Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Principles Over Politics

Principles Over Politics
By Herbert Zweibon

On his recent trip to Israel former Arkansas governor (and Republican Presidential Contender against McCain) Mike Huckabee put to shame not only the Congressional~~ delegations that preceded him but Israel’s own Prime Minister. Huckabee is no fair weather friend of Israel. While he, like Clinton, was born in Hope, Arkansas, he is unlike the Clintons who tack with the wind. Huckabee, over many years has consistently and staunchly supported Israel despite the fact that the state he governed had an insignificant Jewish population. On this trip Huckabee dared to up-end international political dogma and say simply that there is no room for a Palestinian state “in the middle of the Jewish homeland.” If the international community wanted to give the Palestinians a homeland, it would have to be somewhere else.

Instead of the conventional pleading for Moslem acceptance of Jews near their holy places, Huckabee neatly turned tables and praised Israel for giving Moslems access to the Dome of the Rock, the site of the ancient Jewish temple, even though, he noted, the presence of a mosque there “could be considered an affront.

On the vilified “settlements” Obama is intent on “freezing” said Huckabee: it concerns me when there are some in the United States who would want to tell Israel that it cannot allow people to live in their own country, wherever they want.” No restrictions of the sort Netanyahu pleads for about limiting Jewish communities to “natural growth” or fulfilling pre-existing building contracts. Huckabee is straightforward - Jews have the right to build as they choose n their own country

Huckabee also spoke with his feet. He traveled through Samaria, to Beit El, Har Gerizim, Har Beracha and Givat Olam and to Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that Obama wants to destroy. Metaphorically, he put his finger squarely in Obama’s eye by going to a dinner, attended by a hundred people, including several members of the Knesset, on the grounds of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem. Obama has specifically demanded that Israel stop the hotels Jewish owner from renovating the property, treating it as a symbolic key to re-dividing the city. The Shepherd Hotel is indeed heavy with symbolism. It was built by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Jerusalem mufti who mobilized Moslem forces for Hitler in World War II. When Israel reunited Jerusalem in the Six Day War, it took control of the empty structure and eventually sold it to its current owner, Zionist philanthropist Dr. Irving Moskovitz.

Contrast Huckabee’s forthright support for Israel’s rights with the 25 member Republican delegation led by Eric Cantor and the 29 member Democratic delegation that followed on its heels led by Steny Hoyer. Yes, they criticized Obama’s obsessive focus on a settlement freeze, but nary a one said that “the two state solution,” cutting off Judea and Samaria from Israel was illegitimate and a recipe for Israel’s destruction.

Contrast Huckabee’s stance with that of Netanyahu who campaigned on the promise “no Palestinian state,” and collapsed on this central issue after one browbeating by Obama and who insisted publicly there would be no settlement freeze only duplicitously, to institute one.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Huckabee’s visit is in giving heart to those Israeli leaders like Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon (who met with Huckabee on his visit) who say it is not necessary to capitulate to every dangerous and insulting American demand. The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick writes: “Huckabee’s trip showed that the administration is not operating in a policy vacuum. There is plenty of strong American support for an Israeli government that would stand up to the administration on the Palestinian issue and Iran alike.”

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