Commentary Magazine


An Endorsement He Could Do Without

Jihad al-Khazen has rightly been described as “an outspoken apologist for Middle Eastern terrorist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.” A Lebanese-born columnist for al Hayat, a Saudi-financed Arabic daily newspaper based in London, he freely admits: “Throughout my journalistic career I have mainly focused on criticizing the United States and on attacking Israel.”

A critical rundown of some of his spewing may be found here. He has called demonstrations against genocide in Darfur as thinly-veiled efforts by “pro-Israeli group to divert attention from the crimes Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians.” He has also claimed that the “neocon” (read: Jewish) cabal in the U.S. is as guilty of atrocities as Al Qaeda: “Al-Qaeda and the war cabal are two sides of the same coin,” he claims, and suggests that this “cabal” led the U.S. into a war that destroyed “Iraq in order to serve Israeli interests and imperial dreams.”

It should, therefore, be of some interest that this anti-Semitic, anti-American crank–who, alas, has a wide following in the Middle East, where some have called him an “Arab Tom Friedman”–devotes today’s column to reviling John McCain and endorsing Barack Obama. He doesn’t like McCain, because, he explains, “During his campaign for the US presidency, he has surrounded himself with some of the most extremist neo-conservatives who champion wars, especially if they target Arabs and Muslims.” (I am proud to say that I am one of the “extremists” he singles out for opprobrium.)

He then goes on to make the standard “chickenhawk” argument repeated on a thousand lefty blog sites with a little more brio than usual:

I have noticed, as many others have as well, that the majority of warmongers avoided their military service…. The head of the war cabal, Vice President Dick Cheney, avoided military service, while other neo-conservative and Likudnik cowards, like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Senator Joe Lieberman and former Representative Newt Gingrich, did the same.

How this “chickenhawk” calumny applies to a decorated war hero like John McCain he doesn’t bother to explain. But then logic is not his strong suit. Venom is. Particularly anti-Jewish venom. He writes with alarm about the possibility of Joe Lieberman becoming secretary of state:

I will not be surprised if McCain brings Lieberman into his administration, in the unlikely event of a Republican victory, as secretary of state – then, the office will be held by an Israeli Likudnik on the level of Benjamin Netanyahu, I mean as low as this level, if this is possible.

Here’s the punchline:

John McCain has surrounded himself with some of the most despicable enemies of Arabs and Muslims; some of them are total Israelis, and are always ready to sacrifice American lives to protect Israel’s so-called security. They have done this in the past and will do it in the future. Obama is not perfect, but he certainly is better.

Given the attention devoted in some sectors of the media to Al Qaeda’s purported endorsement of McCain, presumably–in the interests of fairness–equal attention will be paid to the views of al Khazen and others of his ilk who are declaring themselves fans of The One.