Lobby versus Hagel (NYT goes after his ‘record on gays’)

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

A friend writes:

The Times today puts a short article about Hagel’s short history of anti-gay comments on p. 19, and highlights it up front. ‘Possible Defense Nominee Faulted for Record on Gays’ The hit is by Mark Landler, not famous for his independence, a reliable gauge of the paper’s unavowed position
on any given issue.

What do they have? Two votes and two comments over 16 years, both of them early on, both typical of the unexcited anti-gay sentiment of soldiers of Hagel’s
generation. Later, Hagel refused to side with his party on legislation banning gay marriage. He said it was a matter for the states.

Jennifer Rubin dances a jig.

Two precedents come to mind. First, the use of Chas Freeman’s dry realist comments on Tiananmen Square to undermine his nomination as head of the
National Intelligence Council in 2009, when the real issue was Israel. Second, the heightened neoliberal concern, circa 2002, regarding Muslim subordination of
women in order to justify the coming wars against Arab states.

Left-wing shibboleths of gender politics are brought in, where convenient, by the Israel lobby and its allies on the American right to discredit persons who
are skeptical of Israeli expansion and American militarism.

Update. Here is Andrew Sullivan on the attack, brilliant. He explains that the Israel lobby is all about tribalism. Notice the profanity at the end. He knows, I know, Chris Matthews knows too. We must all come in the end to the question of religious identity. Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

For many fanatically pro-Israel Jewish-Americans I know, it all comes down in the end to tribalism.

…I am not a tribal gay; I am a person before I am a gay person. I have attacked HRC in the past in a way that would simply be inconceivable for many Jewish Americans and AIPAC. I oppose hate crime laws; I challenged the priority for employment discrimination laws. I backed the Boy Scouts in their freedom. For the vast bulk of the American Jewish Establishment, this is simply incomprehensible. Why would I betray “your people” as one TNR colleague used to ironically call my fellow gays when talking to me. “My people?” It tells you so much about a mindset. The mindset affects all vulnerable minorities, of course, gays included. But the enforcement of it on Israel questions in Washington is striking. And it is profoundly illiberal. It reflexively and even at this point unconsciously puts tribal loyalty before any argument of any kind. It is why the Middle East is so fucked up. And why on the Israel question, Washington is so fucked up as well.

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