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Hagel obeyed Senate taboo against criticism of Israel– ‘our most important ally in the entire world’

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The reviews are in on Chuck Hagel’s performance at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday, and many are saying that he was battered, and unprepared, often on the defensive. Some highlights.

As we noted yesterday, Hagel ate his words on Palestinian grievances and conditions, over and over again. Senator Mike Lee of Utah asked Hagel about an earlier statement that Israel keeps Palestinians “caged up like animals.” Watch him twist in the wind:

Lee: Did you say that?

Hagel: Well I said it and I don’t remember the context or when I said it

Lee: Do you believe today that Israel keeps Palestinians “caged up like animals.”

Hagel: No. If I had an opportunity to edit that like many things…I’d like to go back and change the words and the meaning. No, I think it was the larger context– I’ve said many many things over many years.– the larger context, of frustration and what’s happening, is not in Israel’s interests, [we are trying] to find ways that we can help bring peace and security to Israel.  If I had a chance to go back and edit it I would. I regret I used those words.

Here is Lee (at 6:43) stating that Israel is likely our most important ally in the world, and explaining why American and Israeli interests are identical. I never really heard it expressed this way:

I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes about Israel. Israel is I believe our most important ally certainly in the Middle East and in many respects in the entire world. A lot of people in this body are concerned quite appropriately that that alliance remains strong, about making sure that our interests as Americans are protected abroad.

In “Hagel’s Hell,” New Republic writer John Judis singled out what I did yesterday, Hagel’s exchange with South Carolina Lindsey Graham, in which Graham put the Defense Secretary nominee on the defensive for his comments about the “Jewish lobby” intimidating representatives on Capitol Hill. Hagel had to walk away from the statements, Judis said, because defending his positions would violate a “taboo” on open discussion of Israel/Palestine policy:

Hagel was asked repeatedly about his comments on Israel and on the “Jewish lobby.” The questions revealed the taboo that surrounds any discussion of American policy toward Israel and toward the organizations and individuals that lobby on its behalf….

Graham clearly won this exchange, but by appealing to taboo not truth. I venture to guess that Graham himself knows plenty of Senators or House members who have been intimidated by the pro-Israel lobby, which generously donates to the opponents of politicians that defy it. But Hagel couldn’t name names, or cite “dumb things” without opening up a hornet’s nest of controversy that could doom his nomination in the clubby Senate.

Speaking of that exchange, here is the full quote that Hagel gave to Aaron David Miller about the Israel lobby doing “dumb things”:

“The political reality is that you intimidate, not you — that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. Again, I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel. Now, everyone has a right to lobby; that’s as it should be. Come see your senator, your congressman, and if you can get the guy to sign your letter, great, wonderful. But as I reminded somebody not too long ago, in fact it was a group I was speaking to in New York, and we got into kind of an interesting give and take on Iran. A couple of these guys said we should just attack Iran. And I said, ‘Well, that’s an interesting thought; we’re doing so well in Iraq.’ And I said it would really help Israel. And this guy kept pushing and pushing. And he alluded to the fact that maybe I wasn’t supporting Israel enough or something. And I just said let me clear something up here, in case there is any doubt. I said, ‘I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator.’ I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States — not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that. Now I know most senators don’t talk like I do.”

Judis pointed out that Hagel was battered by McCarthyite tactics on the right, and he noted the effort to tie Hagel to the splendid analyst Chas Freeman, whom the Israel lobby sought to destroy four years ago:

[Texas Senator Ted] Cruz reverted to a time-honored rightwing tactic of guilt by association. He tried to tie Hagel to former American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman who has voiced criticisms of Israel’s right-wing government. But Cruz’s line of questioning, apparently inspired by Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and William Kristol’s Weekly Standard, fell flat:

Cruz: Are you familiar with an individual named Chas Freeman?

Hagel: Yes

Cruz: He was a vice chairman at the Atlantic Council. Is that correct?

Hagel:  When I became chairman the Atlantic Council, he was one of my board members .. but I never really worked with him, but I know him..

Cruz: And you and he were part of a group that travelled to China. Is that correct?

Hagel: No, that’s not correct.

Cruz: There have been press reports to that effect.

Hagel: Those press reports have been incorrect.  I have never been on any trip with Chas Freeman.

Cruz: There has also been press reports that have described him as helped to defend your nomination?  Is that a correct description?

Hagel:  I haven’t spoken to Chas Freeman in years.. .

Cruz: Is he someone whose judgment you respect?

Hagel: I think Chars Freeman has been a repected public servant for this nation .  There are a lot of different opinions have on different issues…

Cruz: Do you consider his views well well within the mainstream?

Hagel: What views?

Cruz: His views on the Middle East and the Nation of Israel.

Hagel: I am not that familiar with all of his views.

Cruz: Let’s move on to your worldview.

