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Tom Friedman endorses Hagel

  This is quite a story, I wonder why the Parrptmasters haven't had their flocks working on it ?                


snip-   The disgusting is the fact that because Hagel once described the Israel lobby as the “Jewish lobby” (it also contains some Christians). And because he has rather bluntly stated that his job as a U.S. senator was not to take orders from the Israel lobby but to advance U.S. interests, he is smeared as an Israel-hater at best and an anti-Semite at worst. If ever Israel needed a U.S. defense secretary who was committed to Israel’s survival, as Hagel has repeatedly stated — but who was convinced that ensuring that survival didn’t mean having America go along with Israel’s self-destructive drift into settling the West Bank and obviating a two-state solution — it is now.                                                                            

   I am certain that the vast majority of U.S. senators and policy makers quietly believe exactly what Hagel believes on Israel — that it is surrounded by more implacable enemies than ever and needs and deserves America’s backing. But, at the same time, this Israeli government is so spoiled and has shifted so far to the right that it makes no effort to take U.S. interests into account by slowing its self-isolating settlement adventure. And it’s going to get worse. Israel’s friends need to understand that the center-left in Israel is dying. The Israeli election in January will bring to power Israeli rightists who never spoke at your local Israel Bonds dinner. These are people who want to annex the West Bank. Bibi Netanyahu is a dove in this crowd. The only thing standing between Israel and national suicide any more is America and its willingness to tell Israel the truth. But most U.S. senators, policy makers and Jews prefer to stick their heads in the sand, because confronting Israel is so unpleasant and politically dangerous. Hagel at least cares enough about Israel to be an exception.        


   snip-  No one captured the despair in Israel better than Bradley Burston, a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who wrote the other day: “This year, for Hanukkah, I want one person running this country, this Israel, to show me one scrap of light. One move — any move — for freedom, for all the peoples who live here. One step — no matter how slight — in the direction of a better future. What makes this Hanukkah different from all others? It’s the dark. It’s the sense that this country — beset by enemies, beset by itself — has locked down every single door against the future, and sealed shut every last window against hope. ... This country has begun to feel like a lamp whose body is cracked and whose light seems all but spent. On these long nights, we can make out little but an occupation growing ever more permanent, and a democracy growing ever more temporary.”                                                              


  snip-For instance, it’s impossible for me to see how America can secure its interests in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon without ending the U.S.-Iran cold war in the Middle East. I’m skeptical that it’s possible. I think the Iranian regime needs hostility with America to justify its hold on power. But with sanctions really biting Iran, I’d like to test and test again whether a diplomatic deal is possible before any military strike. I think Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has been a disaster for the Palestinians. But it is a deeply rooted organization. It controls Gaza. It is not going away. I don’t think America or Israel have anything to lose by engaging Hamas to see if a different future is possible. I think the world needs a strong America to maintain global stability. But the “fiscal cliff” tells you that our defense budget is coming down and we need to cut with a smart strategic plan. I think it would be useful to have a defense secretary who starts with that view and does not have to be bludgeoned into it.



snip==   What a crazy world we live in. And this is the core power of the Israel lobby, its ability to dominate the discourse, to define conventional wisdom, to conflate American and Israeli interests, and to punish those who opposed the Iraq war and who seek non-militant answers in the Middle East. Look what happened to Barack Obama! (And yes I think this reflects the prominence inside the establishment of Jews: how many readers feel included by Friedman's comment, "your local Israel Bonds dinner.")                                                           


  snip-  Meantime, four former national security advisers, including Zbig Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci and the Obama public servant James Jones stand up for Hagel in stentorian tones in a letter to the Washington Post


    We strongly object, as a matter of substance and as a matter of principle, to the attacks on the character of former senator Chuck Hagel. Mr. Hagel is a man of unshakable integrity and wisdom who has served his country in the most distinguished manner in peace and war.

He is a rare example of a public servant willing to rise above partisan politics to advance the interests of the United States and its friends and allies.

2 Replies

Re: Tom Friedman endorses Hagel

At defense I don't think its that big of a deal, if it was sec of state a big stink would be raised no doubt.

Re: Tom Friedman endorses Hagel

The big deal is how The Lobby is suddenly facing opposition and rejection by American and international Jews and they're on the defensive.   It's separating the neocons from the ziocons and revealing the Lobby's claim they are not exercising power over US policy and government formation is a egg-on-their-face LIE   They went after Hagel with their anti-Semite tar because he spoke about the influence of the Lobby, and they claim the "Lobby" doesn't exist, but they have opened it up into a international event. 


snip-It's interesting that J Street, the kinder gentler Israel lobby, is now fundraising using the Hagel possibility as a benchmark battle against the neocons-- "Extremism in our community":   We’re pushing back hard against fierce, personal attacks against Senator Chuck Hagel’s possible nomination to be Secretary of Defense – the kind that intimidate politicians and policy makers into silence. Now, Washington knows that a serious pro-Israel lobby will have their back if they're attacked for refusing to take only the most hawkish positions on Israel.


snip-   The ECI [Emergency Committee for Israel], a relatively new actor, has not been alone in targeting  Hagel. It has been ably assisted by the American Jewish Committee, the  Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the  National Jewish Democratic Council, The Israel Project, and the Zionist  Organisation of America. Affiliates from both within and outside the  government have gone on the offensive.             

  The op-ed pages of the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal  have all helped amplify the smears. The chorus has been joined by the  familiar cast of Israel apologists in Congress, led by Chuck Schumer,  Joseph Lieberman and Eliot Engel. Besides accusing Hagel of "endemic hostility towards Israel", one of them, Engel, has also detected a "prejudice".                                                                         

  snip-"Every appointee to the American government", [Natasha Mozgovaya of Haaretz] wrote, "must endure a  thorough background check by the American Jewish community."                                            

  This is a curious position for a democracy to find itself in where an  interest group lobbying on behalf of a foreign state can exercise veto  power over government appointments based on ideological litmus tests.  The distortion it engenders has been obvious in the disastrous course of  recent US foreign policy.                                                                

     For the majority of Americans who are tired of perpetual war, the  battle over Hagel's appointment presents an opportunity to check this  decline. They can finally confront the forces of militarism and restore  much-needed sanity. It is not a coincident that the line-up of Hagel's  detractors looks remarkably similar to the line-up that promoted the  Iraq war and is eager to bomb Iran. Hagel is far from a perfect  candidate but he has many qualities that make his candidacy worth  defending.


 Robert Naiman, another two-stater, has a list of all those supporting Hagel against the "jackboot of the neocons."     -snip-What do we want the next four years to be like? Do we want to spend  the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons, even though we  beat them in the last three presidential elections, starting with the  2008 Democratic primary?                                                                         

    If we don't want to spend the next four years under the jackboot of  the neocons, then we have to stop the neocons from blocking the  nomination of diplomacy advocate, war skeptic and decorated Vietnam  combat veteran Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense