Don’t Expect Middle East Peace to Be a Presidential Campaign Issue

Don’t Expect Middle East Peace to Be a Presidential Campaign Issue
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As the American presidential campaign gets into swing, there will be a big focus on the battle among the larger field of conservative and extremists Republicans like Cruz, Rand, Rubio and maybe a half dozen more, and they won’t be talking Middle East peace. But neither will Hillary Clinton or any Democrats who challenge her. The election campaign is like a season of “Who loves Israel more”

By Ray Hanania

RayHanania03-2015NameThmbOnce again, it’s “American Presidential Election Time” and the candidates’ roadshows will offer spectacular acts in which candidates jump through hoops of political fire to convince you they stand for America.

Or, they just might throw buckets of mud, slander and libel attacking their foes in the hopes of tearing them to pieces to make themselves look better.

That’s American democracy for you. Jelly wrestling with mud drenched rhetoric and promises that, after the election will be broken like Social Security in 20 short years.

One issue that won’t come up in a positive way will be Middle East peace. None of the candidates, Republicans or Democrats, will campaign on a platform of ending the Palestine-Israel conflict in a peaceful way.

There are a lot of topics that will get attention from the candidates. Some will trash immigration reform. Others will demand restrictions on same-sex marriage. Many will seek to undo the Iranian nuclear deal. And most will demand an end to Obamacare.

But they won’t try to bring peace to the Middle East. And they definitely won’t address ending the Palestine-Israel conflict. In fact, I would be surprised if any candidate — Republican or Democrat — will even utter the word “Palestine.”

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That’s what happens in American elections. Honesty goes out the window as the media airwaves and social media will be flooded with promises that won’t be kept.

So as an American-Palestinian, I won’t be disappointed with the presidential candidates when they don’t address, in a substantive way, Palestine and the growing crisis building with Israel.

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Official portrait of United States Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel is a sacred cow issue that takes on an even greater prominence during the election.

But it will be after the election when some candidates back away from their rambunctious campaign promises and threats and, hopefully, settle into a more moderate approach to America’s role in the outside world.

Hating foreigners during an election helps to get votes in America, not loving them.

I don’t expect many Republicans to soften on Middle East peace. If Israel and its powerful lobby in America direct that peace with the Palestinians is bad, no serious Republican candidate will challenge them.

But, neither will Hillary Clinton, the Democrat who is the wife of former President Bill Clinton who pushed hard to forge a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord.

After all, peace killed Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin. (Radiation killed Yasser Arafat.) Practical politics isn’t about doing good. It’s about winning votes.

Hillary Clinton is not going to say or do anything that will jeopardize her chances of becoming the first woman president of the United States.

It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about Palestine.

She does. But American politics isn’t about saying what you want to do. It is about telling your audience what they want to hear.

For some strange reason, people in the Middle East believe the BS propaganda that American democracy is about championing the rights of the people and they are always disappointed in the candidates who compete to show who is more pro-Israel.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t make me laugh. American democratic elections are about elevating oneself to the highest level of power. And you don’t get there by “doing the right thing.” At least not during the election campaign.

Once in office, however, you can do good. But, not before.

That’s how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won his majority powerbase in Israel’s March 17 election. During the campaign, he lashed out at the Arabs in the most racist manner, pointing to them and warning Jews in Israel basically, “If you don’t support me, the Arabs will be taking over Tel Aviv!”

Netanyahu even rejected the two-state solution, which I honestly don’t believe he ever supported to begin with.

But not supporting it during an election is good for his right-wing fanaticism and popularity in Israel, and winning votes. Rejecting it once you are in the office only causes international problems, which is why Netanyahu reversed himself after several days after winning.

And the truth be told, that’s what good ol’ American politics is all about.

Politicians say whatever it takes to win office. And once in office, they do what they really feel is best, or what they can get away with.

Which brings me back to Hillary Clinton.

I don’t expect her to show her love for Palestine or peace any time soon. She’ll compete with her growing Republican field of candidates — which includes U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — to show excessive love for Israel.

Before the election, the battle will be about who loves Israel more. But after the election, the better candidate will settle back into reality and push for Palestinian statehood as the only way to bring lasting peace for Israel.

So when Hillary Clinton starts to bash Palestinian extremism while saying nothing about Israeli violence, terrorism, apartheid oppression or extremism, I won’t get upset. I’ll still support her. Because of all the candidates, Hillary Clinton is the only one who so far has a chance to win and be more likely to deflate her pro-Israel pre-election “Rah Rah” that will fill the airwaves, headlines and social media frenzy from now until Nov. 8, 2016.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit


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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and for, and

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is

Email him at:

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
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