By Matthew Rothschild, June 3, 2008


When John McCain went before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on June 2, he could not have been more obsequious to this group that has done more than any other in the United States to block a just solution to the Palestinian quest for statehood.


With Joe Lieberman in tow, McCain opened by saying that "it's a pleasure, as always, to be in the company" of AIPAC.


Tone deaf to Israel's brutalization of the Palestinians, McCain called Israel "an inspiration to free nations everywhere."


In fact, he didn't even get around to mentioning the Palestinians until two-thirds of the way through his speech.


Then he repeatedly denounced Hamas, calling it a "terrorist syndicate." He left no doubt that he would be as hardline as Bush has been against Hamas, regardless of the fact that Hamas won the elections in Gaza and has showed some willingness to negotiate, according to Jimmy Carter. McCain's position on Hamas spells continued disaster for the people of Gaza, who are suffering a slow strangulation.


More startling, however, McCain distanced himself even from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. McCain noted that Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert are "engaged in talks that all of us hope will yield progress toward peace." But in the very next sentence, McCain said: "Yet while we encourage this process, we must also ensure that Israel's people can live in safety until there is a Palestinian leadership willing and able to deliver peace."


This is the ancient Ariel Sharon line, used ad nauseam while Yasser Arafat was alive, that "there is no partner for peace," that "there is no one to negotiate with."


The United States may not get another pawn like Mahmoud Abbas for many a year, but McCain doesn't even want the pawn.


Why? Because Israel doesn't really want peace, and McCain was telling AIPAC that this is just fine by him.


Nowhere was McCain more hypocritical than on the subject of Israel and Iran and nuclear weapons. Israel has about 150 nuclear weapons.

Iran has none. But "Tehran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an unacceptable risk, a danger we cannot allow," McCain said.

And while Israel hasn't signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, McCain criticized Iran for "flouting" it.


Real security in the Middle East won't come until every country in the region abandons its nuclear weapons, and its nuclear weapons programs. But McCain was mum on that.


Instead, he used much of his speech to demand a tougher policy on Iran, including one that goes "outside the U.N. framework." Can you say "coalition of the willing"?


He also proposed a "worldwide divestment campaign" against Iran and compared it to South Africa, never acknowledging that there is an ongoing divestment campaign against Israel in many parts of the world right now, and that it is Israel, rather than Iran, that is most often compared with the apartheid regime of South Africa.


That took real chutzpah.