Tuesday, July 10, 2012

577 Lobby treatment of Hagel demonstrates our case, vindicates our book - Stephen M. Walt

Lobby treatment of Hagel demonstrates our case, vindicates our book -
Stephen M. Walt

Newsletter published on 12-02-2013
(1) Mark Bruzonsky predicted that the Lobby would force Hagel to grovel
(2) Hagel spooked by The Lobby, recants during Questioning from Senate
(3) Lobby treatment of Hagel demonstrates our case, vindicates our book
- Stephen M. Walt
(4) Hagel had to Lie "about the existence of the lobby that is making
him lie" - MJ ROSENBERG
(5) Kevin MacDonald: Hagel had to cave in to Lobby, to get Confirmation
(6) Dirty Tactics Of The Jewish Lobby - Brother Nathanael

(1) Mark Bruzonsky predicted that the Lobby would force Hagel to grovel

{In this video, Mark Bruzonsky predicted that the Lobby would force
Hagel to grovel during the Confirmation hearings}

Kristoffer Larsson <krislarsson@comhem.se> 13 January 2013 22:42


(2) Hagel spooked by The Lobby, recants during Questioning from Senate


Fluster Chuck

Did anyone tell Chuck Hagel there would be questions?

By David Weigel|Posted Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, at 8:01 PM ET

Everyone who paid a little attention to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to run
the Department of Defense knew that he’d have to answer for his juicy
quotes about Israel and foreign policy. At least, everyone should have
told Chuck Hagel. For seven hours, his answers to Republicans in the
Senate Armed Services Committee—one of his old committees!—ranged from
passable to apocalyptic.

“Explain this a bit,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was a
Hagel critic before he was even nominated. “You said, ‘The Jewish lobby
intimidates a lot of people up here.’ ‘I’m not an Israeli senator; I’m a
United States senator.’ ‘This pressure makes us do dumb things at times.’ ”

That last quote wasn’t even correct. In a 2006 interview with Aaron
David Miller, one of the most famous pieces of Hageliana, the senator
said he’d “argued against the dumb things they do”—they being the Israel
lobby. He didn’t sign one particular open letter supporting Israel
because “it was a stupid letter.”

But Graham ran with the misquote. “Name one person in your opinion who’s
intimidated by the Israeli lobby,” he said.

“Well, uh, first … ” started Hagel.

Graham interrupted him. “Name one.”

Hagel shrugged. “Uh, I don’t know.”

Three weeks ago, Hagel broke typical nominee protocol by talking to the
media—the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star—and rebutting this attack. “I
didn't sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were
counter-productive and didn't solve a problem,” he said. He’d ducked
some popular pro-Israel letters in resolutions because they couldn’t
answer his question: “How does that further the peace process in the
Middle East?”

But when it counted, Hagel drifted.

“Well, why would you say that?” asked Graham.

“I didn’t have in mind a specific person …” started Hagel.

“It was an injurious, provocative statement,” said Graham. “I can’t
think of a more provocative thing to say about the relationship between
the United States and Israel, and the Senate and the Congress, than what
you said.”

Hagel has one of the saddest faces in politics, one that used to be
captured in black and white for magazine profiles about his manful
truth-telling. “Hagel is typically more interested in facts on the
ground than doctrine,” wrote Joseph Lelyveld in a 2006 take, when Hagel
was daydreaming about the 2008 presidential nomination. “He's a
politician with attributes that are supposedly sought by the people who
package candidates.” Graham, a former JAG lawyer, made that media hero
unrecognizable. He jerked around in his chair, as if Hagel’s dissembling
caused him physical pain. When an answer started to wander, Graham cut
it short—“I gotcha”—and moved on.

It shouldn’t have mattered. The promise of Chuck Hagel was (or is—he’s
only got to win over four Republicans to forestall a rare Cabinet
nominee filibuster) the truth-telling. Hagel has less executive
experience than any DOD nominee in decades, but he bonded with Democrats
because of a years-long, realist approach to Israel, Iran, and the
defense budget. In 2006, Democrats ran against the war in Iraq and won;
in 2008, they defeated the chief Republican proponent of the surge; in
2012, they won the Jewish vote again against a historic campaign to
portray them as anti-Zionists.

Hagel’s goal Thursday was to consolidate that by getting at least one
Republican on the committee to come out for him. Democrats hold 14 of 26
seats on Senate Armed Services, and none of them have hinted that they
oppose Hagel. It made sense for Hagel to be demure—more sense than it
made, say, for Barack Obama to approach his first debate with Mitt
Romney as a do-no-harm scenario.

But the result was a nominee who searched for words like he was trapped
in a closet, grasping for a dropped flashlight. Democrats praised
Hagel’s Vietnam service, to the extent that Hagel encouraged them to ask
about policy instead. He couldn’t get granular on any of that, he said,
but “if confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do.” Rhode Island
Sen. Jack Reed, a Hagel supporter, asked a pillowy-soft question about
the nominee’s conversations with the president. “When he asked me why am
I qualified,” said Hagel, “I said I’m not.” This was campaign-profile
talk transplanted with maximum awkwardness to a situation in which
people wanted to hear about expertise.

More expertise might have staved off the Republican doubts. Acting
contrite got Hagel nowhere. Early in the day, timed just right to set
the whole narrative, Sen. John McCain asked Hagel to renounce his old
skepticism of the surge in Iraq.

“Do you stand by those comments?” asked McCain.

“Senator,” said Hagel, “I stand by them because I made them.”

“Were you right?” asked McCain. “Were you correct in your assessment?”

“I would defer to the judgment of history,” said Hagel.

“I think this committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were
right or wrong!” said McCain.

It went on until McCain, deeply unsatisfied, switched to a line of Syria
questions. The Democrat assigned to clean up, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson,
tried to help out Hagel by pointing out the long-term cost and disaster
of the Iraq War as a whole—forget the surge. But Hagel meandered into an
apology about his vote that contradicted his answer to McCain and
contradicted seven years of his career. “Doesn’t mean I’m right,” he
said. “Doesn’t mean I didn’t make wrong votes.”

What was the point of that? Instead of trying to convince skeptical
Republicans of his rightness, Hagel accepted their premises, his logical
threads collapsing into black holes. Sen. Kelly Ayotte reminded Hagel of
a speech he’d given listing “containment” as a possible response to the
dangers posed by Iran. Hagel could have defended the speech
(“containment” was at the end of a list of better options) or explained
why his thinking evolved. Instead, he suggested that “it doesn’t matter
what I think,” because he’d mind-melded with the president.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin bailed out his former colleague. “You said to
Sen. Ayotte, ‘It doesn’t matter what I believe,’ ” he said. “Of course,
it does matter what you believe. I think what you were saying was, ‘What
does matter is what the president believes.’ ” Yes. That was what he
meant. During one break, Hagel turned to a friend in the rows directly
behind him and joked wryly about how he had good speeches he’d never
written down. The hearing continued. Hagel answered questions about
another speech with “I don’t recall the event. I don’t recall the words.
I don’t know the context.” The studied ignorance of modern judicial
confirmation hearings had come to Armed Services, but the graft wasn’t

But the irony stuck. Most Republican questions scored Hagel not for his
views on defense spending but on his support of Israel and foreign
policy in the neighborhood. “I’ve seen a number of times,” said Sen. Roy
Blunt, “you’ve said you’re pro-Israel, but you don’t have to be
reflexively what Israel is for.” That was the totality of Blunt’s
argument—well, that and how Hagel had been saluted by University of
Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer, one of the co-authors of
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Lindsey Graham had wanted to
know who had ever been spooked by The Lobby and what stupid things
they’d done out of panic. The answer was right in front of him, at the
witness table.

