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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/20/14

"Courting powerful Jewish donors," Christie calls for aggressive foreign policy

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Original posted at Mondoweiss

Chris Christie at May 18 gala
Chris Christie at May 18 gala
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week Hillary Clinton sucked up to the Israel lobby in a speech questioning President Obama's strength vis-a-vis Iran, and yesterday Chris Christie sucked up to donors Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt with his own foreign policy speech delivered at the "Champions of Jewish Values Awards" gala in NY. For all who think Zionism is the bomb of Jewish identity and American image overseas -- the Associated Press doesn't try and put any lipstick on Christie's speech:

"Courting powerful Jewish donors for the second time in two months, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Sunday for a more aggressive foreign policy that defends American values abroad, but he also said he is concerned about the direction America is heading in.

"'The rest of the world watches in desperation and hope that America will realize and act upon once again its indispensable place in the world,' Christie, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said in a keynote address Sunday at the Champions of Jewish Values International awards gala in New York. 'We must lead.'"

Christie didn't mention Israel in the speech but he overcame his earlier mistake of referring to the West Bank as "occupied territories," for which he had to apologize to Adelson. More of yesterday's bellicosity, from Time Magazine:

"Christie criticized Obama for failing to follow through on his threat to punish Syria for using chemical weapons on its citizens, acknowledging there may be a debate about drawing a 'red line.' 'Here's something that should not be up for debate, that once you draw that red line, you enforce it, because if you don't, America's credibility will be at stake and will be at risk all over the world,' he said."

The evening was bipartisan. Sean Penn the wonderful liberal received an award. So did Sen Cory Booker, shown below at the taping of his speech, posing with the shrewd leader of Champions of Jewish Values, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

Boteach and Booker
Here is Hillary Clinton's speech, to the American Jewish Committee, from last Thursday, saying "no deal with Iran" was better than a bad deal. Notice the tough talk about a military threat:

"She said that the current negotiations on a permanent deal would test if Iran was serious about an accommodation with the West, and expressed her own skepticism. The United States, she said, 'will have to be tough, clear-eyed and ready to walk away and increase the pressure if need be.' If the talks fail, Clinton noted, 'Every option remains on the table.'"

And she swipes at the Palestinians, of course:

"Referring to the stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the former Secretary of State observed that 'the parties were not ready to make the choices and compromises necessary to reach agreement on core issues,' even though it was 'no mystery' what a peace agreement would look like. She considered the new cooperative arrangement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas a blow to peace, and insisted that Hamas would remain a 'pariah' until it renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted all existing agreements."

P.S. More from Rabbi Boteach, celebrity adorer: "I want Sean Penn to know that I have accepted his offer to be his running mate." I.e., it's no problem for a progressive human rights figure to team up with a defender of attacking Iran, in Boteach's view. It's amazing that people like Booker and Penn would even share a stage with Adelson after he called for nuking Iran, but that's the climate of the Israel lobby. Here are the powerful rightwing donors, on stage:

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Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine, Mondoweiss.net, which he founded in order to foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy. He is currently working on a novel about the US in Australia during WW2.

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