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Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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  1. talknic on December 30, 2012, 10:27 am

    Ye olde smear campaign will be really ramped up now

  2. American on December 30, 2012, 11:15 am

    I hope this is true.
    Leaving Israel totally out of the fight over Hagel, he is still the right man, with the right beliefs about US foreign posture and defense.

  3. Krauss on December 30, 2012, 11:18 am

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Sounds uncharacteristically brave for Obama. On the other hand, his weak spine has been helped by a chorus of attacks against the neocons/AIPAC in the liberal spheres of the MSM.

    As a lot of us debated yesterday on a different thread, even if Hagel goes down, this past week or so has been a watershed moment for discussions on Israel within the MSM. But remember, there’s always a reaction for every action… The lobby is still incredibly powerful, but it is slowly weakening. It does not have the aura of invincibility it once had. If Hagel does get the nod, the reputational damage to AIPAC and its neocon allies in the media is hard to overstate.

  4. seanmcbride on December 30, 2012, 11:23 am

    This will be quite amazing if it happens — a major breakthrough for Obama (in demonstrating to the world that he has a spine) and for American Mideast policy (in defying pressure from the Israel lobby).

    What I imagine to be the political calculus in the White House: Israel is moving inexorably towards the extreme right (see Naftali Bennett). There is no conceivable way we can continue to support Israeli policies, especially in the occupied territories. An ugly political confrontation between the United States and Israel is inevitable. We need to get all our ducks in a row now. Ergo: Chuck Hagel is the right person for the SecDef job.

    But still: let’s see what happens. This is still not nailed down.

    • Hostage on December 31, 2012, 9:09 am

      What I imagine to be the political calculus in the White House: . . .

      Is to 1) distract attention from the fact that neither the Non-Proliferation Treaty nor the UN Charter permit preemptive attacks against other countries; and 2) to distract attention to the failure of the US and Israel to sign or carry-out obligations under the terms of the key agreements.

      For decades the US has completely ignored the requirement un Article VI of the NPT that it end the arms race and accept “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” Israel of course has never even signed the treaty. One of Foreign Policy’s observations on its selections for “The Year in Quotes” was very revealing:

      2. Department of State: “We call on all governments to declare or reaffirm their commitment not to conduct explosive nuclear tests, and encourage all States that have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.” ( Media Note: CTBTO Prepcom Fifteenth Anniversary, Office of the Spokesperson, Feb. 17, 2012.)

      Of course, one of the countries that the State Department is encouraging to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is the United States.

  5. American on December 30, 2012, 12:00 pm

    Huum….on MTP this am O said he hadn’t made a decision yet.
    Why would he call the ‘Jewish politicians specifically’ and say he had?
    Did he really call them or are they just putting that out to try and keep up and ignite more attacks on him now that significant others have come out for him?
    Wouldnt’ trust anything the JRC operatives say.

    • on December 31, 2012, 8:00 am

      The American president first calls Jewish leaders to tell them about his appointment for US Secretary of Defense. 1. Sounds right. 2. This should infuriate the American public

  6. gingershot on December 30, 2012, 12:26 pm

    This is terrific news and I am very happy to have been ‘right’ about ‘this’, for once.

    Like many here I suspect everybody will want to see it before they believe it, because our collective PTSD of having had our hearts’ and hopes dashed so many times before when the US could have stood up to the bully and sent him packing, and didn’t

    We just saved our nation from a 1000-yr war with Islam, a war with Iran, that has been the sole focus of Israel and her Israeli Lobby for years now. We will have done what we didn’t do before Iraq.

    Fool us once Israeli Lobby, shame on you – fool us twice, or three more times, or four times, shame on us. I guess that’s good enough for government work – or at least – I’ll take what I can get.

    Naftali Bennet is simply the absurd logical conclusion of everything Israel has been for decades now, and everything it will be until Apartheid exhausts itself trying to defend it’s absurdities in the face of the world who doesn’t think it’s funny anymore

    The momentum of 60 yrs of Apartheid is STILL driving Israel forward politically to the absurd logical conclusions of every policy she ever had – despite the reality that the world has completely changed.

