In backing Hagel, mainstream news organizations call out the Israel lobby

Israel/Palestine
on 34 Comments

The last 24 hours have seen major support for Chuck Hagel as a possible Defense Secretary originating from many mainstream venues, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Chris Matthews on Hardball. The Times piece by James Besser, formerly of the Jewish Week, and the New Yorker piece by Connie Bruck are both ringing endorsements; if anything could convince Obama that the Jewish community has his back in naming Hagel, you’d think this kind of support will.

The theme of the mainstream pro-Hagel arguments is, Only the Israel lobby is against Hagel, but we’re against the Israel lobby! Because the Israel lobby is a rightwing fringe that supports the settlement process. Of course, this brings up a definitional question, What is the Israel lobby and what does it stand for? but I’ll get to that at the end.

First a wrapup. The opposition. The Log Cabin Republicans (gay organization) is running a full-page ad in the New York Times opposing a Hagel nomination. And Christians United for Israel is urging folks to write to their Senators to oppose Chuck Hagel.

The greatest threat to our security and that of our front-line ally Israel is a rising and potentially nuclear Iran. Yet Senator Hagel has demonstrated a troubling blind spot towards this threat. In the Senate, he repeatedly opposed economic sanctions on Iran intended to stop its nuclear program.

By the way, CUFI’s spokesman is named Ari Morgenstern, who tweets that Hagel is not an anti-Semite.

At the Atlantic, Robert Wright notes that Hagel has gotten a “second wind” and cites a long string of endorsers in the mainstream, including many in the “non-neocon right,” and says Hagel is a defining moment for Obama:

So it’s in Obama’s hands. There’s a lot at stake here–not just whether McCarthyite smears will be allowed to succeed, but whether Obama, in the wake of the Susan Rice episode, will now get a reputation as someone who caves whenever he faces resistance. Some people say Obama will abandon Hagel because he’s too busy dealing with the fiscal cliff negotiations. The truth is that if he doesn’t stand by Hagel he’ll have a weaker hand in the fiscal cliff negotiations, because no one will take his threats seriously. “Defining moment” is an overused term, but this is a defining moment for President Obama.

Now let’s get to the theme, people calling out the Israel lobby. Here is an excellent piece by Bernard Avishai at Open Zion, “Hagel and the Neo-McCarthyites,” in which Avishai attacks the rightwing Jewish establishment for destroying political careers for decades now:

I think it is time to acknowledge, bluntly, that certain major Jewish organizations, indeed, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations—also, the ADL, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, political groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition, along with their various columnists, pundits, and list-serves—are among the most consistent purveyors of McCarthyite-style outrages in America today. Are there greater serial defamers of public officials in fake campaigns against defamation? Starting with Andrew Young and the late Charles Percy, and on to Chas. Freeman and (now) Chuck Hagel, the game has been to keep Congresspeople and civil servants who might be skeptical of Israel’s occupation and apologetics in a posture that can only be called exaggerated tact.

Fault Israel and you are accused of faulting Jews in our collective state, or, the same thing, overlooking the venality of our enemies—things only an anti-Semite would do and, of all times, in the wake of the Holocaust. This is not a charge anyone in public life wants to suffer or try to deny…

Avishai goes on from that point– “Fault Israel and you are accused of faulting Jews in our collective state”– to explain the semantic absurdity of destroying Hagel for using the words “Jewish lobby.”

Hagel had the brass to call this grass green: Congresspeople will tell you openly that AIPAC has become one of the most feared, and secretly loathed, presences on Capitol Hill. Hagel spoke with thinly veiled contempt—which he came by honestly—of efforts by the Israeli lobby to intimidate dissenting diplomats and legislators. Ah, but he spoke of the power of the “Jewish Lobby”—not the Israeli lobby—which was the opening the lobby’s hallelujah chorus needed to brand him a bigot.

Funny how you disapprove of Israel and you are told you are disapproving of Jews in the collective sense, but when you call the Israel lobby “Jewish” you have crossed the line.

