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November 9, 2007     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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November 9, 2007
 

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 9, 2007 McCain to leaders: uires U.S. win in By Jacob Berkman NEW YORK (JTA)--Sta- bility in the Middle East, including Israel, rests on a decisive American victory in Iraq, Republican presidential candidate John McCain told Jewish leaders. Speaking last Tuesday in New York to a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, McCain said the Bush administration had mishandled the war and Americans were understand- ably frustrated. The U.S. senator from Arizona warned, however, that the United States cannot withdraw from Iraq. He said a meaningful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is virtually impossible unless the United States scores a decisive victory there. McCain spoke briefly about Palestinian attacks against Israel and Iranian ambitions in the region--two hot-but- ton issues for many Jewish organizations--but focused nearly all of his talk on the importance of winning in Iraq. thedoors can open t "I believe that all of the situation is connected to Iraq," he said. "When things are going well it is one thing. When things are going badly it is another thing." McCain's appearance at the conference, an umbrella group widely seen as the Jew- ish community's main collec- tive voice on foreign affairs, comes just weeks after he drew criticism for telling the Web site Beliefnet.com that - he would probably be most comfortable with a Christian being president. The senator did not raise the issue during his ap- pearance, which focused on foreign-policy issues, nor did anyone in the audi- ence who asked questions afterward. Following his talk McCain, who has since said he would vote for a Muslim if that can- didate were the most quali- fied, told a reporter that his Beliefnet comments had been taken out of context. Recent national polls show McCain, once seen as the front-runner, trailing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Tennes- see Sen. Fred Thompson in the Republican primary race. In Iowa and New Hampshire, polls have former Massa- At Asset Management Partners, our financial professionals can show you the way to potentially rewarding opportunities in alternative investments. Along with our full range of traditional investment offerings, we give you the choices you deserve-but don't always get from other financial advisors. Rely on us too for sound advice and planning based on our extensive experience m financial management and income strategies. 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Please consult with a financial or legal professional before investing in Alternative Investments. Securities brokered through NFP Securities. Inc a Broker/Dealer. Member NASD/SlPC ano a Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Investment Advisory Services also offered through Asset Management Partners a Registered Investment Advisor. Asset Management Partners is an affiliate of NFP Securities Inc ane a subsidiary of National Financial Partners. Corp me parent company of NFP Securities. Inc. *NFP Securities, Inc. and Asset Management Partners do not provide legal or tax advice. Jennifer Weisbord Senator John McCann of Arizona speaks to the Confer- ence of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Oct. 30. chusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ahead. Even as he stood by the war, McCain criticized Bush's handling of several issues and painted a bleak picture of the region. "Now of course things are bad," he said. "We now have a Syrian government that is trying to destabilize th'e government in south- ern Lebanon. We have seen Hezbollah being rearmed in southern Lebanon to "the point where they are even more capable than they were before the last conflict. We have seen that elections don't mean democracy; rule of law means democracy. "And now we have a ter- rorist organization in Gaza, and as we speak someone is probably lobbing some weapon into Israel, a rocket or something else." Among other things, Mc- Cain warned, pulling out of Iraq would create a vacuum that would be filled by Iran and inspire radical Islamists all over the region, particu- larly in Egypt. All these sce- narios would threaten Israel, he said. In the push for an Is- raeli-Palestinian settlement, McCain said he favored a step-by-step approach, not- mg that President Clinton failed in his effort to reach a comprehensive settlement in one fell swoop. McCain would not outline the first few steps that should be implemented, nor would he give a timeline for how long it should take to forge an agreement. He said possible early steps could include an agreement on water rights or a resolution to the con- flict on Israel's border with Lebanon, which he called a flashpoint. McCain, who has taken heat in some Jewish circles for an interview with H 'aretz in which he was interpreted as saying that Israel should return to 1967 borders, was scant as well on details of what a final peace could look like. The GOP hopeful offered only that Israel would be recognized as a country and have peaceful relations with its neighbors. Llater, in response to a question, McCain told reporters that a deal ultimately would include a Palestinian state, but calm had to be restored first. "I don't know how you deal with Hamas when they are dedicated to your extinction," he said. "That brings me back to Iraq. If we fail in Iraq, you have chaos and genocide there. Then you are going to have a heck of a time getting any progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you believe that the State of Israel will be more secure if the United States fails in Iraq, you and I have a dis- agreement." McCain slammed the Bush administration for failing to cut spending and not ac- knowledging climate change. The need to fight global warming should have been a centerpiece of a push for en- ergy independence, he said. "The Bush administration has not recognized that cli- mate change is real, and we need to change our policies," said McCain, who stressed nuclear energy as the main alternative to oil. McCain voiced frustration over Russia and China us- ing their vetoes on the U.N. Security Council to thwart American diplomatic efforts to stop genocide in Darfur, and to dealwith the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. He suggested that demo- cratic countries form a League of Democratic Na- tions to enact sanctions against rogue nations, but also made clear that he was not saying America should withdraw from the United Nations. "We can impose the kind of sanctions that could be very, very impactful on Iran," he said. McCain also said he vould disinvite Russia from next year's G-8 summit.