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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, September 22, 2008

V. Bennett's Israeli Statements Belie Misunderstandings and Weakness

Question: With support from Iran and Syria, Hezbollah has nearly tripled the rocket inventory it had before the 2006 war, directly violating numerous elements of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended that war and called for Hezbollah to be disarmed. Do you view this as a threat to American interests in the region and what role should our country take in attempting to resolve the multi-dimensional issues of Israel, the Palestinians, Hezbollah and Hamas?

Congressman Charlie Dent: "Well, first, there should be no negotiation with Hamas until Hamas renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

"With respect to Iran, Iran is a rogue nation led by an awful man,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a very bad man. I am committed to a missile defense program for Israel's benefit as well as ours. It's in our interest to protect Israel from that missile threat and Iran does represent an existential threat to Israel. I met with Prime Minister Olmert. I met with who I think will soon be the Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, as well as many others. We have a very clear understanding and we have an unshakable alliance with respect to this Iranian threat.

"It is unfortunate that in the United States of America, some leading newspapers think it is in the national interest to splash some of our best methods in dealing with how to impose tough sanctions on Iranian banks on the front pages of their newspapers or some of our best methods to electronically intercept some of the communications of our enemies operating overseas with al-Qaeda. They splash it on the front pages of their newspaper.

"We work closely with Israeli intelligence. They're our partners. They don't deal with some of the same problems that we deal with here, in terms of having to protect their country. They understand the threat. I think most Americans do, too. But we have to be better.

"One thing on Hamas and Hezbollah. I'll tell you I've met with Mr. Goldwasser, who lost his son, who was abducted during the Israel-Lebanon war. I'll tell you, you really understand what the Israeli people are facing. You can stand in Tel Aviv and see the West Bank as well as the Mediterranean Sea. It's a small country, and those rockets raining in from the Gaza and from Lebanon are a real threat to Israel. I think we have to do our best to work with our partner, Israel, in mitigating that very real threat and understanding where the problem originates. it originates in Iran and Syria.

"We must stand by Israel."

Sam Bennett: "A strong U.S.-Israel relationship is not only important to Israel and the United States; it's important to the world. U.S. and Israel have a strong, historic relationship based on common values - that of respecting individual rights and both having strong democracies.

"We have to respect that Israel is not only our strongest ally in the Middle East, it is our strongest ally in the world.

"What is the biggest threat we face today for our way of life? Quite simply put, it's terrorism. Let me be perfectly clear. A threat to any democracy is a threat to all democracies.

"In Iran, we have a President who has sworn to destroy America and has sworn to destroy Israel. He is building up nuclear armaments as we speak and he is funding Hamas and he is funding Hezbollah. This must end.

"First, we need to engage in fierce diplomacy. They must behave.

"Finally, we need to isolate and contain, particularly Iran. We need to make sure that countries no longer export to Iran. We need to discourage banks that invest in Iran. Iran is the problem. We have to be willing to invest in humanitarian aid and empower those peoples in all of these countries that truly desire peace.

"Finally, we as a country must be prepared to stand up and be counted and take military action if needed. If we find out, through actionable intelligence, that Iran has had any action against Israel, our country or any ally, we absolutely must respond. Period."

Blogger's Note: Although there is abundant evidence that Iran is currently engaged in nuclear activity, no one has yet established that it is actually "building up nuclear armaments as we speak." Once that is clear, I suspect Iran's nuclear program will be ended very quickly by Israel. Bennett's dangerously false claim about Iran's nuclear capability, coupled with her suggestion that we engage in "fierce diplomacy" and that Hamas "must behave", betrays a serious weakness in foreign policy. That's something that we we can't permit.


J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Bernie ,

Do you ever sleep these days?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Spike, I wanted to get as much of this debate, in the candidates' own words, out there to the readers. So no, I did not get much sleep last night. Now I'll head to work and screw up there, too. I'll stand down sometime today.

Anonymous said...

After traveling to Lebanon this summer and seeing the turmoil constantly roused by the Israelis, it is still amazing that the US media does not report the whole story. The Christian people of the Middle East, especially the Christian Lebanese, among the most persecuted people in this situation. They are trying their best to defend themselves and reorganize their government. But they get lumped together with any terroristic organization that is merely trying to defend themself against a well oiled monster of a machine that uproots families and entire communities at the start of a bull-dozer.

Any politian that makes the statement that Israel is the US' biggest ally; be very weary of.

Anonymous said...

Not to diminish Israel's relationship with the US, which is strong, but the assertion that Israel is "our strongest ally in the world" is really quite remarkable in light of the support our nation receives from other democracies as well. What about United Kingdom and Australia? What about Canada and France, for that matter?

Or is it that because Ms. Bennett perceives that the Jewish community in the 15th district somehow is in support of her candidacy, and therefore by default, Israel must be our biggest ally?

After her performance last night (and how the crowd reacted to her comments), I believe that she should seriously re-evaluate that perception.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, folks. I found Bennett's statement that terrorists must "behave" similar to Dent's saying the world's most dangerous maniac-tyrant is a "very bad man."

Anonymous said...

Lighten Up II: I see McCain using index cards all the time when he speaks. Does he get a pass for being old?

Anonymous said...

"I see McCain using index cards all the time when he speaks. Does he get a pass for being old?"

No, he gets a pass because he is giving a speech. At a debate, you are trying to display your knowledge and grasp of the issues. You arent trying to showcase the best talking points that someone from Washington put together for you. Dent clearly had a better understanding of the issues.

Anonymous said...

Sam schooled Dent. She is smokin hot now and getting hotter!!