[Judis again] I am sure some readers thought the comparison to Joe McCarthy in the first paragraph was the usual left-wing hyperbole, but those old enough to remember, or who are familiar with, the history, will recognize Cruz’s line of attack as classic McCarthy tactics. Cruz isn’t out to prove Hagel is a communist; only that he has “a greater antagonism toward Israel than any other member of this body.”

More on that taboo. Scott McConnell at American Conservative says it was embarrassing:

Israel, Israel, Israel. Most of the GOPers, plus Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, asked more questions about Israel than all the other nations of the world combined. It’s really a kind of fanaticism–of a sort which could not have been imagined 20 years ago. I would explain this intensity as a reaction to Israel’s decline in moral standing thoughout the Western world; because the special relationship, or the general idea that Israel is a peace-seeking and democratic state is now increasingly doubted, it must be defended with ever growing intensity. Still it’s an embarrassment–that this is presented to all the world as the highest deliberative political body in the United States.

Steve Walt says that the shameless fawning over Israel confirmed everything he and John Mearsheimer wrote 7 years ago:

I want to thank the Emergency Committee for Israel, Sheldon Adelson, and the Senate Armed Service Committee for providing such a compelling vindication of our views.  As Rosie Gray amd Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed noted, at yesterday’s hearing on Chuck Hagel Israel was mentioned 166 times, and Iran (a problem closely linked to Israel) 144 times. Afghanistan was mentioned only 20 times, and the problem of suicides of U.S. troops only twice. Glad to see that those Senators have their priorities straight. No wonder Mark Twain referred to Congress as “the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.”

I am sometimes asked if I have any regrets about publishing our book. As of today, my only regret is that it isn’t being published now. After the humiliations that Obama has endured at the hands of the lobby and now the Hagel circus, we’d sell even more copies and we wouldn’t face nearly as much ill-informed criticism.

Over $1 million has been spent on the ad campaign against Hagel, says Lobelog. A group called Secure America Now has played an important role in the campaign, emphasizing the Iran issue. In classic subterfuge, its dossier says nothing about Israel, as such; but Jacob Fenton at the Sunlight Foundation reports that the group behind the ad has a deep commitment to Israel:

[Lawyer Jeffrey] Altman told Sunlight that the group [Secure America Now] was first put together in October, 2010 by Allen Roth, a longtime political aide to [Ron] Lauder, a politically active cosmetics heir who last year quietly underwrote an effort to turn out American voters living in Israel while a number of Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, were casting doubt on Obama’s support for the Jewish state…

Allen Roth, the board president, is a longtime activist for right-wing Israeli causes, but his name doesn’t appear anywhere on the group’s web site. … Roth, a board member of the American Conservative Union, is also president of One Jerusalem–a non-profit formed to fight the division of Jerusalem as part of the Israeli peace process. In a 2010 tax filing, One Jerusalem is listed as a “direct controlling entity” of secureamericanow…

Roth is best known, however, for his connections to Lauder, a son of the makeup empress Estee Lauder and one of the country’s wealthiest men: he was worth $3.4 billion last September, according to Forbes. Lauder has been president of the World Jewish Congress since 2007.

Lauder got into politics in the 1980’s. According to the New York Times, he “was rewarded for his campaign fund-raising with an appointment as deputy assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration and, three years later, by being named ambassador to Austria”. In 1987, he founded The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, which “seeks to revitalize Jewish identity” especially in Europe where Jews survived the holocaust and communism…

Although Roth and Lauder have worked together on right-leaning Israeli causes for decades, there’s no way to know whether Lauder’s money is backing Secure America Now–or any of the other secretly-funded groups working to influence U.S. politics. “I’m not going to tell you who the donors are,” said Altman. But, he added, the self-described grassroots group doesn’t rely on a single benefactor.”There are lots of them,” Altman said.

Philip Weiss

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

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79 Responses

  1. Les on February 1, 2013, 11:38 am

    From Winslow Wheeler’s conclusion in his scathing review of Hagel’s performance.

    The Hagel nomination to be secretary of defense is surely now in trouble. The Republicans had their way with him so easily that they surely will widen the offensive-and its offensiveness-to make it a major partisan food fight. The White House has already put out a statement defending Hagel with a defensiveness that clearly denotes its concern, and it must now know it has a problem.

    Hagel’s blood is in the water-poured there by himself-and now the Republicans are sure to pour in all the bile and poison their fund raising machines can come up with, which is a lot.

    Welcome back to the good old Washington of 2012.

    • Debbie Menon on February 2, 2013, 3:45 pm

      I read the entire discussion here. Lots of good stuff there. One key quote and one paraphrase:

      “As with McCarthy, the psychological terror will continue until someone stands up to it. Hagel could have stood strong, instead he writhed and squirmed. Who will be the one to be strong?”

