The Israeli prime minister's support for the Republican presidential candidate during the US elections and his blatant support for all of Obama's enemies and haters may soon exact a heavy price. According to some reports, Obama has already decided to appoint former Republican senator Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.
For Israel, the appointment would be the realization of a nightmare. As a senator (1997-2008) Hagel was against imposing harsher sanctions on Iran, he opposed adding the Revolutionary Guards to the list of global terror organizations and signed a letter calling on the American government to recognize Hamas and negotiate with the Islamist group.
In 2007, when Hagel considered seeking the GOP presidential nomination, the Democratic Party distributed a document detailing his anti-Israel votes, positions and statements.
Political pundits in the US claim that Hagel is currently affiliated with a small but influential group of rightist, conservative and anti-Israel statesmen. The members of this group view America's Jews as (almost) a fifth column that favors Israel's interests over America's interests, and attribute the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC with the power to tilt US foreign policy in Israel's favor.
Hagel with Obama (Archive photo: AP)
The group's positions were expressed in a book written by political science professors Walt and Mearsheimer, who sought to "expose" AIPAC's "destructive influence" on America's standing in the Middle East. The book described AIPAC as a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." Since publishing their first article on the subject in 2006, Walt and Mearsheimer have become the favorites of Americans who believe the US is controlled by a Jewish-Israeli conspiracy.
In a 2006 interview for a book written by Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator during the Clinton years, Hagel said "The political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here." Miller, a traditional Jew, defended Hagel's comment.
America's foreign policy and defense experts believe Hagel's possible appointment as defense secretary would bring an end to the special and close relations that have existed over the past few years between the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Department of Defense in Washington.
The matter was discussed during a meeting between Obama and a group Jewish figures who were invited to a Hanukkah party at the White House. "It's a terrible idea," one of those who attended the event was quoted as saying. But now, after Netanyahu burned all of his personal bridges with Obama, there is nothing the Prime Minister's Office can do about it.