The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck also calls out the Israel lobby in a piece titled, “Chuck Hagel and His Enemies.” Bruck baldly defines the opposition to Hagel as coming from the Israel lobby. When Chuck Schumer stepped away from Hagel last week, I asked why reporters didn’t point out that Schumer had called himself Israel’s guardian at an AIPAC conference. Bruck makes the point: “Charles Schumer (not known for his independence from the lobby) declined to say he would back Hagel…” More from Bruck:

From the moment, Hagel’s name was leaked as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense—in what was, apparently, a trial balloon floated by the Obama Administration—Hagel’s most vocal critics have been members of what can be called the Israel lobby. Their enmity for Hagel goes back to his two terms in the Senate. A committed supporter of Israel and, also, of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, Hagel did not make the obeisance to the lobby that the overwhelming majority of his Congressional colleagues do. And he further violated a taboo by talking about the lobby, and its power. In his 2008 book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” Aaron Miller interviewed Hagel, whom he described as “a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared values.” Miller also wrote, “Of all my conversations, the one with Hagel stands apart for its honesty and clarity.” He quoted Hagel saying that Congress “is an institution that does not inherently bring out a great deal of courage.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee comes knocking with a pro-Israel letter, Hagel continued, and “then you’ll get eighty or ninety senators on it. I don’t think I’ve ever signed one of the letters”—because, he added, they were “stupid.” Hagel also said, “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” but “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.”

Bruck deploys two powerful Jews on Hagel’s behalf and against the lobby. She quotes Gary Ackerman and Dianne Feinstein. Note that Bruck does not object to the term “Jewish lobby.” Objecting to that term would be like objecting to the generalization that evangelical Christians oppose abortion:

The longtime Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman, a pro-Israel stalwart, told me that many in that community have been unhappy with Hagel’s desire that Israel show more flexibility to achieve peace with the Palestinians and that the U.S. negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue—“rather than, you know ‘Let’s bomb them before the sun comes up.’  ” There is room for disagreement on these issues, he continued. But, regarding the attacks on Hagel, he said, “You know, not everybody who disagrees with Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic, otherwise half the Jewish population of Israel would be anti-Semitic!” The bar for that label should be very high, he added, or it loses its meaning—and the fact that Hagel used the phrase “Jewish lobby” certainly didn’t qualify. “The lobby, are they mostly Jews, do they advocate for the Jewish state? Yeah.” Ackerman pointed out that some who have called Hagel anti-Israel and anti-Semitic have defamed President Obama the same way….

Only Senator Dianne Feinstein (who [as opposed to Chuck Schumer] is known for her independence [from the lobby]) defended Hagel, and said he would be “outstanding.” “I think he’s honest and he’s direct and he’s smart,” Feinstein said.

Next, the New York Times gives op-ed space to Jim Besser, formerly of the Jewish Week, to argue in favor of Hagel and also characterize the Israel lobby as a zealous minority of the Jewish community that we must oppose:

American Jewish leaders, who increasingly tremble in the face of a small minority of zealots, whose vision of Israel’s future diverges from that of the majority of American Jews and clashes with core American values of freedom and democracy.

Such extremism is once again on display as the pro-Israel right, including groups like the Emergency Committee for Israel, mounts a furious campaign against the potential nomination of the former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense…

Support for the Jewish state remains strong among both parties on Capitol Hill and across the American electorate, and it won’t disappear anytime soon. But that support will wither if Aipac and other mainstream Jewish leaders don’t forcefully reject the zealots in their midst.

And, in the long run, that can only damage the interests of a vulnerable Israel.

Now here is the Chris Matthews segment last night, with Steve Clemons and Jim Frederick of Time Magazine. Matthews is all over the lot here. He thinks Hagel won’t be nominated–too stiff a headwind–but he wants to make clear that the “Israeli lobby,” as he describes it, includes many Christians: “They may outnumber the Jewish people.” Sorry Chris, Gary Ackerman just told Connie Bruck that the Israel lobby is mostly Jewish! And Matthews says that it is anti-semitic to refer to the “Israeli lobby” as the “Jewish lobby.” 

To use that infelicitous term these days.. Why would he [Hagel] say it that way? And it may sound like a small point…. but to people who learn their lingua of politics, their lingo of politics, it’s important.

The problem with this argument is that journalists should be able to generalize; and actually the American Jewish community has been monolithic on this question. As Avishai points out, support for Israel has long been a litmus test for Jewish organizations, which lobby as Jewish groups. I’m Jewish and support Jewish groups that are critical of Israel, but we are a tiny minority.

Clemons has the best comments on Matthews’s show, and finds that he has to speak about Jews:

“[Hagel has] been basically run over by certain aspects of the American Jewish community, and I think that that’s really who’s been driving the debate. But Tom Friedman I think [in column supporting Hagel] just put a lot of wind in the Hagel sails again”

As for challenging the pro-Israel line, Clemons says: “This is a difficult discussion to have in Washington.” Exactly. The lobby held the line on settlements. When Netanyahu closed off East Jerusalem with settlements– which Matthews now asserts flew “completely in the face of US policy”– well, the voices against Netanyahu in the Jewish establishment were remarkably limited. No one was for any real punishment. The Israel lobby won, and the Jewish organizations were monolithic.

