From Online Journal,7/27/2004
ee, Israel wins
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer
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CAIRO, July 27, 2004—This week's Democratic Convention in Boston offers White House contender John Kerry the perfect showcase to transition from being a mere 'not Bush' candidate to a man US voters can trust to lead their country in what they are convinced is a time of war.
With Bush's approval rating below 50 percent, the Kerry camp isn't about to fall into the Bush-bashing trap leaving itself open to being deemed unpatriotic. Instead it will concentrate on issues dear to Americans' hearts, including the ongoing "War on Terror" and America's future role in Iraq.
Interestingly, his policy on both differ little from the incumbent administration, although he does vow to be more internationalist in his approach. But how does he feel about Israel and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands, a divisive subject unlikely to come to the fore during the convention when Muslim and African American votes are being courted. If at all possible Kerry is more pro-Israel than George W. Bush and deeply aware of the issues surrounding Middle East politics. Earlier this month, Kerry's brother Cameron, who converted to Judaism in the early 1980s, spent six days in Israel courtesy of the American Israel Education Fund, which is linked to AIPAC.
Accompanying Cameron was Jay Footlik—Kerry's campaign adviser on the Middle East and a former resident of Israel. The low-key visit, billed as private, came after Ariel Sharon's refusal to meet with Kerry when the former visited Washington to apprise the American president of his unilateral plan to withdraw from Gaza. The Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom also declined to meet with anyone from the Kerry campaign during his US visit, unwilling to hurt Bush sensitivities during an election year.
Kerry, a Catholic, only discovered his own Jewish antecedents a year ago thanks to a newspaper's investigative reporting. His Jewish paternal grandfather, Fritz Kohn, changed his name to Frederick Kerry and became a convert to Christianity early last century. Kerry further came to realize that many of his relatives were Holocaust victims and that one of his ancestors may have been a Czech luminary, the Rabbi Yehuda Loewe. Indeed, as Ha'aretz journalist Nathan Guttman points out, John Kerry would be perceived by Israel as possessing an automatic "right of return."
Guttman writes: "The Jewish community also points out that during all his years in the Senate, he [Kerry] had a 'perfect AIPAC record.' In other words he always voted in accordance with the pro-Israel lobby on matters related to Israel and the Middle East. His supporters also mention that he has visited Israel many times, unlike Bush who came to visit only once before entering the White House."
Writing in the Brown Students for Israel publication Perspectives: An Israel Review, Kerry says: "My first trip to Israel made real for me all I'd believed about Israel. I was allowed to fly an air force jet from the Ovda Airbase. It was then that Israeli insecurity about narrow borders became very real to me. In a matter of minutes, I came close to violating the airspace of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. From that moment on, I felt as Israelis do: The promise of peace must be secure before the Promised Land is a secure margin of land."
"I went as a friend by conviction; I returned a friend at the deepest personal level," he writes, ending his article with, "In this difficult time we must again reaffirm we are enlisted for the duration—and reaffirm our belief that the cause of Israel must be the cause of America—and the cause of people of conscience everywhere."
In case there is any room for doubting Kerry's pro-Israel stance, during the spring of 2002, Kerry co-sponsored a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel, which called for continued assistance in strengthening Israel's homeland defenses. Further, Kerry supports the "construction of Israel's security fence to stop terrorists from entering Israel" and does not believe it is a matter for the International Court of Justice.
He believes that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is not a peace partner and should remain in isolation, while controversially advocating the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, "Israel's indisputable capital." He even went as far as to co-sign a letter dressing down former President Clinton on his reluctance over the issue.
But hang on . . . here is what Kerry told the Arab American Institute in Michigan last October: "I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the Israeli government's decision to build the barrier off of the Green Line—cutting deep into Palestinian areas. We don't need another barrier to peace. Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israel's security over the long term, increase the hardships to the Palestinian people and make the process of negotiating an eventual settlement that much harder."
Let the real John Kerry stand up. If he succeeds in taking the White House, no doubt he will. But by then it may be too late. Arab Americans and American Muslims are left with a Hobson's choice. Vote Bush and it is more of the same. Vote Kerry and there is a possibility it could get even worse. This is why many are planning throw-away votes for Nader, which will do nothing except, perhaps, to highlight the issues for which he stands.
Whoever is the next president of the United States, the Palestinians are shamefully once again left without a glimmer of light at the end of their long and lonely tunnel, while Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza will receive yet another 'made in America' Good Housekeeping seal. This is one time I sincerely hope and pray that I'm wrong.
Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at email@example.com
The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Online Journal.
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Gee,I was under the false impression that the "cause of America and the cause of people of
was the cause of America,and the best interests of Americans.
Stupid me,I almost forgot that we no
longer live in the United States of
America,or America,(as correctly should be named.)
That's right,I must remember that we now live in the,
Zionazi States of Zionerika!
I won't be mistaken again!
I guess its a zionazi/neo-con kind of thing.
p.s.(Bush and Kerry are blood related,incase anyone did'nt know.)