While few presidential candidates embrace a progressive position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rudy Giuliani has taken things to a new low. He’s the only candidate to turn his back on 30 years of U.S. Mideast policy and claim that the world is not ready for a Palestinian state. No doubt, Giuliani would also be opposed to a settlement freeze and the return of any of the West Bank to the PA–all positions long held by previous Administrations, both Democrat and Republican.
Not to be outdone in rejecting previously sacrosanct U.S. Mideast policies, Giuliani has opened his arms to some of the most wingnutty of Jewish right-wingers. Recently, he announced that Norman Podhoretz had signed on as a Mideast advisor. He’s the guy who’s just itching for us the drop the “big one” on Iran. He has a new book, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. For a delightfully vicious review, see Peter Beinart’s in the NY Times Book Review. The guy practically founded the neocon movement and is the embodiment of an ideological dinosaur. Need we say more??
And then Giuliani did himself one better by adding Daniel Pipes to his team. This is the guy who believes that Islam is an evil religion (except for the few Muslim “moderates” like Nona Darwish and Wafa Sultan who denounce their co-religionists and embrace Zionism). Pipes and his group, Campus Watch drove out Debbie Almontaser as principal of New York’s first Arab public school. CW also has played an instrumental role in the campaign to deny tenure to Barnard Palestinian-American professor Nadia Abu El-Haj.
I didn’t really believe this was possible but it appears Giuliani is trying to run to the right of AIPAC on Israel issues. Can anyone be farther to the right than AIPAC on this? I guess it really IS possible. And that’s the horror of what Giuliani’s doing.
The tendency at this point in a presidential race is not to focus too intensively on appointments like the two I mention above. It’s early. People aren’t paying much attention. Things can change one way or the other. But look at it another way: the guy is the leading Republican presidential candidate with 21% of the Republican vote in current polls.
Giuliani hopes to seal his support among neocons and right-wing pro-Israel Jews with these appointments. But we should remind the American people that there is no room for Islam-haters in American political campaigns. Any candidate who believes there is something to gain from pandering to Islamophobes should be made to pay a price for stooping to the lowest common denominator of American politics.