Missing some facts and leaving all shame behind it, the NJDC takes issue with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her alleged support of Palestinians’ civil rights, and with President George W. Bush for brokering a cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah.
U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel next week marks the official opening of the Israel season in the presidential elections. Sheldon Adelson, the global sponsor of the Republikud party, already financed an ad attacking president Obama for his poor Israel record (i.e., doing what both previous presidents did, but giving the IDF more guns than they did).
One Democratic response arrived immediately in the form of a mass e-mail from the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), with the title: “10 Israel Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer.” I was actually naïve enough to think these question would be along the lines of “What solution does the Republican nominee envision for the West Bank and Gaza,” or “What is the governor’s position on the settlements?”
Oh no. Those Jewish Democrats decided to attack Romney from the (neo-con) right, presenting a list of talking point stolen from the hard drive of Dick Cheney. Question Number 7, for example, attacks President Reagan (!) for not being pro-Israel enough, or for never having visited Israel.
Question Number 8 claims that President George W. Bush “allowed Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge to collapse” – facts, anyone? Israel never enjoyed the military superiority over its neighbors like the one it had in the last decade – or for refusing weapon sales that would have been used to attack Iran. But my personal favorite is Number 5, which uses former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to label Romney as anti-Israel:
#5. Governor Romney, are you actually vetting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for vice president? How do you account for Rice’s much-criticized record on Israel?Are you comfortable with her comparison of Palestinians to African Americans fighting for civil rights in the 1960s? Do you agree with the way she pressured Israel to accept a peace treaty with Hezbollah before the Israeli military had a chance to complete its military operations?
Again, the facts here are wrong – Secretary Rice did not pressure Israel to have a peace treaty with Hezbollah, but actually rescued the government from a disastrous campaign that ultimately cost the defense minister and (indirectly) the prime minister their jobs. As every Israeli knows, the Bush administration allowed Israel all the time it wanted “to complete the military operation,” but the army simply failed, and after more than 30 days the government was desperate to find a way to end the war. Still, much worse is the attempt to delegitimize the very mild comments Secretary Rice made in support of Palestinian human rights. I knew that the constitution forbids comparing the occupation to Apartheid, but this certainly marks a new all-time low, at least for Democrats.
I understand what campaigning is, especially in a two-party system, but words and positions do matter. If this is how the Democrats are selling Obama, using the language of the Israeli hard right and the settlers, then I say no thanks. If this is how a Jewish coalition interprets being pro-Israel (as opposed to supporting the long term interest of both Jews and Palestinians living here), then their support is unwelcome. Eventually these politics will also backfire, because you can’t be more rightwing than the right, and voters are not that stupid.
Reading this piece just made me wonder if Romeny would actually be that bad, or that different from the current administration. And with him, at least we would know where we stand.