Will Obama Throw McPeak Under the Bus?

US Politics
on 20 Comments

The Republican Jewish Coalition is calling on Obama to fire General McPeak because he blamed American Jews for the lack of progress in the peace process…

Meantime James Fallows is shocked that the Clintons are circulating the American Spectator hitjob on McPeak given the Spectator’s role in grinding the salt into the Clintons’ wounds in the 90s. And Fallows stands up for McPeak…  As I say, fairminded Americans eschew religious agendas in foreign policy…

20 Responses

  1. William Burns
    March 26, 2008, 11:09 am

    Judging by everything else in his campaign, yes he will. At some point, you have to stop listening for dog whistles and look at what Obama actually says and does, which indicates that he's a standard AIPAC Democrat.

  2. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 12:02 pm


    "Gen. McPeak resorted to old stereotypes and unfortunate language." – RJC

    Such as … "Saddam's WMDs" and "Islamofascist threat"? Oh, wait, those are THEIR stereotypes!

    The RJC's preferred stereotype is that anyone who questions whether support for Israel benefits the U.S. is a raving antisemite, probably harboring rusting canisters of Zyklon-B in their basement for imminent use.

    Thus is illustrated the function of the verdant profusion of Holocaust museums, which have nothing to do with American history, and everything to do with American politics.

  3. samuel burke
    March 26, 2008, 12:04 pm

    what an f-n joke..someone needs to elevate this argument and use language strong enough to awaken the rest of america….

    wll zionism create anti semitism in the united states of america… i say that eventually it will….gosh wont that be grand for the state of israel, then all the jews who still wish to be zionist can go running for the promised safety that israel was created to provide.

  4. PaulO
    March 26, 2008, 2:08 pm

    Obama, like any candidate with a REALISTIC shot at becoming president is surely by definition an AIPAC candidate. Which means everything out of his mouth re Middle East policy is practically worthless unless/until he's elected.
    Similarly, does anyone seriously believe Obama and Hillary are church-going god-fearing christians by choice or political necessity?

  5. MM
    March 26, 2008, 2:11 pm

    Now with several conscientious and upstanding Americans, including members of his own family, thrown under it; Rev. Wright sitting rather awkwardly somewhere near the back of it; millions of optimists riding along in spacious, nebulous comfort; and Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Harvard behind the wheel–the Obama bus is still headed off the same cliff as the Straight Talk Express and Clinton family PR paddywagon. Mo money, mo war, mo problems.

  6. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 3:24 pm


    "Mo money, mo war, mo problems." – MM

    My man, I fear you are more right than you knew when you wrote that. Blogger John McGlynn says that FinCEN, at U.S. instigation, issued a bulletin on March 20th calling for a global boycott on the entire list of Iranian banks, including overseas branches, and the Iranian Central Bank.

    link to japanfocus.org
    link to fincen.gov

    The person behind this is US Treasury's Stuart Levey — the same man who organized the financial blockade and boycott of Gaza after the Jan. 2006 election won by Hamas. McGlynn cites the example of FinCEN's 2005 sanctions on BDA Bank in Macau for dealing with North Korea — which proved to be highly effective.

    If McGlynn is right, a US financial nuclear attack on Iran is underway, with the objective of shutting down its international trade completely. He assumes it will be successful. It had better be. The downside is that if Europe and China don't go along, the US dollar could lose what's left of its fading reserve currency status.

    Needless to say, I find it astounding and chilling that a zionist mole like Stuart Levey can openly hijack the US Treasury, and use its authority to instigate global trade mayhem.

    Phil, is this on your radar? As their political influence crumbles, is this the Revenge of the Zionoids — to torch the global financial system, and take the whole house of cards down with them? Who knows what cornered rats will do.

  7. LanceThruster
    March 26, 2008, 3:32 pm

    Curiouser and curiouser….

  8. syvanen
    March 26, 2008, 4:05 pm

    This is a dynamite issue. I would not like to see Obama sacrifice his chances taking on the Israel lobby right now. Everyone knows the power they have. What happens if the ADL or ZOA demands Mc Peak's removal? Can Obama possibly resist? If he tries I think you would see a huge surge of super delegates moving towards Hillary. Primary over. Obama out. The lobby could add another victim to its list. Surviving democrats would be in even greater fear of their power.

