Defending Hagel, Hayes & Greenwald assail neocon stranglehold on policy

on 22 Comments

Chris Hayes hosted a panel discussion about the Hagel nomination this morning on his weekly program Up with Chris Hayes. It’s so refreshing to have a host veer a conversation where it needs to go. With guests Glenn Greenwald, Aaron David Miller, Spencer Ackerman, Hina Shamsi and Elise Jordan.

The best clip is the 3rd in the series. Hayes opens speaking briefly, in general, about “going after a nominee before they’re a nominee,” thus putting the person in the weird position of not being able to defend himself. But directly following, Hayes talks about “a specific set of interests around the Is..[catches himself]..the relationship to Israel, try to exercise muscle to push foreign policy a certain way.” Hayes can’t specifically name the Israel lobby. We know who he means and the panel discussion that ensues is about America’s relationship with Israel and the gatekeepers.  Watch:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hayes cuts to a great clip of Hagel from 06 demanding Bush call for an immediate ceasefire during the Israel/Lebanon war. While Hagel calls for ending the “slaughter on both sides” he says what’s happening in Lebanon is “the systematic destruction of an American friend.” Ouch. Hagel says our relationship with Israel

[N]eed not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships, that is an irresponsible and false choice.

Hayes says what’s so striking is that a war which we supported automatically was a disaster for Israel and goes on to say in the “sweep of history,” it looks like Hagel was right. Hayes talks about “precisely the ability” to have daylight between our two countries, and sets the stage for his guests.

Greenwald (3:03)

[W]hen it come to Israel it’s so rare for a member of Congress to be willing to stand up and say something like that, usually these resolutions supporting Israel are unanimous, but it shows you how constricted, what a stranglehold there is on the debate over Israel. And because he’s willing to do that and has been willing to do that, that’s why he’s being so attacked and that why it’s so important to defend make sure we can have this debate that we need to have about Israel and the United States.

Hayes (7:21):

[This speaks to the] amazing enduring power of Neoconservatism in Washington DC long long after it should have been definitively vanquished and discredited as a conception of the world..the masterminds behind a lot of what happened in Iraq, being the most vociferous voices in pushing to escalate in Iran.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Glenn Greenwald (4:17):

What this is about is suppressing the debate that we ought to be having over what cost there is to the American public and to the US as a government to having this constant blind loyalty to this foreign nation even when it damages US interest, Hagel is one of the military people who has raised this issue and that is why there’s this vicious attack against him.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Aaron David Miller (1:57):

What is happening and I call it in my book ….what I call the ‘Cosmic Oy Vey’. It’s the inabilty of many in the American Jewish community to look at the United States and Israeli relationship as a real living relationship drivin by political realities, by strategic realities and sometime, I know it’s a shocker, the diverging interests that sometimes separate the United States and Israel.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

Other posts by .

Posted In:

22 Responses

  1. irmep
    December 22, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Good find, Annie.

    Aaron David Miller’s claim that the Israel lobby is something of a non-factor outside the beltway is weird. Guess he’s never heard of Israel PACs. Even if what Miller said was true, why would it matter? Also, he reaches back decades to find examples of presidents overruling an Israel lobby initiative. Just about every one an exception that proves the rule.

    Thoroughly unimpressive. But that Greenwald, on the other hand…


    • Annie Robbins
      December 22, 2012, 3:35 pm

      thanks grant, and i agree glenn is wow hot hot hot right on.

      • American
        December 22, 2012, 4:24 pm

        yes……good job annie!

        I almost jumped from my chair and yelled ..’Oorah!’ …when Glenn said “constant blind loyalty to this foreign nation”….so true.

    • pabelmont
      December 22, 2012, 3:38 pm

      But whatever else Miller says, he says this: “I know it’s a shocker, the diverging interests that sometimes separate the United States and Israel.”

      Worth the price of admission.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 22, 2012, 3:55 pm

        he also supports hagel through the process, which i appreciated.

    • Donald
      December 22, 2012, 11:59 pm

      “Aaron David Miller’s claim that the Israel lobby is something of a non-factor outside the beltway is weird. ”

      I thought that for a few seconds when he started down that road, but as he continued I think I see part of what he meant–he meant that if a President had enough guts he could push back hard and win. Hayes jumped in himself and said the Lobby is only as powerful as people think it is. That’s true. There’s a certain amount of “the Emperor’s new clothes” in the power of the Lobby. They don’t have any good argument for why we should support someone like Netanyahu who clearly has no interest in the 2ss. Even within the parameters of the mainstream debate, where the 2SS is the only solution, anyone can tell Netanyahu is the biggest obstacle to peace. People are just afraid of being called anti-semitic if they say anything even slightly more critical of Israel than, say, Thomas Friedman.

  2. just
    December 22, 2012, 3:09 pm

    It was astonishing, refreshing, and goose -bump -producing to actually hear this on US media.

    I thought Glenn was fabulous, in particular.