Steve Walt makes that point here, defining the issues more precisely than the other writers I’ve quoted. He says the two-state solution is dead, the Israel lobby killed it years ago. And the Hagel pick is about Iran. Obama’s willingness to stand up for Hagel is a measure of the Israel lobby’s enduring strength:

[T]he United States is incapable of mounting the sort of sustained pressure that might force both sides to compromise. Which means the two-state solution is dead, and it won’t matter whether Hagel gets the nod or not. The $3-4 billion annual aid package won’t be affected, and I’ll bet the United States continues to wield its U.N. Security Council veto whenever it is asked.

This appointment could affect U.S. policy toward Iran, insofar as Hagel’s been skeptical about the wisdom of using military force in the past. He’s hardly a dove or an appeaser, of course; he just recognizes that military force may not be a very good way to deal with this problem. (Well, duh.) If Obama wants to pursue diplomacy instead of preventive war — and he should — the combination of Hagel at Defense and Kerry at State would give him two respected, articulate, and persuasive voices to help him make that case. But if Obama were to decide that force was a good idea, neither Kerry nor Hagel would stand in his way. So in terms of overall Middle East policy in the next couple of years, this appointment may matter less than most people think.

The real meaning of the Hagel affair is what it says about the climate inside Washington. Simply put, the question is whether supine and reflexive support for all things Israeli remains a prerequisite for important policy positions here in the Land of the Free.

Note that Walt mentions the aid package to Israel. Among all the folks criticizing the zealous Israel lobby, no one is for suspending aid to Israel. J Street is against any cut in aid. Connie Bruck’s big source, Gary Ackerman, is aligned with Bruck’s husband, former congressman Mel Levine, as a liberal Zionist who has basically demonstrated “supine and reflexive support for all things Israeli,” as Walt puts it so deliciously.

As Avishai pointed out, no one in US politics was allowed to criticize the settlements, even on the Democratic “left”:

The weight they [American Jewish organizations] have derives from their being able to hold American politicians to endorsing a “special relationship” with Israel, where special means unconditional, so that (as James Baker and Howard Dean discovered) even the desire for “even-handedness” is treachery.

So what it the Israel lobby and how has it changed? The Israel lobby is a loose coalition of advocates who push to preserve the U.S. special relationship with Israel so as to maintain a Jewish state. If you call for boycott, divestment or sanctions in order to punish Israel for its colonial expansion, then you are not in the Israel lobby.

And how has the lobby changed? It’s fractured. And the Hagel battle is being engaged on a line inside lobby territory: the zealots, the Greater Israel crowd, versus the allegedly sensible people who are for the two-state solution. Norman Finkelstein anticipated this in October when he said at the New School that most American Jews don’t want to go against their country on a stated US policy, so when Obama fought with Netanyahu over bombing Iran, American Jews would have to support Obama. They did by 70 percent in the last election, despite all the neocon appeals. Obama therefore has a political mandate from the only community that might support an attack on Iran not to attack Iran, and he could nominate Chuck Hagel with political comfort.

As for the constitutional questions involving Israel/Palestine– is there one state between the river and the sea, and should it be a democracy in which Palestinians have a right to vote? — the Israel lobby is against having such a discussion. Chuck Hagel becoming Defense Secretary could hasten the day when those questions are addressed, but he can’t raise them himself.

(Thanks to Annie Robbins and Susie Kneedler for passing along news items!)

Update: MJ Rosenberg explains why it’s OK to use the term Jewish lobby, in “Yes It’s the Jewish Lobby and It Speaks for 1 Percent of Us”:

Bottom line: the Israel Lobby is the Jewish Lobby. One would be hard-pressed to find a single legislator who kisses up to Netanyahu and AIPAC to please Christians. Not a single constituent organization that composes the lobby is anything but Jewish, starting with AIPAC. The others all have the word “Jewish” in their names. Who are they kidding?

That makes it critical that the overwhelming majority of Jews get the message across that the lobby does not speak for us. And that the lobby isn’t us. AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and the multi-millionaires associated with all of them constitute a lobby of a few thousand people. They are the Jewish (less than) One Percent. And that is all they speak for.

