Tuesday, July 10, 2012

568 The Nonexistent “Jewish Lobby” declares war on Chuck Hagel (candidate for Defense Secretary)

The Nonexistent “Jewish Lobby” declares war on Chuck Hagel (candidate
for Defense Secretary)

(1) Jewish Lobby pressuring Obama not to name Chuck Hagel secretary of
defense
(2) Israel's nightmare: Possible appointment of Hagel as defense
secretary result of Bibi's support for Obama's rivals
(3) The Nonexistent “Jewish Lobby” Declares War on Chuck Hagel
(4) Hagel smeared for standing up to AIPAC bullying
(5) 70% of Jews voted for Obama, but the Lobby backed Romney

(1) Jewish Lobby pressuring Obama not to name Chuck Hagel secretary of
defense


From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 09:31:36 -0500
Subject: Hagel...Not pro-Israeli enough?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/us/politics/chuck-hagel-candidate-for-defense-post-criticized-by-jewish-leaders.html

Comments on Israel by Top Contender for Defense Secretary Are Scrutinized

By MARK LANDLER

December 18, 2012, NY Times

WASHINGTON — With Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska, emerging
as a front-runner to be President Obama’s next secretary of defense,
critics are taking aim at his record on Israel as well as remarks he
made about pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington.

Mr. Hagel, a Republican, has been skeptical about the efficacy of
American sanctions against Iran, has opposed efforts to isolate militant
groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and has spoken candidly about the
influence of what he once referred to as the “Jewish lobby” on Capitol
Hill.

Those comments, in particular, have drawn the ire of Jewish leaders, who
say they raise questions about Mr. Hagel’s commitment to Israel and have
propagated unsavory stereotypes about Israel’s influence over American
foreign policy.

“He has a checkered past on Israel,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the
national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy
organization. “At the least, it’s disturbing; at worst, it’s troubling.”

Several of the groups are reaching out to members of Congress,
circulating a list of Mr. Hagel’s positions on issues related to Israel,
Iran and the Palestinians. The goal, officials on Capitol Hill said,
appears to be to pressure the White House to think twice about naming him.

The White House declined to comment on the criticism or on whether Mr.
Obama has settled on him for the job. Administration officials said Mr.
Obama would like to announce at least part of his second-term national
security team this week.

Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, is viewed as a lock for
secretary of state, while the choice for director of the Central
Intelligence Agency has narrowed to two candidates — Michael J. Morell,
the agency’s acting director, and John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s
counterterrorism adviser.

Administration officials noted that there were other candidates for the
Pentagon, including Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of
defense, and Ashton B. Carter, the current deputy secretary at the
Pentagon. Mr. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran who left the Senate in 2009 and
now teaches at Georgetown University, declined to comment.

For the White House, it is the second time a candidate’s record has come
under fire even before a nomination was announced.

Last week, Susan E. Rice, the ambassador the United Nations, withdrew
her name from consideration for secretary of state after coming under
weeks of withering assault by Republicans for statements she made after
the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In the wake of Ms. Rice’s withdrawal, there have also been questions
about whether Mr. Obama’s proposed national security team would lack
diversity.

None of Mr. Hagel’s former Senate colleagues has come out against his
candidacy. But on Tuesday, several Republicans predicted that he would
face some blunt questions if nominated.

“I am concerned about some of his statements on Iran and Hamas and
Israel,” Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said in an
interview with Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. “I’m sure that
those issues will be explored in the nomination hearing, should he be
nominated.”

Mr. Hagel is a friend and “was a fine senator,” added Ms. Collins, who
sits on the Armed Services Committee, which will consider the nomination
of a defense secretary to succeed Leon E. Panetta.

Some officials on Capitol Hill predicted that if nominated, Mr. Hagel,
66, would not face anywhere near the opposition that scuttled Ms. Rice’s
candidacy. He remains popular among his former colleagues.

But the steady drumbeat of criticism from Jewish and other pro-Israel
groups is a problem for the White House and Mr. Hagel, who as defense
secretary would have to engage regularly with Israeli leaders on
American military aid and the Iranian nuclear threat.

“There is a very systematic effort going on, and these things can have
an impact,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director of J Street, a
liberal pro-Israel group, which defends Mr. Hagel.

“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,” Mr. Ben-Ami said.

