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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Smelling Chuck Hagel & Other Anti-Semites

My alarm bells went off when the President chose Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at AIPAC's policy conference in Washington DC, USA. March 05, 2012.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at AIPAC's policy conference in Washington DC, USA. March 05, 2012.
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90

My grandparents emigrated from Russia to the U.S. before the revolution. They were the type that divided things, and people, into Good For The Jews or Bad For The Jews. They were wary people, who understood that a Jew always had to be careful, even in America. They could smell antisemitism, and they believed that a Jew could not count on the authorities, or on his non-Jewish neighbors if the worse happened. I was close to them, closer than to my Americanized parents, and I became this kind of Jew as well.

Most younger American Jews do not display this heightened awareness, this almost paranoid (but not unreasonable) consciousness of their Jewish marginality, as Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street explained to a NY Times reporter several years ago:

The average age of the dozen or so staff members is about 30. Ben-Ami speaks for, and to, this post-Holocaust generation. “They’re all intermarried,” he says. “They’re all doing Buddhist seders.” They are, he adds, baffled by the notion of “Israel as the place you can always count on when they come to get you.” That notion is not baffling to me and certainly wouldn’t have been to my grandparents. My alarm bells went off when the President chose Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. I am not especially worried by officials of our government, even presidents, who are not particularly friendly to Israel. As Hagel himself said, they are American senators, or congressmen, or cabinet members, not Israelis. The trouble is that this guy — like another Obama nominee for an important post, Chas Freeman — is way over on the hostile side.

Hagel’s problem with Israel is so consistent over time and over issues, that it’s hard to believe it is wholly rational. The most recent example is his 2007 statement (which he says he “can’t recall making”) that “the State Department was becoming an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.”

The assertion that the State Department — that bureau which fought tooth and nail to prevent Harry Truman from recognizing the Jewish state, which does not believe that any part of Jerusalem belongs to Israel, and which maintains a U.S. Embassy to ‘Palestine’ in the capital of Israel (which it doesn’t recognize) — is dominated by Israel, is beyond ludicrous. So why did he make it?

This statement is ‘ZOG’ (Zionist Occupation Government) stuff, an expression of one of the central anti-Jewish myths, that of a shadowy Jewish conspiracy pulling the strings that control our government. It fits with Hagel’s use of the phrase ‘Jewish lobby,’ and his suggestion that the lobby “intimidates” U.S. officials.

Hagel’s supporters are pushing this theme to the max. Stephen Walt wrote,

…if the lobby takes Hagel down, it will provide even more evidence of its power, and the extent to which supine support for Israel has become a litmus test for high office in America. [my emphasis] Ah, the powerful lobby! Ask M J Rosenberg:

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. …

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 State Department official, Aaron Miller.

“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 is considered untouchable, it is the Israel lobby and its power. [my emphasis] Their theme is that “The Lobby” will “punish” Hagel and Obama for their disrespect. The same point is made by Patrick Slattery on (yes) DavidDuke.com:

AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represent the official command center of organized American Jewry, have come out beating their chests over his public acknowledgement of the existence of the 800-pound gorilla of a “Jewish lobby.” On the other hand, “liberal” Zionists like Thomas Freidman and Peter Beirnart are defending Hagel, perhaps because nothing can draw public attention to the power of an 800-pound gorilla more than the gorilla ripping to pieces a respected public figure in broad daylight. [my emphasis] All this diverts attention from other important questions about Hagel, like “is he competent to run the massive enterprise that is the Defense Department?” and, given his opposition to both economic sanctions and the use of force, “what does putting Hagel is in the chain of command of the U.S. armed forces tell Iran about our resolve to stop them from getting nuclear weapons?” That may be the idea.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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9 Responses to “Smelling Chuck Hagel & Other Anti-Semites”

  1. as a tea party independent, I can strongly support hagel (as well a kerry for state) as eminently qualified and balanced. this fight by the neocon israel first lobby to stop his appointment is simply one more glaring example of israeli interference in u.s. politics. it's wrong and won't succeed.

  2. Craig Dillon says:

    I see you do not deny any of the statements that Hagel made, you just don't like them. You don't deny the existence or power of the Israel lobby, you even contend it will deny Hagel's confirmation, you just don't like Hagel mentioning its existence. You want the US to unquestioningly back every Israeli action and policy, which the US has been doing. Does that not make the US subservient to Israeli foreign policy? Thus, isn't Hagel accurate?

    Odd how you equate even questioning a single policy of Israel as being anti-Israel, and then you equate that with being anti-semite. You maintain that anyone who thinks differently with you on any Israeli issue makes that person an enemy.

    Personally, I think that Netanyahu and the religious right that dominate Israel today are not interested in ANY solution that gives the Palestinians a state. They want to continue, and even expand, the policy of apartheid. Yet most analysts believe that that is not sustainable. But, you want to tie Amerca's hands to Netanyahu's tiller? We must not do that. We must have a president and state department who puts America's and the world's interests ahead of Israel.

  3. Dear Mr. Rosenthal, your suggestion that the President or his cabinet members are insufficiently supportive if Israel is not fair.

    I challenge you to name one other country in the whole world that treats Israel better than the United States.

  4. Darren McLellan says:

    What smells is how one small religious group and one small country can be so high and mighty and be cowered to by our government. You and Bebe are not that important. Your not special. Your a problem.
    Sit down and shut up for a change.

  5. Darren McLellan says:

    What smells is how one small religious group and one small country can be so high and mighty and be cowered to by our government. You and Bebe are not that important. Your not special. Your a problem.
    Sit down and shut up for a change.

  6. You are the typical gentile bigot who will always find a reason to bash Israel and its supporters. You and your ilk are jealous of Jews and of Israels great success in the world. You want the Jews to be dmimmies,as we were, under the foot of all gentiles in every country we lived. Sorry moron, we have are rightful country and you and your racist gentiles can kiss my tuchus !!!

  7. I come from the same background as the author describes and smelling anti semites is easy because their stench is that of a rank sewer. the world is becoming a sinkhole in which the highest human aspirations that are part and parcel of Jewish civilization are disregarded.

  8. Anonymous says:

    "a shadowy Jewish conspiracy pulling the strings that control our government" – when the U.S. sends $2.4 million a year to Israel to buy weapons – it does make gentiles wonder a bit. Note that this amount is about a third more than is given to the next nation in line, Egypt, who receives around 1.7 billion a year. Source: http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/who-gets-us-foreign-aid.html

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