Republican Jewish group wants Obama adviser canned
By Sam Youngman
Posted: 03/25/08 03:41 PM [ET]
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called on Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Tuesday to remove military adviser and national campaign co-chairman Gen. Tony McPeak from his team, citing past statements McPeak has made about the Middle East that the RJC finds troubling.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the RJC, said in a statement that in keeping McPeak as a surrogate and campaign spokesman, “serious questions and doubts are once again being raised about Sen. Obama’s positions and judgment on Middle East issues.”
In its statement, the RJC cited a 2003 interview McPeak did with the Portland Oregonian in which “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 ... here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.’ ”
Brooks said McPeak is more wont to blame American Jews than Palestinian leadership.
"Sen. Obama continues to surround himself with advisers holding troubling and disturbing anti-Israel bias,” Brooks said. “Gen. McPeak's views are alarming. We call on Sen. Obama to immediately remove Gen. McPeak from his campaign leadership role and as a key adviser.”
The Obama campaign said it disagrees with McPeak’s statement, adding that Obama's “longstanding commitment to Israel is clear to anyone who has reviewed his voting record, read his speeches or looked at his policy papers.”
“As he has said, his support for our democratic ally Israel is based on America's national interests and our shared values,” Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Neither Sen. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton [D-N.Y.] nor Sen. Obama agrees with every position their advisers take, and in this case Sen. Obama disagrees with Gen. McPeak's comments.”
McPeak has served as a lightning rod of sorts as the Clinton campaign has also been highly critical of comments made by the retired general.