The criticism of Mr. Hagel is on two levels. The first is his voting
record, which some analysts say has been soft on groups like Hezbollah
and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He voted against
designating the Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, they said, and
refused to demand that the European Union designate Hezbollah a
terrorist group.

“It is a matter of fact that a record like that is well outside the
mainstream of both Democratic and Republican positions on such issues,”
said Josh Block, the chief executive of the Israel Project, a pro-Israel
educational group.

The second set of criticism centers on an interview Mr. Hagel gave in
2006 to Aaron David Miller, a longtime American diplomat, for a book he
wrote on the Middle East peace process, “The Much Too Promised Land.”

Speaking of groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,
which advocates for Israel, Mr. Hagel said, “The Jewish lobby
intimidates a lot of people up here.” Critics faulted both his
implication that lawmakers are bullied and his use of the phrase
“Jewish” rather than “Israel,” suggesting that all advocates for Israel
are Jewish. Senators from both parties have expressed discomfort with
his choice of words.

In the interview, Mr. Hagel noted, “I’m a United States senator, not an
Israeli senator.” While he said he supported Israel, “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.”

Mr. Miller, now a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, said that while Mr. Hagel’s past positions on Iran sanctions,
Hamas and Hezbollah differed from the administration’s policies, it did
not matter much since, as defense secretary, he would not be formulating
policy in the Middle East.

“His brief will concentrate on when to project American military might,”
Mr. Miller said, “and here his caution and experience in the Vietnam
years coincide with where the president is.”

Based on talks with Mr. Hagel, Mr. Miller said he concluded that the
former senator “believes in a special relationship with Israel, but not
an exclusive one.”

“There should not be a litmus test of whether he is pro-Israel enough,”
Mr. Miller said. “He is just independent enough to recognize that there
are moments when U.S.-Israel interests don’t always align.”

(2) Israel's nightmare: Possible appointment of Hagel as defense
secretary result of Bibi's support for Obama's rivals


Israel's nightmare

Possible appointment of Hagel as defense secretary result of Bibi's
support for Obama's rivals

by Sever Plocker

December 18, 2012 / Israel Opinion

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4321497,00.html

The Israeli prime minister's support for the Republican presidential
candidate during the US elections and his blatant support for all of
Obama's enemies and haters may soon exact a heavy price. According to
some reports, Obama has already decided to appoint former Republican
senator Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.

For Israel, the appointment would be the realization of a nightmare. As
a senator (1997-2008) Hagel was against imposing harsher sanctions on
Iran, he opposed adding the Revolutionary Guards to the list of global
terror organizations and signed a letter calling on the American
government to recognize Hamas and negotiate with the Islamist group.

In 2007, when Hagel considered seeking the GOP presidential nomination,
the Democratic Party distributed a document detailing his anti-Israel
votes, positions and statements.

Political pundits in the US claim that Hagel is currently affiliated
with a small but influential group of rightist, conservative and
anti-Israel statesmen. The members of this group view America's Jews as
(almost) a fifth column that favors Israel's interests over America's
interests, and attribute the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC with the power to
tilt US foreign policy in Israel's favor.

The group's positions were expressed in a book written by political
science professors Walt and Mearsheimer, who sought to "expose" AIPAC's
"destructive influence" on America's standing in the Middle East. The
book described AIPAC as a "loose coalition of individuals and
organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a
pro-Israel direction." Since publishing their first article on the
subject in 2006, Walt and Mearsheimer have become the favorites of
Americans who believe the US is controlled by a Jewish-Israeli conspiracy.

In a 2006 interview for a book written by Aaron David Miller, a former
Mideast peace negotiator during the Clinton years, Hagel said "The
political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people
up here." Miller, a traditional Jew, defended Hagel's comment.

America's foreign policy and defense experts believe Hagel's possible
appointment as defense secretary would bring an end to the special and
close relations that have existed over the past few years between the
Israeli Defense Ministry and the Department of Defense in Washington.

The matter was discussed during a meeting between Obama and a group
Jewish figures who were invited to a Hanukkah party at the White House.
"It's a terrible idea," one of those who attended the event was quoted
as saying. But now, after Netanyahu burned all of his personal bridges
with Obama, there is nothing the Prime Minister's Office can do about it.