34 Responses

  1. gingershot
    December 27, 2012, 11:44 am

    What I want for the new year is that this a watershed moment for the Israeli Lobby and the nightflower is taken out of it’s hot house and exposed to the bright sunlight a lobby such as the NRA is currently experiencing

    I really think Chuck Hagel is the nail in the coffin of any Israeli/Israeli Lobby shove into a 1000 yr disaster for the US

    Without Iran, Israeli Apartheid is just sitting out in the open, flagrante delicto, with nothing to hide it’s nakedness except for a withering nightflower that everyone despises

  2. American
    December 27, 2012, 11:45 am

    ”Among all the folks criticizing the zealous Israel lobby, no one is for suspending aid to Israel”>>>>>

    Exactly.
    And that is the Great Delusion.
    As long as the US supports Israel it will be what it is now…a criminal state.
    How can it be anything else?
    The Jewish State, the entire and original concept of it, is based on eternal hostility between Jews and the World. That’s it’s bedrock *Foundational* belief.
    As long as we support Israel that’s what we are supporting.
    And that’s how it will continue to act.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 12:17 pm

      “How can it be anything else?”

      Well, as you have probably noticed, Citizen, many commenters and posters seem to believe some internal political change in Israel will ameliorate their intransigence. Maybe like in Zap Comix.

      • American
        December 28, 2012, 1:11 pm

        “Citizen, many commenters and posters seem to believe some internal political change in Israel will ameliorate their intransigence. “..Mooser

        I don’t see that happening….what would “inspire” that internal change?
        It’s been my experience and observation that people (and governments) have to have some ‘reason’ to change.
        Either rewards, punishment or necessity for survival motivate people.
        Clearly rewarding Israel hasn’t worked.
        That leaves two choices, either punishment or complete isolation.
        I would opt for isolation as the first choice…….cut them off from the world.
        Isolating and ostracizing Israel would be an incentive to change….and if it doesn’t inspire change?
        Well then there they are all by themselves, not able to hurt anyone except themselves.
        And the beauty of this is how could they complain?…we would be giving them what they claim they needed and wanted in establishing Israel….’separation’..of Jews from the other world. So let’s give them total separation….see how long they actually want to be or can survive separated from the world.

  3. dbroncos
    December 27, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Surrendering early is a humiliating kind of defeat. Obama’s supporters share in the humiliation and defeatism of Obama’s habit of surrendering. He has no talent for winning ideological battles, no talent for selling progressive ideas, and no talent for staring his opposition in the eye for long periods of time without blinking. Neocons, tax-pledge Republicans, global warming deniers, bankers, Health Care Inc., Netanyahu- they’ve all had their way with Obama. They’ve all seen how ineffectvely he wages his battles and how quickly and easily he gives up the fight. Based on precedent after precedent, no one who opposes him believes he won’t cave in the early going of any conflict. The Republicans are still stonewalling Obama on the issue of raising taxes on the rich. And why not? They did it twice before and he caved both times. That’s what happens when you show you’re opponents that you’re week. Obama will let Hagel wither on the vine as it is clearly his habit to walk away from controversy. The last hope I have for Bam is that he won’t nominate a staunch, conservative Republican to the Supreme Court. Even in this I may be expecting too much from the man.

    • David Doppler
      December 27, 2012, 4:39 pm

      “That’s what happens when you show you’re opponents that you’re weak.” You are right that Obama has demonstrated a disappointing lack of the fight skills Biden boasts about (recalling his mother urging him to go back out and bloody the bully’s nose, so you can walk down the street with your head up tomorrow.) His weakness is his weakness. His strength, however, is in caution, appreciation of nuance, empathy, listening, not offending unnecessarily. His skills have put him in a position to do one of the bully gangs in his life, Netanyahu, the settlers, Likudniks, and the Lobby, great harm. My guess is he wants to hit them just hard enough to get Hagel appointed, a new realist policy moving forward in the military and foreign policy arenas, especially the Middle East, and to expose the weakness (superficial power) of the Lobby, the corruption of the Neocons, while doing it in a way that, while painful to those hit, will not be regarded as excessive by most people. Such caution, combined with such intelligence, also poses the grave risk that, in striving for the perfectly weighted solution, he misses the boat of opportunity and gets left at the dock of history. Perfection is the enemy of the good enough.

