Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 05:16 pm
Chuck Hagel's Jewish Problem
The would-be secretary of defense has some curious views.

By Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2012

Prejudice—like cooking, wine-tasting and other consummations—has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, the former GOP senator from Nebraska who is now a front-runner to be the next secretary of Defense, carries on about how "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," the odor is especially ripe.

Ripe because a "Jewish lobby," as far as I'm aware, doesn't exist. No lesser authorities on the subject than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of "The Israel Lobby," have insisted the term Jewish lobby is "inaccurate and misleading, both because the [Israel] lobby includes non-Jews like Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements."

Ripe because, whatever other political pressures Mr. Hagel might have had to endure during his years representing the Cornhusker state, winning over the state's Jewish voters—there are an estimated 6,100 Jewish Nebraskans in a state of 1.8 million people—was probably not a major political concern for Mr. Hagel compared to, say, the ethanol lobby.

Ripe because the word "intimidates" ascribes to the so-called Jewish lobby powers that are at once vast, invisible and malevolent; and because it suggests that legislators who adopt positions friendly to that lobby are doing so not from political conviction but out of personal fear. Just what does that Jewish Lobby have on them?

Ripe, finally, because Mr. Hagel's Jewish lobby remark was well in keeping with the broader pattern of his thinking. "I'm a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator," Mr. Hagel told retired U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller in 2006. "I'm a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Not to a president. Not a party. Not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I'll do that."

Read these staccato utterances again to better appreciate their insipid and insinuating qualities, all combining to cast the usual slur on Jewish-Americans: Dual loyalty. Nobody questions Mr. Hagel's loyalty. He is only making those assertions to question the loyalty of others.

Still, Mr. Hagel managed to say "I support Israel." This is the sort of thing one often hears from people who treat Israel as the Mideast equivalent of a neighborhood drunk who, for his own good, needs to be put in the clink to sober him up.

In 2002, a year in which 457 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks (a figure proportionately equivalent to more than 20,000 fatalities in the U.S., or seven 9/11s), Mr. Hagel weighed in with the advice that "Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace." This was two years after Yasser Arafat had been offered a state by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David.

In 2006, Mr. Hagel described Israel's war against Hezbollah as "the systematic destruction of an American friend, the country and people of Lebanon." He later refused to sign a letter calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In 2007, he voted against designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, and also urged President Bush to open "direct, unconditional" talks with Iran to create "a historic new dynamic in U.S.-Iran relations." In 2009, Mr. Hagel urged the Obama administration to open direct talks with Hamas.

In fairness to Mr. Hagel, all these positions emerge from his belief in the power of diplomatic engagement and talking with adversaries. The record of that kind of engagement—in 2008, Mr. Hagel and John Kerry co-authored an op-ed in this newspaper titled "It's Time to Talk to Syria"—hasn't been stellar, but at least it was borne of earnest motives.

Yet it's worth noting that while Mr. Hagel is eager to engage the world's rogues without preconditions, his attitude toward Israel tends, at best, to the paternalistic.

"The United States and Israel must understand that it is not in their long-term interests to allow themselves to become isolated in the Middle East and the world," he said in a 2006 Senate speech. It's a political Deep Thought worthy of Saturday Night Live's Jack Handey. Does Mr. Hagel reckon any other nation to be quite so blind to its own supposed self-interest as Israel?

Now President Obama may nominate Mr. Hagel to take Leon Panetta's place at the Pentagon. As a purely score-settling matter, I almost hope he does. It would confirm a point I made in a column earlier this year, which is that Mr. Obama is not a friend of Israel. Perhaps the 63% of Jewish-Americans who cast their votes for Mr. Obama last month might belatedly take notice.

Alternatively, maybe some of these voters could speak up now, before a nomination is announced, about the insult that a Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel would be. Jewish Democrats like to fancy their voice carries weight in their party. The prospect of this nomination is their chance to prove it.

 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 05:42 pm
@Advocate,
Interesting that you repeatedly deny suggestions that support for Israel in this country is decli ing and that the current presidential administration in particular is pursuing a new, and far less supportive line, with respect to Israel.

How do you then account for this potential appointment ? Of course we shall see what the (non-existant, in your expressed view) Israeli Lobby has to say about it.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 07:00 pm
@georgeob1,
Back before the 1970's, in NYC, when there used to be fairly homogeneous ethnic neighborhoods, there were Jewish neighborhoods that had apartment buildings that obviously had Jewish lobbies. One could tell, since their were mezuzahs on the right side of the door entrances to most apartments.

