Marco Rubio is now desperate to keep his campaign alive as the credible Republican establishment alternative to frontrunner Donald Trump and the surging Ted Cruz; and yesterday he threw a Hail Mary in a bid for Sheldon Adelson’s funding: he announced a “national security advisory council” that includes many prominent supporters of Israel. The list of neoconservative old-timers is an implicit announcement that Rubio will do everything he can for the rightwing government of Israel.
Sheldon Adelson kept Republican campaigns afloat in 2012. He has not said who he’s supporting this time around. But his number one issue is Israel.
The cravenness of the Rubio list is epitomized by the presence of Dan Senor, the former spokesperson for the US occupying government of Iraq and co-author of Startup Nation, an effort to sell Israel to the U.S. as a technological powerhouse; Norm Coleman, the former Minnesota senator who has Sheldon Adelson links; Eliot Cohen, who urged George Bush to remove Saddam Hussein because “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight;” and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative eminence grise who said that Jews must stand apart from the society they live in except in Israel.
Another adviser, Aaron Friedberg, was a China hawk in the Bush administration and days after 9/11 called for removing Saddam even if there was no evidence that he had anything to do with the attack on the U.S. Eliot Cohen signed that letter too; it said 9/11 was all about Israel’s enemies:
“Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, … [we must] remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq…
“…any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah…
“Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East. The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism. We should insist that the Palestinian Authority put a stop to terrorism emanating from territories under its control… Until the Palestinian Authority moves against terror, the United States should provide it no further assistance.”
Coleman is a proud supporter of AIPAC and once supported the idea of the U.S. attacking Iran. His Adelson link:
A board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a rightwing “pro-Israel” group whose donors include Sheldon Adelson, Coleman has echoed common Republican criticisms of President Obama’s statements on Israel. “Israel’s position has been undermined,” he told the Weekly Standard in September 2011.
The list includes Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon official described as a strong supporter of Israel; former Bush Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff; and former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who lately advised Jeb Bush in his failed presidential bid. Mukasey says in a statement:
[Rubio] is the only candidate with the knowledge and judgment needed to confront radical Islamic terrorism.
He has an innate understanding of America’s important role in supporting freedom and standing up to tyranny. As President he would ensure that our allies respect us again and our enemies fear us.
“Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart–except in Israel–from the rest of the population.”
Mother Jones says the team is the neoconservative dreamteam and points out that it includes many George W. Bush alumni.
Abrams and Cohen were members of the Project for a New American Century, an early-2000s group of neconservatives who pushed for big increases in defense spending, more American military intervention abroad, regime change in Iraq, and other policies that became Bush administration staples. Rubio’s foreign policy vision is basically ripped from the group’s platform: He wants to pour money into expanding the military, ramp up missile defense, get aggressive with both Iran and China, and expand the US role in Syria.
Commenters at MJ are on to the Zionism of the list.
Another adviser, Eric Edelman, who served on Dick Cheney’s staff, says Rubio, who has been in the Senate for five years, will have no learning curve on foreign policy!
As one of the most active members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senator Rubio will not have a learning curve when he steps into the Oval Office.
Bear in mind that Rubio’s claim on the establishment means less and less, as the Republican Party slowly inches away from Israel support as a core value. As Chemi Shalev wrote in a widely-circulated piece at Haaretz, Trump “is decimating the three legs of blanket Republican support for Israel: Evangelicals, Jews and interventionist hawks.”
The press has pointed out that a Koch Brothers guru in Washington has joined the Rubio staff lately. Let’s see if any of them talk about the Israel lobby in connection with Rubio’s foreign policy advisers.
Here’s the list, from Rubio’s site:
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman
Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
Ambassador Eric Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Aaron Friedberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President
Kim Holmes, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl
John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy
Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General
Andrew Natsios, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
Dan Senor, former Senior Adviser and Chief Spokesman, Coalition in Iraq
Ambassador Kristen Silverberg, former Ambassador to the European Union
U.S. Sen. Jim Talent
Dov Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)