  4. seanmcbride
    December 27, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Terms in play:

    1. the Christian Zionist lobby
    2. the Greater Israel lobby
    3. the Israel First lobby
    4. the Israel lobby
    5. the Jewish lobby
    6. the Jewish nationalist lobby
    7. the liberal Zionist lobby
    8. the Likud Zionist lobby
    9. the Zionist lobby

    But this is the bottom line: the lead player of the Israel lobby — AIPAC — is a subset of the Jewish lobby — the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The Jewish lobby — the organized mainstream Jewish establishment — owns and controls AIPAC and dozens of other pro-Israel lobbying organizations.

    Even Christian Zionist organizations like CUFI (Christians United for Israel) seem to be largely dominated by Jewish activists like David Brog (Harvard educated) and Ari Morgenstern.

    And the Israel lobby is in reality the Greater Israel lobby — the nation and government which it supports is fanatically committed to building Greater Israel.

    A key question: how much damage will the Israel/Jewish lobby succeed in inflicting on the Jewish brand — possibly for centuries to come — considering current political trajectories and trends?

  5. David Doppler
    December 27, 2012, 12:16 pm

    I sense that an Obama defining moment in the Middle East is upon us. He will nominate Hagel, who will be confirmed, the question having been boiled down to”whether supine and reflexive support for all things Israeli remains a prerequisite for important policy positions here in the Land of the Free,” and Obama will have reasserted American independence, within the Beltway, in most cautious and nuanced form, from the State of Israel. This is a big day for Mondoweiss, almost too much news for one blog to report. Let us know when the networks come calling.

  6. Les
    December 27, 2012, 12:18 pm

    How many “defining moments” has Obama already had?

  7. yourstruly
    December 27, 2012, 12:35 pm

    msm calls out the israel lobby?

    turnabout

    based on?

    msm’s coming to its senses

    going from never ever to once upon a time

  8. dbroncos
    December 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Obama could watch the heart warming Christmas drama, “The Lion in Winter” with Peter O’Toole, Catherine Hepburn, Timothy Dalton and Anthony Hopkins. He might learn something about the guile it takes to win high stakes political battles. Maybe I’ll send him a copy.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 12:23 pm

      “Maybe I’ll send him a copy.”

      Don’t expect too much. Obama is known for never losing his head.

  9. anonymouscomments
    December 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

    do people realize how far we have come…in what is “speakable”…. in the past 2 years?

    i know nothing on the ground, or of substance, has changed- yet.

    walt and mearsheimer cracked a door, and people just timidly peeked through the crack. they would *not* talk about the lobby in the MSM, but some would cover the controversy of W&M to bring it up (in a safe manner).

    then eventually more and more people got brave, and (a few) were comfortable talking about the lobby at times, in a careful and nuanced and hedged manner.

    now where are we today? friedman noted that the lobby bought bibi’s standing ovations. and yesterday he defended hagel….

    when hagel comes up, almost *nobody* is questioning his take on “the lobby”. his detractors are calling out the fact that he said “jewish lobby” (once), but not questioning his take on “the lobby”. and some people who are truly bold, are saying there is nothing fundamentally wrong with hagel terming it the “jewish lobby”.

    from AIPAC- “A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”

    the sun is rising on the lobby, and as we reach high noon, the sun will “set” on this fanatical lobby. considering the lack of movement on these issues for SOOOOO long, the recent shift in discourse is startling. we deride phil when he gets all optimistic on us…. but who could have fathomed hagel as sec of defense 2 years ago, or even a year ago?

    assuming obama goes through with hagel, what does this mean ahead? the coming 2 to 4 years really may see those big cracks we have been waiting for, between some in washington and israel/likud/nutter zionism, and within the american jewish community itself.

  10. yourstruly
    December 27, 2012, 2:48 pm

    as per “Venture capital didn’t build that by William H. Janeway, op-ed, today’s LA Times

    “As in all the strategic economic decisions by government, a legizimizing mission is required. Responding to the existenial threat of climate change presents just such a mission. So are the climate deniers who have stalled needed state investments motivated by scepticism of the scientific consensus. Or is their asserted scepticism motivated by the knowledge that acceptance of the reality of climate change will bring the state back as a legitimate economic actor. These are the questions we need to be asking. –

    & justice for palestine?

    the denial of which is also an existential threat

    what will acceptance of this reality do?

    restore* belief in government that’s of, for & by the people

    *along with accepting the reality of climate change

    • yourstruly
      December 27, 2012, 4:27 pm

      but shouldn’t a legitimizing mission be required for each & every strategic decision, whether such be economic, political or otherwise?

      best said missions be real?

      otherwise?

      someone’s grandchild gonna be stuck with having to answer the call, “last one out please turn off all the lights.”

