Sunday, October 17, 2004

Israel: Bush vs. Kerry

I do not claim to be an expert on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. So here is a smarter person than myself on the topic. It's a great read and not only describes what Bush has done on this front, but also highlights what Kerry has said. Here's a little....but please read the whole thing.
Kerry seems to have nostalgia for the peacemaking ways of Clinton. But what Clinton actually bequeathed to George W., says Benn, was "an Israeli-Palestinian war and a total collapse of the hopes that flourished in the 1990sā€¦. The height of the peace process during the Clinton era, the Camp David summit in July 2000, was a classic example of inept diplomacy, an arrogant and rash move whose initiators failed to take into account the realpolitik, misunderstood Arafat and brought upon both Israelis and Palestinians the disaster of the intifada."

By contrast, Bush has committed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a Palestinian state and to a withdrawal from some, though certainly not all, of the settlements. In return, the president has recognized that the most populous and strategically pivotal settlements would remain in Israeli hands and has also ruled out what would be suicide for Israel, the return of Palestinian refugees after 56 years. The Palestinians have not yet signed on to these particulars. But they are the future details of any peace.

Bush's empathy for the government in Israel is particularly remarkable, because empathy was altogether foreign to both Bush pere and his secretary of State. One can only imagine the horror of George H.W. and Baker (to whom the current president may actually owe his office) in seeing the inheritor become a true ally of Israel. Yet there it is. And with his understanding of ā€” and sympathy for ā€” the Israeli predicament, Bush has coaxed from Sharon an agreement to withdraw unilaterally from all the Gaza settlements and from four in the West Bank ā€” something even left-wing governments, as Benn puts it, "were afraid to do."

Kerry, meanwhile, appears ready to formulaically follow the failed precepts of the past, complete with photo ops and multiple interlocutors. This is a road map to nowhere.

I live in a Jewish neighborhood (I am christian) and have discussed politics with some of them. A mother of two told me "I was raised to vote for who would be the best for Israel." Then I commented that that should mean that she would be pulling the lever for Bush. She smirked and said she would never vote for Bush because of "what he has done to education." What???? This is very bizarre logic to me.

UPDATE: Read here for an enlightening column about life in Israel and how military force against terrorism has improve daily life in the region.

UPDATE II: Here is another great column on the fundamental error of Kerry's gay baiting ploy. The writer also talks about why some Jews will still vote for Kerry. Here's a little:
Why this should come as a surprise to the Democratic candidate is a mystery. Kerry knows from his own experience that many practicing Catholics habitually vote for pro-choice candidates, even if they have been specifically warned by their priests that doing so would be a sin. In Massachusetts and around the country, Catholic liberals vote as liberals, not as Catholics.

The same is true of Jews. Israel is at war, and Bush is the strongest ally it has ever had in the White House. Ariel Sharon has done everything to communicate this short of singing "God Bless America" at the Republican convention. And still the majority of American Jewish Zionists will vote for Kerry. Why? Because they are liberal Democrats first, and politics trumps religion.

The same is true for evangelical conservatives. Would they prefer for Mary Cheney to be a happily married mother of five? Sure. Do they think she is a sinner? Probably. Will that keep them from voting for Bush and her father? Heck, no.

Politically, Kerry won't benefit from playing the Mary card. But that doesn't mean he hasn't accomplished something of value. Many conservative Christians are for the first time publicly embracing an avowed homosexual. This puts them in touch with their real priorities and values - including that cardinal Kerry virtue, nuance.

Mary Cheney may be gay, but it turns out there are worse things. At least she isn't a Democrat.