Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama And McCain Differ On More Than Just Jerusalem

I posted about this before, but was intrigued by what Michael Oren adds. One might claim that Obama and McCain differ little over the issue of the status of Jerusalem--depending on how you understand Obama's remarks to AIPAC and the statments made by both him and his advisors. However, when the focus is on Israel as a whole, other differences emerge.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Dr. Oren, who is a historian and Senior Fellow at Jerusalem's Shalem Center:
"Although Obama has yet to say anything about the Palestinian Authority's failure to meet its Roadmap obligation to curb terror and stop incitement, he has no such reservations when it comes to impugning Israel's settlements, criticizing the Likud party, or allowing for the re-division of Jerusalem. He has backed the call for a contiguous Palestinian state free of Israeli roads and roadblocks. John McCain, by contrast, has not criticized Israel's settlement policies, and has stressed the need for an end to the promotion of terror and demonization aimed at Israel, and ensuring 'that Israel's people can live in safety until there is a Palestinian leadership ready and able to deliver peace'."
The Jerusalem Post continues, listing other differences Dr. Oren sees between the 2 candidates:
Dealing with Hamas? Dr. Oren notes that Obama waited five days before distancing himself from former President Jimmy Carter's Hamas meetings-and only after being pounded politically for not doing so; McCain condemned them instantly.

The candidates also differ on the core issue of whether the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the cause of the rest of the region's woes, or vice-versa. In an interview with The Atlantic, Obama described the conflict as a "constant sore" that "infect(s) all of our foreign policy" and "provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists." That is a formulation that suggests heavy Israeli concessions to achieve "peace" at any cost.

McCain, on the other hand, sees the opposite-that Islamic fanaticism is the obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace: "[I]f the Israeli-Palestinian issue were decided tomorrow, we would still face the enormous threat of radical Islamic extremism." According to Dr. Oren, neither McCain nor any of his advisors have indicated a readiness to apply greater pressure on Israel.
There are differences between Obama and McCain that can not be papered over by a trip to Israel and a visit to the Kotel.

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