Today, those Jewish neighborhoods are either African-American neighborhoods, or a mix of immigrant diversity, that have no idea that once upon a time the neighborhood was known to be "Jewish," with Jewish lobbies.

I have no idea what Mr. Hagel's motivations for his comments are, since I do not follow his political rhetoric; however, it is comforting to think that someone out in the center of the U.S. believes there is still a very nice Jewish lobby (sans doorman).
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  4  
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 08:40 pm
i always assumed the foyer of a synagogue was a Jewish lobby
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2013 09:13 am
@djjd62,
djjd62 wrote:

i always assumed the foyer of a synagogue was a Jewish lobby


Indubitably!
0 Replies
 
nothingtodo
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2013 09:31 am
@Advocate,
Why the constant reminders of division?
How in the world is denying the careful acknowledgment of peace, the way forward in these forums?.

You see only spite, the news fills your heads with the problem, so in true human fallibility, you spread the lie, which is the action and the paranoia about the action, that the wisest seek to halt reverse and rectify.

Jewish Lobbies?
Nazi faces?
Powers too big for your acceptance from minorities sitting quietly and contemplating hard?

Bah!
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  0  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2013 03:34 pm
@georgeob1,
You must be thinking of someone else.

My contention has been that Obama has been an ardent supporter of Israel, although he sometimes takes a tough line in speeches. I think that is to placate the Arabs, whose support we need.

I don't believe I have commented on the question of whether support for Israel in the USA is declining. I don't know the answer to this.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2013 03:35 pm
@djjd62,
djjd62 wrote:

i always assumed the foyer of a synagogue was a Jewish lobby


Don't give up your day job.
0 Replies
 
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 10:21 am
Quote:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday attacked former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, reportedly President Obama’s choice as the next Defense Secretary, calling him a “controversial pick” and suggesting that Hagel is out of the mainstream.

Graham’s evidence? He didn’t offer much in the way of specifics, of course. Rather, the South Carolina Republican claimed Hagel is “very antagonistic toward the state of Israel” (again, not saying how) and complained that Hagel said “you should directly negotiate with Iran” (we’re not sure why this is a bad thing. President Obama believes this as well) and that sanctions on Iran “won’t work.” Graham also cited the fact that Hagel has promoted talks with Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza.

But is Hagel “antagonistic” toward Israel? Hardly. The Nebraska Republican has a history of strong support for Israel, as this blog recently noted. “At it’s core,” Hagel wrote in his book, America, Our Next Chapter, “there will always be a special and historic bond with Israel exemplified by our continued commitment to Israel’s defense.”

But Graham is right. Hagel has supported negotiations with Iran. But so does President Obama and so do a majority of Americans. Hagel has indeed suggested that some sanctions on Iran are counterproductive but he has also supported sanctions on the Islamic Republic during his tenure in the Senate and in March, 2012, he said the U.S. should “keep ratcheting up the sanctions” and try to maintain the international coalition Obama has built against Iran. “Hagel’s positions [on Iran] may put him on the fringes of the Senate,” the Daily Beast’s Ali Gharib wrote last month, “but he’s firmly in the mainstream of expert opinion, from Israel to the Pentagon.”

And why does Graham attack Hagel for promoting talks with Hamas when Israel has negotiated with the terror group and high-level Israeli officials have said Israel should hold future talks? “People ask, why not talk with Hamas? There is nothing wrong, if you get a reply,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said last month. “We are willing to talk to Hamas, but they aren’t.” Moreover, former Israeli intelligence chief Efraim Halevy has for years advocated negotiating with Hamas.

Senator Graham also attacked Hagel for opposing President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq in 2007. “I’ll have a hard time voting for anybody to be Secretary of Defense who believes that the surge was a foreign policy blunder,” Graham said on CNN today. But Graham also said during the same interview that he supports Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) nomination as the next Secretary of State. “I respect him,” Graham said of Kerry, adding, “I think he’s a thoughtful man. I think he’s in the mainstream.” But who else thought the Iraq surge was a bad idea? John Kerry (and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). And while it’s unclear what effect Bush’s surge had on the ultimate outcome of the war, one thing is clear: Graham’s continued Iraq war boosting is way outside the mainstream, as a large majority of Americans think the war was not worth fighting.

