Part of Barack Obama’s expressed amazement over his difficulty in attracting Jewish support is his claim to adhere to positions identical to John McCain’s on Israel and Hamas. His willingness to hold direct talks with Hamas’s sponsor Iran without preconditions–and without insisting it renounce its policy of obliterating Israel–is one big difference. But it is not the only one.
Others have noted that Daniel Kurtzer, former ambassador to Israel and advisor to Obama, has stated that it “will be impossible to make progress on serious peace talks without putting the future of Jerusalem on the table.” In response to my asking whether this approach is “identical” to McCain’s, I received this response from McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann:
It is revealing that Senator Obama’s Middle East adviser is talking about the need for Israeli concessions on Jerusalem to be ‘on the table’ while making no reference to the need for Palestinians to meet basic roadmap obligations on countering terror and providing security. Senator McCain is not going to pressure Israel into making concessions that undermine its security.
It seems there are indeed major differences between the two. Might that have something to do with the level of support Obama is receiving from American Jews?