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Hagel Nomination

Hagel during confirmation hearing Photo: EPA
Hagel during confirmation hearing Photo: EPA
 
 

Jewish establishment still frightened

Op-ed: Given his narrow support base in Congress, no one truly believes Hagel will be able to implement major changes in US policy

Shoula Romano Horing
Published: 02.19.13, 20:02 / Israel Opinion

The Republicans in the Senate succeeded in delaying the vote to confirm Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense to the week of February 26 but did not yet succeed in defeating his nomination. If the vote will proceed, Hagel will need only a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed. The Democrats have 55 senators supporting Hagel including 11 Jewish senators. If only five of the 11 senators will stop their blind worship of President Obama and decide to abstain, the nomination will be defeated. If only the Jewish establishment would stop being frightened and decide to join in the campaign against Hagel, his nomination would be withdrawn.

 

The Americans Jewish Committee ( AJC), AIPAC, Anti -Defamation League (ADL), the Conference of Presidents and the National Jewish Democratic Council all decided after the nomination not to oppose Hagel and not to campaign against him even though they all raised concerns about his voting record. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Republican Jewish Coalition have been the only major Jewish groups to publicly oppose Hagel.

 

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Morton Klein, the ZOA president said in a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper that he was personally called by major Jewish leaders and was told to "stop his organization campaign against Hagel." Klein stated that his counterparts at the other organizations told him that he "was making this a Jewish issue" which they considered "bad for the Jews."

 

But in reality, Hagel made this a Jewish issue when he stated that "the Jewish lobby intimidates people" and when his voting record revealed his willingness to appease the Jewish state's enemies like Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran .The Washington Free Beacon just reported that in a 2007 speech at Rutgers university Hagel remarked that "the State Department was becoming an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry."

 

The fault also lies at Obama's feet for obsessively deciding to choose Hagel , while knowing that his notorious record will raise the ugly head of anti -Semitism and old age Jewish stereotypes..

 

But much worse, it was the fault of the Jewish senators, other Jewish Democrats and the major Jewish organizations for being silent despite their concerns. First, by being afraid to voice their objections to the president when his nomination was suggested at the trial balloon phase more than 10 days before the public nomination, and second, by dropping their objections to the nomination.

 

Hagel weakened, ridiculed

But this is not the first time the US Jewish leaders and establishment have been shamefully self -indulgent and frightened to speak up for the sake of their fellow Jews.

 

Scholarly research has revealed that the American Jews were not powerless during the Holocaust, but merely weak. They were like a muscle never fully flexed. The evidence shows that the Jewish leaders and organizations were silent even though they could have pressured President Franklin Roosevelt, to enter World War II earlier and rescue millions of Jews or bomb the death camps and railroads.

 

As with President Obama, President Roosevelt was considered as the god of American liberalism and of the American Jewish community. The American Jews constituted the most loyal and loving of Roosevelt's constituencies and the vast majority of Jews voted four times for him. No president till then had appointed so many Jews to public office and surrounded himself with so many Jewish advisors.

 

However, even when Roosevelt closed US doors to Jewish refugees prior to and during the Holocaust, the Jewish establishment refused to confront Roosevelt. Moreover, as Rafael Madoff explains in his book The Deafening Silence, the Jews were also silent because of "their fear of lifting the lid off a simmering American anti- Jewish backlash."

 

The only Jewish group in the US who struggled against the silence of America and the passivity of Roosevelt were the Jews on the political right which included the Zionist Revisionists, and strictly Orthodox Jews. Instead of joining them the liberal Jewish establishment fought against them.

 

Consequently, the question must be asked by every American Jew as to what red lines must be crossed before the Jewish senators, congressmen and major Jewish organizations will stop being silent in regard to President Obama's policies? When will they flex their political muscles?

 

What will they do if Obama decides to try to cut military aid to Israel, or lets Iran become a nuclear power? What will happen if Obama recognizes Hamas and Hezbollah and forces Israel to establish another Hamastan in the West Bank? What will happen if Obama tries to force Israel to dismantle its nuclear weapons or votes with the Security Council or the UN General Assembly to boycott Israel?

 

Barack Obama should not be coddled by the Jews but should be persuaded and confronted, if necessary, to withdraw the Hagel nomination.

 

If Obama sought to start the "fight" in order to weaken the pro-Israel support in Congress and to create "daylight" between the US and Israel, he failed miserably. Even if confirmed, the pro- Israel supporters, led mostly by Christians, have already won because Hagel has been weakened and ridiculed to the point that he will be ineffective. The vote in the Senate was the first successful filibuster of the nomination of any secretary of defense in US history.

 

After that humiliating event , and given how narrow his base of support seems to be in Congress, no one truly believes that Hagel will be able to implement any major changes in US foreign or military policy including trying to appease the Arab world and Iran, and weakening the close US-Israeli alliance.

 

Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com

 

 

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