Chuck Hagel has made it clear that he puts the interests of the United States first. This of course has upset the powerful Israeli lobby.Bret Stephens:
Ripe, finally, because Mr. Hagel's Jewish lobby remark was well in keeping with the broader pattern of his thinking. "I'm a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator," Mr. Hagel told retired U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller in 2006. "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 a party. Not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I'll do that."So, because Chuck Hagel puts the US first makes him antisemitic.
Read these staccato utterances again to better appreciate their insipid and insinuating qualities, all combining to cast the usual slur on Jewish-Americans: Dual loyalty. Nobody questions Mr. Hagel's loyalty. He is only making those assertions to question the loyalty of others.
Still, Mr. Hagel managed to say "I support Israel." This is the sort of thing one often hears from people who treat Israel as the Mideast equivalent of a neighborhood drunk who, for his own good, needs to be put in the clink to sober him up.
Of course Abe Foxman of the ADL had to weigh in:
Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.So Hagel will resist letting the tail wag the dog. A good thing in my view. Israel is not a US ally but a client state - a dependent. Israel contributes little if anything to the security of the United States but depends on this country for it's very survival. There is nothing wrong with criticizing Israeli actions when they are not in the best interests of the US. Daniel Larison:
Hagel has not been a maximally hawkish supporter of Israel, but the smear against Hagel on this point is particularly loathsome and of course has absolutely no merit. If Hagel criticized Israel’s 2006 Lebanon war, that’s because the overkill and folly that war represented deserved to be criticized. If he believes that attacking Iran would have disastrous consequences and war ought to be avoided, that makes him unusually sane for a member of the political class.Update:
Peter Beinart takes Stephens to the wood shed with a little reminder about who else put the US first.
A guy named Ronald Reagan said so in 1981, when AIPAC and the Israeli government were lobbying against America’s sale of AWACS surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia. “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy decisions,” Reagan told the press. Was Reagan implying that AIPAC—a largely Jewish organization—was doing the business of “other nations” and thus disloyal to the United States? Luckily for the Gipper, Stephens didn’t write a column back then.