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  Edwards Veers Hard Right, Supports Escalating Middle East Conflicts
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ELECTION NEWS:

Edwards Veers Hard Right, Supports Escalating Middle East Conflicts

by MICHAEL CARMICHAEL
“This week, during a speech at the Herzliya Conference, a major international gathering dedicated to Israeli security and diplomatic issues, Edwards stuck to his hawkish positions on Iran.”—The Jewish Daily/Forward

John Edwards promised to be a progressive candidate, but he now appears to be a devotee of the Democratic Leadership Council who is obviously under the heady ether of the Israel Lobby.
In a shocking development, John Edwards cast aside his progressive veneer and veered to the hard right to support the escalation of Bush’s wars in the Middle East to engulf Iran.

During a lamentable speech he made to an audience assembled in Herzilya, a city named for the founder of Zionism that is located a mere 20 miles from Tel Aviv, Edwards sanctioned a U.S. war against Iran, denied the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) and bashed the Palestinian people.

According to a report on the website TotallyJewish.com, John Edwards proclaimed his support for the neoconservative agenda of the Israel Lobby, and he even echoed the bellicose rhetoric of George Bush vis-à-vis Iran — “Hinting to possible military action.” Edwards has now become the official candidate of the Israel Lobby for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In his speech before the Herzilya Conference, John Edwards echoed the neoconservative ideology of George W. Bush, who is threatening to bomb Iran. In Israel, Edwards is now regarded as a strong supporter for American military intervention in Iran and the de facto expansion of the war in Iraq that would then engulf Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan in a flaming arc of war, terrorism and ultra-violence.

In taking this position, Edwards is now in direct conflict with the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate, where both Senator Joe Biden and Majority Leader Harry Reid have promised to set in motion a constitutional crisis if Bush orders U.S. forces to expand the Iraq war into Iran. Edwards’ position on Iran even places him to the right of Bush’s newly installed Secretary of Defense, William Gates, who warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the expansion of the Iraq war into Iran would have “devastating consequences,” for American diplomacy.

Additionally, Edwards criticized Syria for not doing enough to prove they are serious about negotiating the return of the Golan Heights in exchange for their help in fostering peace between Israel and the Palestinians and stabilizing the increasingly turbulent situation inside Iraq. Edwards’ position on Syria places him to the right of the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton ISG that recommended negotiations with Syria for the resolution of both the war in Iraq and a peace settlement with Israel.

To top those blunders, Edwards then criticized the Palestinians for democratically electing the Hamas government.

In the same disastrous speech, Edwards refrained from criticizing Israel for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of the Palestinians’ funds and creating chaos among the already deeply repressed population. Israel’s deliberate withholding of the Palestinians’ funds exacerbated the already dreadful conditions in the Occupied Territories and the Gaza Strip where the United Nations describes Israel’s harsh repression of the Palestinian people as one of the most egregious violations of human rights in the world today.

At no time in his entire career has John Edwards ever publicly expressed any concern for Israel’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Neither has Edwards criticized Israel for its refusal to acknowledge the existence of her powerful nuclear arsenal that is known to contain over 200 armed nuclear warheads, making her either the third or fourth most powerful nation on earth.

While John Edwards has capably expressed his support for deconstructing the U.S. war in Iraq, he leaves the impression that he is now ready, willing and able to launch a U.S. attack against Iran.
In a statement that tacitly condoned Israel’s repressive policies: targeted assassinations, house demolitions, military attacks on civilian targets, detentions of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, and the persistent violation of the human rights of the Palestinians, Edwards proclaimed his allegiance to the agenda designed by the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). In their now well-known paper, two highly distinguished American academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, exposed AIPAC as the political core of the Israel Lobby. While John Edwards has capably expressed his support for the deconstruction of the premiere project of the Israel Lobby — the U.S. war in Iraq — he leaves the impression that he is now ready, willing and able to launch their next foolish enterprise: a U.S. attack against Iran.

The fact that Edwards condones the humiliating violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people places him far to the right of former President Jimmy Carter, whose latest book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid is now soaring at the top of the bestseller lists in America. All of this inconsistency with Edwards’ pledge to uphold human rights is deeply disappointing. Edwards’s neoconservative attitudes will be a major disappointment to his erstwhile supporters in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Edwards promised to be a progressive candidate, but he now appears to be a devotee of the Democratic Leadership Council who is obviously under the heady ether of the Israel Lobby.

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton declined to address the Herzliya Conference, but Edwards was joined by three Republicans: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain in addressing the conference of right-wing Israelis by satellite.


Michael Carmichael is a historian and author based in Oxford, England, UK. He is the founder and chief executive officer of planetarymovement.org. This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.


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This story was published on January 29, 2007.
 

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