      “Hagel did so much AIPAC speak that he will be weakened in his dealings with the Hill throughout his tenure, even if he is confirmed.”

      Dr. Sabrosky (a 10 year Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Army War College,) sums up the Hagel hearings succinctly in his recent commentary on the subject. Read the whole article here:
      Some key quotes:
      “I was appalled that “GOP lawmakers began sharply questioning his (Hagel’s) commitment to Israel and his willingness to take a hard line with Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Several (mostly Jewish) Democratic senators expressed elsewhere varying concerns for similar reasons.

      “Hello? The only commitment any US senator should consider is a nominee’s commitment to the United States. And Iran’s possible acquisition of some nuclear weapons someday pales in the shadow of Israel’s existing nuclear arsenal (300-400 nuclear weapons, by best estimates).

      “Many Jewish groups and columnists, all of whom support Israel, are strongly supporting Hagel. It is “only” the likes of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the neo-conservatives who brought us the past decade of wars, plus those evangelicals following their lead, who really oppose him.

      “As a 10-year Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and an Army War College graduate, the attitude of those “GOP legislators” who see the US as Israel’s global muscleman is professionally offensive and ethically insulting. The attitude of those Democratic senators who evaluate a nominee’s fitness for office principally if not exclusively in terms of what is good for a foreign country is equally disgusting.

      “Hagel is making a very good showing, despite being forced by the circumstances attending his nomination to publicly recant many of his earlier positions, and even to apologize for some, despite the fact that all were both honest and accurate. But the people who put him in that position need to look in their mirrors, review their oaths of office and remember both their citizenship and their sworn responsibility to the American people – and then reflect on the consequences of their betrayal.

      “UK correspondent Stuart Littlewood correctly asserts: “George Galloway would have made mincemeat of those Inquisitorial bar-flies.”

      “Not only Galloway, but most M.P.s across the political spectrum in Europe would have ripped those speech-reading clowns to ribbons.”

    • W.Jones on February 2, 2013, 8:37 pm

      Whether Hagel gets confirmed will show whether you or Winslow are right. At the least there will be a lesson that there is no going back, and you might as well play it to the max. I expect Hagel will be confirmed because he is backed by Obama and he apologized to the Israelis for his human rights & patriotic statements.

      But I could be wrong, in which case I hope Obama and Hagel have a backup plan for what would be their big, naive, tactical mistake. They might not though- after all, what was Obama’s backup should he lose the election and Chas Freeman’s if he was pressured to resign?

      • Debbie Menon on February 3, 2013, 2:05 pm

        The Democrats, now that Schumer has given his approval, will support the president. The Republicans could demand a 60 vote approval and filibuster until they get one. I doubt that will happen. Hagel will get by on a party line vote with 55 yes votes, or perhaps a few less if the conservative Democrats want to bow to AIPAC.

        Next week will tell the tale (Monday or Tuesday). It has been an ugly scene. We can only hope the public sees McCain, Cruz and Graham as bullies who worship Israel above their own country.

    • Debbie Menon on February 3, 2013, 3:43 am

      This comment from Benjamin Freedman might prompt everyone to host this relevant video on your websites:

      “AIPAC 101 should receive 300 million views after Senator Hagel’s confirmation hearings. Israel was mentioned 166 times, more than any other country or defense related issue. Enough of these traitorous sell outs to a foreign country. We want our country back. Thank you for waking me up to what’s really happening in the world.”
      AIPAC 101:

      • Les on February 8, 2013, 8:46 pm

        Thanks for sharing this telling and succint video.

  2. HarryLaw on February 1, 2013, 11:50 am

    This Senate Armed Services Committee should have been called a House committee on anti Israeli activities, with Senator Ted Cruz’s opening question “Have you now or have you ever been associated with any anti Israeli comments”?

    • adamhorowitz on February 1, 2013, 12:22 pm
    • James Canning on February 1, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Bravo. Ted Cruz apparently thinks that because Jews were the victims of war crimes during the first half of the last century, Jews cannot commit war crimes even if Israel is smashing Lebanon or Gaza.

      • Avi_G. on February 2, 2013, 1:02 am

        Bravo. Ted Cruz apparently thinks that because Jews were the victims of war crimes during the first half of the last century, Jews cannot commit war crimes even if Israel is smashing Lebanon or Gaza.

        I don’t think IQ tests or integrity are a requirement for one to become a US Senator.

        Heck, if you caught a politician fooling around with a prostitute, I bet you’d have a hard time telling the two apart.

      • James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Would be be more comfortable for the US and the planet if the problem is simply abject stupidity on the part of the Republican senators who raked Hagel over the coals? Or, as you suggest, that they are whores? Truth of the matter clearly combines both factors.

