|Bush or Kerry: Any Real Difference in Foreign Policy?
by Mark Weber
Oct. 26, 2004
President George W. Bush's fervent support for Israel and its hardline premier is well known. He reaffirmed it, for example, in June 2002 in a major speech on the Middle East. In the view of "leading Israeli commentators," the London Times reported, the address was "so pro-Israel that it might have been written by Ariel Sharon."
Indeed, concern for Israel's security was an important factor in Bush's decision to invade Iraq. This is so widely understood by Washington insiders that US Senator Ernest Hollings was moved in May to declare that Iraq was invaded "to secure Israel," and that "everybody" knows it. Referring to the cowardly reluctance of his Congressional colleagues to openly acknowledge this reality, Hollings said that "nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on." Due to "the pressures we get politically," he added, members of Congress uncritically support Israel and its policies.
In August 2002, some months before the invasion of Iraq, General Wesley Clark, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said in an interview: "Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel."
In an address to pro-Israel activists at this year's convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Bush said: "The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state." He also told the gathering: "By defending the freedom and prosperity and security of Israel, you're also serving the cause of America."
Condoleeza Rice, Bush's National Security Advisor, echoed the president's outlook in a May 2003 interview, saying that the "security of Israel is the key to the security of the world."
In light of all this, it's no wonder that millions of people across the United States and around the world look with hope to Bush's challenger in this year's presidential election campaign.
But is John Kerry really an alternative? Although he is more polished and articulate than Bush, Kerry's record of emphatic commitment to Jewish and Zionist interests offers little reason to believe that, as president, he would chart a fundamentally different policy in the strife-torn Middle East.
In an advertisement issued by their campaign and published in the Jewish community weekly Forward (Sept. 17), Kerry and his vice-presidential running mate, John Edwards, proclaim that "Israel's cause must be America's cause." They also renew their "commitment to a safe and secure Jewish state of Israel," and pledge to "strengthen our special relationship with Israel." In another ad by their campaign (Forward, Sept. 24), Kerry and Edwards proclaim that they "have always stood firmly with Israel," and that "they stand with American Jews on every issue."
Kerry has named Mel Levine, an ardent Zionist, as his top advisor on Middle East affairs. Levine, a former US Congressman, has been a board member of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby organization.
During the presidential campaign debate on Sept. 30, which focused on US foreign policy, neither Bush nor Kerry made a single reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict. To be sure, each did mention Israel, but only to reaffirm his commitment to the Zionist state.
"A free Iraq," said Bush, "will be an ally in the war on terror, and that's essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country."
Kerry was no less fervent in his expression of concern for Israel: "Soldiers know over there [in Iraq] that this isn't being done right yet. I'm going to get it right for those soldiers, because it's important to Israel, it's important to America, it's important to the world, it's important to the fight on terror."
Two decades ago, Admiral Thomas Moorer, one-time Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with blunt exasperation about the Zionist hold on Washington: "I've never seen a President I don't care who he is stand up to them [the Israelis]. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want... If the American people understood what a grip those people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on."
Most Americans are still clueless.
Bush and Kerry, like most US politicians, are so beholden to Jewish-Zionist power, and so committed to Israel and its interests, that regardless of who wins the presidential election on November 2, there will be no real change in US foreign policy, and certainly not in the Middle East.
See also: A Look at the 'Powerful Jewish Lobby'