Israel Palestine Infos
January 12, 2013
I FIND Chuck Hagel eminently likeable. I am not quite certain why.
Perhaps it’s his war record. He was decorated for valor in the Vietnam War (which I detested). He was a mere sergeant. Since I was a mere corporal in our 1948 war, I find it elating to see a non-commissioned officer become Minister of Defense.
Like so many veterans who have seen war from close up (myself included), he has become an enemy of war. Wonderful.
NOW Hagel is violently attacked by all the neocon warmongers, almost none of whom has ever heard a bullet whistle in the wars to which they sent others, and the combined political regiments of the American Jewish establishment.
His main sin seems to be that he objects to war against
Last week, the former much-lauded chief of the Shin Bet painted a frightening
picture of Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak at a security meeting to discuss
the bombing of
Netanyahu’s spin-doctors retorted that Winston Churchill, too, was a brandy drinker and smoked cigars. Seems that spirits and cigars are not enough to make a Churchill.
Actually, I think that the appointment of Hagel may come as a relief to
Netanyahu. After years of depicting the Iranian nuclear bomb as the end of the
world, or at least of
But the catalogue of Hagel’s crimes is much more extensive.
Many years ago he called the pro-Israeli lobby in
HOWEVER, HAGEL’S most heinous sin is not often mentioned. While serving as the
Republican senator for
That is really the crux of the matter.
In the present election campaign, the Likud is showing again and again (and
again) the scene of Netanyahu addressing the
(A curiosity: right after this shameful scene, the clip shows Netanyahu
addressing the UN General Assembly. Since the applause there was sparse – hardly
anyone, other than Avigdor Lieberman and the other members of the Israeli
delegation in the half-empty hall did applaud – the editors of the clip used a
little trick: they took the applause from the
Somebody sent me a satirical piece saying that if Hagel’s appointment is not
cancelled by the
Jokes aside, the Israeli defense establishment is not worried by the Hagel appointment. They seem to know him as quite receptive to Israeli requests. Several Israeli generals have already come to his defense.
THIS WHOLE episode might be considered trivial, or even funny, were it not for the question: Why did President Obama put forward this controversial figure in the first place?
An obvious answer is: Revenge. Obama is a master of controlling his emotions. During all the months of Netanyahu supporting Mitt Romney, Obama did not react. But his anger must have been building up inside.
Now the time has come. Appointing Hagel and openly humiliating the pro-Israel
lobby was one way. More of this can be expected to come. Any slight nudge from
By the way, this blow could be used by the opposition parties here to to expose
Netanyahu's rank incompetence. Supporting Romney was plain stupid. All the more
so as Netanyahu, who was raised in the
I don’t expect President Obama to change the
There is already a marked difference between Obama I and Obama II. When he was elected the first time, he chose Chas Freeman, a highly respected diplomat, to head the National Security Council. The pro-Israel lobby raised a storm, and the appointment was withdrawn. Obama then preferred public humiliation to a confrontation with the lobby. How different this time!
This change may well become more marked in Obama's second term and far beyond.
The lobby’s stranglehold on
I believe that one of the reasons is that the perception of the American Jewish community is changing. American politicians are beginning to realize that Jewish voters are far from unanimously behind the lobby. American Jewish “leaders”, almost all of them self-appointed and representing nobody but a small clique of professional representatives, as well as the Israeli embassy and some right-wing billionaires, do not control the Jewish vote.
This became clear when Netanyahu supported Romney. The great majority of Jewish voters continued to support Obama and the Democratic Party.
This is not a sudden development. For years now, American Jews – especially young Jews – have distanced themselves from the Zionist establishment. Becoming more and more disillusioned with official Israeli policy, alienated by the occupation, disgusted with the pictures of Israeli soldiers beating up helpless Palestinians, they have quietly dropped away. Quietly, because they fear an anti-Semitic backlash. Jews are indoctrinated from early childhood that “we Jews have to stick together” in face of the anti-Semites.
Only a few brave American Jews are ready to openly – though ever so timidly –
AMERICANS MUST be a race of angels – how else to explain the incredible patience with which they suffer the fact that in a vital sphere of US interests, American policy is dictated by a foreign country?
For five decades, at least,
I have warned many times that this can’t go on forever. Sooner or later real anti-Semites – a disgusting breed – will exploit this situation to gain legitimacy. The hubris of AIPAC bears poisonous fruit.
Perhaps the lobby is becoming alert to this danger. In the present affair, their voice is remarkably subdued. They don’t want to stand out.
THE SADDEST part of the story is that all these false “friends of
American policy plays a major role in the agony of the Israeli peace camp, which
is so manifest in the present election campaign. Just one example: the huge
settlement effort now in process, which makes the two-state peace solution more
and more difficult to implement, is financed by American Jews who funnel their
donations through tax-free organizations. Thus the
Since the 19th century, newspapers have got used to abbreviating
their reports by saying “
BACK TO Senator Hagel: the Israeli government and the “friends of
Speaking for myself, I hope that his appointment will herald a new American
policy – a policy of support for a sober, rational, liberal, secular, democratic