  11. CitizenC
    December 27, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Let’s hope Obomber backs up Hagel. In the meantime the Boston Globe sez Harvard prof Ashton Carter, now Deputy Sec Def, is on the short list (story behind paywall)

  12. TwoRedDogs
    December 27, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Let’s all do our share by having everyone sign the petition supporting Hagel.

    link to petitions.whitehouse.gov

  13. MRW
    December 27, 2012, 6:14 pm

    “CUFI’s spokesman is named Ari Morgenstern” ??

    CUFI’s director is David Brog, Ehud Barak’s cousin.
    Danny Ayalon uses CUFI’s US Postal Service media permit for mailings (DVD Obsession)

    What does John Hagee do? License his name to it like Donald Trump does to buildings bearing his name?

  14. yourstruly
    December 27, 2012, 8:48 pm

    the israel lobby represents the jewish (less than) 1%

    & the jewish 70%?

    about to be heard from

    its leaders?

    emerging

    based on?

    walls keep tumbling down

    justice for palestine?

    2014 or before

  15. Basilio
    December 27, 2012, 9:48 pm

    So let me get this: We can say Chinese lobby, but we can’t say Jewish lobby? What makes those Jews better than those Chinese people? I hate to disappoint them, but we’re all human beings. We’re all the same.

    • Misterioso
      December 27, 2012, 11:04 pm

      Not should we forget that its leaders insist that Palestinians and the rest of us recognize Israel as the “Jewish state.” Hence, the term “Jewish lobby” is entirely appropriate.

    • Avi_G.
      December 28, 2012, 1:39 am

      Basilio says:
      December 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      So let me get this: We can say Chinese lobby, but we can’t say Jewish lobby? What makes those Jews better than those Chinese people? I hate to disappoint them, but we’re all human beings. We’re all the same.

      When you control the narrative, you get to decide what others say about you. That’s how the Jewish Israel Lobby has been operating.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 12:20 pm

        “When you control the narrative, you get to decide what others say about you.”

        There may be a Chinese Lobby now, but once, there was a “China Lobby” whose history may be instructive.

  16. Annie Robbins
    December 27, 2012, 9:49 pm

    MJ:

    That makes it critical that the overwhelming majority of Jews get the message across that the lobby does not speak for us. And that the lobby isn’t us.

    it is also critical that the overwhelming majority of american citizens get the message across that the lobby does not speak for us. And that the lobby isn’t us. that may seem like a moot point but our foreign policy stands for america, not just jewish americans. that lobby, in case you didn’t notice, is not setting the agenda for ‘american jews’, they are setting the agenda of our whole country. i keep saying this, it’s going to take more than ‘jews getting the message across’. A LOT MORE.

    avishai (open the link and read the whole thing!) does it too:

    Where is the American Jewish figure with the necessary gravitas and credibility to expose the Jewish organizations in question and tell them that their defamations have to stop; someone who, like Murrow, will go on the offense specifically against this disgusting, AIPAC-inspired method of vetting politicians on some “pro-Israel” scale—someone who’ll denounce the lobby’s ways of creating buzz in destroying the reputations of honorable public servants?

    helllooo, it doesn’t have to be a jewish american figure! we have to not be afraid. wright pointed out “Note the bipartisan cast.” yes, please do. i am so over hearing mostly from jewish american journalists on this. it’s not merely a ‘jewsih american issue. without the virtual silence of the 98% they would never get away with this. never.

  17. Annie Robbins
    December 27, 2012, 10:04 pm

    i hope people open all the links. we are limited by fair use (limited reproduction), but there’s great stuff in these links. like walt:

    I’m baffled by the Obama administration’s handling of the whole business. What in God’s name were they trying to accomplish by floating Hagel’s name as the leading candidate without either a formal nomination or a vigorous defense? This lame-brained strategy gave Hagel’s enemies in the Israel lobby time to rally their forces and turn what would have been a routine appointment into a cause célèbre. If Obama backs down to these smear artists now, he’ll confirm the widespread suspicion that he’s got no backbone and he’ll lose clout both at home and abroad. If he goes ahead with the appointment (as he should), he’ll have to spend a bit of political capital and it will be a distraction from other pressing issues. And all this could have been avoided had the White House just kept quiet until it was ready to announce its nominee. So whatever the outcome, this episode hardly reflects well on the political savvy of Obama’s inner circle.