President Obama is expected to announce Hagel’s nomination as early as tomorrow and until his confirmation, we should expect similar disingenuous and baseless attacks. But Hagel — “a decorated war hero who would be the first enlisted soldier and Vietnam veteran to go on to serve as secretary of defense” — should be confirmed. Indeed, prominent journalists, retired military brass, former national security advisers, former U.S. ambassadors and veterans and military families think so too.


source biased but has links to other sources

From the same source with links to back them up.

Quote:
The opposition to Hagel is also centered around the premise that he is somehow “anti-Semitic” and anti-Israel and would be unwilling take action against Iran over its nuclear program. But delving into the Senator’s statements, however, it’s clear that Hagel has a long history of pro-Israel sentiment and concern about Iran. The following is a collection of some of Hagel’s public statements on Israel during his time in the Senate:

•“We have always been a strong ally of Israel — since the formation of Israel in 1948. We’ll continue to be a strong ally of Israel.” [10/15/2000]

•“A close friend and ally, Israel, remains threatened by some of its neighbors. Violent Islamic extremism finds refuge in Iraq, Iran, and Syria and seeks to make inroads elsewhere in the region. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a threat. [...] Both Israelis and Palestinians have unmet obligations, neither side can justify further inaction. American leadership can push and prod but we cannot force Israelis or Palestinians to negotiate.” [11/15/2005]

•U.S. Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today sent a letter to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, calling for the United Nations to offer a strong resolution condemning recent statements by Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad and by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Khameni threatening the existence of Israel and the United States. [12/21/2005]

•“The United States will remain committed to defending Israel. Our relationship with Israel is a special and historic one. But, it need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships. That is an irresponsible and dangerous false choice.” [07/30/2006]

Hagel also supported legislation opposing terror groups that reject the two-state solution, voted for a measure expressing solidarity with Israel during the Second Intifada, and cosponsored resolutions lauding the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship.” And Hagel has supported numerous measures to strengthen sanctions on Iran over its nuclear and missile programs.

Just last year, Hagel expressed concern about what Egypt’s revolution would mean for Israel’s security. “Not since the 1967 and 1973 wars in the Middle East have we seen such a dangerous time,” he said on CNN in February, 2011. “But this is even maybe more dangerous because it’s more unpredictable, that the bilateral relationship, the first peace treaty with an Arab country that Israel had and still has and has been very important to Israel’s security has been with Egypt.”

Referring to the charges of anti-Semitism against Hagel, Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street, told the New York Times: “It is simply beyond disturbing to think that somebody of Chuck Hagel’s stature and significant record of national service is being slandered in this way.”

Indeed, numerous journalists have come out to defend Hagel against the neocon smears. Here’s the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank criticizing those who point to Hagel’s assertion that there’s a “Jewish lobby” trying to influence members of Congress as evidence that he’s anti-Semitic:


But Kristol, and then others, went further, publishing a passage from a 2008 book in which Hagel is quoted as saying: “The political reality is that . . . the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”

That was a dumb phrase — many Christians are pro-Israel and many Jews aren’t — and Hagel said he misspoke (he used the phrase “Israel lobby” elsewhere in the interview). But, as an American Jew who has written about anti-Semitism in political dialogue, I don’t see this as anti-Semitic or anti­-Israel. The sentence preceding the quote said that “Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared values.”

“Using charges of bigotry to, yes, ‘intimidate’ people with whom you disagree about public policy is exactly what drives conservatives batty when it comes to affirmative action, welfare and abortion,” the Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart wrote on Tuesday. “And if they want African Americans, feminists and other liberal groups to assume their good faith on those sensitive subjects, conservatives should extend that same good faith — absent overwhelming evidence — to gentiles who don’t share their enthusiasm for Benjamin Netanyahu.”


source
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 10:31 am
@Advocate,
Quote:
Ripe because a "Jewish lobby," as far as I'm aware, doesn't exist. No lesser authorities on the subject than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of "The Israel Lobby," have insisted the term Jewish lobby is "inaccurate and misleading, both because the [Israel] lobby includes non-Jews like Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements."

