Dan Halloran is a Republican City Councilman in New York City who is running for Gary Ackerman’s congressional seat in Queens and Long Island.
You’d think this is a safe Democratic district. According to the Almanac of American Politics for 2010, it was 29 percent Asian, 24 percent Hispanic, and 41 percent white. (40 percent Asian, per the NYT.)
But, big surprise, Halloran is now in Israel giving red meat quotes on standing by Israel and attacking Iran:
“The Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare in Egypt, where an Islamist government is coming into power, Syria is a complete mess, and of course Iran is on the brink of nuclear weapons,” he added.
And Halloran’s opponent Grace Meng, a liberal NY assemblywoman, is running to Obama’s right, and Halloran’s right, on Israel. Check out her statement “Where Grace Meng Agrees and Disagrees with President Obama on Israel,” in the NY Jewish Week, in which she invokes the neoconservative red line: even an Iranian “capability” to produce nuclear weapons should bring us to war.
And she sells out the president on the ’67 lines! Reminder: there will be no Palestinian state, ever.
Although I truly believe President Barack Obama has had good intentions in his policies toward Israel, and has accomplished much in the region, there are several key respects where he could have been — and still can be — a greater friend to Israel.
With regard to the Iranian nuclear threat, the President needs to clarify that he will not allow Iran to become capable of developing a nuclear weapon. We cannot allow Iran to get within sprinting distance of developing a nuclear warhead that can be used against Israel. President Obama should make clear to Iran and the world that the United States will use military force against Iran’s nuclear program if Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability. So there are no tragic mistakes on the world stage, there should be no misunderstanding on this point.
On the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians, the President was misguided in calling for a return to pre-1967 borders, and he was misguided in linking the freezing of West Bank housing construction to the advancement of peace negotiations. Furthermore, he should have visited Israel. The failure of the President’s peace initiative largely results from these missteps.
Several months ago the Times warned us this race would become “Israelapalooza,” on the heels of Robert Turner’s defeat of David Weprin in the Brooklyn congressional election. The Times said it was a competition for Jewish voters; which is to say, Jewish swing voters are hard right on Israel. I have to believe fundraising is also a big issue…