A final note about the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. I have pointed out in two separate posts that his nomination for this position is troubling. That said I would urge the Jewish community to not make Hagel’s comment about the “Jewish Lobby intimidating a lot of people up here” a self fulfilling prophecy.
It’s one thing to express our opinions publicly about the man, pro or con. But it is another to try and flex any muscle over it. Not that we have any real muscle in Washington. But that is the perception. While it is the right of every American to lobby congress for their legitimate needs, I think our case has already been well made.
In fact, I’m not even sure we had to make our case here. Hagel made it for us. There is sufficient concern among members of Congress from both parties to vet Hagel very carefully before voting for him. Some have already said that they will not support him.
As I have said I hope he won’t be confirmed but I believe he will be. He will give ‘all the right answers’ to questions asked of him.
And although I strongly suspect that he is not a friend of the Jewish people and harbors the kind of soft anti Jewish bigotry that James Baker and Pat Buchanan have, he will not completely abandon Israel’s needs as long as the President continues his present policies with respect to those issues. One can agree or disagree with some of the President’s policies, but over-all they favor Israel’s survival as a Jewish State. Hagel is enough of a patriot to understand that he serves at the pleasure of the President. He may voice disagreement with him, but he knows who is charge.
At this point I think we ought to let Congress do its job. I am very pleased with what I have heard so far from many members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle who were interviewed about him. Putting any more pressure on Congress would in my view be counter-productive along the lines of Hagel’s accusations.
On that level, I applaud the ADL’s approach. Here is what their national director, Abe Foxman said about it in an official statement:
Senator Hagel would not have been my first choice, but I respect the President’s prerogative.
I trust that the confirmation process will provide an opportunity for Senator Hagel to address concerns about his positions, which seem so out of sync with President Obama’s clear commitment on issues like Iran sanctions, isolating Hamas and Hezbollah and the president’s strong support for a deepening of U.S. Israel strategic cooperation.
I particularly hope Senator Hagel will clarify and explain his comments about the “Jewish Lobby” that were hurtful to many in the Jewish Community.
I am not always in agreement with Mr. Foxman. But I think he got it exactly right this time.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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