      • W.Jones on February 2, 2013, 8:22 pm

        “Heck, if you caught a politician fooling around with a prostitute, I bet you’d have a hard time telling the two apart.”
        Generally it’s male pol on female, so I usually could. But not always ;)

    • seafoid on February 1, 2013, 5:34 pm

      Why Can’t Americans Have An Honest Conversation About Israel?

  3. yrn on February 1, 2013, 12:06 pm

    Poor Hagel…. from the Mega star of the AntiZionsit……. you are now TABOO.
    How will you survive it.

    • kalithea on February 1, 2013, 9:35 pm

      Quit stretching. He was never my Mega star; I live in the real world and am aware just how effective, albeit temporarily, Zionist bullying and bullshet can be. But with bullies and bullshetters one can always count on their eventual undoing and that outcome is already in progress. Your gloating days are numbered.

  4. on February 1, 2013, 12:30 pm

    yrn: You can’t even read. It says you are taking a major beating.

    • Mooser on February 1, 2013, 12:45 pm

      I see it like you do, sardelapasti. They huffed, and puffed, but they can’t blow Obama’s house down. It’s a brick house, mighty, mighty. Hagel will be confirmed.

      • on February 1, 2013, 3:13 pm

        “… but they can’t blow Obama’s house down.”
        …and the hay was carried away by the wind before the big, bad wolf had managed to blow. The other little pigs, though, were celebrating because they thought the BBW couldn’t blow.

      • Mooser on February 1, 2013, 5:37 pm

        “…and the hay was carried away by the wind before the big, bad wolf had managed to blow. The other little pigs, though, were celebrating because they thought the BBW couldn’t blow.”

        Sardelapasti, I’m not talking about James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, I was thinking more of Shirley Hanna-King.
        I was just trying to say that after a big electoral victory like Obama (“He’s a poster boy for affirmative action writ large and in every nuance.”) just had, the President can usually get his Cabinet nominees confirmed.

      • on February 5, 2013, 1:06 am

        Mooser . You win by a head. The Englishman with the double-barrelled name I had a vague idea because he was an alumnus of the Jesus College. The dame I had to hunt and research, for a longish time. No bad feelings for the runaround you gave me, wasting the precious idling hours of a retiree. You couldn’t know that I am pop-culture-illiterate and now I know she’s supposed to be built not like a brick house but a brick shithouse:

        This said, since when has Obama’s majority ever gotten in the way of his pretending to lose?

      • Inanna on February 1, 2013, 6:43 pm

        This may be a case of Obama and Hagel kneeling down before rising up but it’s still incredibly embarrassing and cringeworthy to watch Hagel backtrack.

      • Kathleen on February 2, 2013, 10:21 am

        It was difficult to watch Hagel being castrated but clearly it was a numbers decision. If he would have stood by much of what he has said about the I/P conflict and diplomacy with Iran he would have millions of us applauding but would he have lost votes? So he humiliated himself and bowed before the I alter and sacrificed himself but maybe the better strategy for getting the cowards in the Senates votes.

        Over at Steve Walt’s latest on the hearing one commenter said the BDS movement etc should take clips of this hearing of McCain, Graham etc boasting about their endless love for all things Israel while undermining US National Security and play it US audiences/ soldiers etc and show them just how much influence the I lobby has in pushing the US into unnecessary wars.

        When Graham asked Hagel the question for names of Senators who have been intimidated by the I lobby so wish Hagel would have flipped the script and said something like “that would be a question that each of our Reps should be asking themselves”

      • on February 2, 2013, 1:03 pm

        Kathleen: Screw Hagel and whatever he coulda woulda do. Just use the fantastic information material provided, courtesy of the 5th Column Lobby, showing to everyone that the Zionists are practically the owners of the country. The more Hagel gives in, the more Zionist propaganda loses people (even in the US, believe it or not.)

      • James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:52 pm

        Yes, Walt has two good pieces this month.

  5. Ellen on February 1, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Walt writes:

    “I want to thank the Emergency Committee for Israel, Sheldon Adelson, and the Senate Armed Service Committee for providing such a compelling vindication of our views….I am sometimes asked if I have any regrets about publishing our book. As of today, my only regret is that it isn’t being published now. After the humiliations that Obama has endured at the hands of the lobby and now the Hagel circus, we’d sell even more copies and we wouldn’t face nearly as much ill-informed criticism. ”

    • James Canning on February 1, 2013, 2:41 pm

      Bravo. Sheldon Adelson is trying to arrange for the US to spend trillions of dollars on idiotic Middle East military adventures, to enable further Israeli oppression of non-Jews in the West Bank.

  6. seafoid on February 1, 2013, 1:32 pm

    The bots built yesha on the back of beltway compliance. This week they are in their pomp. The money did it. But they are slowly losing control of the narrative on the street. And the eventual backlash will be brutal. It won’t be the Lauders who pay of course.