(3) The Nonexistent “Jewish Lobby” Declares War on Chuck Hagel
M. J. Rosenberg

http://mjayrosenberg.com/2012/12/20/the-nonexistent-jewish-lobby-sets-out-to-destroy-chuck-hagel/

The American Jewish Committee was the latest Jewish organization to
enlist in the battle to prevent President Barack Obama from naming
former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. The
onslaught is unprecedented. Never before has virtually the entire
organized Jewish community combined to stop a presidential cabinet
appointment because it deems the potential nominee insufficiently
devoted to Israel. Of course, below the cabinet level, the lobby has
been manning the barricades against critics of any Israeli government
policies for decades.

The onslaught against Hagel is unique however because the reason for it
is not merely that he opposes the rush to war with Iran and favors
negotiating an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The reason is because he dared to refer to the existence of the Israel
lobby. He said this in 2008 in an interview with former
StateDepartmentofficial, Aaron Miller.

This [Congress] is an institution that does not inherently bring out a
great deal of courage,” Hagel continued. “Most of the time members play
it safe and adopt an ‘I’ll support Israel’ attitude. AIPAC comes
knocking with a pro-Israel letter, and ‘then you’ll get 80 to 90
senators on it. I don’t think I’ve ever signed one of the letters.’

When someone would accuse him of not being pro-Israel because he didn’t
sign the letter, Hagel told me he responds: “‘I didn’t sign the letter
because it was a stupid letter.” Few legislators talk this way on the
Hill. Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared
values. “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” but as
he put it, “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.”

That quote will likely doom Hagel’s candidacy because, if there is one
institution that isconsidereduntouchable, it is the Israel lobby and its
power.

Here is Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Stephens, a major neocon and
Netanyahu supporter, on the implications of Hagel’s remarks.

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 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?

In short, Hagel is an anti-Semite because he stated that the “Jewish
lobby” both exists and “intimidates…”

It is true that it is impolitic to use the term “Jewish lobby” rather
than “Israel lobby” although the very same people criticizing Hagel for
using the former term objected just as vehemently when Stephen Walt and
John Mearsheimer used the latter in their book on the subject. In any
case, the term Jewish lobby is accurate when one refers to organizations
like the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League, etc.
They are Jewish organizations and not AIPAC, the registered Israel lobby.

As for the non-Jews and Christian Zionists that are supposedly part of
the lobby, that is just silly. Having worked on Capitol Hill for 20
years, I can attest to the fact that the only voices that matter in
Washington on this issue comes from Jews. The lobby contributes millions
of dollars to candidates based on its determination of his or her
devotion to Israel. No non-Jewish organization does that. The whole
“Christian Zionist” thing is a joke and will be until John Hagee’s
Christians United For Israel starts pouring money into our campaigns.
And to BOTH parties.

Of course, the irony about the war on Hagel is that it has been launched
against him because he says that the lobby acts as one to intimidate
policymakers and legislators and the lobby screams that there is no such
thing as an organized lobby that does these things.

Here is a list (not comprehensive) of those who have enlisted in the
campaign against Chuck Hagel:

American Jewish Committee

The Anti-Defamation League

AIPAC

Commentary

Republican Jewish Coalition

National Jewish Democratic Council

The Israel Project

The Zionist Organization of America

Plus, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post,
Ed Koch

This list is only partial. Virtually all Jewish organizations,
politicians and media figures are under pressure to condemn Hagel and
many of them will. To its credit J Street is supporting Hagel and Israel
Policy Forum has long been in the Hagel camp (it honored him for his
support for Israel’s security in 2008).

But the others are all marching in lockstep to destroy a senator, a war
hero (highly decorated Marine) and one of the most thoughtful public
officials on foreign policy matters. I say “destroy” because the charge
of anti-Semitism can and does destroy. If Obama decides not to pick
Hagel (and he probably will so decide), this great American will be
tarred forever by the charge.

The good news is that the lobby will be shown to be precisely what its
critics say it is. It is an organized machine, dedicated to the
interests of the Israeli right that uses its power to ensure that no one
in our government ever challenges Israel’s government on anything. Of
course, it is unlikely that the media will even report the story.

