Jews and the Hagel Nomination: Chelm on the Potomac
Hagel, Obama and Brennan
Source: USA Today
A friend of mine up in Connecticut, Judy Block had sent me an email earlier today triggered by a column on The Daily Beast by arch J Streeter, Peter Beinert, entitled, "Why AIPAC Won't Fight Hagel".
Beinert's rationale is:
It’s easy to exaggerate how big a defeat all this is for AIPAC. The Hagel nomination isn’t a good test of AIPAC’s strength precisely because it’s a cabinet nomination—a topic on which president’s usually get their way. It’s much easier for AIPAC to rally members of Congress behind resolutions that limit the Obama administration’s room to maneuver on actual policy questions, where opposing the president doesn’t look like such a direct slap in the face. (It’s also easier for the Israeli government to lobby Congress on policy questions like settlement growth and Iran sanctions than on cabinet appointments.) Furthermore, the Hagel struggle hasn’t been a complete loss for hawkish Jewish groups. His political near-death experience may leave Hagel more cautious when it comes to U.S.-Israel relations than he would have been otherwise (though I doubt that means he’ll turn hawkish on Iran).
Still, the Hagel nomination is a reminder that when the President of the United States decides he really cares about something, political realities change, especially for members of Congress in his own party. Democrats in Congress may want to stay on good terms with AIPAC, but AIPAC also badly needs to stay on good terms with Democrats in Congress. Nothing is worse for AIPAC, and better for J Street, than being perceived as a partisan Republican organization. And AIPAC’s leaders are smart enough to know that given the cultural shifts inside the organization—the increased presence of right-wing Christian evangelicals and Orthodox Jews—it needs to work especially hard to counteract that perception. I suspect that played a role in AIPAC’s initial decision not to make a fuss about the Jerusalem language in the Democratic platform this summer, and its apparent decision to punt on Hagel now. It’s possible that some right-wing AIPAC lay leaders will go rogue and lobby against Hagel on their own accord.
Here was my response.
The JTA's star journalist Ron Kampeas had a similar story yesterday, "Jewish Groups Softening Resistence to Hagel Nomination", about 'good' Jewish groups like J Street, Peace Now , Rabbis for Human Rights and the Israel Policy Forum rallying to the support of the Hagel nomination. As to AIPAC's silence and Abe Foxman's 'soft ball' objection, what can you expect from the leftist shtadtlanim in America who do the bidding of the current President of the United States, without question.
Kampeas' position was virtually synonymous with Beinert's:
A range of rightist pro-Israel groups remains committed to upending the nomination, among them the Zionist Organization of America, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel, which on Monday launched a website headlined “Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option.”
Also opposed was Christians United for Israel. "While we admire his past service to our country, his record concerning Iran and Hezbollah indicates an unacceptable blindness to the greatest security threat of our day," it said in a statement.
Among centrist Jewish groups, the American Jewish Committee has written to Democratic senators urging them to oppose the nomination.
“AJC has shared our concerns with members of the U.S. Senate, who have the responsibility to ask the probing questions about Hagel’s record and vision,” AJC said in a statement.
For their part, Hagel’s Jewish allies have pushed back hard. J Street, Americans for Peace Now and Israel Policy Forum all have endorsed him.
“It is particularly troubling that some claiming to represent the pro-Israel community have tried to impugn Sen. Hagel’s commitment to the U.S.-Israel special relationship and our countries’ shared security interests,” J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a letter sent to all senators."
In an email to newly-minted Tweeter Dan Friedman in Manhattan yesterday, I reminded him of the questioning of then Senator Obama by a Chicago buddy, Ali Abunimah, the editor of The Electronic Intifada (EI) as to whether Obama had abandoned his pro-Palestinian (anti-Israel) colleagues he had cultivated as a young Illinois State Senator, when he decided to run for the US Senate where he served for all of a year and a half before seeking the Presidential nomination of the Democrat party. A nomination funded with Chicago liberal Jewish mogul money from the largess of the Pritzker and Crowns Families as well as Sam Zell. I mean these are supposed to be smart Jewish business folks, right? Wrong! They got taken like the radical chic east side liberals portrayed in the John Guare play and film Six Degrees of Separation who were duped by an con artist who alleged he was the son of Malcolm X.
Here is what the nefarious Abunimah had to say from an EI piece, "How Barack Obama Learned to Love Israel" he wrote back in March 2007 about Obama, a former supporter of the Arab American Action Network in his Woods Foundation days:
Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, “Keep up the good work!”
But Obama’s gradual shift into the AIPAC camp had begun as early as 2002 as he planned his move from small time Illinois politics to the national scene. In 2003, Forward reported on how he had “been courting the pro-Israel constituency.” He co-sponsored an amendment to the Illinois Pension Code allowing the state of Illinois to lend money to the Israeli government. Among his early backers was Penny Pritzker — now his national campaign finance chair — scion of the liberal but staunchly Zionist family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain. (The Hyatt Regency hotel on Mount Scopus was built on land forcibly expropriated from Palestinian owners after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967). He has also appointed several prominent pro-Israel advisers."
Now in his second term in office, President Obama appears to have returned to his Chicago days consorting with the likes of Ali Abunimah and Bill Ayres at the Woods Foundation giving grants to the Arab American Action Network prior to his run for the US Senate. President Obama knows he has liberal Jews in his back pocket and can appoint anti-Israel (some like Power line blog questioned might also be anti-Semitic) Chuck Hagel and arch Wahhabist fellow traveler and ex-CIA"shadow warrior', John Brennan.
What's the expression: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Or its corollary: "a fool and his money are soon parted". Especially wealthy liberal Jews who look increasing like the Wise Men of Chelm in the humorous stories by yiddishists, among them Y. L. Peretz, Leyb Kvitko, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Back in September 2009, I made this comment to an article on the Israel National News website:
"Where else but in "Chelm on the Potomac " would we find foolish shatdlanim Jews out to destroy Israel's security and future."