    Israel still thinks she is the Invisible Man – able to act with complete impunity under the diplomatic cloak of the US, invisible under the charade of the ‘peace process’ run by her Israeli Lobby in the US, under UN veto protection, free from any and all consequences

    The only trouble is she isn’t invisible anymore.

    Everybody sees her – the whole world sees she’s that what she’s doing now, as with East Jerusalem, as what she has been doing for the last 60 years.

    Israel’s Ponzi Scheme is over.

    It’s just sitting there as an Apartheid state state – frozen in the headlights

    Without successfully dragging the US into a war on Iran – this is what is left of Israeli ‘plans’ — to try to defend Apartheid as long as it can

    Worldwide BDS of Apartheid Israel, except the US for as long as AIPAC can stave that off, is the reality Israel now faces.

    Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Feiglin at the helm as this happens? – it’s only fitting

    • MRW on December 30, 2012, 7:34 pm

      Naftali Bennett, like Netanyahu, thinks that as leader of Israel he is (would be, should he win) more powerful than a US President, thinking that he can dictate US actions and results (but not consequences; consequences are determined by others and time), thinking he has the powerbase here to bury the votes and desires of 70 million people and consign them to his will. We’ll see.

  7. HPH on December 30, 2012, 12:37 pm

    This has the ring of truth to me. The statement by Pres. Obama implied that a positive decision was being approached, but the process was not complete. The information leaking through various White House staff is consistent with this notion. However, as suggested by others, it’s not done until it’s done.

    In my reading of various postings and comments, I somewhere picked up speculation that some AIPAC folks are unhappy with particular neocons. The accusation is that Kristol and other neocons were attempting to strengthen their attack on Sen. Hagel by linking to the political power of AIPAC. However, they didn’t obtain approval for this linkage. Consequently, there is some complaining about this tactic, which will look very bad if Sen. Hagel is nominated.

    I’ll be curious about further developments in this interpretation of the smear campaign events.

  8. Les on December 30, 2012, 2:04 pm

    If asked about his willingness to defend Israel, how nice it would be for Hagel to say, “Yes, but not at the expense of American interests anymore than you would defend Israel at the expense of the interests and needs of your constituents.”

  9. David Doppler on December 30, 2012, 3:15 pm

    A perfectly weighted punch in the nose.

  10. mcohen on December 30, 2012, 4:15 pm

    read this at times online-about sums it up


    In the end, the debate over Hagel has now been framed in a way that will do the most damage to the pro-Israel community in Washington.

    If Hagel wins the nomination, the pro-Israel community has “lost” and is weakened. If he loses, the nefarious Jewish lobby has struck again, denying a patriotic American – one who wanted nothing more than to serve as an American senator, rather than an Israeli one – his rightful place because he sought too much independence from the cabal.

    And that, perhaps, is the major victory achieved by Hagel’s supporters in this political fight. As the pro-Hagel camp has noted time and again, the fight itself has damaged Israel’s standing in Washington. Of course, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that some pro-Hagel advocates are working hard to make happen.

    It is already difficult to complain about Hagel’s actual policy views even as he is being considered for one of the top policymaking posts in the free world, as such complaints have been deemed beside the point. It is even hard to note that Hagel’s views are in the minority in American politics, since this has been characterized as penalizing a brave man for his courage. And no part of the story is deemed relevant – such as widespread popular support for Israel or the active campaign among Democrats for a Democratic nominee – unless it is a story about the reprehensible Israel lobby.

    The mere fact that William Kristol opposed Hagel’s possible nomination has become the primary argument for its approval.

    And there, perhaps, lies another secret to the Israel lobby’s mysterious influence: its vast, looming presence in the imagination of its opponents

    • ToivoS on December 30, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Well Mr Cohen I have to agree with most of what you say but will take issue with this: And there, perhaps, lies another secret to the Israel lobby’s mysterious influence: its vast, looming presence in the imagination of its opponents

      There is absolutely nothing secret nor mysterious about the the lobby’s influence. It has been thoroughly documented and the damage caused to US interests are without doubt. These facts are known to many of us and are not just imagined.

