The wrong McCain may have had the job of taking Senator Chuck Hagel to school on the Middle East. Senator John McCain earned plenty of headlines for his questioning of Hagel but did he teach Hagel anything about Israel and the Middle East?
Setting aside the question of whether Hagel has the ability to absorb the truths about the neighborhood that Israel lives in, this could have been a teachable moment for Hagel and many Americans who often do not grasp that Israel’s neighbors are not friendly Canadians.
That John McCain is a strong friend of Israel is not debatable, but the fact is that John’s younger brother Joe McCain may understand more about Israel’s precarious circumstances.
Joe McCain is a former newspaper reporter and U.S. Navy veteran. In the wake of the September 11 Islamic terrorist attacks on America Joe McCain’s views on Israel first came to public attention.
On April 19, 2002 at an Orthodox synagogue called Nusach Hari B’nai Zion in St. Louis Joe McCain gave a talk that was titled “Never Again.”
Joe McCain observed “The irony goes unnoticed — while we are hammering away to punish those who brought the horrors of last September here, we restrain the Israelis from the same retaliation. Not the same thing, of course — We are We, They are They. While we mourn and seethe at September 11th, we don’t notice that Israel has a September 11th sometimes every day.”
“(I)t doesn’t make any difference whether you are pro-Israeli or you think Israel is the bully of the Middle East,” Joe McCain continued “If it comes to where a new holocaust looms — with or without the concurrence of the United States and Europe — Israel will lash out without pause or restraint at those who would try to annihilate their country. The Jews will not go quietly again.”
In March 2008 The Boston Globe reported on the notoriety Joe McCain had earned from the speech in the pro-Israel community. The Globe reported: “the former newspaper reporter has made his mark with the written word, including an essay on anti-Semitism, widely distributed on the Internet, which he says may have made more of an impact than his past [campaign] appearances on behalf of his brother.”
Perhaps John McCain should have invited his brother Joe to question Hagel during the confirmation hearings.
What could have been more effective was if Joe McCain to had met with Hagel to discuss Israel in 2002, long before the former senator from Nebraska made his offensive “Jewish Lobby” remark in 2006.
Maybe than Hagel would understand that when American Jews stand up for Israel and her security concerns that millions of other Americans stand up too.
A video of Senator McCain’s questioning of Hagel can be viewed below.