Huckabee's dangerous delusion
02/07/2011 - 09:09
James Besser

I wonder how many Israeli leaders will be misled into thinking the hopes of those who want to hold on to the West Bank forever – and the hopes of those who just want to put off painful compromises as long as possible - now reside in Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

During his recent trip to Israel, Huckabee reiterated his belief Israel has no reason to pull out of the West Bank and comments he made to the Jewish Week in 2008 indicating that he supports the idea of a Palestinian state, but not in the the land Israel occupied in 1967.

It's hardly a secret that Israel's current government dislikes and distrusts President Barack Obama, or that the settlers movement and their friends in high places despise him.

So my question: will Israeli hardliners and their friends in the American Jewish community line up behind Huckabee, in the expectation that if he moves to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in 2013 he'll let the Jewish state keep every scrap of land?

If they do, they'll be making a big mistake.

I have no question Huckabee will be less willing to pressure Israel on the settlements issue than Obama – or a succession of Republican presidents, for that matter. Nor will he be as active in pushing for negotiations over a two-state solution.

But U.S. policy aimed at creation of a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank – and some kind of negotiated settlement on Jerusalem - is pretty much immutable. No president can reverse that – at least not without catastrophic consequences for U.S. interests around the world.

Think a worldwide upsurge in terrorism here. Think new oil boycotts. Think diplomatic isolation for Washington. Think a huge boost for Iran.

Huckabee may be pandering to the Jewish right or he may genuinely believe that Ramallah is as much a part of Israel as Tel Aviv – but as president, it's wildly unlikely he would act on those positions.

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler has a nice take on that in today's “Fact Checker” column.

Huckabee's proposal for a Palestinian state somewhere else is “completely unrealistic,” Kessler writes. “If an American president were to formally propose such an idea, it would spark outrage throughout the Muslim world. It might even start a war.”

There's no way the Palestinians, the rest of the Arab and Muslim world or the international community would accept such a proposal. And as Kessler points out, it wouldn't garner much support from a majority of American Jews.

The danger in Huckabee's Middle East views is this: with his relatively strong standing in the polls, he may succeed in convincing Israel's leaders who aren't eager to press forward with land-for-peace talks with the Palestinians, as well as those who insist Israel must hold on to all of the settlements, that if they just stall long enough, they'll be rewarded with a U.S. administration that is sympathetic to a “greater Israel” vision that was supposedly put to rest in Madrid and Oslo.

Ain't gonna happen – unless Huckabee, the Baptist minister, genuinely believes Bible prophecies demanding that Israel be purified by the fires of Armageddon. Raising the hopes of Israel's leaders for a complete reversal of longstanding U.S. policy can only add huge new obstacles to peace efforts in the region and add to the potential for new violence.


Get The Jewish Week Newsletter

Comment Guidelines

The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.


If the author somehow believes that Americans and Israelis can live in peace with Palestinians and Arabs, he is sorely mistaken and does not know that much of the Arab world, or of Islam. The only thing that the Arabs will respond to is violence. It is only when confronted openly and defeated soundly that they will back off. Otherwise, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the late Sadaam Hussein and the late Yasser Arafat, they'll keep pushing the envelope a little further with each push and each new demand. They will not be satisfied. Were a 2-State solution to take place, which is highly unlikely, the State of Israel as we know it would dissapear the next day. Why? because it is militarily untenable. It would be as if all of the wars against Israel for the past fifty years which come back 10 times worse. Under proposed divisions, Israel would be approximately 12 miles wide in some places. As far as Huckabee goes, he'll know to be tough with the arabs. I expect him to make an excellent 45th President of the United States.
Why is moving one cellection of Arab/Muslims from what they themselves refer to as an unlivable section of land into larger Arab/Muslim lands offensive?? There is not a single distinctive difference between an Arab/Muslim in Gaza and an Arab/Muslim in any other Arab or Muslim country. Forcing Jews out of countries to other countries was due to the fact that the Jews did not belong anywhere. Those countries always saw them as being "Jews in their land." When Palestine was divided up, the Arabs living there moved in all directions. Millions immigrated from other Arab lands to fight the Jews moving in. Jordan was created from Palestine and is currently more than 80% why aren't those palestinians screaming about "their land?" Moving the palestinians in Israel to live with the palstinians in Jordan just makes sense. Jordan is already the palestinian state.
Mike Huckabee is an authentic, Christian conservative and as such he is, and always will be, a strong supporter of Israel. I don't purport to know what his policies as president will be, but I do know the man well enough to know that he genuinely loves his fellow man and woman the world over - irregardless of their politics or beliefs - and that he is no war monger. I also know, however, that he understands probably better than anyone else what drives the hatred between the Jewish and Muslim people - and that he won't roll over for terrorists - nor will he expect Israel to. BSR
yes, well maybe Huckabee should read up on the various plans for "settling" the European Jews in WW II Europe to such places as Madagascar, Uganda and Kenya. This is just as offensive. This is a man, after all, who doesn't even believe in evolution. Surely he thinks the rapture is coming at the end of this year so none of this will matter anyway. What the U.S. does NOT need, what the world does not need, is another religious nut job as world leader. Surely we will work out the issues that exist between the Israelis and the Palestinians. When religious fervor and political rhetoric are left out of the equation.

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.