According to NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd, the President’s Chief of Staff Jack Lew spent much of the weekend talking to the Jewish figures that worship progressive policy above all else. His purpose was to convince them to drop (or at least temper) their opposition to Chuck Hagel’s candidacy for secretary of state.
Lew’s efforts were partially successful.
In a previous article I questioned what the National Jewish Democratic Council would do (NJDC)should Hagel recieved the nomination. In 2007 they wrote a long detailed attack on Hagel outlining his Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel (They took the page down when Obama began to express interest in Hagel for his administration...but I saved it here).
Two years later in 2009 when Hagel was appointed to a minor position in the Obama administration Ira Forman then executive director of the NJDC suggested that NJDC would publicly oppose Hagel's nomination for a position with more authority (Forman is now part of the Obama administration handling outreach to the Jewish community.
"If [Hagel] was taking a policy role, we'd have real concerns," Forman said. And Forman indicated that his group would oppose Hagel's appointment to any position that had influence over U.S.-Israel relations.
Now that Obama has made the Hagel appointment they rushed out a statement offering support.
"President Barack Obama's unprecedented pro-Israel credentials are unquestionable, and setting policy starts and stops with the president. While we have expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when confirmed, former Senator Chuck Hagel will follow the President's lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel -- on strategic cooperation, missile defense programs, and leading the world against Iran's nuclear program."
Perhaps this group should change its name to the NHJDC, The National Hypocritical Jewish Democratic Council.
Jack Lew’s urging also worked on ADL Head Abe Foxman, ever willing to suckle at the teat of any progressive leader. Back in mid-December (before Lew began his “Love Chuck” calls) Foxman said this about a possible Hagel pick:
“The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.”
His comments yesterday were much tamer:
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.
If Hagel was appointed by a Republican president, the ADL comment would have been much closer to his December “Jimmy Carter” comment.
On December 19th David Harris the head of the AJC (and Obama Fundraiser) said:
The first AJC encounter with Sen. Hagel I recall was when we sought his support, in 1999, for a Senate letter to then Russian President Boris Yeltsin urging action against rising anti-Semitism. We were unsuccessful. On June 20, 1999, we published the letter as a full-page ad in The New York Times with 99 Senate signatories. Only Sen. Hagel’s name was absent.
Our concern then has only grown since, as we have witnessed his stance on a range of core U.S. national security priorities.
What is striking is that the opposition to him today is being labeled as “neocon,” when a number of his documented positions, in fact, have been contrary to the Obama Administration’s to date — on Iran sanctions, on a credible military option against Iran, on Hezbollah as a terrorist group, on the special nature of the US-Israel relationship, etc.
Unlike Foxman, Harris refused to join in lock step with Obama’s Consigliore Lew. Yesterday, Harris told Ha’aretz :
The president, of course, has the prerogative to select members of his Cabinet, but the Senate is obligated to probe the record and vision of every nominee. We look forward to Senator Chuck Hagel’s responses to Senators’ questions to determine whether he is the best choice for secretary of defense," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"There are serious concerns about Hagel’s commitments to the efficacy of sanctions and a credible military option against Iran, on pressing the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, on sustaining the U.S. policy on the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza, on the special nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel’s quest for peace and security, and on gay rights," Harris added.
New York’s Senior (and Jewish) Senator did what he always does when Obama makes an anti-Israel move—he punted. I received this official statement from the senator’s press office.
“Chuck Hagel, as a former colleague and a patriot with a decorated service record, has earned the right to nothing less than a full and fair process in the Senate. I look forward to fully studying his record and exploring his views."
Proving once again when push comes to shove, Schumer will serve himself first. Heck even NY’s Junior Senator said there are concerns regarding the nomination than Schumer. The below are Senator Gillibrand’s statement on Hagel nomination.
“Senator Hagel is a war hero who served our country honorably and was prescient in his questioning of the Iraq war. But we must look at his entire public service record in its totality in the upcoming confirmation hearings. Considering some of the statements Senator Hagel has made, and votes he has cast, particularly regarding Iran policy, tough questions must and will be asked to clarify his views before these hearings are complete. I look forward to a fair and thorough process.”
Interestingly Alan Dershowitz another Obama mouthpiece has offered to testify against Hagel.
And I'm opposed to him for one primary reason, and that is [Hagel's appointment] is going to send the wrong message to the Iranian mullahs. They could easily misunderstand that the President is backing away from his commitment not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, because Hagel has opposed keeping a military option on the table. And it's the wrong time to send mixed messages to those who are looking for an excuse for misunderstanding.
On the humorous side, Ed Koch who in both 2008 and 2012 first opposed Obama based on his Anti-Israel track record, then supported and campaigned for him in JewishCommunities used the Hagel nomination to admit that he had degenerated into a political hack.
Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”
“It’s very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it,” Koch said, “and it undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don’t think he (the President) worries about that now that the election is over.”
In other words, “Yes I campaigned for Obam and Yes, even though I said he was a friend of Israel I knew he was lying…I just thought it wouldn’t happen so early in his administration.
Other Jewish Senators including Diane Feinstein and Carl Leven have announced their support for Hagel and AIPAC, not wanting to get into a battle they can’t win has decided to “sit this one out.”
It’s sad when organizations and politicians we support because of their moral stands on issues such as Israel and fighting terrorism get all weak-kneed when the choice becomes one of morality vs. political expediency.
Many of those of those mentioned above have chosen their political career over the “the right thing to do.’ But then again, that is really nothing new…after all they are Obama’s “House Jews.”