As the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver wraps up, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency pointed out that presidential candidate Barack Obama and his supporters for the first time in recent memory tried to make support of Israel a point of difference between their platform and that of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
The Democrats and Republicans rarely spar over their respective policies vis-a-vis the Jewish state, as there is very little difference between the parties' approaches on the political level.
But during the DNC, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was the first to try to drive a wedge between the parties by insisting that President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq had directly enabled the rise of Hamas and Hizballah.
And McCain, said Kerry, will only bring more of the same.
Next up was Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who likewise asserted that Bush's policies across the Middle East had created increased turmoil that is directly responsible for Hamas, Hizballah and Iran gaining in strength and threatening Israel.
Florida Representative Robert Wexler also blamed what he called the "unnecessary" wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Iran's current nuclear ambitions, and insisted that Obama is the only candidate that "understands the threats Israel faces from Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran."
However, Wexler admitted that Obama will push through with the division of the Land of Israel and the birth of a Palestinian Arab state that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza proved will become a terrorist haven.
Last up was Obama's vice presidential pick, Senator Joseph Biden, who claimed that it was Bush's refusal to engaged Iran in dialogue that had brought about the greatest existential threat to Israel since 1973.
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded to the speeches by noting that it was Bush who had marginalized Yasser Arafat and publicly supported Israel's building of a security fence. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks wondered how Democrats felt that policies of appeasement toward Iran and the Palestinians would improve Israel's security.
Brooks also took to task claims that the war in Iraq had harmed Israel's security, noting that Saddam Hussein had fired missiles at Israel once before and was paying Palestinian families to send out their sons as suicide bombers.
In a separate statement, the RJC attacked efforts to paint Biden as a staunch Zionist, reminding voters that in 1982 the Delaware senator clashed with then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Began over the expansion of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and threatened to cut off US financial aid.
(hat tip: Israel National News)
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