Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Regarding John Judis's piece about John McCain frantically doing damage control in the wake of this Haaretz item, while Rob Farley and Matt Yglesias are right to point out that it reveals McCain in a confused, pandering fog, what's more striking to me is that we've apparently reached a point where a politician indicating, however gently, his support for Israel pulling back (almost, but not quite) behind the Green Line, that is, to its internationally recognized borders, qualifies as a potentially disastrous gaffe. That is chilling.

Let's remember that it was Bush who, in 2004, reversed almost four decades of U.S. policy when he recognized the legitimacy of large Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, and, even more astonishingly, took it upon himself to deal away the Palestinian right of return, effectively unilaterally deciding two of the major issues in the conflict in favor of Israel.

Under Bush, hardline Israel supporters have developed such a sense of entitlement that the mere hint that a McCain administration might move back toward a more "honest broker" approach is enough to get the klaxons ringing. Unfortunately, the American-Palestinian lobby doesn't have anywhere near the power to threaten consequences that the American-Israeli lobby does, which is one of the reasons we didn't see Bush tap-dancing then the way McCain has to now.

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