  7. Rupa Shah on February 1, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Emergency Committee for Israel has paid for a website and asking Americans to tell their senators, Sen Hagel is not a good choice.
    Please send an email to [email protected] and let it know, we do not need its advice on who is good for our country.

  8. quercus on February 1, 2013, 2:09 pm

    This morning on C-span someone named Mareen Leed, Senior Advisor for the Center for International and Strategic Studies was speaking about the Hagel confirmation hearings. One call that was accepted was from a man who said that he didn’t know that the position of Secretary of Defense of the United States, was actually Secretary of Defense of Israel.

    Poor, weak, sorry, little nation of Israel that can’t take care of itself.

    • Citizen on February 1, 2013, 3:43 pm

      Leed was abstract when discussing the Hagel vetting on CSPAN. But, at she did say, at the end of her vague generalization in response to the caller whom quercus mentions here, that she was sympathetic to Hagel’s views which she viewed as in line with hero, Schultz.

  9. Castellio on February 1, 2013, 2:12 pm

    The international community is well aware that American foreign policy is proscribed by Israeli interests. It is also aware that Israel is a deeply racist society that continues its illegal expansion at the expense of the Palestinians, and has both prosecuted and supported wars of destruction in the Middle East, as well as being a nuclear state that is not a member of the NPT. They are quite aware that the United Nations has failed in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian issue due to the US veto.

    In short, there is a general and well justified awareness that the US supports both Israeli racism and Israeli expansion in the Middle East at whatever cost to itself. This knowledge, wide spread and general, can’t be “walked back”.

    Is that of any consequence?

  10. chet on February 1, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Is it just me or did Miss Lindsey have a weird fanatical expression and actually lick his lips when he put Mr. Hagel on the “taboo” spot by repeatedly asking him to name names of anyone intimidated by the Jewish Lobby?

    Sorry but I don’t have a link – I saw it on various TV broadcasts

    • Ellen on February 1, 2013, 6:23 pm

      If you can bear to watch Lindsay’s performance again, you’ll notice that he could not bring himself to look at Hagel when firing insipid questions at him. He was also squirming in his seat like he needed to rush to the toilet.

      It was really bad style for a litigator, showing faux outrage. Totally weak.

      He didn’t really want to have any real information from Hagel. Lindsay just wanted to show his masters that he was barking and biting just as they ordered him.

      Those questions asked did not come from Lindsay or his staff, but were prepared by visitors to his office.

      He fired them off to Hagel just as they were written.

  11. Chu on February 1, 2013, 2:19 pm

    ‘our most important ally in the entire world’

    That should be applied to Israel.
    America is their most important ally in the world.

    Not the other way, ever.

  12. Clif Brown on February 1, 2013, 2:23 pm

    As with McCarthy, the psychological terror will continue until someone stands up to it. Hagel could have stood strong, instead he writhed and squirmed. Who will be the one to be strong?

    • Ellen on February 1, 2013, 6:32 pm

      If he is confirmed, the lynch mob shot themselves in the foot.

      Schumer played it smart and did not join the pack of jackels because he is aiming for more power in the Senate.

      There may be reasons not to confirm Hagel but oath of absolute love for Isreal ueber alles or not is not one of them.

      The Borg did itself a great big disservice making it all about Israel. And their loyal dogs in the US Senate went along…

    • James Canning on February 1, 2013, 7:59 pm

      Does one assume Obama asked Chuck Hagel to be less than robust in any counter-attack to the foolish comments of the Republican senators?

  13. James Canning on February 1, 2013, 2:39 pm

    The Financial Times and the BBC America coverage of the Hagel hearing got it right: that foolish Republican senators were grandstanding, and that little light actually was shed on running the Pentagon etc etc.
    ISRAEL LOBBY demands that one grovel, if one wishes to serve in the cabinet of the president.
    ISRAEL LOBBY clearly suppresses fair and honest discussion of US foreign policy in the Middle East, on Capitol Hill.

  14. Taxi on February 1, 2013, 2:51 pm

    “It was like watching a Nebraska ordinary Joe set upon by circus freaks– a phalanx of moral midgets, stalking cat-men, vicious lobster boys and ethical werewolves.”

    Chuck Hagel Mauled in Bizarro World of US Senate – Juan Cole:

  15. chet on February 1, 2013, 3:00 pm

    OOPS – there’s the video link at the beginning of the article.

  16. justicewillprevail on February 1, 2013, 3:10 pm

    It is impossible for any rational person to see in what way Israel can be described as an ‘ally’ of the US. Liability, treacherous friend, spy, manipulator, an agent who embroils its ‘ally’ in endless war, incites hatred against it, demands endless favours and finance, infiltrates and subverts its democratic process to procure influence to undermine its agenda……just remind me what sort of ally that is.

