Friday, July 18, 2008

The Difference Between Obama And McCain On Israel

In a News Brief about Obama's trip to Israel, Artuz Sheva notes:
Sen. Obama is slated to visit the Western Wall, located in eastern Jerusalem, which was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. Sen. McCain has backed Jerusalem remaining the undivided capital of Israel unless Israel wants to decide otherwise. Sen. Obama recently astonished Arabs by stating the Jerusalem should remain undivided. After a furious backlash, he quickly backtracked and said that he meant it should not divided by barbed wire, as it was between 1948 and 1967, when eastern Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan.
There is nothing particularly bold or novel about McCain's approach. Then again, it was because Obama went out of his way to try to impress while addressing AIPAC that he ended up having to retreat on what he said.

I thought it interesting that McCain takes a stand that Jerusalem should remain undivided, while leaving it to Israel to make the decision--it is a position that Obama, having backtracked, cannot take.

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Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing/hearing any difference between the two on the status of Jerusalem, none--except that McCain said he wants the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and I don't know what Obama's position on that is.

Daled Amos said...

Just what is Obama's current position on Jerusalem?

Anonymous said...

Same as it was at AIPAC. People need to realize that whether it's Obama or McCain, when a politician speaks of a united Jerusalem capital of Israel, that given past proposals regarding Jerusalem, such a concept does NOT now equate to exclusivity -- exclusivity of the city belonging to Israel, exclusivity as the city being the capital only for Israel. For example, remember the Vatican "double role" for Jerusalem conception. Remember, the Vatican-PLO Basic Agreement on Jerusalem --how many times (3 or 4 I'm guessing, conincidence?) has Bush met w/the Pope recently during his flurry of pushing Annapolis, a conference the Vatican also attended.

The whole US "open access" talk hearkens back to the General Assembly's suggestion of Resolution 181 (which never went into effect) of internationalizing Jerusalem, i.e., both Obama and McCain are reiterating this same old position even though the realities on the ground have changed--i.e., the Arabs not only rejecting Res 181 (though they try now to reclaim it) but also immediately attacking Israel in a war of aggression that they lost, therefore really, really not meriting any right to claim the imposition of Res 181 now.

I totally disagree w/the notion that Obama ever flip-flopped on Jerusalem, he's been 100% consistent with the typical US position (which is also the McCain position). As for McCain's sole distinguishing comment on Jerusalem about moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the hypocrisy on that is getting old now, so that means nothing. Both candidates allow for Arab and Vatican appeasement while still speaking of "united Jerusalem capital of Israel."

Daled Amos said...

I was not aware McCain had made the commitment to move the embassy--pity. Even if he sincerely believes he would do it, the history of broken promises should have prevented him from coming out publicly about it.

As far as Obama flip-flopping, the fact Kurtzer had to come out with that whole 'code-word' explanation seems to indicate that Obama did in fact back off.

I am cynical of both, but given the other more blatant flip-flops and outright gaffes by Obama, combined with his lack of experience--I cannot see voting for him.

Anonymous said...

Daled Amos, Kurtzer's language excuse only reinforces my point, a point I initially made much clearer in comment here back when I supported Obama over McCain (now, post-FISA and other stuff I'm withholding judgment, 'til I see VP choices, leaning third party or write-in).

Anyway, I just read on IslamOnline (dot net, as usual), that British Prime Minister Gordan Brown just today applied a lesson from the Obama language-use debacle and in talking to the Knesset today instead of giving the optimistic 1/2 truth of undivided Jerusalem capital of Israel, he dropped the other 1/2, and just came out and said what everyone knows is the global consensus position (though not the position of the Creator!), and said Jerusalem should be "CAPITAL FOR BOTH." So now it's all out in the open. No need for this code stuff.

Daled Amos said...

The link you supplied brings this:

"His position has been the same for the past 16 months," Wexler said. "He believes Jerusalem should be an undivided city and must be the capital of a Jewish state of Israel. He has also said -- and it's the same position as President Bush, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert -- that Jerusalem is of course a 'final status' issue," meaning it would be one of the key and final points of negotiation for a Palestinian state. "And Sen. Obama as president would not dictate final status issues. He will permit the Palestinians and Israel to negotiate, and he would respect any conclusion they reach."

On the side, it is odd that Wexler should say "He will permit the Palestinians and Israel to negotiate, and he would respect any conclusion they reach."--would he forbid negotiations? Would he nullify what they agree to? Very odd.

Anyway, Wexler is saying that Obama's position is what McCain says explicity--and in one sentence--namely that Jerusalem should be undivided, but it is up to the parties. Actually, McCain says it would be up to Israel.

But according to Wexler, undivided means exactly that. Undivided, and Israel can decide otherwise. Kurtzer is NOT SAYING THAT. Kurtzer is saying that undivided means not having barbed wire fences.

Such contradiction among advisors comes from lack of clarity from the candidate they support.

And there are enough other examples of Obama's backtracking to back up the claim that he is backtracking here as well.

And that is the point: Obama has a history over just a few months of backtracking.

Just ask Daily Kos.