Tuesday, March 25, 2008


RJC Calls on Sen. Obama to Remove Key Advisor (RJC)
Washington, D.C. (March 25, 2008) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today called on Sen. Barack Obama to remove Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak as his military advisor and national campaign co-chairman.

"By choosing to have a military advisor and national campaign co-chairman like General McPeak, serious questions and doubts are once again being raised about Senator Obama's positions and judgment on Middle East issues," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.

In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, Gen. McPeak resorted to old stereotypes and unfortunate language by blaming the lack of progress with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the undue political influence of American Jewry. The problem, said McPeak is "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."

"Rather than putting the blame where it belongs -- on the Palestinian leadership and their continued reliance on terror, General McPeak finds it more convenient to blame American Jewry and their perceived influence," said Brooks. "This is the same dangerous and disturbing canard being promoted by the likes of Jimmy Carter and authors Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby."

In addition, Gen. McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not returning to the 1967 borders or returning the Golan Heights to Syria, as he wrote in Foreign Affairs in April 1976.

"Senator Obama continues to surround himself with advisors holding troubling and disturbing anti-Israel bias. General McPeak's views are alarming. We call on Senator Obama to immediately remove General McPeak from his campaign leadership role and as a key advisor," said Brooks.


Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "disagrees" with a top adviser who appeared to blame Jewish voters for U.S. Mideast policy failures.

In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, now the co-chairman of Obama's presidential campaign, critiqued the Bush administration for its handling of the Iraq war.

In part, he said, the Bush administration lacked a broader Middle East strategy, particularly in the area of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The reporters asked him whether the State Department or the White House was to blame.

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

The reporters pressed him again to assess whether the State Department or the White House was responsible, but he persisted: "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."

In a statement to JTA, the Obama campaign noted the senator's pro-Israel record and added, "Neither Senator Clinton nor Senator Obama agrees with every position their advisors take, and in this case Senator Obama disagrees with General McPeak's comments."

McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff, has lent Obama's campaign substantial defense credibility and has appeared frequently as its surrogate on military matters.

The American Spectator, a conservative magazine, uncovered the Oregonian interview this week.

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