    I could be overly pessimistic here, but this outcome is possible.

  9. bondo
    March 26, 2008, 4:34 pm

    worth repeating:

    "Needless to say, I find it astounding and chilling that a zionist mole like Stuart Levey can openly hijack the US Treasury, and use its authority to instigate global trade mayhem." – Posted by: Jim Haygood |

    for the benefit of israel

  10. bondo
    March 26, 2008, 4:37 pm

    re zionist mole. remember stuart eizenstat and switzerland.

    all jews in government are moles for israel.

  11. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 5:25 pm


    "all jews in government are moles for israel."

    I couldn't subscribe to that statement; it's a vast over-generalization. The evidence regarding Stuart Levey is very clear, though. Excerpts from an April 2006 article at IsraelInsider:


    Israel, the United States and Europe are boycotting the new Hamas-run government, demanding it renounce violence and recognize Israel.

    Palestinian officials said funds pledged by Muslim countries, including Iran, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Kuwait, have not made it into government coffers because of U.S. pressure on Arab banks not to transfer the money.

    U.S. officials refused to discuss specific tactics related to the financial clampdown. But Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, appeared to confirm that there has been pressure on banks.

    "Treasury is speaking with financial institutions, organizations and other entities to clarify how our sanctions apply to the new state of affairs," he said.

    link to web.israelinsider.com


    Now Levey is up to the same seige tactics, but against much larger prey: Iran has 65 million people, versus Gaza's 1.5 million.

    Every effort is being made to provoke military hostilities with Iran. This time, the Israel Lobby cannot feign innocence. According to AIPAC's website, Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt ALREADY briefed "AIPAC leaders" about the FinCEN sanctions announced last Thursday, before the rest of the world had even heard about them. The Lobby's fingerprints are ALL OVER this. They are determined to have a war with Iran, and are getting increasingly annoyed that the reticent Iranians refuse to open fire and inaugurate the planned festivities.

    link to aipac.org

  12. Democrat
    March 26, 2008, 7:06 pm

    Local Democratic Party Office phone numbers:
    link to democrats.org

  13. Chuck
    March 26, 2008, 8:32 pm

    I'm listing the names of the 21 so called big money Clinton donors who sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi. Are there any of these people who aren't Jewish?

    Marc Aronchick
    Clarence Avant
    Susie Tompkins Buell
    Sim Farar
    Robert L. Johnson
    Chris Korge
    Marc and Cathy Lasry
    Hassan Nemazee
    Alan and Susan Patricof
    JB Pritzker
    Amy Rao
    Lynn Forester de Rothschild
    Haim Saban
    Bernard Schwartz
    Stanley S. Shuman
    Jay and Tracy Snyder
    Maureen White and Steven Rattner

    Doesn't the RJC have a lot of chutzpah demanding that anyone resign for merely having the audacity to tell the truth?

  14. neocognitism
    March 26, 2008, 8:54 pm

    Such a blatantly obvious joke. Both McCain and Hillary are ganging up on Obama.

    The Obama camp's response should be that the General was not just blaming Jews, he was blaming Christian Zionists as well. And maybe the General should clarify his words and say "The Israel Lobby like AIPAC" instead of "Jews" which is of course inaccurate.

  15. Crimson Ghost
    March 26, 2008, 9:45 pm

    Federal Reserve Board of Governors: ALL 5 ARE JEWS !!!
    Only 2 percent of the US population, but yet all 5 Federal Reserve governors are jews, including chairman Ben S. Bernanke and assistant chairman Donald L. Kohn. Others are: Kevin M. Warsh, Randall S. Kroszner and Frederick S. Mishkin. Not one gentile in the bunch.

    How come the main stream media has never reported this fact ?? How come no politician ever does, including Ron Paul ?? And what are the odds against all 5 federal reserve governors belonging to a race that makes up only 2 percent of the population

    Synopsis: The Federal Reserve Board of Governors: all Jews.
    Source: Federal Reserve
    Published: January 22, 2008

    All five governors of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are Jewish. This is an event of unthinkable odds.

    There are supposed to be seven governors.

    Kevin Warsh is the son-in-law of Ron Lauder, son of Estee Lauder. Of Ron Lauder, Wikipedia says:

    Lauder is actively involved in numerous civic organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish National Fund, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and the Abraham Fund. With his brother he founded the Lauder Institute at Wharton School. Lauder has also served as a Finance Chairman of the New York State Republican Committee. He was elected President of the World Jewish Congress on June 10, 2007 beating South African businessman Mendel Kaplan by 11 votes to 4.

