Boys Will Be Hawks

U.S. Senate candidates John Cornyn and Ron Kirk jumped on Ariel Sharon's bandwagon with enthusiastic endorsements of Israel's current war policy last week, although Cornyn outdid his rival -- and even his president -- on the Tough Guy posture. According to a Statesman report, after meeting with the National Jewish Democratic Council, Kirk said the U.S. "should not equivocate in our support of Israel and Israel's right to exist," although he added that the U.S. should pursue attempts to "broker a peace." He also denounced Palestinian suicide bombings as "not only a crime against all humanity but absolutely unproductive." Kirk has said, however, that Israel should end its occupation of the West Bank.

Cornyn, on the other hand, went beyond even Bush's initial attempts at public evenhandedness, saying, "we must place the onus where it belongs, which is squarely on the Palestinians to stop the violence." He argued that his perspective made him even more "pro-Israel" than his rival. But Cornyn is not yet in the league of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Houston, who criticized the White House for even suggesting Israel should negotiate with any Palestinians at all. (A considerable chunk of the GOP's Christian fundamentalist base believes fervently that Israel's eventual acquisition of all its purported Old Testament territory will be the welcome precursor of Armageddon and eventually the Rapture. For them.) DeLay is not alone, of course; both houses of Congress passed resolutions May 2 supporting Israel's invasions of the occupied territories, rejecting even the White House request that denunciation of Palestinians be diminished: Senate, 94-2; House, 352-21.

But the heavyweight champion of recent American-Likud politics was Dick Armey, R-Dallas, who on May 1 told a national TV audience for CNBC's Hardball, "I happen to believe the Palestinians should leave" the occupied territories, and Israel should simply grab the entire West Bank. He added that any future Palestinian state could simply be carved out of "Arab" countries. "There are many Arab nations," Armey said, "that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and soil and property and opportunity to a Palestinian state."

When many Arab-Americans, including some in his North Texas district, protested Armey's remarks as racist and in effect promoting "ethnic cleansing," he backed off and issued a statement saying he was not referring to the expulsion of "peaceful Palestinian civilians," only "terrorists." Tell it to Sharon -- and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Michael King
<i>Hope and Hard Truth: A Life in Texas Politics</i>
Hope and Hard Truth: A Life in Texas Politics
Life beyond the governor’s office with Ann Richards’ chief aide

Sept. 2, 2022

Embattled Doctor Prevails Against the Texas Medical Board
Embattled Doctor Prevails Against the Texas Medical Board
The little guy wins

June 24, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle