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Obama Farms Out Defense, Foreign Policy to Israel Lobby

Hagel obama

Another appointee done gone–thanks to the Lobby (Jim Young/Reuters)

Jewish lobby–Israel lobby, what does it matter?  No matter what you call it, this phantom that has no power and barely exists (if you were to query Josh Block, Bill Daroff, Dennis Ross or other doyens of the Dark Side), has succeeded once again in determining on Israel’s behalf, major elements of U.S. military and foreign policy.

At the beginning of Obama’s first term, they nailed Chas. Freeman for being insufficiently obeisant to the lobby. Now Aipac and their slime Meisters have managed to douse Hagel in enough goo that it’s gummed up the works of the nomination process.

Obama is an exceedingly timid executive, which makes him an easy mark for hard-nosed back room brawlers like Howard Kohr. So his foreign policy is hijacked by the lobby at key junctures, thus giving Israel and the lobby veto power over major appointments and policy considerations they consider vital to their interests.

Obama’s mantra is keep your powder dry till you really need it.  In the meantime, by the time Obama determines he really needs to break out the gunpowder there may be no principle worth defending.

Another good man bites the dust. We have people like Abe Foxman, and Jennifer Rubin to thank. And Bibi Netanyahu. In almost ever other circumstance Americans would be shocked and aghast to have U.S. foreign policy vetted in a foreign capital. Apparently, when that capital is Tel Aviv the outrage is modulated into something much more accommodating.

What is also disturbing about this development is that those who declared jihad on Hagel did so claiming he was anti-Semitic because he used the term  “Jewish lobby.”  In reality, the lobby took their pound of flesh because he actually had strong views about the Middle East that weren’t sufficiently obsequious to the pro-Israel narrative.  He opposed the Iraq War in 2003.  He opposes an Iran war now.  He would likely be even more of a thorn in Israel’s side than current U.S. policy is.

For these reasons, Hagel had to go.  So because a man has strong views that don’t align with those of the yes-men in the suites of Aipac, the ADL, and AJC, U.S. policy becomes even more pareve than it already is.  Goodbye candor, hello same-old, same-old.

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{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Castellio December 23, 2012, 8:17 PM

    Just curious… where did Nuland stand on Hagel, or HRC? Or all the “boys in Chicago”? There is the ‘Heavy’ Lobby of whom you name some, and then all the Lobby lites who take their “reading” from the Lobby itself.

    However, give the man his due, Obama pretends he’s limited by those around him, when he chose those same people himself. And this mockery will continue…

  • mary December 24, 2012, 2:17 AM

    Well, maybe Netanyahu has more close friends around the Beltway that could be pressed into service. Good buddy John Kerry is taking over for Hillary and it is reported that King Bibi is “pleased.” Of course, he was showing off his tremendous influence in Washington, to reassure those Israelis who worry about Obama’s loyalty.

  • PersianAdvocate December 24, 2012, 8:39 AM

    Ari Fleischer heads the Republican JEWISH Committee. Maybe Ari, traitor to American interests, is an anti-Semite?

    • Siusaidh December 24, 2012, 8:46 AM

      Nicely put. While Zionists claim to represent all Jews, if one takes them at their word one get labeled an ‘anti-Semite’. Seems that to apply logic is ‘anti-Semitic’. Tiresome eh?

    • Richard Silverstein December 25, 2012, 2:22 AM

      Not sure what you mean. There’s a Republican National Jewish Coalition, but no Republican Jewish Committee.

      • PersianAdvocate December 25, 2012, 7:46 AM

        Committee, Coalition, Crew, Circus — whatever you wish to call the indefensible bunch.

        ***http://situationroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/20/fleischer-hagel-would-be-a-disaster/

        On CNN’s State of the Union, Ari was dubbed as a member of the “Republican Jewish Coalition”, sans “National”.

        I don’t need to make a point — they already have.

  • djf December 24, 2012, 9:44 AM

    Richard, you can’t fairly talk about this controversy without noting the anti-semitic connotations of “Jewish lobby”. The canard that Jews are surreptitiously undermining civil institutions has a long and ugly history, and features prominently in modern Arab and Palestinian anti-semitism.

    Also, a minor correction. Hagel did not oppose the Iraq in 2003; he voted for the war and later opposed it, beginning in 2005, I believe.

    • Jafar Siddiqui December 24, 2012, 10:19 AM

      “djf”,
      Your use of the word “canard” to describe the influence of Jewish groups in DC, would suggest the actual Jewish Lobby Collective is, as Richard quotes, a “phantom that has no power and barely exists”, when it is actually the single most powerful lobby in the US. The fact that it does its most effective work from the background, unlike the NRA, is not grounds for denying their existence or their influence.

      • Bob Mann December 24, 2012, 1:43 PM

        A major Jewish group called J Street came out in support of Hagel’s nomination. So have others.

        • Castellio December 24, 2012, 3:04 PM

          What others?

          • PersianAdvocate December 24, 2012, 3:20 PM

            *crickets*

        • Richard Silverstein December 24, 2012, 5:04 PM

          @Bob Mann: J Street: you mean “Jews for Obama?” As someone else said, Who else?

      • djf December 26, 2012, 1:49 PM

        Who denied anyone’s existence? I’m talk about the anti-semitic connotations of “Jewish Lobby.”

    • Richard Silverstein December 24, 2012, 5:08 PM

      Sorry, but when the Lobby itself equates Jewishness with Zionism then no one can be faulted for following their lead. If you’d tell the Israeli leadership to stop speaking for all Jews & stop trying to save the entire Jewish people from the imaginary Iranian threat, then I’ll get lathered up when Chuck Hagel talks about the Jewish lobby. Till then, I’ll save my high moral dudgeon for other issues.

      • djf December 26, 2012, 1:47 PM

        You missed the point. I’m not asking for your “high moral dudgeon”. Jew have been derided, persecuted, and killed, many times over, for “conspiring” to control or subvert some government or institution or whatever else the anti-semites of the world have conjured up. So when an American official borrows a phrase from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, don’t act surprised when lots of Jews take notice. Whatever you think is or isn’t justified is besides the point.

        • Davey December 26, 2012, 2:00 PM

          You haven’t answered me on the hypothetical “Israel Lobby.” I have no doubts that many Arab and Palestinians have died simply because they were assumed to be anti-semitic. (Atzmon reports that the Israel Embassy in Ireland put on its website something to the effect that, if Joseph and Mary were alive today, they would probably have been killed by Palestinians! They quickly withdrew it.) Richard is right. As long as Zionists and Israel’s government makes the equation of Zionism and all Jews, then “Jewish lobby” is an expected natural result. If you point is that it was a bad choice of words, yeah probably. But, it is not anti-semitism at the root of the poor word choice, but Zionism. And that’s the point you need to consider.

        • Richard Silverstein December 27, 2012, 2:45 AM

          He didn’t borrow a phrase from the Protocols & don’t be such a nitwit. You know he didn’t. Once again, Zionists themselves make the grave error of substituting Israel for Judaism & claiming they speak for the entire Jewish people. When you can get your fellow Zionists to understand why this is deeply pernicious & stop doing it, you can start moaning here about the Protocols. Till then, you’re done on this subject, Don’t bring it up again.

          • djf December 27, 2012, 12:30 PM

            Enough with the name-calling already. “Moaning” about the Protocols? Why do you belittle one of the most dangerous anti-semitic works in recent history? “Jewish Lobby” conjures up some pretty frightening images for the Jewish community. Yet, you write a post about the controversy without a single mention of why the term stings so much. It’s absurd that I shouldn’t point-out anti-semitic rhetoric until I somehow get my “fellow Zionists” to stop speaking for Jews. How in the world is that my responsibility?

            Re Davey’s comment (“As long as Zionists and Israel’s government makes the equation of Zionism and all Jews, then “Jewish lobby” is an expected natural result.”), it’s naive to think that “Jewish lobby” is just about Zionism. That’s why I brought up the Protocols. They were saying the same things about Jews well before Zionism.

          • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2012, 12:49 AM

            For violating the comment and editorial rules, you’ve been moderated. If you continue doing so, your privileges may be further restricted.

          • Davey December 28, 2012, 10:58 AM

            djf — the point being made is that it was and is an understandable word choice in our time, given the high profile of Israel and Zionists in American foreign policy venues. John Q. Public will make this mistake inadvertently and it will be most likely attributable to Zionism and not anti-semitism as such. Or are you just about exploiting “anti-semitism” for Zionist ends?

    • PersianAdvocate December 25, 2012, 8:11 AM

      You can’t fairly use the “race card” to undermine observations of the clear and present reality. That’s the number one way to increase anti-Jewish sentiment anyway. Only second to foreign entanglement of this nefarious nature whereby America’s national interests are overtly capitulated to that of a foreign country’s (ANY foreign country’s).

      The Palestinians have many complaints, but they aren’t born out of an inherent hatred for Judaism. Stop scapegoating an entire religion for the political deeds of a few. Shame on you.