  16. Arie Brand
    March 27, 2008, 12:16 am

    Jim Haygood wrote: "If McGlynn is right, a US financial nuclear attack on Iran is underway, with the objective of shutting down its international trade completely. He assumes it will be successful. It had better be. The downside is that if Europe and China don't go along, the US dollar could lose what's left of its fading reserve currency status."

    The question is then what country will go bankrupt first, the US or its possible victim.


    "No one knows for sure, but there are strong reasons to believe the United States may be going broke.

    Consider, for starters, Gokhale and Smetters’s (2005) analysis of the country’s fiscal gap, which measures the present value difference between all future government expenditures, including
    servicing official debt, and all future receipts. In calculating the fiscal gap, Gokhale and Smetters use the federal government’s arbitrarily labeled
    receipts and payments. Nevertheless, their calculation of the fiscal gap is label-free because alternative labeling of our nation’s fiscal affairs would
    yield the same fiscal gap. Indeed, determining the fiscal gap is part of generational accounting; the fiscal gap measures the extra burden that
    would need to be imposed on current or future generations, relative to current policy, to satisfy the government’s intertemporal budget constraint.
    The Gokhale and Smetters measure of the
    fiscal gap is a stunning $65.9 trillion! This figure is more than five times U.S. GDP and almost twice the size of national wealth. One way to wrap one’s head around $65.9 trillion is to ask what fiscal
    adjustments are needed to eliminate this red hole.
    The answers are terrifying. One solution is an immediate and permanent doubling of personal and corporate income taxes. Another is an immediate and permanent two-thirds cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits. A third alternative, were it feasible, would be to immediately
    and permanently cut all federal discretionary spending by 143 percent.

    The Gokhale and Smetters study is an update
    of an earlier, highly detailed, and extensive U.S.Department of the Treasury fiscal gap analysis commissioned in 2002 by then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. Smetters, who served as Deputy
    Assistant Secretary of Economic Policy at the Treasury between 2001 and 2002, recruited Gokhale, then Senior Economic Adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, to work with him and other Treasury staff on the study. The
    study took close to a year to organize and complete.

    Gokhale and Smetters’s $65.9 trillion fiscal
    gap calculation relies on the same methodology original Treasury analysis. Hence, one can legitimately view this figure as our own government’s best estimate of its present-value
    budgetary shortfall. "

    From Kotlikoff L.J. (2006), "Is the United States Bankrupt?", Federal Reserve Bank of Str.Louis Review, July/August, pp.235-249

  17. hlmeankin
    March 27, 2008, 3:57 am

    Lets look at what McPeak said.
    And what Obama's camp is running away from.

    "Here is the relevant segment:
    Thursday, March 27, 2003
    From The Oregonian
    link to oregonlive.com

    "Any way you look at it, Iraq is a regional problem, and it's an important problem, it ties to a lot of other problems, but it's a regional problem, and therefore, if I were helping the president decide what we ought to work on today, I would have put it ahead of Iraq.

    The other reason I would have put it ahead is I don't think we have anything like a strategy for the Middle East. And what we're doing in Iraq ought to be a piece of a larger undertaking. And it has all the aspects of a kind of a slapdash pickup fight, you know, where – I mean you always call audibles in war, but we're drawing the plays on the ground in the huddle here. We don't have a playbook for the Middle East. You know, for instance, obviously, a part of that long-term strategy would be getting the Israelis and the Palestinians together at . . . something other than a peace process. Process is not a substitute for achievement or settlement. And even so the process has gone off the tracks, but the process isn't enough. . . . We eed to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that.

    So where's the problem? State? White House?

    New York City. Miami. We have a large vote – vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.

    Actually I was thinking of the larger lack of a Middle East strategy. Does that emanate out of the State Department or out of the White House, combination of both, is it a personality struggle, what's – what's going on?

    I think that everybody understands that a settlement of the Arab-Israeli problem would require the Israelis to stop settling the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and maybe even withdraw some of the settlements that've already been put there. And nobody wants to take on that problem. It's just too tough politically. So that means we can't . . . you can't develop a Middle East strategy. It's impossible.