  17. DICKERSON3870 on February 1, 2013, 3:18 pm

    RE: Senator Mike Lee of Utah asked Hagel about an earlier statement that Israel keeps Palestinians “caged up like animals.” Watch him twist in the wind . . .” ~ Weiss


    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence [I.E. KEEP THE PALESTINIANS VIRTUALLY “CAGED UP” ~ J.L.D.] . . .

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870 on February 1, 2013, 3:23 pm

      P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Learned helplessness]:

      [EXCERPT] Learned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2]
      The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that opposed the predictions of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory.[3][4]

      In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.
      Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.
      Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus. . .

      SOURCE –

      • American on February 2, 2013, 7:34 am

        I doubt Skinner would have gotten the same result with cats…..maybe some people are dogs and some people are cats.

  18. Shingo on February 1, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Justin Raimondonhas an interesting take on the hearings:

    The Israel Firsters really went out on a limb, this time, and in the end they’ll wind up having sawed it off. Because Hagel is going to be confirmed in spite of their hysterical hate campaign, and what that means is that their power is broken.


    Among the many darkly comic moments of the hearing, a real howler was introduced at the beginning when Senator Jim Inhofe inquired as to know why Hagel hadn’t bothered replying to a letter sent to him by the resident wingnuts on the committee, listing every organization he’d ever been affiliated with (save the USO) and demanding to know if any of them were recipients of funding from “foreign nations, foreign sovereign funds, [or] foreign corporations.”

    It’s a great read.

    • annie on February 1, 2013, 3:38 pm
      • Shingo on February 1, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Thanks Annie,

        Amazing isn’t it? Havel should have replied with the same about Inhofe’s benefactors.

    • MHughes976 on February 1, 2013, 3:50 pm

      I see a lot of sense in Raimondonhas’ comments but Hagel, even if his appointment is a near certainty, has had to make all sorts of extreme, though quite patently insincere, pro-Israel statements and these utterances or the fact of his having made them will weaken him over the years. When – we foreigners don’t know these things – will the confirmation be confirmed/negated, do you think?

    • seafoid on February 1, 2013, 3:57 pm

      Great stuff. There was a bit in the FT about the continuing schism in the US Defense establishment over Iraq.

      “The hearings underlined how Mr Hagel is more than just Barack Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defence. He also represents the continued schism in US defence and foreign policy which opened in the wake of George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
      The war has haunted the Republicans ever since, and many in the party like Mr McCain, who represents Arizona in the Senate, have not forgiven Mr Hagel for breaking ranks to oppose America’s role”

      And a very good interview on The Real News- Hagel the first DoD in 30 years who served in the army. “Hagel is no chickenhawk”

      He knows war. He knows Israel isn’t worth it.

      • James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:43 pm

        I think Hagel sees that an unnecessary US war with Iran in fact would not be in Israel’s true best interests.

  19. DICKERSON3870 on February 1, 2013, 3:36 pm

    RE: Hagel was asked repeatedly about his comments on Israel and on the “Jewish lobby.” The questions revealed the taboo that surrounds any discussion of American policy toward Israel and toward the organizations and individuals that lobby on its behalf. . . ~ John Judis

    SEE: “The New McCarthyism of Jewish Organizations: Where Is Our Murrow?”, by Bernard Avishai,, 12/26/12

    [EXCERPT] I am just old enough to remember grown-up disquiet when speaking of McCarthyism—the first thick book I read was Louis Nizer’s My Life in Court, which was largely about the libel case of Quentin Reynolds against Westbrook Pegler, the impresario of the scurrilous Red Channels—and I remember feeling a certain pride in the very large number of Jewish liberals who, like Nizer, helped bring America back to its senses.
    Let the galoots disgrace themselves attacking war-heroes like General Marshall. Let weird groups like the John Birchers and Daughters of the American Revolution and Republican Tafters impugn a man’s integrity, then repeat each others’ insinuations, then spread them to widening circles in captive media (where sympathetic pens were waiting). Let them point to the public doubts they themselves manufactured “out of whole cloth,” as my father used to say. Jews, and Jewish organizations, knew where they stood in the face of such smears. They stood for fairness, patience, sanity. We knew for whom an unfair, impatient, insane America would not “be good for.”
    There was Fred Friendly, who collaborated with Edward R. Murrow in challenging McCarthy on CBS. There was Arthur Miller, whose 1953 play, “The Crucible,” about the Salem witch trials, was a thinly veiled attack on the House Un-American Activities Committee. There was I.F. Stone who, forced to strike out on his own, proved the grandeur of the first amendment. There was Commentary Magazine before Norman Podhoretz lost his mind. In the America I knew, which only grew more so during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, American Jews—with their worldly souls and experience of the social margins—were the natural opponents (because potential victims) of the fear, flocking, and fanaticism that produced political libels.
    Which brings me to Sen. Hagel. 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. My Israeli friends love that old Borsch-belt joke, that anti-Semitism means disliking Jews more than necessary. For American Jewish organizations, the very idea that dislike is ever warranted is proof of bigotry, like Philip Roth’s early novels were proof of “self-hatred.” . . .