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    and pleeease read this because it not about ‘jewish americans’ it’s about all of us:

    Given America’s track record in the region in recent decades, you’d think a more open debate on U.S. policy would be just what the country needs, both for its own sake and for Israel’s. But because the case for the current “special relationship” of unconditional support is so weak, the last thing that hardliners like Bill Kristol or Elliot Abrams want is an open debate on that subject. If Hagel gets appointed, it means other people in Washington might realize they could say what they really think without fear that their careers will be destroyed. And once that happens, who knows where it might lead? It might even lead to a Middle East policy that actually worked! We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

    so whom is he referencing by “other people”?

    At this point, if Obama picks someone other than Hagel, he won’t just be sticking a knife in the back of a dedicated public servant who was wounded twice in the service of his country. Obama will also be sending an unmistakable signal to future politicians, to young foreign policy wonks eager to rise in the Establishment, and to anyone who might hope to get appointed to an important position after 2016. He will be telling them that they either have to remain completely silent on the subject of U.S. Middle East policy or mouth whatever talking points they get from AIPAC, the Weekly Standard, or the rest of the Israel lobby, even though it is palpably obvious that the policies these groups have defended for years have been a disaster for the United States and Israel alike.

    we have to start seriously engaging all americans, we must. because, the lobby does for sure. they do not leave them alone.

    • American
      December 27, 2012, 10:43 pm

      You tell him annie….:)

    • American
      December 27, 2012, 11:12 pm

      “we have to start seriously engaging all americans, we must. because, the lobby does for sure. they do not leave them alone.”…annie

      Humm….most American aren’t fanatics so they won’t get all riled up and loud until somthing bad happens.
      So let’s think about this….who is the loudest and nastiest, all fired up, political group stomping around demanding this and that……the Tea Partiers?
      So maybe we should infiltrate the Tea Party and use them against AIPAC and Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 28, 2012, 9:48 am

        american, the t party are fringe. i am not talking fringe. it’s time america start noticing and reacting to this thing going on where the over whelming voice surrounding something as vital as who our def sec should be ..is jewish americans. why is that? why does israel stand front and center and why does the msm respond to our relationship with israel with primarily fronting jewish voices? as if they were the only experts, or the primary experts on that relationship? and when non jews are allowed, they must be pro israel. this is not a t party issue and a lot more than t partiers responded to netanyahu’s lecture to obama right before the election (his speech was on 9/11).

        there appears to be a form of stranglehold over american foreign policy and we’ve all become accomplices. there are really smart ‘other people’ out there who should be heard. as walt says “other people in Washington might realize they could say what they really think without fear that their careers will be destroyed.” they can’t destroy everyone’s career or maybe that’s just what it will take before people start saying something out loud.

      • American
        December 28, 2012, 12:17 pm

        Annie Robbins says:

        american, the t party are fringe. i am not talking fringe. it’s time america start noticing and reacting to this thing going on where the over whelming voice surrounding something as vital as who our def sec should be ..is jewish americans. why is that?>>>>>

        I know what you’re saying(agree)…I’m just being snarky and stupid out of desperation cause I don’t think the Zio mafia is gonna go down until something horrific happens that the media and politicians can’t prevent the public from linking to the Lobby/Israel.
        Our press and media and politicians stand between ‘the truth’ about US-Israel and the American people……so not enough wide spread outrage can be generated. 65 years of lies and propaganda and spin by zios and politicians and almost total control of the media is a lot to break thru.
        Sure some is leaking out, very gently. But not enough to rivet the entire public’s attention on that single issue.
        As for why it’s a Jewish- american issue with mainly Jewish activist doing the talking —it’s what I’ve said every time some hasbarist claims that ‘wide spread American support’ for Israel….the vast, vast majority of non Jewish Americans don’t care about Israel one way or another, don’t pay any attention to it and most don’t think about connections between foreign policy and it’s impact on domestic policy except in military spending. When the Lobby/Israel hurts them directly in a way they can feel domestically……..then they’ll care and get riled.
        If news tid bits like congress upping the latest giveaway last month to Israel from Obama’s suggested $250,000,000 to $925,000,000 for more missile defense for Israel while congress is looking for ways to cut spending on Americans and America was even mentioned if would make a difference on the public. But you won’t hear that mentioned.
        If I had a public megaphone I would be raising hell and using all the taxpayer money sphioned off to Israel to compare it to Sandy Hook and how the politicians have done nothing about protecting American schools from terriers who kill 26 children. In fact a long time ago I outlined this exact sceniro happening and wrote about this regarding 89% of the Homeland Security money going to Jewish schools and institutions and none going to public schools to protect against violence despite the fact that these school shootings were and are a growing phemenon. I would want the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook to know only the Jewish groups count with their government and “their’ money isn’t spent on protecting their own children’s lives. Linking 26 dead children to the ‘lobbying’ by and favortism toward a special group getting proteciton that their children don’t?…THAT would inflame the public . And it should.

