Shorts: U.S.

Clinton promises to pursue peace

Sen. Hillary Clinton vowed to keep up intensive U.S. efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking if she is elected president.

“I believe that it’s important for the United States to maintain an active and involved role,” the Democratic hopeful said in a Reuters interview published March 31.

“I think one of the reasons why we are seeing a very dangerous situation there now is because the Bush administration backed off from staying involved and, where they were involved, much of their advice and proposals were counterproductive.” — jta

McCain: Leaving Iraq threatens Israel

A premature withdrawal from Iraq would endanger Israel, Sen. John McCain said last week in a major foreign policy speech.

“I believe a reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values,” added the Arizona senator and presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Iran, which backs Shiite factions in Iraq, would “view our premature withdrawal as a victory and … see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.”

Top Israeli officials have also said that a hasty U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would endanger Israel. — jta

Obama adviser now supports Israel lobby

Gen. Merrill “Tony” McPeak, a Sen. Barack Obama adviser who made controversial remarks about American Jewish voters said he is a “long-term admirer of Israel.”

McPeak spoke to Shalom TV in a bid to extinguish recent fires stemming from his 2003 interview with the Oregonian newspaper in which he blamed U.S. Middle East failures on Israel’s policies.

In his interview with Shalom TV last week, McPeak said, “American Jewry has some influence, just like Irish have influence about Ireland policy, just like the National Rifle Association has something to say about our arms policy … I don’t object to interest groups or lobbying groups exercising influence.” — jta

Reform rabbis urged to speak up on issues

Reform rabbis were urged to “exercise moral leadership” on issues of the day.

Rabbi Peter Knobel, the president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, this week said the movement’s rabbis should discuss the presidential race with their congregations, including the “moral tragedy” of the Iraq War, the need for universal health care and peace in the Middle East.

Knobel was speaking at the CCAR’s national convention in Cincinnati. More than 450 rabbis from the 1.5 million-member American Reform community, the largest Jewish denomination, attended the four-day gathering.

He said rabbis should not, however, show favoritism toward any candidate. — jta

ADL criticizes evangelical ad

The Anti-Defamation League criticized an advertisement in the New York Times in which evangelicals defend their efforts to convert Jews.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, called the ad “offensive and insulting.”

The ad, which appeared in the March 28 issue, was sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance, a 162-year-old global network that claims to represent 420 million evangelicals.

In the ad, the alliance defends conversion efforts, saying “it is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.” — jta