Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2008) -- Today the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) again called on Sen. Barack Obama to remove Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak as his military advisor and national campaign co-chairman.
"General McPeak attempted to backtrack from the offensive comments he has made about the political influence of American Jewry by conducting an exclusive interview yesterday with ShalomTV. Yet more telling are the comments General McPeak made to The Oregonian on Wednesday, March 26 when he said he 'stood by his position that U.S. policy in the Mideast is influenced by pro-Israeli voters'" said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.
"The issue is not whether American Jews have any influence, the issue is who is to blame for the problems in the Middle East. General McPeak blamed American Jews in 2003 and he blames them still today. It is painfully clear he does not understand the offensive nature of these comments," said Brooks.
"While Senator Obama's campaign has said that he disagrees with General McPeak's comments about the power of pro-Israeli voters, campaign statements are not enough. If Senator Obama genuinely disagrees, than it is incumbent upon him to take action and immediately remove General McPeak as military advisor and national campaign co-chairman," said Brooks.
On Tuesday, the RJC issued a statement calling on Sen. Obama to remove Gen. McPeak, citing a 2003 interview with The Oregonian.
Discussing Middle East politics in the interview, Gen. McPeak stated, "We don't have a playbook for the Middle East. You know, for instance, obviously, a part of that long-term strategy would be getting the Israelis and the Palestinians together at... something other than a peace process. Process is not a substitute for achievement or settlement. And even so, the process has gone off the tracks, but the process isn't enough."
The Oregonian interviewer asked Gen. McPeak whether the problem in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict originated with the White House or the State Department.
"So where's the problem?" the interviewer asked.
Gen. McPeak replied, "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. 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," said Brooks.