Today begins confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nomination to head defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel. Before I make my case against Hagel’s confirmation, let me say that most likely Hagel will be confirmed. First, the general consensus is that a president is entitled to select his cabinet, the advisers that he will work with most intimately. Second, and this is WRONG, the Senate is a Good Ol’ Boy’s Club and they tend to stand with their own. Third, even Democrats, i.e. the disgusting Jewish Sen. Chuck Schumer, surely as aware of anyone of Hagel’s out-of-the-box views on Israel and Iran, will vote for Hagel. Schumer recently traded his vote against Hagel for running the president’s inauguration against his birthright homeland and his religion and what is morally right.
Hagel has made outrageous statements about Israel. In the last weeks he has tried to reframe those statements by writing a new stanza to his old song. It changes nothing. Everyday some outrageous soundbite of his surfaces, about Israel, about how we handle Iran, about how we approach war (on this he is mostly right). But saying that we should be careful about going to war is a no-brainer, isn’t it?
Hagel’s nomination says as much about President Obama’s position on how the U.S. deals with it’s only true ally and its longtime ally in the Middle East, Israel, as it does about Obama’s feelings for a people, the people who call themselves Palestinians who have been offered land for peace far too many times without appropriate concessions on their part and turned such offers down. Most importantly is the reality that their leaders refuse to acknowledge the Jewish State .
A word about anti-Semitism: Too many pundits these days are hiding behind their wrongly perceived intransigence of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Israel. Equally, they have suddenly taken the position that it is the intransigent people who call themselves Palestinians who are the victims, when, in fact, the Palestinian’s wounds are self-inflicted. Israel is the Jewish state. It is therefore impossible to separate Judaism from Israel. What powers Israel is Judaism and Jewish morality. By the same token, its Arab neighbors difficulty with Israel’s existence is not at all about land, but about the reality that the land is Jewish land. Therefore, when people like Chuck Hagel make statements deriding Israel, those statements cannot be considered anything but fueled by an inherent anti-Semitism.
Of course, most anti-Semites never think they are. Anti-Semitism is insipid, which is why it has lived as long as it has. I fully believe that Hagel and for that matter, President Obama do not see their positions or their feelings as inherently anti-Semitic. In the president’s case, I hesitate to call him an anti-Semite. Rather he is simply WRONG on Israel and foreign policy. Hagel’s words, on the other hand, tell an entirely different story.
World War II and the Holocaust seems centuries away. “We must never forget” has been replaced by “that was then, this is now,” which is not what most practicing Jews believe. American Jews tend to fit into two categories. Those who can’t and won’t forget, and those who feel that the only way forward is to forget, moreover, to be bigger than their past and in the extreme, to embrace the enemy. Peter Beinart and the morons behind J Street fit into this category. Yes, Jews can be wrong.
Chuck Hagel is the wrong man for the job, if for no other reason than he and his statements and feelings towards the Jewish State do not mesh with the majority of American Jews. His lack of understanding on the significance of keeping Iran nuclear free, though not unimportant, pales in the context of his insipid anti-Semitism.