Like Brzezinski, [Rosa] Brooks also indulged in the familiar anti-Semite’s complaint: that a few simple criticisms of Israel got one slapped with accusations of…anti-Semitism. (Neither, of course, seemed inclined to own up to how they had prejudged the case and stacked the deck against Israel.) Brooks enunciated this complaint in this way in 2006: “Publish something sharply critical of Israeli government policies and you’ll find out. If you’re lucky, you’ll merely discover that you’ve been uninvited to some dinner parties. If you’re less lucky, you’ll be the subject of an all-out attack by neoconservative pundits and accused of rabid anti-Semitism.”[i]
Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) would probably have agreed with Brooks. According to the Jerusalem Post, he was “one of a handful of senators who frequently didn’t sign AIPAC-backed letters related to Israel and the peace process during his time in the Senate and opposed additional sanctions on Iran.”
Apparently, like Brooks, he has faced criticism for these anti-Israel stances – and has complained that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people.”[ii]
Yet Hagel himself doesn’t seem to have been particularly intimidated. In the Senate he amassed a significant track record as one of a hardline hater of Israel who would not affix his name even to the most innocuous pro-Israel initiative. When all but four Senators signed a pro-Israel statement in 2000, Hagel was one of the holdouts. The next year, he was again among the few Senators – eleven this time – who refused to add their names to a statement urging George W. Bush not to meet with Yaser Arafat as long as the Palestinian groups under his control continued to pursue violence against Israel. In 2005, Hagel, along with 26 other senators, opposed a call to the Palestinian Authority to disqualify terror groups from participating in elections. And when twelve senators wrote to the European Union in 2006 asking that the EU join the U.S. in classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Hagel was once again one of the few.[iii]
Hagel wasn’t intimidated, and Barack Hussein Obama wasn’t either. In late October 2009 he appointed Hagel co-chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board.[iv] And in a particularly piquant symbolic move, the appointment was announced at J Street’s first annual conference – by Steve Clemons of George Soros’s New America Foundation.[v]
And the effect of all this showed in his policies, beginning almost immediately when he took office.
It bodes ill for Jews just how comfortable and at ease Obama obviously is with proud anti-Semites and Israel haters. Obama has appointed all these people, but has concealed their true natures.
[i] Rosa Brooks, “Criticize Israel? You’re an Anti-Semite!,” Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2006.
[ii] “Obama names Israel critic to intelligence board,” Jerusalem Post, October 29, 2009.
[iii] “Indecisive Senator Hagel has Questionable Israel Record,” National Jewish Democratic Council, March 12, 2007. http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2007/03/indecisive_sena.html
[iv] “Obama names Israel critic to intelligence board,” Jerusalem Post, October 29, 2009.
[v] Sammy Benoit, “Obama Appoints Another Israel-Hating Adviser: Chuck Hagel,” The Lid, October 28, 2009. http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/10/obama-appoints-another-israel-hating.html
WASHINGTON — President Obama is expected to nominate Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator and Vietnam veteran, to be Defense secretary, officials said, setting up a confirmation battle with lawmakers and interest groups critical of Hagel's views on Israel and Iran. White House officials said Friday that the president hadn't formally offered the job to Hagel, but others familiar with the process said that the announcement could come as soon as Monday.
Hagel, who was elected to the Senate from Nebraska in 1996 and retired in 2008, was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds he received as a soldier in Vietnam. His experience serving in that war made him wary about using force unless other options had been tried, he said in a recent interview with the history magazine Vietnam.
"I'm not a pacifist. I believe in using force but only after a very careful decision-making process. … I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless war," he said.
By nominating a Republican to run the Defense Department, Obama would give his second-term national security team a bipartisan cast as the White House is rapidly winding down the war in Afghanistan and planning for even deeper cuts in the defense budget. Hagel's criticism of the Iraq war has made him deeply unpopular with many conservative Republicans, however.
The choice also sets up a possibly contentious confirmation fight with Israel's defenders in Washington, some of whom mounted a public campaign to head off Hagel's nomination. They criticized him for past comments calling on Israel to negotiate with Palestinian groups and for opposing some sanctions aimed at Iran....
Hagel's record on Israel and Iran are likely to be the main focus of the nomination battle. William Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, published a "special editorial" Friday accusing him of having "dangerous views on Iran" and an "unpleasant distaste for Israel and Jews."
Critics have cited a comment Hagel made in 2008 to author and former State Department Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller about why he sometimes opposed pro-Israel groups in the Senate.
"The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," Hagel said, but "I'm a United States senator. I'm not an Israeli senator."
They also have cited his calls for direct negotiations with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that the U.S. and Israel refuse to deal with directly, and his votes against some Iran sanctions.
But defenders and former aides say Hagel showed his support for Israel by voting repeatedly to provide it with military aid and by calling for a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians that should not include any compromise regarding Israel's Jewish identity and that would leave Israel "free to live in peace and security."
They note that he also supported three major Iran sanctions bills: the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1998, the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 and the Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006.
In the Senate, Hagel initially voted to give the George W. Bush administration authority to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he later harshly criticized the conduct of both wars, irritating fellow Republicans and making him popular with Democrats critical of those wars.
Obama and Hagel formed a close relationship in the Senate, and their foreign policy views seem closely aligned. Like Obama, Hagel has called for negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, a position that made some pro-Israel advocates wary about whether Hagel would back using force against Iran if diplomatic efforts to halt the program failed....
Obama will need to deal with opposition from a number of pro-Israel senators from both parties who have already raised questions about their support for Hagel. One example is Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has distanced himself from Hagel in comments last month. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also raised questions about Hagel's past comments....