ZOA Surprised: CNN GOP Presidential Candidates Debate Had No Questions On U.S./Israeli Relations
June 15, 2011


No questions on Iran nuclear issue




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) was surprised that, after weeks of headline news stories about the controversy generated by major speeches by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel returning to the 1949 armistice lines (with mutually agreed swaps), not one question was asked about this at the June 14 CNN GOP presidential candidates’ debate. The debate featured 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Ron Paul and was hosted by John King.


President Obama made his speech at the State Department and Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress. President Obama demanded that Israel return to 1949 armistice lines (often wrongly called the “1967 lines” or the “1967 borders”) and put the issues of Jerusalem and the Israel-destroying so-called ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees of the 1948-9 war and their millions of descendants on the table once Israel sets up a Palestinian – now Fatah/Hamas state – eliminating Israel’s leverage on these issues. President Obama’s speech also means that Israel cannot retain Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem, Maale Adumim, Efrat, Ariel, Rachel’s Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, without the approval of the PA/Fatah/Hamas terrorist entity. Both Fatah and Hamas call in their respective constitutions for the destruction of Israel and the use of terrorism; Hamas also calls for the murder of every Jew.


Ignoring this issue is even more surprising in light of fact that leading Democrats and Republicans have criticized Obama’s new policy demands on Israel. Was CNN afraid to raise an issue on which Obama is clearly vulnerable?


ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “I also found it personally disappointing that, at this critical time in the life of our country, a debate between Republican presidential candidates left almost entirely untouched some of the key issues of the day that go to the heart of America’s role in the world and its future security – issues like Iran and the looming threat of its becoming a nuclear power.


“While the debate addressed questions about Obamacare, the future of NASA, gays in the military, the economy in general terms, the stagnant housing market, and other issues of importance, there was a disturbing absence of discussion about the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran – an outcome that has been acknowledged now as imminent even by the International Atomic Energy Agency. There were even questions on whether the candidates preferred Jay Leno or David Letterman, Coke or Pepsi, or deep dish or thin crust pizza, but nothing on the critical issues of Iran or Israel.


Whatever the political, economic and security risks for the U.S. that might be entailed by a last-resort military strike upon Iranian nuclear facilities, should this prove necessary, they will be nothing compared to the shadow of nuclear blackmail under which America will be obliged to live once Iran gets such weapons. Even if Iran never fires them at the U.S., who really believes Iran won’t give such weapons to terrorists? And who believes that, once having such weapons, terrorists won’t use them on the U.S.? And even if neither uses them, what unending series of concessions and retreats will America have to undertake to ensure that this continues? Once Iran gets the bomb, our freedom and security may well compromised beyond anything we imagined. Yet this all-important issue was ignored.


“There was no discussion of Islamist terrorism and the on-going threat it poses to the United States. Virtually the only segment of the debate that came close to dealing with the issue of Islamism at home and abroad was that devoted to eliciting the candidates’ responses to the problems that could be involved in appointing a Muslim American to a cabinet post. Yet there were no questions on Iran or Israel.


“Why these astonishing omissions from this debate? CNN and John King owes the American public an explanation.”


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