    • seafoid on February 1, 2013, 4:08 pm

      Thanks Dickerson.

      there is a strange parallel between what they did to the fellaheen of Southern Palestine- over 60 years they were forced from farming to the hell to Gaza and in so doing the bots turned their own project of the Promised Land into the hellish atmosphere of the Salem Witch trials.

  20. DICKERSON3870 on February 1, 2013, 3:53 pm

    RE: “Israel, Israel, Israel. Most of the GOPers, plus Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, asked more questions about Israel than all the other nations of the world combined. It’s really a kind of fanaticism . . . it’s an embarrassment–that this is presented to all the world as the highest deliberative political body in the United States.” ~ Scott McConnell

    FOR URI AVNEY’S CONCURRENCE*, SEE: “Bibi and the Yo-Yos”, by Uri Avnery,, 05/26/11:

    [EXCERPT] It was all rather disgusting.
    There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

    It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.
    What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?
    The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.
    The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler’s anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage? Is it really Washington IOT – Israel Occupied Territory – as the anti-Semites assert? . . .


    * Catch Me If You Can Movie CLIP – Do You Concur? (2002) [VIDEO, 01:53] –

  21. Jeff Klein on February 1, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Shared Values?
    Jennifer Rubin, resident Neocon and Israel apologist at the Washington Post, cited an anti-Hagel letter from Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in which the legislator claimed “As a non-Jewish Senator who strongly supports the State of Israel, let me assure you that my support is rooted in the shared values of our two democracies”.
    Perhaps Imhofe had this in mind: Israel admits giving contraceptive injections to Ethiopian immigrant women;
    or this: Some Fear a Soccer Team’s Racist Fans Hold a Mirror Up to Israel;
    or this Millions disenfranchised in Israeli vote due solely to ethnicity and geography

  22. surewin on February 1, 2013, 4:20 pm

    Do the Senators have a rational strategy in this case? Hagel is still expected to be confirmed, so what are they trying to do?

    Hagel must be enraged by this. Should they be concerned that his response after being confirmed will be to do the opposite of what they want him to do, or as little of it as he can get away with?

    Are they setting up a confrontation with the Administration, which seems to be moving in the wrong direction as they see it? If so, how risky is that? Do they know for sure that they can prevail when the time comes?

    It seems to me that it can’t just be about campaign contributions. And the word “intimidation” doesn’t even seem strong enough. It seems more like they’re under control.

    I get the sense that some kind of reckoning is coming soon. I don’t know how it will play out.

  23. seafoid on February 1, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Lindsey Graham was like something out of a film where the Klan capture a n**** and bring him back to a group for questioning before killing him.

  24. Kathleen on February 1, 2013, 7:55 pm

    Does anyone know what the numbers are for the votes with Hagel. One can only imagine if he had been honest about his thoughts about the conflict. Wondering if they figured he would more likely scrap through by avoiding and walking back

  25. ToivoS on February 1, 2013, 8:34 pm

    Dailykos and TPM are barely reporting the Hagel story. There is no mention of the questioning about Israel. In TPM there is no opportunity to comment on these hearings. They are afraid, very, very afraid. Kos and Marshall must know the anger that these hearings must be causing and they know how it would erupt in their comments section. Why those sites just might be accused of antisemitism if that happened. Can’t have that to be sure. Somehow, their slavish devotion to the official Democratic Party line is going to be the end of their influence. At least I hope so.

  26. Carowhat on February 1, 2013, 9:56 pm

    If Hagel had refused to repudiate what he previously said about the Israel Lobby he wouldn’t have become Secretary of Defense but at least he could have retired with his honor intact. Now that he has repudiated everything he ever believed he still won’t become Secretary of Defense but now his retirement will be full of shame.

  27. iResistDe4iAm on February 1, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Hagel didn’t choose to be humbled (an act of expediency) so that they would give him the job.
    He surrendered to humiliation (an act of obedience) so that they would give and let him keep the job.

  28. on February 1, 2013, 11:49 pm

    over 40 years ago….paul finley told the world that the US senator was israeli occupied territory…

    what was graham doing over 40 years ago…a high schooler…

    I suspect he thinks that israeli had every right to attack the USS Liberty

    I wonder what he was doing in 2005 when the CIA issued its report on espionage against the US when it said that israeli ran the number 2 most aggressive spying operations against the US

    how about nuttyahoo sayin after 9/11 that 9/11 was good for israel or sharon saying that we the jewish people control america and the americans know it

    • James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:34 pm

      Good question: does Lindsey Graham think Israel had the right to attack the USS Liberty in June 1967 because it was listening to Israeli communications?

