Senator John McCain speaks
out strongly in support of
"There will always be an Israel. The terrorist
against her people represents not progress towards a
refoundation of historic Palestine but a plunge into an
abyss of moral decay perpetrated in the name of the
Palestinian people by their own leaders. There will always
be an Israel, because the Israeli people will defend their
homeland against murderers who pose as martyrs, and will
never accept justice imposed on them by leaders who send
children to kill their children.
"There will always be an Israel, strong and free, because
Israel, and her supporters in this country, will never allow
the depravity of her enemies to obscure the moral clarity
that inspired her founding, 54 years ago last week, as the
homeland of a people who understood evil long before
Americans saw its more recent expression on September 11th.
"Terrorism is terrorism, whether in the form of professional
killers who crash civilian aircraft into buildings or
amateur murderers undistinguished by anything other than
their willingness to take innocent lives. "A political
solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is the best
answer to Israeli insecurity, of course. But no moral nation
-- neither Israel nor America -- can allow terrorists to
chart the political course of its people. No freedom-loving
nation can tolerate a terrorist state on its border. And no
great nation can abandon the obligations of moral clarity
for the convenience of situational ethics.
"If we are serious about the values we in America and Israel
live by, and the opportunities we would like all people in
the Middle East to enjoy, we can allow terrorists no role in
the political process.
"Indeed, we must work to spread our values in the Middle
East, first by opposing tyranny in the Arab world. The
celebration of freedom in the streets of liberated Baghdad
will serve as a counterpoint to the state-directed Arab
media's distortion of the Palestinian conflict. It will be a
reminder to other Arab tyrants that the United States is a
natural ally of Arab people who aspire to freedom. Freeing
Arabs from repression by tyrannical regimes is the priority
of neither Yasser Arafat nor the dictators he counts as his
allies. But bringing liberty's blessings to Arab peoples
will do much more to improve their lives than will their
jihad against Israel.
"Unfortunately, when it comes to advocating freedom and
opportunity in the Arab world, our values know few
champions. In the monarchies and dictatorships of the Middle
East, cynicism is the essence of statecraft. Americans find
ourselves handicapped in our Middle East diplomacy by a
native regard for moral clarity.
"It is our fidelity to the values Arab leaders reject that
makes it unmistakably clear to Americans who destroyed the
peace process begun in Oslo. The authors of that disaster
were the Palestinians themselves -- and the Arab leaders who
encouraged or accepted Yasser Arafat's rejection of the
sweeping settlement offered by former Prime Minister Barak
at Camp David, and provided rhetorical and material support
for the ensuing intifada waged by suicide bombers.
"I don't think our cultural differences with Arab states are
so vast that a common recognition of what constitutes real
peace and a just settlement is unattainable. I think Arab
leaders know exactly what it will take to achieve real peace
between Palestinians and Israelis, and that what they
currently offer serves only to perpetuate the conflict.
Telethons and poems glorifying suicide bombers are not steps
Cash payments to the families of suicide bombers are not
steps toward peace. Communiques glorifying the murder of
innocents are not steps toward peace. All of this is evil,
pure and simple.
"It is not peace, but fear of each other that motivates Arab
dictators, and fear of their own populations, whose
resentments toward Israel and America have been inflamed for
generations to distract them from grievances against their
own rulers for the economic and political inequities they
are expected to endure permanently.
"It is the unenlightened rule of Arab dictators, not the
plight of the Palestinians, that condemns the Arab world to
the civilizational crisis in which it finds itself. Which
Middle Eastern nation grants its Arab citizens the most
political freedom? Israel. Which countries' leaders have the
blood of innocents on their hands but hear nothing about it
from the Arab League? Iraq, Syria, and Sudan, for starters.
Which country has the most egregious record of occupying
another today? Syria, in Lebanon. In which countries do
Palestinian refugees suffer without rights and the most
basic freedoms? Other than Israel, only Jordan has treated
these people with any dignity. Which nation in the region
has matched its payments to the families of Palestinian
murderers with money for health care, education, and other
development in the territories? Not one.
"How Arab leaders can abide their own hypocrisy is one
question. Why they expect us to do so is a better one.
"Arab leaders recoil in mock indignation from any suggestion
that they have a responsibility to discourage Palestinian
treachery. Instead, they demand that the United States
pressure the Government of Israel into forsaking its
obligation to defend its citizens from terrorism that Arab
governments celebrate and support.
"I'm also distressed that some of our European allies are
dismissing Israel's legitimate security concerns. In some
quarters, Jews are once again threatened with attacks on
their institutions. We are witnessing once again the
torching of European synagogues. All world leaders must
condemn, in the strongest terms, such despicable behavior.
"Israel has proved its willingness to risk its strategic
interests by returning territories captured in war, and
living cheek by jowl with a Palestinian state in exchange
for peace and acceptance of Israel's right to exist by its
Arab neighbors. Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority
he claims to lead insist on a settlement that would threaten
the eventual extinction of a Jewish state in the Middle
East, and accept and support murder as a means to achieve
it. Official sponsorship of Palestinian terror is a
self-induced mockery of the Palestinian leadership's moral
authority, and that of its Nobel Peace Prize-winning
"The Oslo peace process was premised on the notion that
Israelis and Palestinians could live together. I believe it
is now time to explore ways in which they can live apart. It
is time to consider alternatives such as that proposed by
former Prime Minister Barak -- to erect a security barrier
between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is not to
accept the hopelessness of a political solution, but to
embrace the hope that Israel's people can live in safety
until a Palestinian leadership truly committed to peace
emerges from the chaos and despair inflicted on Palestinians
for generations by leaders who lack the courage and
compassion and wisdom to make a better life for their
"Friends, I make no claim to wisdom on how to resolve the
crisis in the Middle East. Like you, I look for guidance in
the values we share with the only democracy in the region. I
know this: no American leader should be expected to sell a
false peace to our ally, consider Israel's right to
self-defense less legitimate than ours, or insist that
Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism
remains the Palestinians' preferred bargaining tool.
"The moral clarity you bring to American understanding of
Israel's plight is the most effective antidote to the
cynicism and hostility that parade as Arab diplomacy in the
Middle East today. We will defeat terrorism against America,
and we will stand with Israel as she fights the same enemy.
"One of the great privileges of my life was the friendship
that I developed with the late Senator Henry Scoop Jackson.
I got to know Scoop when I was the Navy liaison to the
Senate in the late 70's. Scoop was and remains the model of
what an American statesman should be.
"In 1979, I traveled to Israel with Scoop, where I knew he
was considered a hero. I had no idea how great a hero he was
until we landed in Tel Aviv. When we arrived, we were
transferred to a bus big enough to accommodate our large
delegation, as well as the U.S. Ambassador in Israel and
several of his staff. About a hundred yards outside the
airport, the bus was surrounded by a crowd of seven or eight
hundred Israelis screaming for Jackson, waving signs that
read "God Bless you, Scoop," "Senator Jackson, thank you,"
and dozens of other tributes. For a patriot like Scoop,
their affection for him was nothing less than affection for
"Scoop understood a deep truth. The bond between America and
Israel is not just a strategic one, though that is
important. Today, in the war against terror, we have no
stronger ally than Israel. The more profound tie between our
two countries, however, is a moral one. We are two
democracies whose alliance is forged in our common values.
To be proudly pro-American and pro-Israeli is not to hold
conflicting loyalties. As Scoop understood, it is about
defending the principles that both countries hold dear.
"And I stand before you today, proudly pro-American and
pro-Israel. Thank you."