Tag Archives: McCain

Only Tina Fey and SNL call out the pandering? You’ll never believe the one place McCain is leading.

This presidential campaign seems to be so far beyond any hope for authentic discussion about the peace process and the disastrous 8 years of BushCo, that we are now simply reduced to pointing out cases of bald-faced pandering. While both presidential candidates have assiduously sought to avoid the topic of Israel and Palestine–Obama’s in particular disastrous AIPAC flip flop on sharing Jerusalem aside–the VPs did have a chance last Friday to nearly come to blows over who loves Israel more. (This kind of “love”– unconditional support for settlement expansion and militarism, the ultimate barriers to peace, is the original love that dare not speak its name. It’s the kind of love to nowhere that Israeli friends would respond to with a “thanks, but no thanks.”)

There is no small irony that the discourse here becomes increasingly jingoistic, kind of like a Palin rally, just as Israel’s outgoing prime minister Olmert “declared that Israel must give up control of East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and virtually the entire West Bank if it hopes to achieve peace with its neighbors.”

Amen.

As many commentators have pointed out, leave it to the comedy shows to say what no one else will. In case you’re one of the 3 people who haven’t yet seen Tina Fey’s most recent Oct 4 Sarah Palin imitation, SNL did call out Palin, though not Biden, for superficial pandering.

Forward to 2:48 on embedded video:
Latifah/Ifill: Governor Pailin? What is your position on health care regulation?
Fey/Palin: I’m going to ignore that question and instead talk about Israel.
I love Israel so much, bless its heart.
There’s a special place for Israel in heaven.
And I know some people are going to say that I’m only saying that to pander to Florida voters, but from a very young age, my two greatest loves were always Jews and Cuban food. (blows a kiss)

Jon Stewart on ability to talk openly about Israeli policies

[CONSPIRACY THEORY UPDATE- SEE BELOW}

Watch The Daily Show’s Indecision 5768 on Clinton, McCain and Obama speaking at AIPAC.

Stewart says:

One part of being a good friend to Israel is constructive criticism of any of its polices that may not be in the best interest of the world, so lets hear the candidates critiques of current Israeli policy… [silent video of candidates.)

Oh I forgot! You can’t say anything remotely citical of Israel and still gete elected president. Which is funny, because you know where you can criticize Israel? Uh Israel.

June 11 UPDATE: DID THE DAILY SHOW SELF CENSOR?

We’ve been getting emails from people who said the links to the infamous Indecision 5678 segment are now dead. The direct link we have above still works fine. But it’s also true that if you don’t happen to have the direct link, it’s now impossible to find using various search mechanisms on The Daily Show website. In fact, all video segments going back to May 28 are no longer searchable on the timeline. The segment doesn’t show up in direct search, or using tags either. The entire June 5 episode is available, however, on the front page. But you’d have to know it was there to find it. It’s the Adam Sandler episode.

Accidental or deliberate? You decide.

One thing is certain, with 251,884 viewers, Indecision 5678 has proved to be one of The Daily Show’s most popular segments ever.

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NYT op-ed: American Jewish organizations are the obstacle to peace

I don’t exactly see the world the way Jeffrey Goldberg does, but on these points I couldn’t agree with him more. His Sunday NYT op-ed, in a special issue looking at 60 years of Israeli independence, insisted that hope for an independent Palestinian state requires not just the ending of but the “reversal of the West Bank settlement project.” On this, pretty much the entire world, including many Israelis, agree. But why hasn’t it happened? Why isn’t the United States demanding the removal of settlements, instead of issuing half-hearted useless warnings while Israel continues to build more and more settlements each day on land that does not belong to it?

(One can only imagine the groans of contempt in the audience this week as President Bush excoriated Arab leaders for their closed systems and violations of human rights, only days after the love-fest at the Knesset where he conveniently overlooked Israel’s role in degrading human rights in the region. )

Goldberg says the problem is American Jewish organizations, who through some fantasized world of their own making, insist on taking positions to the right of even Olmert. The relationship between most American Jews and Israel has always been mediated through fundraisers for the state. Jews have been sold a heady mix of heroic myth-making and vicarious pride. And until now, it has worked, if you don’t actually pick up a newspaper or go to Israel and step out of the carefully scripted tours to see the complex reality. (Yes, just like the US is a much more complex reality than the one-dimensional “patriotic” pablum we are often asked to ingest.)

But Israelis don’t need “friends” who promote a fantasy-based idea of who they are and what they need. They need friends who know how to say, enough is enough. You are destroying yourselves and taking everyone with you. As Goldberg observed,

…by the standards of rhetorical correctness maintained by such groups as the Conference of Presidents and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, Mr. Obama is actually more pro-Israel than either Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak. (To say nothing of John McCain and President George W. Bush, who spoke to the Knesset last week about external threats to Israel’s safety but made no mention of the country’s missteps.)

Goldberg knows the settlements are the main obstacle to peace, and that the US, and anyone who wants to be president of the US, refuses to hold the Israeli government accountable.

So why won’t American leaders push Israel publicly? Or, more to the point, why do presidential candidates dance so delicately around this question? The answer is obvious: The leadership of the organized American Jewish community has allowed the partisans of settlement to conflate support for the colonization of the West Bank with support for Israel itself.

Goldberg argues that “unthinking American support does hurt Israel.” And it does. But why can’t our presidential candidates actually say what they think, and have an honest conversation about blind US support for terrible Israeli policies?

They should be able to talk, in blunt terms, about the full range of dangers faced by Israel, including the danger Israel has brought upon itself.

But this won’t happen until Aipac and the leadership of the American Jewish community allow it to happen.

It’s time for this older generation of leaders to step out of the way and allow a different generation to take the reins.

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