    I alerted some friends to watch this historic moment– my hope is that this opens more and more dialogue, especially in view of this article in the AP yesterday:

    “Israeli prime minister vows to build settlements in Jerusalem, says doesn’t care what UN says”

    Thank you, Annie for getting this up so fast!

    • Annie Robbins
      December 22, 2012, 3:32 pm

      hey just, glad you liked it. the pleasures mine.

      i was excited myself listening to the discourse. i think my favorite line was hayes, about neoconservatism.

      amazing enduring power of Neoconservatism in Washington DC long long after it should have been definitively vanquished and discredited as a conception of the world

      also the ‘masterminds’ of iraq lingo. thank you chris!

      • just
        December 22, 2012, 4:50 pm

        Yes– to hear the word neoconservative was almost like I was listening to the truth, for once. I could not move from my chair during that entire segment– even to get the phone that kept ringing. Chris is bold, and does deserve a standing ovation for having the chutzpah to delve into truth!

  3. American
    December 22, 2012, 4:26 pm

    Is there a Chris Hayes fan club?….I want to join.

    • just
      December 22, 2012, 5:43 pm

      There have been many thankful folks that Chris has delivered to on many topics, yet even progressives get irritated at his style.

      I am not one of those. I think he opens much needed discourse on many issues and does get excited, because he puts himself on the proverbial hot seat, takes risks, and is obviously informed.

      I think he is more of a BBC, hard hitting interviewer than the US is used to.

      He’s carving a much needed niche for others, including networks.
      Very exciting.

      • ritzl
        December 23, 2012, 1:16 am

        Ditto. Especially on the taking risks part. It would be interesting to know why the same corporate structure that supports Hayes’ risk-taking seems to frown upon any similar efforts in their prime-time schedule. Maybe the reason is simply prime-time/audience.

        But you’re right, if Hayes is a test case to see where the potentially probative BBC model leads, it is very exciting.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    December 22, 2012, 5:31 pm

    RE: “Defending Hagel, Hayes & Greenwald assail neocon stranglehold on policy”

    ● RELEVANT PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN –

    ● RELEVANT FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE” –

  5. American
    December 22, 2012, 5:40 pm

    “It’s the inabilty of many in the American Jewish community to look at the United States and Israeli relationship as a real living relationship drivin by political realities, by strategic realities and sometime, I know it’s a shocker, the diverging interests that sometimes separate the United States and Israel.”

    This is the ‘reality point” I have been ranting on for soooo long it wears me out to repeat it but I will.
    The IDEA, the very idea itself, that anyone or group of citizens of any nation has a some kind of “right” to impose or insert their loyalities or ‘feelings” about a foreign nation into the actions and policies of another Government and demand that entire nation and it’s citizens support their favored passion for another land is sooooo wrong and soooo insane I can’t believe it even has to be explained why it’s wrong.
    This is Not a democratic ‘right’ of citizens, it is a ‘perversion” of democratic rights, whether it’s called the right ‘to petition the government or lobby the government, it’s a pernicious perversion of democracy.

    The danger in this “idea” is bigger than the current US Jews or Israel issue. The danger is in ‘normalizing’ and making it ‘acceptable’ for citizens to put some personal, narrow, and particularly, foreign interest above or ‘on par’ with the interest of a country. This is why every nation in the universe has laws on treason and subversion. A nation that does not put it’s own interest and it’s common good interest first does not survive as a nation, it falls apart.

    To illustrate what I mean about letting this “Idea” of an individuals “Right” to force support his foreign interest onto a nation and ‘thru’ the power of that nation consider this…..

    Yesterday I saw a news article on the “Cuban”-little a american, Fla. Congressman Mendez. He said, threatened that if Hagel was nominated he was going to……BLOCK every bill on everything put forth in the house….BECAUSE Hagel supports trade with Cuba.
    So here we have a Cuban- American — who evidently thinks he has “the right” as a Cuban heritage citizen with feelings about his former homeland of Cuba—- to hold up the business of the house, to delay the business of the American people, to obstruct the government workings of the US—-because of his PERSONAL agenda for the foreign country of Cuba and he is telling us how he intends to use the US and his position in our government to do that despite what major or minor damage it causes the American people.

    This Mendez thinks it is so ‘normal and ‘acceptable’ to have this other loyalty he openly announces this threat with no shame or subterfuge at all.

    This IDEA that these personal foreign loyalties are normal and acceptable and ‘a right’ of anyone by virtue of being a citizen of this or any country will eventually ‘dissolve’ that country.

    This is what is wrong with some Jews IDEA that we or the US owe them an Israel or that Israel is or should be “part of the US”, that they have some kind of right to ask for or demand our government and we all as a nation be forced into supporting their favorite foreign land.
    They do not have this right, they only have the right to “individually’ support it themselves, not thru our government.

    It’s this IDEA that has to die, the idea itself must be demolished. It must become as Unacceptable as it once was. If this Mendez had so brazenly done this 50 or even 30 years ago, he would have been denounced in newspaper editorials across the country, condemned by his peers in congress and the public.