        Allison Weir’s “if americans knew”….sums it up.
        “If’ they really knew the whole story then you’d see what you want to see from them.
        The first thing Castro took down and took over in the revolution to oust Batista was the radio stations and the media. ..from then on the public was his.
        Guess we need a revolution to take down the media……or one of those ‘galvanizing events’ to shock us into action.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 28, 2012, 12:54 pm

        I’ve said every time some hasbarist claims that ‘wide spread American support’ for Israel….the vast, vast majority of non Jewish Americans don’t care about Israel one way or another, don’t pay any attention to it and most don’t think about connections between foreign policy and it’s impact on domestic policy except in military spending. When the Lobby/Israel hurts them directly in a way they can feel domestically……..then they’ll care and get riled.

        big lobbies are not required when there’s widespread support, just the opposite in fact. convincing americans of that myth is a top priority, as important as ‘share our values.’ frankly it’s rather irrelevant whether it’s true or not if there’s self censorship on the issue, which there is. the reason americans don’t connect military spending and how broke we are is by design. the msm doesn’t discuss it. but if we go to war with iran they will for sure be discussing it. i think people are waking up.

      • American
        December 28, 2012, 2:09 pm

        “i think people are waking up.”…annie

        They are. I’ve watched this for 11 years and seen awareness and opposition to Israel and it’s lobbying grow in the public. It’s mumbling and grumbling and outrage about it but it’s not at a flashpoint yet…every little ‘display’ by the zio mafia in our national politics and issues helps increase the outrage but it’s not a bonfire that is lit yet. The ‘informed’ public is outraged mostly on ‘general principles’ of what Israel and their lobby is costing us.

        Since the day I had enough indisputable evidence and couldn’t deny to myself the fact of hyphen foreign lobbies literally ‘buying’ US politicians and US foreign policy I have been ranting on this—and believe me I did not ‘want to’ believe that the majority of our politicians were selling out America for their own career interest, but they were and are. For 10 long years I’ve been called every name in the book…..from anti semite to nazi to ‘nationalist’ to isolationist…..you name it…for simply saying what is obvious to every sane and common sense person, that it is wrong and dangerous for any ‘special foreign interest’ to direct US foreign policy.
        For years in comment forums I was the beat up skunk at the garden party
        and target of every Israel activist, doves and hawks alike, for saying this….so I have been gratified the past year or two to see more of the public catching on and protesting this finally.
        The more Jewish activist, even for the dovish side, act, write and talk like this issue belongs only to Jewish Americans or affects only Jewish Americans the more I speak out as a ‘plain’ American. This a Jewish issue only for those Jews who are on the ‘wrong side’ of this……otherwise it’s all of ‘our’ issue.

    • American
      December 27, 2012, 11:40 pm

      BTW……..you should follow the tweets of Josh Block and friends …. very revealing. Little girlie boys ….snide, snickering and low class.

      link to twitter.com

    • ritzl
      December 28, 2012, 6:48 am

      Great comments, Annie. Because this “floating” process is so strangely and obviously weakening and/or damaging to Obama (as you and Walt point out), one has to consider the possibility that someone within the administration wanted that outcome. That is that someone who didn’t want Hagel and his modestly evenhanded and rational views to guide the DoD leaked his name so he could be smeared in advance of an official nomination fight.

      If this leak was done to be intentionally damaging, Obama should use all harsh means necessary to find the person that did it and they should get Manning’s cell and treatment (and Manning should be released, needless to say).

  18. CitizenC
    December 27, 2012, 10:10 pm

    Where is the American Jewish figure with the necessary gravitas and credibility to expose the Jewish organizations in question….

    Not only does the figure “not have to be Jewish” as Annie pointed out. He or she won’t be from the left either. Dismantling the Lobby begins with the Chomskyite dogma that it is irrelevant, still thriving today. See Mad Max Ajl’s “Why Chuck Hagel Is Irrelevant” at Jadaliyya (note also my comment)

    link to jadaliyya.com

Leave a Reply