      You are right about one thing. The lobby has been seriously damaged by this debate over Hagel no matter what the outcome. You are damned if you succeed and damned if you don’t. As has been pointed out in other recent comments the lobby, if it loses this one, will have one small consolation prize: they can argue ‘see we are not that powerful as our opponents say’. Nice try in trying to take the consolation prize. But the much, much bigger story is that this shows the lobby can be defeated and that defeat will take a big bite out of their most powerful weapon; namely the fear that has prevented many from openly criticizing Israel.

    • justicewillprevail on December 30, 2012, 7:18 pm

      Nothing mysterious or necessary to imagine about the Israel lobby: it is out there, relentless, in the face of every politician and journalist, and documented widely. If they hadn’t kicked up such an almighty fuss about Hagel and proceeded to smear him in time-honoured fashion, then pointing the finger at them wouldn’t have occurred. And people might have been able to discuss his merits without the lobby’s tedious barrage of predictable, hostile hysteria. People are tired of the arrogance of it all. A self-inflicted wound, and you try to blame the messengers. lol

    • on December 31, 2012, 2:13 am

      Just as predicted by seethelight et al.:

      Only this piece of blatant illogic was supposed to be published after it was a done deal. So either the nomination is probable or the ‘Zis are so nervous they are jumping the gun.

    • annie on December 31, 2012, 2:52 am

      its vast, looming presence in the imagination of its opponents

      it’s not in our imagination when popular sunday morning talk shows with jewish hosts invite jewish leaders for their opinions on a secretary of defense nominee. when it goes from bill kristol to major msm coverage in a second flat, that’s not our imaginations. the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the israel lobby is a very squeaky wheel.

      • mcohen on December 31, 2012, 6:24 pm

        dear squeaky wheel

        isaac newton said that for every force their is an equal and opposite force and if there is a” vast, looming presence “as you say then there must be an equally opposing ” vast, looming presence”

        now besides mondoweiss and chuck hagel who else would be part of the ” vast, looming presence”

        care to name a few squeaky wheels

        i have a saying “in order to create facts on the ground one must control the infomation flow in both directions”
        and who might be controlling the opposing forces of the proverbial VAST LOOMING PRESENCE

        could it be the diceman himself ?

        annie and co.

        for whom does the wheel squeak ?

      • annie on December 31, 2012, 6:58 pm

        as a matter of fact mcohen, there’s an article i read this morning that answered that question. an israeli think tank.

        The Foreign Ministry invests an unprecedented annual sum of NIS 100 million in branding Israel……Why, despite this massive advocacy effort, the deployment of multiple entities and the allocation of huge sums of money, is there still a widespread feeling that Israel’s advocacy campaign is inferior to that of the anti-Israel campaign, which is viewed as much more sophisticated and effective.

        so go read all about the competition. the conclusion is remarkable, stunning actually. (hint,it’s the pig, not the lipstick. there is “causal connection” between Israel’s image and the policies of its government)

      • mcohen on December 31, 2012, 10:27 pm

        dear squeaky wheel

        i read the haaretz article and then this article titled below

        Why is there so much Anti-Israel Bias in the Press and The American Educational System?

        i also took note of this

        and the list goes on and on

        the more you dig the bigger the VAST LOOMING PRESENCE of the anti israel crusade becomes

        personally i think that the final nail in the coffin will come from jews living outside israel who will take up the anti israel crusade with a venegance all in the name of saving

        private moshe

      • flyod on January 1, 2013, 7:40 am

        interesting source there…..afsi and it’s founder herb zweibon ….to the right of the zionist right

    • Rusty Pipes on December 31, 2012, 4:46 pm

      Re: “the active campaign among Democrats for a Democratic nominee,” see the latest from RightWeb on The Democrat many neocons want to see as the next SecDef over Chuck Hagel: Michele Flournoy, a co-founder of PNAC.