    So now we have some people so self assured in their ‘right” to loyalty to a foreign country that they have absolutely no shame or fear in saying, shouting out loud, that the ‘test’ for US officials is their loyalty or DEFERENCE to a foreign country.

    I’m telling you this IDEA is so insane that it is going to blow the hell up or bring the US down sooner or later if e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e isn’t disabused of this insanity..

  6. seanmcbride
    December 22, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Thanks, Annie, for posting this, and thanks to Chris Hayes for having the courage to go where that nattering coward Rachel Maddow doesn’t dare tread.

    The neocon stranglehold over American foreign policy and much of the entire American political system and mainstream media is probably the most important issue in contemporary politics — and Maddow is too weak and frail to take it on. She is an abject slave of the liberal Zionist establishment.

    And let us be perfectly clear about who the neocons are precisely: they are the tip of the spear of the Israeli government and the Israel lobby in American politics. They couldn’t care less about American interests, on which they have already inflicted enormous damage with their hare-brained and losing wars.

  7. gingershot
    December 22, 2012, 6:29 pm

    It’s just so amazing to realize the relentless amount of political power, intimidation, and years of obsessive policing of the media of an entire ‘enlightened’ nation that it has taken to make a Chris Hayes discussion like this seem like such an absolute freaking miracle or 1st alien encounter

    How is it possible for the Israeli Lobby to have so dominated, intimidated, and have successfully PREVENTED a discussion like this for so long?

    The amount of sheer power is astonishing – just mindboggling

    I hate to take exception with Aaron David Miller but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about

    The Israeli Lobby is The Emperor’s New Clothes, Science Fiction, the ‘love that dare not speak its name’, the 3rd Rail – all mixed up in one

    • Donald
      December 23, 2012, 12:04 am

      “The Israeli Lobby is The Emperor’s New Clothes, ”

      Funny–I just said the same thing above, except that I think that in a somewhat cowardly diffident way Aaron David Miller was making the same point. The Lobby is very powerful in DC. But if a President decided to show some guts and explain why it isn’t in our interests to support a far-right Israeli government that isn’t serious about peace, and how we should either put pressure on Israel or distance ourselves from them until they are serious, he’d win the debate. There’s no good argument on the other side.

      • ritzl
        December 23, 2012, 1:52 am

        @Donald Agree (and I DO agree), but the “if” part is a gigantic, monster conditional.

        A politician would have to carefully and correctly (in advance and without knowing) assess the difference between the prospective, “perceived” (per Miller), and the real (historical influence) and decide against that historical record, that this power was in fact chimeric, and act on the correctness of that prospective assessment.

        The downside to getting it wrong would be a certain career ender, and the upside would be speculative. Whoof, that’s a whole lot of risk to assume in/for a devoutly risk-averse political class.

        So Miller’s observations, seem to be of the “if it only rained on Wednesdays nobody would be caught in a storm” variety, to me anyway. True, but totally ancillary, and maybe more than a bit of an obfuscation.

        Still, the true part resides there for the grasping, should political conditions ever come close to aligning with Miller’s “observation.”

  8. pabelmont
    December 23, 2012, 8:51 am

    On the divergence of “interests” between USA and Israel: In 1967, the USA voted for UNSC 242 which calls for a return to the pre-1967 borders in return for peace and security. That has NEVER been Israel’s line, and, it must appear, not Israel’s “interest” (if its politicians are stating its ‘interest”; and if USA’s pols were ditto as to American “interest”). Then, later, when the settlement process had become horribly apparent — an elephant in the room — the USA voted for (or failed to veto, I forget) UNSC 465 (1980) which called for Israel to remove all settlers and to dismantle (destroy, in effect) the settlements. WOW! Again, the USA’s “interest” was absolutely at odds with Israel’s “interest”. Not a little bit different, not a smidgeon different, but diametrically different.

    I have never heard any American — whether avowed hyper-Zionist or not — give a cogent explanation of why and how Israel’s settlement project is in any way whatever in America’s “interest”.

    So all this crap about “no daylight” between American and Israeli “values” or “interests” is pure horse hockey. It is a Zionist invention, pure and simple, a power-play, no more. Those who parrot it are part of a system of corruption. That’s all. Be nice to uncover it and fight it, because it is not the only example of corruption in American politics. America’s refusal to fight climate change comes to mind, and the NRA’s power comes to mind.

    The power of greed to trounce love, of “I want mine” to trounce “we should support all of ourselves and our children” is the central and overriding problem of American governance.

  9. chinese box
    December 23, 2012, 4:53 pm

    I know some here can’t stand Miller, but I find him refreshingly candid in his statements at times. And he exposed Dennis Ross in his book, which is worth a lot…

  10. AmericaFirstforaChange
    December 27, 2012, 8:19 am

    Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War (scroll to excellent comments by Susan and David at the bottom):

Leave a Reply