(3) Lobby treatment of Hagel demonstrates our case, vindicates our book
- Stephen M. Walt


I'd like to thank the Senate Armed Services Committee

Posted By Stephen M. Walt

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 11:26

In The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) John Mearsheimer and
I wrote:

The bottom line is that AIPAC, which bills itself as ‘America's
Pro-Israel lobby' has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress ... Open
debate about U.S. policy toward Israel does not occur there, even though
that policy has important consequences for the entire world. (p. 162)

After discussing the lobby's efforts to influence the executive branch,
we noted:

There is an even more obvious way to shape an administration's
policy: the lobby's goals are served when individuals who share its
perspective occupy important positions in the executive branch. . .
.[G]roups in the lobby also try to make sure that people who are seen as
critical of Israel do not get important foreign policy jobs. (pp. 165-66)

And after a lengthy discussion of the lobby's efforts to police public
discourse and smear those who disagree with them with the charge of
anti-semitism, we concluded:

The various strategies that groups in the lobby employ ... are
mutually reinforcing. If politicians know that it is risky to question
Israeli policy or the United States' unyielding support for Israel, then
it will be harder for the mainstream media to locate authoritative
voices that are willing to disagree with the lobby's views. If public
discourse about Israel can be shaped so that most American have
generally positive impressions of the Jewish state, then politicians
will have even more reason to follow the lobby's lead. Playing the
anti-Semitism card stifles discussion even more and allows myths about
Israel to survive unchallenged. Although other interest groups employ
similar strategies in varying form. most of them can only dream of
having the political muscle that pro-Israel organizations have amassed.
(p. 196)

I want to thank the Emergency Committee for Israel, Sheldon Adelson, and
the Senate Armed Service Committee for providing such a compelling
vindication of our views. As Rosie Gray amd Andrew Kaczynski of
Buzzfeed noted, at yesterday's hearing on Chuck Hagel Israel was
mentioned 166 times, and Iran (a problem closely linked to Israel) 144
times. Afghanistan was mentioned only 20 times, and the problem of
suicides of U.S. troops only twice. Glad to see that those Senators have
their priorities straight. No wonder Mark Twain referred to Congress as
"the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts
that God makes."

I am sometimes asked if I have any regrets about publishing our book. As
of today, my only regret is that it isn't being published now. After the
humiliations that Obama has endured at the hands of the lobby and now
the Hagel circus, we'd sell even more copies and we wouldn't face nearly
as much ill-informed criticism.

(4) Hagel had to Lie "about the existence of the lobby that is making
him lie" - MJ ROSENBERG

MJ Rosenberg <mjayrosenbergblog@gmail.com> 3 February 2013 06:14



FEB 02 2013


Like most supporters of Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of
Defense, I was dismayed by his performance at the Senate Armed Services
Committee on Thursday. He was inarticulate, incoherent, and bumbling.
Nonetheless, I completely sympathize with him.

As an honest man, lying about his views doesn’t come naturally to him.
Unlike John McCain and his other attackers, as well as many of his
supporters, Hagel has a real inability to say what he doesn’t mean. It
affected his whole performance.

Senator Hagel is not the man we saw on Thursday. He is intelligent,
articulate and has a firm grasp of the issues – infinitely stronger than
the likes of Lindsey Graham or McCain! But lying is required on the
subject of Israel (the only subject that mattered at this hearing).

No, Hagel is not anti-Israel. Nor does he want to see Iran develop
nuclear weapons. But his views on Israel-related matters are nuanced.

Having spoken with him on these issues, I would characterize his views
as pretty much the same as Israel’s president, Shimon Peres. He wants
the occupation to end. He favors war only as a last resort in dealing
with Iran. And he supports territorial compromise with the Palestinians.
He certainly supports a secure Israel and would help preserve that security.

However, although it is fine for Shimon Peres to publicly hold these
views, the lobby will fight to the death to destroy any American
official who does.

So politicians have to lie. I don’t think Hagel lies about his views on
Israel any more (in fact, actually less) than Al Franken, Chuck
Schumer,* Sherrod Brown, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary
Clinton, Barbara Boxer, or Bernie Sanders. Not one of them believes the
things he or she is forced to say about Israel. It’s just that the
Nebraskan does not lie as smoothly as the others.

But he has no choice but to lie. Otherwise the lobby will go after him.
And, adding insult to injury, he has to lie about the existence of the
lobby that is making him lie, as he did when he apologized for saying
that the lobby makes senators take positions they know are “stupid.”

I really don’t know what a guy like Hagel can do about this. The lobby
is going to be a domineering force in American political life until the
current generation of Israel First donors dies off (younger Jews are as
likely to join AIPAC as the NRA).

