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We were dismayed by the sudden announcement last week by New York’s senior U.S. senator, Charles Schumer, that he would support President Obama’s nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense.
The hearings on the nomination aren’t scheduled to begin until January 31, and Sen. Schumer had publicly echoed some of the pro-Israel community’s misgivings about Mr. Hagel’s positions on Israel and Iran, his refusal to sign a Senate resolution letter declaring Hizbullah a terror group, and his “Jewish lobby” comment, among other things – about which many members of the Senate had expressed their own concerns.
Hearings – with questions drawn up by Armed Service Committee staffers – will likely make for a possibly explosive but certainly informative proceeding. So why the haste on the part of Sen. Schumer, who is not exactly known for his expertise on defense issues.
Sen. Schumer met with Mr. Hagel and White House officials for ninety minutes a week ago Monday and issued a statement certifying that “Senator Hagel could not have been more forthcoming and sincere. Based on several key assurances provided by Sen. Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him….”
To be sure, Sen. Schumer provided two or three sentences about each of the issues Mr. Hagel addressed. But how much insight could Mr. Schumer have gleaned from a relatively brief sit-down in an environment decidedly friendly to Mr. Hagel? Would it not have been more prudent for Sen. Schumer to have waited to see what would emerge from full-blown Senate hearings?
Several members of the Senate have already publicly deferred to Mr. Schumer and more have doubtless already taken their cue privately from him as well. Indeed, many were looking to Sen. Schumer for guidance because he is the number three Democrat in the Senate and the most senior Jewish senator. And, frankly, he has always stood up for Israel. So though the hearings will still take place, their impact has been greatly diminished.
Even so, from where we sit the questions raised about Mr. Hagel are perhaps the most serious ever regarding a nominee for so senior a position. A robust inquiry was appropriate prior to any decision-making about support.
Frankly, Mr. Schumer’s speedy certification of Mr. Hagel smacks of political expediency – an effort by a loyal and influential Democrat to take the steam out of the hearings and blunt a serious inquiry. And that’s truly unfortunate.
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Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/sen-schumers-unseemly-haste/2013/01/23/
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