I swear Howard Kohr, Aipac’s executive director, must’ve been briefing John McCain for the presidential debate tonight. The candidate seemed to be channeling Aipac talking points about the impending Holocaust Iran plans for the State of Israel. Actually, Aipac doesn’t need Kohr in the room since it already has neocon ideologue Randy Scheunemann, the Republican’s foreign policy advisor.
My reading of the threat from Iran is that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel and to other countries in the region because the other countries in the region will feel compelling requirement to acquire nuclear weapons as well. Now we cannot a second Holocaust. Let’s just make that very clear.
“Existential threat to the State of Israel?” Check.
“Second Holocaust?” Double check. He’s following those talking points right down the line. Good boy, John. They’ll be some checks in the mail to you come Monday.
The only problem with this little nugget of “wisdom” is that one Middle East state ALREADY HAS nuclear weapons. Israel’s nuclear weapons cache has motivated other nations in the region like Pakistan and yes, Iran, and perhaps even Syria to feel the compulsion to have them. So if Iran got such weapons it wouldn’t be as if it were the first state to have them.
Here’s another talking point covered:
Senator Obama…said…he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Raul Castro without precondition. Without precondition. Here is Ahmadinenene (ph), Ahmadinejad, who is, Ahmadinejad, who is now in New York, talking about the extermination of the State of Israel, of wiping Israel off the map, and we’re going to sit down, without precondition, across the table, to legitimize and give a propaganda platform to a person that is espousing the extermination of the state of Israel, and therefore then giving them more credence in the world arena…
“Wiping Israel off the face of the map?” Triple check.
Problem is Ahmedinehad didn’t talk about exterminating Israel in New York or anywhere else. Does the Iranian president hate Israel? No doubt. Is the feeling mutual among Israeli leaders? You bet. But has Ahmadinejad ever said Iran would attack Israel? Has he ever threatened to use nuclear weapons or any weapons to destroy Israel? No.
Another ironic element to all this is that no less a Republican eminence gris than Henry Kissinger has advocated precisely this position–unconditional talks with Iran “at the highest level.” Isn’t it amazing to have Kissinger and Obama agreeing on something?
McCain of course tried vainly to claim that because he’d known Kissinger for 35 years, the old man could have said no such thing. But those of us who follow such stories know that’s precisely what the former secretary of state DID say only last week. Even odder, was Kissinger’s statement following the debate that said McCain had it right. It’s as if these two old geezers can’t remember what they said just yesterday.
I think it’s a goddamn shame that John McCain is clearly campaigning for the votes of elderly Florida Jews through this pandering to their worst fears about an impending Holocaust. He knows Jews of a certain age will respond like Pavlov’s dog if they hear such language used in a context that invokes questions of Jewish survival. I don’t blame Jews for having this reaction. A people who has suffered the traumas that ours has is bound to have similar reactions.
But I do blame otherwise intelligent politicians who deliberately stoke the fears of such people in pandering for votes in the provinces.
I am sorry to say that my own mother is a perfect example of this. She lives in Florida and won’t vote for Obama. For some strange reason she doesn’t seem to trust a black man to be president. And this is a woman who has voted for Democrats her entire life.
Don’t get me wrong. While I think my mother represents a trend within our community, I’m hoping that this trend will be rejected by the vast majority of the rest of us. Racialism and provoking fears of Israel’s destruction should have no place in U.S. politics or in American Jewish community. It’s my hope that whatever trend my mother represents, the rest of us will repudiate it and her (attitude) on November 4th. We need to hold out hope for a brighter future for ourselves and the State of Israel. A future of negotiation, peace and security.