John McCain was in South Florida yesterday bidding for Jewish votes by explicitly articulating the right-wing, fear-mongering strategy to secure this vital voting bloc: namely, exploiting the devotion which many American Jewish voters have to Israel by scaring them into believing that Barack Obama will jeopardize Israel’s security while only McCain will protect that country (by copying the Bush/Cheney approach to Israel’s enemies):
When asked about the Jewish vote in South Florida, a bloc that typically votes Democratic, McCain said he wanted the votes of all Americans.
"There are many Jewish Americans who are committed to the state of Israel and its existence and realize it is under incredible threat — the Iranians, Hamas, Hezbollah, all of the other threats that they face including the president of Iran, who Sen. Obama wants to sit down and negotiate with face to face, who is dedicated to the extinction of the state of Israel," McCain said.
There are a couple of points worth noting here:
First, as is true for virtually every aspect of foreign policy, McCain’s position — that the U.S. should consider as our Enemy all enemies of Israel and refuse even to talk to them — is a carbon copy of the neoconservative Bush/Cheney policy, one that has been so destructive to the U.S., Israel and the Middle East generally. Yet it reflects the destructive equation in American political life between "mindless Middle East militarism" and "support for Israel." American political orthodoxies hold that one must embrace the former in order to prove the latter.
But this equation is not even shared by actual Israelis, nor is it shared by the majority of Americans. An overwhelming majority of Israelis — 64% — favor negotiations with Hamas. Two-thirds of American voters generally "believe that Israel should continue to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, even in the face of terrorist attacks."
Yet John McCain seems convinced that he knows better than the overwhelming majority of actual Israelis themselves about what is good for Israel. If the vast majority of Israelis reject the mindless belligerence embraced by McCain, shouldn’t that preclude him from trying to scare American Jews into voting for him based on the claim that he’s more supportive of Israel?..