But here is my recommendation for now: learn to lie better. Be smooth,
get tears in your eyes when you mention Israel, invoke the Holocaust,
quote your “sainted mother” (as Biden does) who told you to love Israel
like a brother.

And then get in there and support negotiations with Palestinians,
Iranians, and an end to the occupation. In other words, fake it. But do
it well. On Thursday, Hagel failed the test. He is a terrible faker. And
the lobby’s dominance ensures that only the best get to serve. Except as
president of Israel.

The lobby has got to go. But, until it does, this is reality. On
Thursday, we all got to see the lobby in all its ugliness and unlimited
power. We can’t just look away. In the meantime, let’s just hope that
Hagel gets in and – along with Obama, Biden, and Kerry – does what he
knows is right.

(5) Kevin MacDonald: Hagel had to cave in to Lobby, to get Confirmation

ReporterNotebook <RePorterNoteBook@gmail.com> 3 February 2013 01:26

Hagel Wisely Caves in to the Israel Lobby

by Kevin MacDonald

The Occidental Observer

Posted: 01 Feb 2013 08:29 AM PST


The viciousness of the Hagel hearings is really amazing, especially the
questioning of John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Ted Cruz. Graham and
Cruz especially were being good soldiers of the Israel Lobby. The
exchange that really revealed the power of the Lobby was when Graham
asked Hagel to

“name one person, in your opinion, who’s intimidated by the Israel lobby
in the United States Senate.”

“I don’t know,” Hagel ultimately conceded.

Graham continued his interrogation, asking Hagel to, “Name one dumb
thing we’ve been goaded into doing because of the pressure from the
Israeli or Jewish lobby?”

“I have already stated that I regret the terminology,” Hagel protested.

“But you said back then, it makes us do dumb things,” Graham pressed.
“You can’t name one senator intimidated, now give me one example of the
dumb things that we’re pressured to do up here.”

“Well, I can’t give you an example,” Hagel admitted.

Obviously Hagel was intimidated. There was no way he would name names,
even though it’s common knowledge that anyone actively opposing the
Israel Lobby should be prepared to see his opponent in the next election
run a very well-funded operation. More importantly, Hagel would never be
so bold as to name the war in Iraq as Exhibit A for a “dumb thing” that
the Senate (including Hagel) was stampeded into by the Israel Lobby, its
megaphone in the media, and its operatives in the Pentagon (Wolfowitz,
Feith, Shulsky; see here, p. 40ff) supplying false intelligence to the
hopelessly naive President Bush. Such things are still completely off
the table in polite conversation.

Hagel has regrets about his vote on Iraq and the troop surge. In his
book Hagel labeled the war in Iraq one of the greatest blunders of U.S.
history and he has been very critical of the Bush administration,
especially its foreign policy. But there is no way he would mention the
Israel Lobby’s role in his Senate confirmation hearings. Yes, the Israel
Lobby is alive and well in Washington.

In 2006 Hagel stated “How many of us really know and understand much
about Iraq, the country, the history, the people, the role in the Arab
world? I approach the issue of post-Saddam Iraq and the future of
democracy and stability in the Middle East with more caution, realism
and a bit more humility.” This is in stark contrast to the garbage being
pedeled by the neocons and Bernard Lewis (see here and here), their
intellectual academic front man who had been reassuring Bush and
everyone else that Iraqis yearned for freedom and democracy just like
Westerners, so that removing Saddam would instantly usher in a mini-America.

I have no doubt that Hagel realizes that the Israel Lobby was a
necessary component of the campaign for war, but he is well-advised not
to say so if he wants to be confirmed by the Senate.

The fact that he was intimidated from saying that the Israel Lobby was a
powerful, critical ingredient in the campaign for the Iraq war once
again shows the power of the Lobby. But Hagel’s nomination is certainly
good news that even though the Lobby can’t be directly confronted, its
power can be circumvented by a second-term president nominating someone
who will say whatever is necessary to get the nomination by not directly
questioning the role of the Israel Lobby in promoting a war that has
cost over 5000 American lives, many more thousands grievously wounded,
and over a trillion dollars, with no benefit at all to the United
States. The sentiment seems to be that despite the intense hostility of
the questioning, the Democrats will not go against the President and
will have enough votes to confirm. And that good news indeed.

