McCain Invokes Kahane's 'Never Again!' to Warn of Iranian Attack on Israel

Jun 13, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

Jim Lobe notes that McCain's AIPAC speech predictably invoked the Holocaust to explain why the U.S. and Israel must stand alone as a bulwark against Iran:

[...]While he did not repeat the Bush administration's mantra that "all options", including a military attack, should remain "on the table" in dealing with the alleged threat, he suggested that he would resort to such measures when he focused on the post-Holocaust promise of "never again."

"(W)hen we join in saying 'never again,' that is not a wish, a request, or a plea to the enemies of Israel. It is a promise that the United States and Israel will honour, against any enemy who cares to test us," he declared to enthusiastic applause...

It's a nifty sound bite, especially before a hard-right Jewish audience like AIPAC. However, it completely twists political reality. While Ahmadinejad articulates hatred for the U.S. and Israel and the wish that they would disappear (and don't we feel the same way about his regime?), he has never advocated genocide against Israel. He certainly realizes, unlike McCain and Israeli right-wing politicians like Bibi Netanyahu, that Iran doesn't have the capacity to seriously damage, much less eradicate Israel. This is yet another example of misusing the Holocaust for pure partisan political gain.

Another point to keep in mind is that the slogan "Never Again!" was first popularized by Meir Kahane. Is this the Jewish model that McCain wishes to embrace? It tells you how poorly McCain's advisers are guiding his efforts that he should embrace the words of the foremost Jewish racist of the past 50 years. Whoever's advising him is either Jewishly ignorant or has a very bad case of amnesia.

Today's news reveals that Barack Obama also used the same phrase in his speech to AIPAC--an ill-considered choice. For some strange reason, Meir Kahane's words are enjoying a resurgence in this presidential campaign. Obama's use of the phrase in his speech was less noxious because he referenced only the Holocaust itself, while McCain used it in a more apocalyptic sense to evoke Iranian genocide against Israel.

Let's also keep in mind that most Americans (including many Jews), including several of McCain's own foreign policy advisors, reject the candidate's "Nyet" approach to Iran:

[...]A new poll just released by the Gallup organization found that nearly six in 10 U.S. voters, including nearly half of all Republican respondents, believe a U.S.-Iranian summit would be a "good idea"...

Obama['s] views on engaging Iran without conditions reflect the views of much of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, including even two of his [McCain's] key policy advisers, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and neo-conservative thinker, Robert Kagan. They have called for direct talks with Tehran[...]

Personally, I'm beginning to think a McCain candidacy is going to echo the clueless, out of touch 1996 campaign Robert Dole ran against a far younger, more politically nimble Democrat by the name of Bill Clinton. If 6 in 10 Americans and some of his own key advisers believe the precise opposite of what McCain espouses regarding Iran, how long before we all see that the Republican emperor is hopelessly out of touch and has no clothes?