The National Jewish Democratic Coalition has issued a statement piggybacking on James Rubin’s op-ed accusing John McCain of hypocrisy over his suggestion in 2006 that talks with Hamas would probably have to take place. But the real eyebrow-raiser is the cartoon that was commissioned by the NJDC for statement.
The message here is a bit muddled, especially when looking at the cartoon in conjunction with the accompanying statement in which the NJDC’s executive director, Ira Forman, says: “NJDC may not agree with McCain’s previous willingness to engage with Hamas, but reasonable people can disagree on policy. Yet, the McCain-Bush hypocrisy on this issue is beyond the pale.”
If the point is to suggest that John McCain is like Chamberlain because he once suggested that the West would have to talk to Hamas, then where does that leave Obama when it comes to Iran? And why does the image of Chamberlain look so much like Hitler, at least in the mustache?
On the other hand, if the point is to suggest that McCain is a hypocrite, why do that in such a hypocritical fashion? And why do so in a way that recalls the flip-flopping claims that plagued the previous Democratic nominee)?
I should add that when JTA’s Ron Kampeas asked Obama a few weeks ago why he was open to talks with Iran, but not Hamas, the Democratic candidate said the issue was that the latter is not a government. Well, when you look at the remarks from McCain that have Rubin and Forman all fired up, it’s clearly that McCain was saying it would be hard to ignore Hamas now that it had won the Palestinian elections and come to power. In other words, now that it had become a government.
Here’s Forman’s full statement:
For the last few weeks Sen. John McCain, President George Bush, and their allies have tried to cast Sen. Barack Obama as being the endorsed candidate of Hamas and willing to negotiate with Iran. But this is hypocrisy. It takes particular audacity to attack Obama for appeasement when McCain has advocated dealing with Hamas, a position Obama has opposed.
In 2006, following Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, James Rubin interviewed McCain for the British TV network Sky News’s “World News Tonight” program. Rubin asked, “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”
McCain responded, “They’re the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”
Who is the real McCain? What does McCain really stand for? What is McCain willing to do to get elected? We must wonder: is McCain really the “Straight Talk Express”? Or is he more like the “Smear Talk Express” or the “Hypocrisy Talk Express”?
NJDC may not agree with McCain’s previous willingness to engage with Hamas, but reasonable people can disagree on policy. Yet, the McCain-Bush hypocrisy on this issue is beyond the pale.