In the wake of last week’s horrors in Connecticut, the media is talking
almost endlessly about the sickening power of the gun lobby. But the gun
lobby doesn’t come close to AIPAC’s power to intimidate. After all, as I
said, everyone discusses the NRA and what should be done about it.
Virtually no one in the media discusses the Israel lobby. If Hagel is
rejected by Obama, don’t expect David Gregory, Rachel Maddow, or any of
the rest of them to explain why. They can’t. They are afraid. But they
are not afraid of the NRA. Doesn’t that tell you something?

Fortunately, there is the blogosphere (again, most of the major bloggers
are intimidated into silence on the lobby but not all) where the most
prominent voice of all, former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan does
have the guts to speak out. He says:

Like a kabuki dance,here it comes: the usual vile insinuations; the
usual call for the Greater Israel Lobby to kill a nomination because a
US Senator actually believe his job is to care first about the security
and interests of the US, not Greater Israel; the reflexive equation of
opposition to the Netanyahu administration or the settlements or the
Gaza wars with pure bigotry. The phrases – “the odor is especially ripe”
– are as preeningly self-righteous as they are toxic. You are not
allowed, for example, to note that well-financed organized Washington
lobbies “intimidate” lawmakers:

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.

It’s interesting to read this familiar, exhausted, ridiculous whine in
the context of our current discussion about the NRA. The NRA is
routinely called the gun lobby and it is described in exactly the same
terms as AIPAC: “vast, invisible and malevolent” – because it is
precisely as effective and relentless and as fanatical as AIPAC in
wielding money, networking and political pressure in attaining its
legislative goals. But we are forbidden from calling AIPAC what it is
the way we call the NRA what it is – because telling the truth about it
has been stigmatized as anti-Semitism.

It’s a useful ruse for bullies like the Greater Israel Lobby. It’s also
an insult to those who have suffered and been murdered by actual
anti-Semites. But for utopian fanatics, if casually calling honorable
public servants anti-Semites helps them retain their dream of a Greater
Israel, so be it. Which is why the president, if indeed he is
contemplating an appointment for the Nebraska Republican, should not
listen to the AIPAC thugs. He should what is right for this country, and
not any other’s.

Sullivan leaves out one thing. The Israel Lobby is bad for the Jews. It
suggests that Jewish Americans put the interests of a foreign country
first which is a damnable lie. As every poll shows, Jewish Americans not
only don’t vote based on Israel, they are not overly Israel centered at
all. Moreover, those of us who do deeply care about Israel (although not
more than we care about our own country) believe that the best way to
support Israel is to work for peace with the Palestinians and to oppose
war with Iran just as Hagel does. The lobby knows that but it has higher
goals: making our government tremble, supporting Binyamin Netanyahu, and
scaring Jews into donating more money to their respective organizations.

In short, the lobby is bad for America. But it’s worse for Jews.

How dare these hacks and lobbyists jeopardize our future in the best
home Jews have ever had?

(4) Hagel smeared for standing up to AIPAC bullying

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/12/smearing-hagel.html

Smearing Hagel

Daily Beast, 18 Dec 2012 01:34 PM

Like a kabuki dance, here it comes: the usual vile insinuations; the
usual call for the Greater Israel Lobby to kill a nomination because a
US Senator actually believe his job is to care first about the security
and interests of the US, not Greater Israel; the reflexive equation of
opposition to the Netanyahu administration or the settlements or the
Gaza wars with pure bigotry. The phrases - "the odor is especially ripe"
- are as preeningly self-righteous as they are toxic. You are not
allowed, for example, to note that well-financed organized Washington
lobbies "intimidate" lawmakers:

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.

It's interesting to read this familiar, exhausted, ridiculous whine in
the context of our current discussion about the NRA. The NRA is
routinely called the gun lobby and it is described in exactly the same
terms as AIPAC: "vast, invisible and malevolent" - because it is
precisely as effective and relentless and as fanatical as AIPAC in
wielding money, networking and political pressure in attaining its
legislative goals. But we are forbidden from calling AIPAC what it is
the way we call the NRA what it is - because telling the truth about it
has been stigmatized as anti-Semitism.