  29. yourstruly on February 2, 2013, 1:20 am

    israel is our most important ally?

    that our interest as americans be protected abroad? –

    israel an ally?

    in this mad dash to extinction?

    justice for palestine?

    hallelujah, amen?

  30. W.Jones on February 2, 2013, 3:56 am

    I’m sure that what happened is that at some point Hagel asked Obama what he should do. Hagel must have done that, because Obama spoke so strongly in favor of Hagel, and this is the main issue that would have come up. Obama would be Hagel’s future boss, so Hagel would wish to please him, like good employees typically do, and Obama at some point would have at least hinted what to do. Further, it’s natural that Obama would have responded by telling him to act this way, because Obama himself does this, speaking to AIPAC meetings, “I got Israel’s back”, etc.

    • James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:35 pm

      I think Obama asked Hagel to keep his head down, and to avoid provoking Democrats who have been dancing the Aipac tune for years.

  31. clubroma on February 2, 2013, 4:18 am

    I think its time for Americans to realise that the United States of America is little more than, a jewish colony. Your no longer ‘the shining light on the hill’. You can’t go around the world and talk about human-rights, freedom and justice if your ‘Isreal’s best friend’. You really are little more than a pathetic joke. The best thing that the United States can do is cut the umbilical cord to Isreal. BUT, its impossible. The tenticles of Zionism have worked there way deep into the control of every area of ‘executive’ power in the United States. Isreal has dragged the United States into a financial and morale abyiss.
    And I don’t think you can get yourselves out of it.
    Can I ask one favour from the citizens of the World who don’t live in the United States. When you get to the bottom of the abyiss, could you refrain from whinging and moaning about it. After all, the rest of the world is saying, ‘you asked for it’.

    • on February 2, 2013, 8:49 am

      you are absolutely right clubroma….the USA is a colony of the Borg….

      we didnt ask for it…but instead let it happen…or Washington let it happen…no checks and balance..for the Borg…just subservience

      they have been at it in the USA for over a century…got media control…as in the NYT…which they got in 1890’s I believe…abc cbs and nbc were all started by jewish individuals….

      they got financial in the Federal Reserve…which I might add is neither federal or a reserve

      and now they have a bunch of bofoons doing thier bidding in Washington solely on their behave…

      any vote regarding israel gets at least a 95% yes vote…

      anything good for the people of the US the republicans obstruct..

  32. gingershot on February 2, 2013, 9:17 am

    Hagel is going to have the last laugh here – he is merely surviving the current gauntlet that now exists

    With no war on Iran – Israeli Apartheid is doomed and the neocons are doomed as well

    To keep himself under control at this point is simply living to fight another day

  33. Kathleen on February 2, 2013, 10:25 am

    Chris Matthews has focused on the hearing the last few nights. Hoping Chris Hayes has a few powerful things to say about how this hearing once again demonstrated the power of the I lobby. Don’t think he will let this pass by

  34. James Canning on February 2, 2013, 2:51 pm

    Yes, a good opportunity to focus attention on the power of Aipac.

  35. RoHa on February 2, 2013, 7:20 pm

    “Israel is I believe our most important ally certainly in the Middle East and in many respects in the entire world.”

    From memory:

    UK: Host to US military bases. Alongside US military in WW1, WW2, Korea, Yugoslavia, Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, Lybia.

    Australia: Host to US military bases. Alongside US military in WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq 2, Afghanistan.

    Canada: Host to US military bases. Alongside US military in WW1, WW2, Korea, Yugoslavia, Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan.

    Israel: …

  36. James Canning on February 3, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Turkey is the most important American ally in the Middle East. And a member of NATO. Unlike Israel.

  37. Don Lino on February 3, 2013, 3:01 pm

    There really isn’t a whole lot I had to add to the discussion, except to point out so much of the speculation is pretty useless. It’s horrible what Hagel was subjected to, and that process did point out how Israel-centric our gov’t is. Is this going to compromise Hagel in the future should he get his post? That’s one question. The other is did his performance (good or bad) blow chances for him to get the post? How could he be defiant?

    Unfortunately, I doubt that the American people got to see what they should have from the hearing. I know I didn’t via NPR. The readers @ Mondo can debate endlessly and at length about how many angels can dance on the head of the pin, but if Americans as a whole have lacked a good window to that specific hearing, what good does any debate do? I just hope that every single one of those commentors @ MW called their own Senators and were not themselves victims of “learned helplessness. Both of my bozos (one of whom is a Mormon who was recently busted for drinking and driving in DC!) are likely leaning to the neocon side given that that seems to be the default position for Repugs these days. However, those staffers who took my calls certainly got something to think about with what I said! This might be the slow change of the ocean wearing away the rocks on the shore, but every little bit helps.

  38. RoHa on February 3, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Turkey: Host to US military bases. Alongside US military in Korea, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan.

    Israel: ….

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