    Do you think . . . there's an element within Hamas, Hezbollah, that doesn't want Israel to exist at all and always will be there?


    Well, what's wrong about these comments? We can argue about what actually roils the politicans.Is it fear of losing the jewish vote and /or the money of the jewish billionaires? But essentially he is on target.
    Now if Obama wants to take the opportunity to make another speech like he did on the racism and the pastor Wright, he can really educate Americans on the subject of the Lobby and why we are losing influence in the Mideast.
    But don't bet your day job he will.

  18. LanceThruster
    March 27, 2008, 2:54 pm

    I found it interesting that the editor for the LA Jewish Journal sought to give Sen. Obama advice on how to placate the American Jewish constuency.

    He opened his piece thusly:

    Dear Senator Obama

    [ link to jewishjournal.com ]

    "By Rob Eshman, Editor-in-Chief

    Dear Senator Obama:

    Twelve-hundred Jews booed you last month."


    This was at a benefit event for the Jewish victims of Sderot.

    Ho goes on to counsel:


    "People say you may make history as the first black president, but it's possible you might also make history as the first Democrat to lose the Jewish vote since 1920, when Warren G. Harding was elected president. (…) Can you survive without the Jews? Sure, but in a general election their activism, money, influence and actual votes can make the difference in swing states like Ohio and Florida."

    [end excerpt]


    I found it interesting that though another essay contributor felt that Sen. Obama's positions should not be of concern, Mr. Eshman's advice was to indicate what was needed to stop the boos (one attendee of the Sderot fundraiser was outraged that Obama even mentioned the term "Palestinian").

    [Mel Levine – former congressman and currently serving as a Middle East policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama. – link to jewishjournal.com ]


    It will be interesting to see how well Sen. Obama is able to navigate this obstacle/opportunity. I wish him well.

  19. Jim Haygood
    March 27, 2008, 3:42 pm


    Arie Brand — what allows the U.S. to finance its $65.9 trillion fiscal gap is that Crimson Ghost's nemesis, the Federal Reserve, can print the dollars to buy oil and other imports. This is no longer guaranteed by the Bretton Woods agreement (1944-1973), which gave the US dollar privileged status as a global reserve currency. The dollar's trade role is simply a vestige of that obsolete agreement, for lack of a better alternative.

    However, if the world gets tired of the U.S. politicizing its currency, the euro could become the medium for international settlements, without requiring U.S. banks as middlemen. Indeed, the dollar's political risk is the reason why Iran only accepts payment for oil in euros. An infuriated U.S. is now escalating by attempting to cut off Iran's access to remittances in ANY currency.

    During the Cold War, the COMECON countries formed a ruble trade bloc, imposed by the Soviet Union. The dollar-reserve rest-of-world prospered outside it. An eventual global consensus on euro-reserve trade settlement could leave North America as a rump dollar bloc, isolated and stagnating just as COMECON did. Then the $65.9 trillion US fiscal gap will no longer be manageable by printing dollars to pay for imports, because dollars won't be accepted.

    But, courage man! With Israel as an ally, we'll skate by somehow, while dealing with Iran. "Grab their gas and kick their ass" is Plan A. Plan B, well, you don't wanna know.

  20. Charles Keating
    March 28, 2008, 3:08 pm

    Obama And The Jews
    25 Mar 2008 05:57 pm
    The Clinton campaign is distributing an article in the American Spectator (!) about Obama foreign policy adviser Merrill McPeak and his penchant for.. well, the article accuses him of being an anti-Semite and a drunk. Principally, the author takes McPeak to task for supporting a Middle East map that would require Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 border. It also makes the case that McPeak supports the Walt-Mearsheimer view of the influence of the Israeli lobby on foreign policy.
    The author's sudden conclusion: "Obama has a Jewish problem and McPeak's bigoted views are emblematic of what they are. Obama can issue all the boilerplate statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself he wants. But until he accepts responsibility for allowing people like McPeak so close to his quest for the presidency, Obama's sincerity and judgment will remain open questions."
    As one keen observer pointed out to me, if advocating the pre '67 border map makes one an anti-Semite, just about every iteration of the U.S. government since 1967 would qualify. Tony McPeak's verbal gymnastics do not make a "Jewish problem" for Obama.

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