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  • February 28, 2013

    Hagel Without Tears

    Editorial of The New York Sun | February 27, 2013

    By confirming Charles Hagel as secretary of war, Senator Schumer and the Democratic leadership send a pointed message to the Jewish community in America. It is that if the Jewish defense agencies are not going to stick up publicly for Israel, it is hard to expect others to do so. There is no sugar-coating the point. The Senate has just confirmed the most truculent cabinet officer in respect of Israel in more than a generation because important institutions and leaders shrank from making an issue of it.

    This is a story that is painful for many people to talk about. It would be inaccurate to suggest that the only objection to putting Mr. Hagel in at the war department had to do with Israel. He would be inadequate, even were Israel not an issue. There is a broad sense within the Jewish community — as there is among a number of non-Jewish senators who permitted his nomination to go to the floor — that Mr. Hagel has proven himself incompetent and disingenuous.


    Yet there’s no gainsaying the special concern that his hostility to Israel has raised among the Jewish leadership. And one of the stories that is being spoken of in private is how humiliated the leaders of the Jewish community feel. Nearly all of them — not all, but nearly all — were opposed to the elevation of Mr. Hagel to the Pentagon. But only one of the Jewish defense agencies spoke out forcefully against him.

    That was the Zionist Organization of America, which is the oldest pro-Israel organization in America, having been founded in 1897, the same year in which Theodor Herzl convened at Basel, Switzerland, the First Zionist Congress. It opposed the Hagel nomination early, forthrightly, and unapologetically. The result, according to the ZOA’s president, Morton Klein, is that it received objections from several leaders worried about the consequences for the Jewish community of such a public position.

    Mr. Klein believes the Hagel nomination would not have been confirmed had the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Committee taken a formal public position against Mr. Hagel. All three agencies have had many heroic moments. But they stood down on Mr. Hagel. Said Mr. Klein: “Several senators — and important ones — said to me: ‘If Aipac, ADL and AJCommittee — especially Aipac — had come out and lobbied against Hagel, he would have been stopped.”

    What such public opposition would have done, Mr. Klein argues, is that it “would have given a number of Democrats, who thought Hagel was awful, cover to vote against him.” Instead, the response leaders of the Jewish community received was, “If he’s so awful how come we’re not hearing anything against him from other Jewish groups.” Mr. Klein says he heard such a message from both sides of the aisle in the Senate.

    So the opposition had to be carried by newspapermen. A number of them wrote important pieces, including Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, William Kristol of the Weekly Standard and the Emergency Committee for Israel, Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine, Alana Goodman and Adam Kredo of the Free Beacon online, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, and the online Jewish newspaper the Algemeiner Journal. The last carried a memorable dispatch on the bitterness in the Jewish community in Nebraska in respect of Mr. Hagel going back to when he was a sitting senator.

    There were also a number of senators who seemed to understand the issue but flinched, refusing to block a vote. They include Senators Graham of South Carolina and McCain of Arizona, which is all the more disappointing for how strong they were during the hearing. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma, Paul of Kentucky, Rubio of Florida, and Cruz of Texas took a hard line all the way through. It’s a mystery to us why Messrs. McCain and Graham, in particular, voted for cloture, because they represent so strongly that they believe Mr. Hagel to be unqualified to be war secretary.

    The most disappointing figure to the Jewish community, aside from the President, has been Senator Schumer, who endorsed the candidate to whom he had once been objecting. He did so on the basis of a 90-minute meeting in which, he was quoted as saying, Mr. Hagel “almost had tears in his eyes.” No doubt Mr. Obama now expects Senator Schumer to run interference for the administration as the president and his new war secretary seek to appease the Iranian mullahs. The estimation is that they want to extricate Mr. Obama from his declarations that a nuclear armed Tehran is unacceptable. In other words, it turns out that failing to speak up when one had the chance has its consequences.

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 8:33 pm | 8 Comments »

    8 Comments to Hagel Without Tears

    1. Laura says:

      What such public opposition would have done, Mr. Klein argues, is that it “would have given a number of Democrats, who thought Hagel was awful, cover to vote against him.” Instead, the response leaders of the Jewish community received was, “If he’s so awful how come we’re not hearing anything against him from other Jewish groups.” Mr. Klein says he heard such a message from both sides of the aisle in the Senate.

      Why do they need cover? Don’t they have minds of their own? Can’t they take a principled stance on their own?

    2. Samuel Fistel says:

      Hagel as a sign of America’s terminal decline:

      Traditional Americans (patriotic white christian conservative Republicans) have now become a permanent minority. There will never again be a Republican President. And when they inevitably lose a few more seats in the House and Senate, they will be totally impotent.

      The new permanent majority (the Democrats) consists of a coalition of liberal whites who hate conservative whites; and blacks, latinos and asians (chinese, hindus, pakistanis), all of whom resent and hate conservative whites, and all of whom can never be persuaded to vote for a conservative white.

      Currently, the Democrats are led by an aging group of white elites, who are more moderate than their successors will be. The transition to the next generation of ultra-liberal Democrats is now in full swing. It was signaled by the re-election of Obama, and the voice vote in the Democratic Convention against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The future Democrats, like their liberal european cousins, will regard Jewish Israel as “worse than the nazis”.

      The already rapid decline of America will be further accelerated by inviting every poor latino in latin america to freely come to America and receive generous welfare payments, knowing they will vote Democratic to keep the welfare coming.

      America pays for all this by printing up new dollars to distribute as welfare payments. They can get away with it for now, because China and Europe benefit by pretending those dollars retain their value. This is a brave new world, and no one can predict when it will all crash.

      The end is easy to see: America will become a second-world country like Mexico or South Africa. A small group of super-rich whites will have all the money, and own everything, including the corrupt politicians. Government bureaucracy will continue to expand. The white middle class will shrink. The vast majority of the nation will consist of poor, stupid, variously violent masses.

      Currently, half of all Americans pay no federal taxes, and half receive some type of welfare payment.

    3. Shoshannah Somerville says:

      What a pathetic vote on the part of the Senate of the USA! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
      It’s bad enough that the Republicans are now reduced to a bunch of impotent seat warmers. In my
      estimation, the true difficulty with this terrible confirmation of Hagel is that the Jewish community leadership
      has let down the American Jews and Israel.
      We, who have been badly in need of real leadership, will pay a dreadful price without it.

    4. Sam Goldblatt says:

      Obama played this one like Muhammed Ali used his rope-a-dope against George Foreman. Bill Kristol, ZOA, Jennifer Rubin, Commentary, Alana Goodman, et.al. punched themselves silly against Hagek BEFORE he was even nominated. By the time Obama put him up for nomination, they had become suckers for a left-right cross combination by The White House. They never knew what hit ‘em. As far as AIPAC, they calculated that it would do more harm than good to oppose a sitting President with four years to go who had deliberately picked Hagel to stick to a certain Israeli PM who had treated him like a dumb, happy shoeshine boy his whole first term.

    5. I call him Schmucky Chumer. Alfonse D’Amato called him Putzhead, which means the same thing.

    6. Honey Bee says:

      @ Samuel Fistel:
      @ Shoshannah Somerville:

      It is with great regrete that I must agree with both of you!

    7. Canuck Frank says:

      @ Laura:
      Laura Said:

      Don’t they have minds of their own? Can’t they take a principled stance on their own?

      I take it these are rhetorical questions…

    8. debra says:

      I am hoping that they are saving their punch for Brennan… who I sense might be even worse than the incompetent and likely ineffective Hagel…

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