This quote denies the Jewish lobby exists and then says that "many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements" which means that it exists and has powerful elements. Of course there is a Jewish lobby. Whether this is good, bad or indifferent is up to personal beliefs, but there are clearly organizations like AIPAC that lobby for Israeli interests. It really doesn't matter the religion of those that make up the organization.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 06:49 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

Quote:
Ripe because a "Jewish lobby," as far as I'm aware, doesn't exist. No lesser authorities on the subject than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of "The Israel Lobby," have insisted the term Jewish lobby is "inaccurate and misleading, both because the [Israel] lobby includes non-Jews like Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements."

This quote denies the Jewish lobby exists and then says that "many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements" which means that it exists and has powerful elements. Of course there is a Jewish lobby. Whether this is good, bad or indifferent is up to personal beliefs, but there are clearly organizations like AIPAC that lobby for Israeli interests. It really doesn't matter the religion of those that make up the organization.


O.K.; then men with circumcised penises have Jewish penises. And, women that sleep with a man with a Jewish penis are participating in the Covenant that the God of the Old Testament had with the Children of Israel. Therefore, if either of these men or women then reach climax, they should scream out in ecstasy, "I-S-R-A-E-L!" (If one is secular one might scream out, "A bagel with a schmear (of cream cheese)")
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 08:20 pm
@Foofie,
You mean people don't do that now?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 08:57 pm
@Advocate,
What about Hagel's homophobia problem? He's on record in the Senate with some pretty damning comments. Does his luke warm words of conversion convince anyone he should be in charge of a military that has recently made significant changes in how it treats homosexuals?
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2013 02:25 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

What about Hagel's homophobia problem? He's on record in the Senate with some pretty damning comments. Does his luke warm words of conversion convince anyone he should be in charge of a military that has recently made significant changes in how it treats homosexuals?


If homosexuals do not have a :lobby," how would he know about them? It appears to me he is very well versed in who has lobbies.

Regardless, Hagel's comments, in my opinion, are after the horse left the barn, so to speak. Israel can take care of itself, and homosexuals have their act together also.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 09:17 am
I fail to see the big deal about Hagel's comments about Israel. There is a growing number of Americans who hold the opinion that the US gives too much support to Israel particularly when it acts in ways that many Americans find troubling.

He is expressing a valid policy opinion. Some people disagree. So what? He is being deomonized for holding a reasonable opinion that should certainly be part of political discourse.

His comments on homosexuals are more troubling.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 09:34 am
@maxdancona,
The right is trying to attack Hagel as anti-semetic for saying "Jewish lobby" instead of "Israeli lobby" one time. His homophobic comments are numerous, wide spread and heart felt but you aren't hearing a lot about that.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:03 am
@engineer,
The right can do that, I guess, as long as there aren't any homosexual Jews.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 10:03 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

The right is trying to attack Hagel as anti-semetic for saying "Jewish lobby" instead of "Israeli lobby" one time.


Israel and its supporters do this all the time, they try to portray all legitimate criticism of Israel as being anti-semitic. That way they don't have to face up to the fact that they are an apartheid state, that persecutes its indiginous population terribly. If the RSA had been able to portray all criticism as being anti-boer, Nelson Mandela would still be in Robben Island.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2013 07:09 pm
Hagel has a lot of baggage. It makes you wonder why he was nominated. We can certainly do better.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 12:11 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I fail to see the big deal about Hagel's comments about Israel.


In my opinion, "the big deal" is that he referred to a "Jewish Lobby," not a "pro-Israel Lobby." The pro-Israel lobby does include Jews and Christians, not just Jews (there are actually more Christian Americans that are pro-Israel, than Jewish Americans that are pro-Israel; 60 million Evangelical Christians to five million Jews in the country).

Anyway, by using the word "Jewish," rather than "Israel" (lobby), one may get the impression that Jews are all more involved with Israel's welfare than America's welfare. That old canard goes back to the old anti-Semitic accusation that Jews just don't have "dual loyalty" to two countries, but actually primary loyalty to Israel. Many people still believe it, disregarding that this country protected Mother England in two World Wars, and after WWII allowed the Soviets to dominate Poland, even though that country was the reason WWII began. So, if Jews show some concern for other Jews there are those that will always say it reflects a lessened loyalty for the U.S., even though other ethnic groups are concerned about their fellow ethnics from where they originated. Classic double standard that does get an audience when the word "Jew" is mentioned, in my opinion.
 

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