Middle East Issues and the Republican Platform

The panelists discussed U.S. policies in the Middle East. Ms. Williams asserted that President Bush’s policy supporting Ariel… read more

The panelists discussed U.S. policies in the Middle East.

Ms. Williams asserted that President Bush’s policy supporting Ariel Sharon “has led America into yet another war with Iraq and into confrontation with Muslims worldwide.” She criticized Bush’s continued support for Sharon in spite of Israel’s failure to stem the growth of settlements in the occupied territories. She described U.S. policy in the Middle East as unclear, contradictory, and dangerous. She called for a “fair and balanced” policy that would deal equitably with both Middle Eastern governments and citizens.

Mr. Bird claimed that little difference exists between the Kerry and Bush campaign statements on Middle East policy. He noted that foreign policy is a primary concern for many U.S. voters, and that many in the U.S. feel that current policy too heavily favors Israel. He spoke about ways to change the Republican platform to favor the recognition of a Palestinian state, and discussed the correlation between religious views among U.S. voters and their opinions about Middle East policy. He examined the potential impact of Muslim voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan. Mr. Bird claimed that a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel could lead to a Bush victory. He concluded his remarks with a call for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state as an incentive to the peace process.

Mr. Howell called on the U.S. to become “a truly honest broker in the region” and acknowledge its history of policy misjudgment. He described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the central problem in the Middle East and called on U.S. leaders to make it the central issue of U.S. policy. He called for greater respect for human rights in the region and for President Bush to “withdraw support from all the corrupt governments in the Middle East.” He equated support for “any exclusionist state” with support for apartheid and warned against essentializing the Middle East by accepting the false notion of a centuries-old religious and ethnic conflict. He urged the foundation of a constitutional democracy that would encompass both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Peck asserted that Israel’s lack of respect for international law is a serious obstacle to a lasting peace. He criticized the rhetoric that attributes the motivations of terrorists to a simple hatred of freedom, and asserted that U.S. policy in the Middle East generates more terrorist activity than it prevents. He described the violence in Israel as stemming from an “occupation and suppression” by the Israelis and urged the U.S. to oppose Israeli expansion.

Rep. McCloskey urged President Bush “to reaffirm support for the United Nations charter” and international law. He described the legacy of U.S. violence and how it relates to terrorism. He urged the current President Bush to confirm more closely with George H.W. Bush’s policy toward Israel. He noted that “Christian Zionists” are part of the Republican base, and argued that religion occupies too large a place in public policy.

The panelists responded to audience questions. close

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Middle East Issues and the Republican Platform

Program ID:
Public Affairs Event
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
First Aired:
Aug 26, 2004
Last Aired:
Aug 27, 2004

Airing Details

  • Aug 26, 2004 | 4:10pm EDT | C-SPAN 1
  • Aug 27, 2004 | 3:09am EDT | C-SPAN 1
  • Aug 27, 2004 | 8:24am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Aug 27, 2004 | 12:03pm EDT | C-SPAN 3
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