(6) Dirty Tactics Of The Jewish Lobby - Brother Nathanael

Brother Nathanael <bronathanael@yahoo.com> 11 February 2013 07:49


February 10, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

Dirty Tactics Of The Jewish Lobby

By Brother Nathanael Kapner

Now that the Jewish Lobby has bludgeoned Chuck Hagel into submission,
its malevolence needs to be undressed by the naked truth.

Three Jewish Lobbies in particular drive the abortion of America’s
democratic process:

AIPAC, the ADL, and William Kristol’s neocon Foreign Policy Initiative.

Kristol drew the battle lines on Fox News Sunday January 6 2013 by
censuring Obama for appointing as Defense Secretary a perceived opponent
of the Jewish Lobby, Chuck Hagel.

[Clip: “I really don’t know why the President wants him except I think
he maybe he likes the fact that Chuck Hagel has complained about the
power of the Jewish Lobby.”]

Kristol then set up the ad hoc “Emergency Committee for Israel”—
reportedly funded by Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson—and launched a
two-pronged smear against the hapless Hagel.

[Clip: “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel? President Obama says he
supports sanctions on Iran, Hagel voted against them. Hagel voted
against labeling Iran’s revolutionary guard a terrorist group. And while
President Obama says ‘all options are on the table’ for preventing a
nuclear Iran. Hagel says ‘military action is not a viable, feasible,
responsible option.’ President Obama, for Secretary of Defense, Chuck
Hagel is not a responsible option.”]

Then we have AIPAC…a bona fide enemy of YOU the American voter.

You see, if any incumbent on Capitol Hill doesn’t play ball with its
Jewish agenda, AIPAC’s revenge kicks in pouring its bottomless pit of
billions of dollars into an opposing candidate.

For example, Illinois Senator Charles Percy, former head of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, saw his incumbency usurped by the
marginally-known Paul Simon, whose campaign coffers were filled to the
brim by AIPAC.

Percy was punished for refusing to sign AIPAC’s “Letter of 76?
protesting President Ford’s threatened “reassessment” of Middle East policy.

Soon, in collusion with its synagogue buddies at the Jewish-owned press,
AIPAC spent $1.1 million dollars on anti-Percy advertising.

After Percy’s defeat, AIPAC’s then executive director Tom Dine boasted:

Quote: “All the Jews in America from coast to coast gathered to oust
Percy. And the American politicians—those who hold public positions now
and those who aspire—got the message.” Unquote.

Georgia Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, also “got the message” from
both AIPAC and the ADL in 2002, 2004, and with her final removal in 2006.

[Clip: “The district that I initially represented in Congress…I
represented so many districts in Congress because redistricting was a
tool that was used to target me to eliminate me from the Congress…and
with the assistance of the Anti-Defamation League, the district was

“It generally takes about $250,000 minimum to take a case from filing up
to the Supreme Court. What I ran into, I bumped into at almost every
turn were these ’special interests.’ And there’s no more special
interest that has any more influence than the pro-Israel Lobby.

“Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge. They were given
a pledge to sign. And I was new on the scene, and so the pledge had
Jerusalem as the capital city, the military superiority of Israel…”

“American Congress people have to sign this pledge?”

“Yes. You sign the pledge, if you don’t sign the pledge you don’t get
money. So for example, it was almost like water torture for me. My
parents observed this.

“I would get a call and the person on the other end of the phone would
say ‘I want to do a fundraiser for you.’ And then we would get into the
planning, I would get really excited, because of course you have to have
money in order to run a campaign.

“And then two weeks, three weeks into the planning they would say ‘did
you sign the pledge.’ And then I would say ‘no I didn’t sign the
pledge.’ And then my fundraiser would go kaput.”

“This isn’t a question for the congress people serving that they are
representing or they’re supposed to be representing the people of the
United States, not a foreign country, and yet they have to pledge
allegiance to a foreign state? No one questions this?”]

My friends, we no longer have a democracy in America.

Instead we have the totalitarian grip the Jewish Lobby has on YOU the
American voter.

Money and Media—both in the hands of Jewry—decides who will live and who
will die.

America can live again if we BREAK THE SHACKLES of the Jewish Lobby.

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