June 9th, 2008 15:20 EST
McCain: America and Israel are Allies Forever
WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. John McCain pledged last Wednesday to increase military aid to Israel if he were elected president. The presumptive Republican candidate also rejected any ideas of negotiating with Iran as it is harmful for the peace process in the Middle East.
For McCain the June 4th American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference was a chance to present his views in the direct opposition to his Democratic opponents. Neither Senators Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama - who also attended the event - was able to draw such an applause as the Republican senator from Arizona.
In his long speech, McCain reminded the gathered about the long history of American-Israeli relations. "When President Truman recognized the new State of Israel 60 years ago he acted on the highest ideals and best instincts of our country," said the senator, underlying that it must have taken a lot of courage to support the Jewish state when so many politicians and countries were against it.
Later, the likely Republican presidential nominee expressed his gratitude towards policymakers who had cultivated mutual relations. McCain said that probably Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson deserved the highest praise.
"Scoop Jackson had the special respect of the Jewish people, the kind of respect accorded to brave and faithful friends. He was and remains the model of what an American Statesman should be," said McCain.
Referring to the contemporary situation in the Middle East region, McCain attacked Barack Obama for his haste to talk to terrorists and dictatorships. "Yet it is hard to see what such a Summit with [Iranian] President Ahmadinejad would actually gain except an earful anti-Semitic rants and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another," said McCain.
Instead, argued the senator, America and its allies should implement economic and financial sanctions on Iran. McCain said that despite being a leading oil exporter, Iran is dependent on imports of refined petroleum products and limiting those purchases might force the regime in Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The senator also proposed freezing Iranian assets in foreign banks.
"We must - we must apply the full force of law to prevent business dealings with Iran`s Revolutionary Guard Corps," insisted McCain.
In the same passage of his speech, McCain accused his Democratic opponent Barack Obama of being too meek toward terrorists. McCain said that the senator of Illinois had been one of the few senators who opposed an amendment that called for putting the Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations.
"Over three-quarters of the Senate supported this obvious step, but not Senator Obama. He opposed this Resolution because its support for countering Iranian influence in Iraq was he said `a wrong message not only to the world but also to the region.` But here too, he`s mistaken; holding Iran`s influence in check and holding a terrorist organization accountable sends exactly the right message to Iran, to the region, and to the world."
Drawing his speech to a conclusion, McCain mentioned the problem of a Palestinian state. According to the senator, the Palestinian people "ask only for better life in a less violent world," the desire that is made impossible by terrorist organizations, including Hamas, which rules most of the Gaza Strip. "They [terrorists] spread violence and hatred and with every new bombing they setback the cause of their own people," said McCain.
John McCain was, without a doubt, the most applauded politician at the three-day conference. Barack Obama, who had just wrapped up the Democratic nomination, tried hard to court the gathered with his pro-Israeli speech, but to no visible avail. The listeners still remembered his words, smartly reminded by McCain, that America should hold talks with Iran and other dictatorships.
"We were brought together by shared ideals and by shared adversity," McCain said of America and Israel. "We have been comrades in struggle and trusted partners in the quest for peace. We are the most natural of allies and like Israel itself - that alliance is forever."
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