  11. Blank State on December 30, 2012, 7:10 pm

    The optimism expressed by some of you has amazed me for years now. Really, its inexplicable.

    Obama with spine??? On what planet? What issue has he not backpeddled, waffled, and wimped out on?

    Health?? Remember the public option???

    Accountability??? See any of the Bush criminals in jail? Indicted??? Investigated???

    Transparency??? You gotta be kidding me.

    Need I go on??? On EVERY SINGLE ISSUE, this man has proven himself to be a feckless and shameless coward.

    And now, we are supposed to get all giddy and hopeful that he will stand behind Hagel as the right man for the job??? Netanyahu, and the lobby, has for four years now SPIT in our President’s face, with the permission, and collusion, of key members of BOTH political parties in DC. What in Heaven’s name need occur for you all to realize that Obama is under Israel’s bloody thumb, and will remain there for the entirety of his tenure?

    Egads, wake up. Hagel doesn’t have a preacher’s chance in hell of being in ANY position of power that will enable him to challenge the narrative about Israel, much less actually determine policy. Obama will wimp out. He probably already has, at least in mind. Mark my words.

    • CloakAndDagger on December 31, 2012, 6:11 am

      @Blank State

      “Hope” is an essential, if not always a logical, component of the human experience.

      Without hope, there is only despair. Yes, Obama has failed on delivering on our hopes in almost every single one of our aspirations as you correctly state, and yet we hope in the face of no other solutions being immediately obvious. We tell ourselves that this time it may be different since he does not have the contraints of needing to be re-elected, and thus the improbable becomes probable.

      Despite all his failures, were Obama to somehow strike a fatal blow to the Israel lobby, would he not have redeemed himself in our eyes? Perhaps that won’t happen, and merely nominating Hagel may not in itself be that fatal blow, but still so delicious in its potential to open the lobby to subsequent blows that could indeed prove fatal.

      “Hope” is not evidence of being asleep and needing to be awakened as you posit. Neither is any hope exclusive from other hopes or efforts. If not for hope, the many disappointments that assail us through the course of our respective lives would have long taken their toll and reduced us to bitter hulks of cynical existence. The cynic is statistically more likely to be correct than not, and yet despite all statistics, the improbable does happen, and when it does, the accompanying joy is incomparably satisfying.

      I say, let us hope, until such time as when it is certain that it will be unrequited.
      For any movement to survive, there must always be hope.

      And lest we forget, we have already won, merely by this debate taking place in public, in no small part due to Obama having leaked his intentions as he did.

  12. doug on December 31, 2012, 1:59 pm

    Laura Rozen tweets she thinks Obama is leaning towards Flournoy. I give a great deal of credence to her insight. She posted that someone else had been offered, and turned down, Rummies job some weeks before he was ousted.

    Flournoy has been touted by many if not most neos.

    I suspect O is using the threat of a Hagel nomination as leverage for other things he wants passed.

    • piotr on December 31, 2012, 3:24 pm

      Flournoy was “touted” already six months ago if not earlier. She is a groomed insider candidate. But Laura Rosen also posted nice quotes of McCain praising Hagel 4 years ago and now saying that “allege that Hagel is somehow a Republican — that is a hard one to swallow”. McCain is clearly having blank spots in his memory.

      • doug on January 1, 2013, 1:54 pm

        Rosen is a very plugged in journalist. She knows the game and reports fairly objectively on the players and their maneuverings.

  13. Blank State on December 31, 2012, 4:32 pm

    “I suspect O is using the threat of a Hagel nomination as leverage for other things he wants passed”

    Exactly. And whatever Hagel sell-out he engages in, we will never learn what, exactly, he purchased.

    Cloak and Dagger….

    False hope is not constructive. Only through the lens of honest appraisal can one foretell coming events. To base ones’s hopes or aspirations for the future on unwarranted optimism is a fool’s errand.

  14. mcohen on December 31, 2012, 4:59 pm

    a sargeant takes orders he does not give them
    flournoy it is

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