Earlier today, I wrote about Jamie Rubin’s intellectually dishonest op-ed in today’s Washington Post, which focused on a snippet from his January 2006 interview with John McCain. In it, Rubin claimed that McCain supported engagement with Hamas without preconditions. However, as the full exchange with Rubin shows in this video provided by the McCain campaign, Rubin intentionally misrepresented McCain:
Here’s what Rubin initially included:
Jamie Rubin: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have been in the past, in working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is in now charge?”
Sen. John McCain: “They’re the government and sooner or later we‘re going to have to deal with them in one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas is because of their dedication to violence and the things they not only espouse but practice, so, but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. And I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and a decent future then they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”
And here’s what Rubin left out:
Rubin: “So should the United States be dealing with that new reality through normal diplomatic contacts to get the job done for the United States?”
Sen. McCain: “I think the United States should take a step back, see what they do when they form their government, see what their policies are, and see the ways that we can engage with them, and if there aren’t any, there may be a hiatus. But I think part of the relationship is going to be dictated by how Hamas acts, not how the United States acts.”
This answer is consistent with everything else McCain said at the time about the election of Hamas to governing status in the Palestinian territories. He told Rubin, CNN, and said in a press release that the election gave Hamas an opportunity to reject violence, renounce the destruction of Israel as a goal, and act like a legitimate political party rather than a terrorist organization. If they did that, then the US would find ways to engage with them. If not, McCain said a hiatus would occur in diplomatic contacts with the PA — which is exactly what happened.
This shows considerable dishonesty on the part of Rubin. The Washington Post should issue a retraction of this column forthwith.
Update: Lou Dobbs — not exactly a McCain booster — slams Rubin tonight (emphases mine):
CNN’S DANA BASH: “You remember these interviews were done shortly after Hamas won the Palestinian elections. Lou, the McCain campaign just in the past couple of hours, found a link to more of Jamie Rubin’s interview from back then. In it, I’ll read you a quote from the rest of or at least more of the interview, In that quote Sen. McCain says, ‘I think part of the relationship will be dictated by how Hamas acts, not how the United States acts.’ Now the McCain campaign, as you can image, says that this is proof that Senator McCain has been consistent all along, and I should tell you that CNN asked Jamie Rubin earlier today for the rest of the interview or at least for a transcript and he said he didn’t have it. He said he only had this particular quote he said that was e-mailed to him.”
CNN’S LOU DOBBS: “Well that seems, certainly to, as you report, to substantiate precisely what Senator McCain is saying.”
BASH: “That’s what the McCain campaign is insisting and that’s why they were, as you can imagine, very eager to send out this e-mail. And I can tell you at the top of the e-mail the subject header said ‘Jamie Rubin Lied.’ Inside the McCain campaign, they are accusing Jamie Rubin of lying tonight. We’re going wait to hear back from Jamie Rubin about that charge. As you can imagine, that’s quite a charge to say somebody lied.”
DOBBS: “It is quite a charge. It is also quite something for someone from another campaign to conflate both the role of journalism and of course political activism. Let me ask you this. If we may, I’d like to provide the viewers of this broadcast a link, as you referred to it, that would give them the entire context of that interview. So if we may, I’d like to put that up on LouDobbs.com for our viewers’ benefits if they’d like to use it.”
BASH: “I’ll get it to you.”
DOBBS: “Great reporting and thank you very much.”
When will the Washington Post issue its retraction?