In the tank for McCain

Posted: October 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: the US and us | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Barak Ravid had an international scoop yesterday in “Haartz” daily. According to Israeli sources, Ravid reported, French president Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed deep disappointment with Barack Obama’s positions regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Sarkozy had met the democratic nominee during Obama’s visit to Paris last summer, and found his positions are, according to Haaretz, “’utterly immature’ and comprised of ‘formulations empty of all content’”.

I believe Ravid is an excellent reporter, and I don’t doubt the accuracy of his quotes. His sources – probably in the foreign office – might have even reported the French position accurately, though the French embassy denied it later on. But one can’t imagine a more foolish move by Jerusalem than leaking out the information at such a critical time.

Ravid’s source probably knew that such a statement, so close to the election, will be made public world wide almost instantly, and it’s actually surprising that it didn’t get THAT big an attention (I found a report on ABC news and a handful of Internet sites). It should also have been clear to them that this will be perceived by a lot of people as an attempt to interfere with the election at the last minute, just as Americans are headed to the polls. And with Obama on his way for a clear victory, what possible interest would Israel have in starting its relations with the new administration on the wrong foot, and on the most delicate issue of all?

For if Obama does get elected, there will be plenty of time before his inauguration to send him whichever massage Jerusalem wishes on the issue of Iran (and hopefully, in a more diplomatic way). And if McCain wins, the whole thing will only be remembered as a clumsy attempt to influence the election at the last minute – a move that won’t be appreciated by either the Democrats nor by the Republicans.

It is not the first time an Israeli official has hinted that a MaCain victory would serve Israel’s interests better. Danny Ayalon, our former ambassador to Washington, who spent most of his time on the capitol praising President Bush as Israel’s best allay in history (the guy even said in one of his interviews that he bought a pair of boots identical to those worn by the president) has published an article in the Jerusalem Post, stating that “The four years ahead are far too critical for global security to place the presidency of the United States in the hands of a leader whose campaign is leaving us with more questions than answers”. That was in January, at the beginning of the primary season, only a few months after Ayalon had left his office in Washington. Since then, he has joined the extreme-right “Israel-Beitenu” party, and while his motives and believes are now clear, it is inexcusable for Jerusalem to repeat this stupid and arrogant move.


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