    • Davey December 25, 2012, 6:16 PM

      If he said “Israel lobby” would this had been free on connotations? Your terms “Arab and Palestinian anti-semitism” has connotations as well of irrational primitives hating modernism and its prophets, which also has an ugly history of imperialism. Therefore, it may be that you can’t “fairly talk about this…” or related controversies This would seem to follow from your remark.

  • Joel December 24, 2012, 10:58 AM

    @jafar

    Being effective is not the same as being powerful.

    • Richard Silverstein December 24, 2012, 5:05 PM

      @Joel: One of the more ridiculous comments you’ve posted. Of course effectiveness & power are synonymous.

      • Joel December 24, 2012, 9:11 PM

        [Comment deleted--Quoting hundreds of words from dictionary entries does not constitute a substantive comment.]

    • PersianAdvocate December 25, 2012, 8:03 AM

      Undermining the institutions of this nation as leverage for a foreign country’s interests are acts of treason and sedition. America does have national interests that run contrary to Israel’s, smaller than NJ and with 1/60th of the population of America (by census), believe it or not!

    • Davey December 25, 2012, 6:23 PM

      The Lobby that doesn’t exist, is effective and powerful. Many Americans are aware of this influence and deride it. If one looks just at Washington and the media, you would never know the extent to which Americans are savvy and pissed off about Israel’s influence in this country. Sooner or later, this has got to show up in Washington and the MSM. The defenders of Israel are mostly Jewish or fruitcake evangelicals, as far as I can see. I firmly believe that Obama will not leave office without sticking it to the Lobby big time: He has disappointed before but I innocently like to think he is biding his time. Imagine how he feels hemmed in and dictated to by Netanyahu and the Lobby again and again.

  • dickerson3870 December 24, 2012, 2:54 PM

    RE: “Now Aipac and their slime Meisters have managed to douse Hagel in enough goo that it’s gummed up the works of the nomination process.” ~ R.S.

    PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/nominate-chuck-hagel-secretary-defense-and-fight-his-nomination/P0ZtympX

    FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE” – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chuck-Hagel-for-Secretary-of-Defense/485366244839574

    • dickerson3870 December 24, 2012, 8:07 PM

      P.S. It’s time for Obama to show Bill Kristol who’s boss!
      If Obama folds on Chuck Hagel, he will pretty much spend the next four years as a lame duck.

      ROBERT NAIMAN’S PETITION: President Obama, we have your back. We support your choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next Secretary of Defense.
      TO SIGN - http://signon.org/sign/back-obama-in-tapping-1?source=c.url&r_by=1135580

  • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy December 24, 2012, 4:37 PM

    Israel Lobby or Jewish Lobby or…. what is this all about? It is the “United States of Israel”…. like it or not. Washington, DC is kind of a very large “Whorehouse”. Just PAY and many are willing to kiss your SHOES!

  • bluto December 25, 2012, 8:24 AM

    The Invisible Obama is going to do to William Kristol what he did to Netanyahu –

    Perhaps Hagel is not the nominee for Sec of Defense – but instead the anvil upon which Kristol is to be crushed.

    Could The Invisible One be undoing the Neocon and Israel Lobby Coup running this country in response to the clear and present preeminent need of America – that which everyone here really knows HAS to happen?

    Nah – no one could be THAT good…?

    Could Zen Master be so masterfully undoing EXACTLY the thing that most needs to be undone – so masterfully as if it appears to be happening almost by magic – effortlessly conducting the soft 2nd American Revolution which freeing ourselves from the Neocons and Israel Lobby would actually be?

    Who better than Hagel to help him? Is there anyone else who even could?

    When King Kristol regains consciousness his Neocon Empire will be laying in tatters at his feet – just like King Netanyahu found a couple of months ago after he woke up after tangling with the Shao Lin Master

    During Netanyahu’s run-up to what became a desperate sprint to trying to shove Obama into Iran this last fall – I started first wondering and then convincing myself that Obama was playing Netanyahu like a violin.

    (con at Part 2 of 3)

    He had ‘seen Netanyahu coming’ (hey, who didn’t) but with the patience of a Zen Master or rattlesnake had just waited…waited….waited…until Bibi was fully committed, come too far to try going back on his gambit, had shot his last wad, had Israel itself trying to put Bibi in a mental institution – and then and only then finally striking and simply flattening Netanyahu out, paying no political price, winning the election, and then (in my mind at least), silently looking back at the stunned prostrated Netanyahu as if to say, though not saying, ‘is that all you got?’

