Don’t Expect Middle East Peace to be a (U.S.) Presidential Campaign Issue

[PN: To get a sense of where the US elections are at, the article below are the views of a Chicago based Palestinian journalist and comedian, Ray Hanania, about how little American politics will focus on the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people or Arabs generally in the upcoming presidential elections next year. As Gore Vidal used to say:

“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat.”

Ian Curr, April 2015]


As the American presidential campaign gets into swing, there will be a big focus on the battle among the larger field of conservative and extremists Republicans like Cruz, Rand, Rubio and maybe a half dozen more, and they won’t be talking Middle East peace. But neither will Hillary Clinton or any Democrats who challenge her. The election campaign is like a season of “Who loves Israel more”

By Ray Hanania

RayHanania03-2015NameThmbOnce again, it’s “American Presidential Election Time” and the candidates’ roadshows will offer spectacular acts in which candidates jump through hoops of political fire to convince you they stand for America.

Or, they just might throw buckets of mud, slander and libel attacking their foes in the hopes of tearing them to pieces to make themselves look better.

That’s American democracy for you. Jelly wrestling with mud drenched rhetoric and promises that, after the election will be broken like Social Security in 20 short years.

One issue that won’t come up in a positive way will be Middle East peace. None of the candidates, Republicans or Democrats, will campaign on a platform of ending the Palestine-Israel conflict in a peaceful way.

There are a lot of topics that will get attention from the candidates. Some will trash immigration reform. Others will demand restrictions on same-sex marriage. Many will seek to undo the Iranian nuclear deal. And most will demand an end to Obamacare.

But they won’t try to bring peace to the Middle East. And they definitely won’t address ending the Palestine-Israel conflict. In fact, I would be surprised if any candidate — Republican or Democrat — will even utter the word “Palestine.”

That’s what happens in American elections. Honesty goes out the window as the media airwaves and social media will be flooded with promises that won’t be kept.

So as an American-Palestinian, I won’t be disappointed with the presidential candidates when they don’t address, in a substantive way, Palestine and the growing crisis building with Israel.

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Official portrait of United States Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel is a sacred cow issue that takes on an even greater prominence during the election.

But it will be after the election when some candidates back away from their rambunctious campaign promises and threats and, hopefully, settle into a more moderate approach to America’s role in the outside world.

Hating foreigners during an election helps to get votes in America, not loving them.

I don’t expect many Republicans to soften on Middle East peace. If Israel and its powerful lobby in America direct that peace with the Palestinians is bad, no serious Republican candidate will challenge them.

But, neither will Hillary Clinton, the Democrat who is the wife of former President Bill Clinton who pushed hard to forge a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord.

After all, peace killed Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin. (Radiation killed Yasser Arafat.) Practical politics isn’t about doing good. It’s about winning votes.

Hillary Clinton is not going to say or do anything that will jeopardize her chances of becoming the first woman president of the United States.

It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about Palestine.

She does. But American politics isn’t about saying what you want to do. It is about telling your audience what they want to hear.

For some strange reason, people in the Middle East believe the BS propaganda that American democracy is about championing the rights of the people and they are always disappointed in the candidates who compete to show who is more pro-Israel.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t make me laugh. American democratic elections are about elevating oneself to the highest level of power. And you don’t get there by “doing the right thing.” At least not during the election campaign.

Once in office, however, you can do good. But, not before.

That’s how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won his majority powerbase in Israel’s March 17 election. During the campaign, he lashed out at the Arabs in the most racist manner, pointing to them and warning Jews in Israel basically, “If you don’t support me, the Arabs will be taking over Tel Aviv!”

Netanyahu even rejected the two-state solution, which I honestly don’t believe he ever supported to begin with.

But not supporting it during an election is good for his right-wing fanaticism and popularity in Israel, and winning votes. Rejecting it once you are in the office only causes international problems, which is why Netanyahu reversed himself after several days after winning.

And the truth be told, that’s what good ol’ American politics is all about.

Politicians say whatever it takes to win office. And once in office, they do what they really feel is best, or what they can get away with.

Which brings me back to Hillary Clinton.

I don’t expect her to show her love for Palestine or peace any time soon. She’ll compete with her growing Republican field of candidates — which includes U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — to show excessive love for Israel.

Before the election, the battle will be about who loves Israel more. But after the election, the better candidate will settle back into reality and push for Palestinian statehood as the only way to bring lasting peace for Israel.

So when Hillary Clinton starts to bash Palestinian extremism while saying nothing about Israeli violence, terrorism, apartheid oppression or extremism, I won’t get upset. I’ll still support her. Because of all the candidates, Hillary Clinton is the only one who so far has a chance to win and be more likely to deflate her pro-Israel pre-election “Rah Rah” that will fill the airwaves, headlines and social media frenzy from now until Nov. 8, 2016.

Posted on April 16, 2015, 7:42 am By

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit


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3 thoughts on “Don’t Expect Middle East Peace to be a (U.S.) Presidential Campaign Issue

  1. 'Staying Human' ... says:

    ACRPS publishes the Arabic translation of Vittorio Arrigoni’s diaries

    In January 2012, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies has become the first publisher of the first Arabic translation of Vittorio Arrigoni’s Gaza: Stay Human, a book that compiles the diaries of the international activist of Italian origin, Vittorio Arrigoni. Carrying as it does such a powerful force humanist sentiment and chronicling the suffering of the people of Gaza, the diaries have already been translated into a variety of European languages.
    The book was translated into Arabic from an English version by the noted Syrian writer Malek Wannous, who has written widely on international social protest movements in Arabic, with a foreword from the Arabic edition provided by noted anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappe. Pappe’s foreward describes how, in 2004, the Israeli state built a complete simulacrum of an Arab city in the middle of the Negev Desert. By 2006, the correspondence between this make-believe town and Gaza was complete, which allowed the Israeli military to practice their killing techniques; in others words, the Israeli army was preparing for war in Gaza even after their 2005 withdrawal. In Pappe’s words, Arrigoni’s diaries provide a glimpse of this reality, opening up a window of hope for those who have been unconditionally, unwaveringly supportive of the Israeli state.

    Arrigoni, assassinated by a shadowy, extremist Salafist group in April 2011 had been in Gaza since 2008, and was a representative of the internationalist solidarity movement, which allowed him to be an eyewitness to the Israeli aggression on Gaza during the 2008-2009 war, which he document in a series of 22 reports he had sent to Italy’s Il Manifesto newspaper and posted on his blog, Guerilla Radio. In his own words, the reports were “made up of disturbing pages, soaked in blood and drenched in white phosphorus.” As truth is the first casualty in any war, Arrigoni believed that it was his duty, as a human who saw what he did, to document the reality before him before the Israelis could kill it in Gaza.

    This book is a truly shocking testament by a human who bore witness to one of the most brutal wars in history, waged by the Israelis against a defenseless population in Gaza.

  2. 'Shut your mouth' ... says:

    ‘Shut your mouth’: bystander defends passenger

    Sydney commuter Stacey Eden refuses to stay silent while a woman asks provocative questions of Muslim passengers

    Mariam Veiszadeh, founder of the Islamophobia Register Australia, said such incidents had become more common after the Reclaim Australia rallies earlier this month.

    “Is it any surprise that such sentiments are being expressed by people out in public given the Reclaim Australia movement and the rampant Islamophobia which ensued, and the woeful silence of our political leaders, which has created an environment where Islamophobia can flourish?” she said.

    “It’s about time that authorities and our government acknowledged that Islamophobia is a problem.”

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