It's a useful ruse for bullies like the Greater Israel Lobby. It's also
an insult to those who have suffered and been murdered by actual
anti-Semites. But for utopian fanatics, if casually calling honorable
public servants anti-Semites helps them retain their dream of a Greater
Israel, so be it. Which is why the president, if indeed he is
contemplating an appointment for the Nebraska Republican, should not
listen to the AIPAC thugs. He should what is right for this country, and
not any other's.http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4321497,00.html

MJ Rosenberg <mjayrosenbergblog@gmail.com> 28 December 2012 02:20

(5) 70% of Jews voted for Obama, but the Lobby backed Romney

Yes, It’s The Jewish Lobby, And It Consists Of One Percent Of Us

MJ Rosenberg

http://mjayrosenberg.com/2012/12/26/yes-its-the-jewish-lobby/

The neoconservatives’ battle to sink the potential nomination of former
Senator Chuck Hagel has again raised the issue of the power of the
Israel lobby. And it should. Hagel, as a respected former senator would
be sailing to an easy confirmation, if not for the power of the Israel
lobby which considers him insufficiently loyal to the policies of the
Israeli government.

The assault on Hagel is truly ugly and opposing a highly respected
ex-senator and decorated war hero out of fear he won’t defer to
Netanyahu is also stupid. Unlike John McCain whose war record is
ambiguous, Hagel’s record was indisputably heroic. He and his brother
Tom served side by side in Vietnam as infantry squad leaders and earned
military decorations and honors, including two Purple Hearts. To put it
bluntly, how does it look to be opposing this American war hero for
being insufficiently devoted to a foreign country?

The most maddening thing is that the lobby does not speak for most Jews,
not even close. The best proof of that was this year’s election results
in which 70% of Jews voted for President Obama although Netanyahu and
his cutouts here made clear that they preferred Romney. And, as the
definitive American Jewish Committee survey demonstrated, not even the
Jewish Republican vote had much, if anything, to do with Israel. Only 5%
of Jews consider Israel their most important issue. Republican Jews are
Republican for the same reasons other Republicans are (the economy, and
other domestic issues). Overwhelmingly, Jews choose domestic issues as
most important to them. Additionally the Jews who do care about Israel
(a strong majority at least) support neither Netanyahu nor the
occupation. The last Israeli prime minister they admired was Yitzhak Rabin.

So who and what is the lobby?

The first thing to know about it is that it is about delivering money
not votes. It is irrelevant that most Jews are liberals and not
Netanyahu devotees. The people with the money (i.e., the lobby) are
right-wing on Israel. And it is those people (think Democrat Haim Saban
and Republican Sheldon Adelson and the like) who have the clout. Not the
dentist or lawyer down the street or the local Hadassah chapter.

I worked on Capitol Hill for 20 years, for five Members of Congress, and
had hundreds of dealings with the lobby. Despite claims that the lobby
includes Christians, that is simply not true — at least not in terms of
influencing U.S. policies.

First, so-called “Christian Zionists” do not give heavily to campaigns
so their support for Likud policies is both amorphous and
insignificant. Second, “Christian Zionists” are Republicans who will
never support the party of GLBT rights, choice, regulations and higher
taxes. Unlike the AIPAC-directed donors, they are not in play. They are
just Republicans. (Even when “Christian Zionists” do contribute to
campaigns, their issues are the social issues like blocking marriage
equality, not supporting Israel.)

Bottom line: the Israel Lobby is the Jewish Lobby. One would be
hard-pressed to find a single legislator who kisses up to Netanyahu and
AIPAC to please Christians. Not a single constituent organization that
composes the lobby is anything but Jewish, starting with AIPAC. The
others all have the word “Jewish” in their names. Who are they kidding?

That makes it critical that the overwhelming majority of Jews get the
message across that the lobby does not speak for us. And that the lobby
isn’t us. AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council on
Public Affairs and the multi-millionaires associated with all of them
constitute a lobby of a few thousand people. They are the Jewish (less
than) One Percent. And that is all they speak for.

But, like the other, more famous one-percent, their voices drown the
rest of us out. That is because our political system is not about votes,
it is about money. Until we have public financing of campaigns (which is
probably never), politicians will do what the lobby tells them to do.
But, remember, it’s not the Jews, it is a few unrepresentative
millionaires and billionaires who enjoy making the United States
government quake both for Netanyahu’s sake and to feel all-powerful.
Don’t blame the Jews.

And, Mr. President, do us all a favor and choose Chuck Hagel. The
complaints of those whose first, and usually only, concern is ensuring
that the U.S. never says no to Netanyahu should be ignored. As someone
once said, or should have: the power of campaign contributions must stop
at the water’s edge.

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