    Netanyahu has been enraged ever since – over the hill certifiably mad – just witness the whole E1 debacle, losing the EU, the finger to the UN, and the Faustian bargain with Luciferman himself. Obama so un-cooled Netanyahu’s cool that Netanyahu will never ever even have his cool again.

    Obama made him look like a sucker so BADLY that Mr MIT was actually SEEN actually still thinking Romney was going to win – when everyone else on the planet besides Karl Rove knew otherwise.

    Now Netanyahu is in a manic out of his mind phase, completely unbalanced, wrongfooted, unnerved and just ‘out of control’. He’s not just playing mad dog – he IS mad dog – and the whole world also SEES it and knows what to do with this kind of mad dog. It has organizing power. Again, a masterstroke just taking it’s natural masterful course

    He made Netanyahu not only look like a fool, but a fool who had done it to himself, and even worse, that it was true that in fact he HAD done it to himself, and even worse, the whole world saw him as a fool even when he himself couldn’t, and even worse, the whole world was just laughing at him by the time he got up for his Wylie Coyote bomb speech – and that is masterful, folks. And it happened…

    It was a masterful ambush and even more amazingly – it worked like magic. And it didn’t happen by accident. Someone made it happen and that someone was the ‘invisible Obama’

    I think the same thing is happening now with William Kristol and his merry band of hubris-filled neocons. Is King Kristol of the Neocons any different or more formidable than King Netanyahu? Does anyone think Obama can’t take Kristol?

    Is this not just Part 2 of the same story, of which the dethroning of King Netanyahu was just Part 1? Is it not the same people, the same neocons, all rounded up, all out in the open, all in the k*ll zone? Did Kristol not just come a’running to Obama’s silent whistle?

    Hagel was just good bait.

    Kristol is way past ‘all in’, fully committed, ‘ain’t no going back’. He’s out in the open – and he rounded up all his friends to be with him. This will be the end of Kristol’s career if he is humiliated here and now…. Perfect.

    And even more delicious, Kristol doesn’t even remember he just saw this movie a month or so ago. Kristol will have the opportunity to prove, as his last public act, that he was ineducable.

    Ah – the blindness of narcissism… such a powerful tool to use against one’s foe, laughs the Buddha.

    Ain’t ever going to happen? Tell it to what’s left of Netanyahu…

    • Castelliio December 25, 2012, 1:33 PM

      Dream much?

  • Andy December 25, 2012, 10:54 AM

    Once the White House begins meeting regularly with B’Tselem, we’ll be in a position to criticize Hagel for his use of the term “Jewish Lobby”. Not until.

  • Arie Brand December 26, 2012, 3:32 PM

    Bluto what others see as excessive timidity you regard as extraordinary subtlety. I hope you are right.

    But do I understand you correctly that you expect Obama NOT to appoint Hagel in order to crush Kristol and his merry warriors? I can’t see how that works.

    Anyway, a strong column by Tom Friedman in the NYT today in support of Hagel:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/opinion/friedman-give-chuck-a-chance.html?hp

  • Piotr Berman December 28, 2012, 2:18 PM

    When the Congress is not is session, there are many good deals for Washington hotel rooms. Lobbying is a major industry, with many lobbyist staying in the area full time. And many lobbies have a lot of money and clout, banks, insurance companies, medical companies and so on. Yet, if you write The Lobby, it is quite clear what lobby.

    However, there seem to be a civil war in The Lobby. Many Jewish insiders and opinion makers went against the major Jewish organizations on Hagel, and the issue was phrased: will pro-Israeli extremists win again, or will sanity prevail? Add comments to the effect “is Obama incurably spineless”, and Obama may be in trouble if he indeed abandons Hagel. This is a minor and somewhat symbolic issue, but it may help removing veto power that in recent years was exercised by The Lobby.

    I think that the lobbies have very unfortunate impact on policies, because they thrive in peddling sharp phony contradictions and the sense of crisis among the donors who “now, more than every, we need your support. Palestinian hordes are taking over UN even as we speak, president does not treat Israeli PM as politely as he could and so on. All lobbies do that, it is not about policies but about marketing of positions and getting good paychecks out of it. And lobby has to be indispensible, so the positions have to be extreme, and the marketing gurus organize experts, astroturf etc. The Lobby is special, because if you oppose AMA on the issue of national insurance requirements, you are not accused of ugly anti-doctor prejudice and hidden wish to slay all doctors. At worst you are branded a Commie. But the political structure overtaken by professional lobbies is a common reason why USA cannot have sane energy policy, sane health policy, sane defense policy and, of course, sane ME policy, or even sane agricultural policy.

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