proven commodity with Israel.”
George Weisz, a personal friend of McCain’s, says he thinks McCain’s affinity for Israel is connected to his own experience as a POW. He recalls McCain, after visits to Israel, talking about the “tenacity” of the population, “which shares the passion he has for freedom,” and a bravery in the face of constant aggression.
Criticism centers on McCain’s quick temper and his conservative stance on domestic issues.
But not a whisper of a suggestion that McCain has shifted positions to garner votes. Not so much as a hint about a McCain propensity to befriend radical Muslims or the possibility that he would be soft on terrorism.
So, you take it as you see it. For me, the differences are glaring.
I will be following the political events in Israel over the next three months, but with a cautionary word: Things change so rapidly that what happens today may have no import later.
What seems to be the case now according to a recentJerusalem Post poll is that the next government of Israel will be right wing. While Kadima and Likud are in a dead heat, the right wing bloc as a whole — counting as right wing Likud, Shas, Israel Beiteinu, the National Union-National Religious Party and United Torah Judaism — would pull down 64 seats compared to the left wing bloc — Labor, Kadima, Meretz and the Arab parties — would garner only 56. This would mean that Netanyahu would be able to put together a coalition, while Livni would not.
This is good news: It is being reported that Benny Begin is about to return to a life of politics. He has met with Netanyahu and will be re-joining Likud, giving it enhanced credibility. Begin, the son of Menachem Begin, has a sterling reputation for integrity and honesty.
As Begin is also strongly right-wing, Netanyahu’s embrace of him may be an indication of the way Likud will go.
Begin first served as an MK with Likud in 1988, but pulled out of the party in protest after Netanyahu signed over Hevron to the PA in 1997. He then tried to revitalize the Herut party of his father, joining in alliance with National Union, but resigned from politics when he found this unsuccessful. He has been working as the director of the Geological Institute, and until now resisted all pleas for him to return to politics. Clearly he sees now as a time when his presence can make a difference.
While things are coming together on the right, on the left they seem to be falling apart:
Livni has been courting Mofaz, whose support she badly needs, but so far he is resisting her. There is talk of her finding a way to place him second on the Kadima list, but his supporters are suggesting he won’t take it.
Ehud Barak, of Labor, now says, after having signed a coalition agreement with Kadima, that Livni is “honest” but not fit to be the next prime minister.
Ehud Olmert is apparently proceeding with negotiations with Syria, as it’s being reported that he has signaled to Damascus that the Turkish-mediated talks can continue.
MK Limor Livnat (Likud), on getting wind of this, protested to Attorney General Mazuz that Olmert should not be permitted to do this because he heads a transitional government. Mazuz has declined to intervene. This is in spite of Mazuz’s earlier letter outlining the responsibilities of a transitional government, which should not be making decisions that bind the government that will succeed it. What this makes Mazuz is best left unsaid.
Livnat will be appealing to the High Court.
The negotiations with Syria, as well as being inappropriate from an internal political perspective, are perhaps best described as untimely and senseless. There has been every indication that Syria is strengthening its ties with Iran and has participated fully in the rearming of Hezbollah. What is more, the US has now taken on Syria for its open border to Iraq, through which terrorists move.
This is a time to make nice with Syria?
There’s been considerable talk about a “national reconciliation” conference to bring together Hamas and Fatah, under the active sponsorship of Egypt. It has all been sweetness and light, with both sides declaring themselves pleased and on board. Until now, that is.
Hamas has now stated that it is “seriously considering” a boycott of the conference, scheduled for the 9th of this month, because of a recent PA crackdown on Hamas people in Judea and Samaria. If Hamas boycotts, there is no conference. That these tensions, which are endemic, surface, is no surprise. The question is whether they will be papered over for a bit.
Please, take a look at my just completed UNRWA report — the latest in a series. It consolidates previous information, and updates it. If you have need of basic, documented, hard-hitting information on this agency, which promotes the “right of return” and thus fosters terrorism, this a good place to look.
So many have seen UNRWA as a benign humanitarian organization simply caught in a bad situation. Ain’t so.