This is one of those times when it all seems a bit much. Bad enought that Obama has now nominated Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense. But then we have a Democratic lobbying group, the National Jewish Democratic Council, which has released a statement saying that it is confident that Hagel:
"will follow the president’s lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel.
"President Barack Obama's unprecedented pro-Israel credentials are unquestionable, and setting policy starts and stops with the president.”
Daniel Greenfield, writing in Frontpage Magazine, says that this NJDC statement reflects an unwillingness to endorse Hagel:
"The shorter version is, 'Hagel may hate Jews, but put your faith in Barack Obama.'"
All fine and good, but... "Obama's unprecedented pro-Israel credentials"?
Greenfield then asks the very same question that had occured to me:
"If Obama’s support for Israel is so unrivaled, why did he nominate a man that even the NJDC can’t bring itself to support?"
In any event, any Jewish group that chooses to allude to "Obama's unprecedented pro-Israel credentials" is either seriously out of touch with reality, or seriously into being court Jews. I find this very worrisome.
Much to my bewilderment, since he claimed to support Israel, Alan Dershowitz was an Obama supporter throughout the campaign. But now he says that Obama's appointment is a mistake:
"I think it makes it more likely that Iran will persist in its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. This will send a message to the Iranian Mullahs of softness, to nominate a man who is opposed to sanctions and who is opposed to the military option.... (Emphasis added)
"The Iranians are celebrating this appointment in Tehran, this was a great appointment for Tehran...
"I makes it more likely that Iran will actually move towards developing a nuclear program and it makes it more likely that there will have to be a military response. This is a very bad nomination for peace."
In an interview with Breitbart today, Dershowitz said that he has been approached about possibly testifying against Hagel on the issue of Iran, and if asked is prepared to do so.
He believes this appointment was inspired by Obama's personal relationship with Hagel and says that some within the White House itself were opposed. In fact, he says he's been told that the head of the National Jewish Democratic Council was opposed to the nomination -- which may be a clue that Greenfield was correct.
Part of the problem, said Dershowitz, is that JStreet was for the nomination and this gave Obama cover "as it often does."
The thrust of Deshowitz's concern here, regarding Hagel and his softness on Iran, points to the fact that this nomination is of concern for reasons that transcend Jewish issues.
Not only is Hagel soft on Iran, he has been soft more generally on terrorist organizations. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) told CNN that Hagel said "Israel should directly negotiate with the Hamas organization – a terrorist group that lobs thousands of rockets into Israel – he also was one of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union that Hezbollah should be designated as a terrorist organization." (Emphasis added)
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, In a statement on Hagel's nomination Sunday, declared that this is the "worst possible message" the United States can send to its Middle East allies.
Ed Koch, former NY mayor and long time political commentator, also gave an interview on the issue of Hagel's nomination, which makes him decidedly unhappy. What this interview does, however, is make me feel just a tad better about Koch. He had been anti-Obama and then reversed himself and come out an Obama supporter before the election. My own question was, How could he? Well, here he tells us:
"Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel. It comes a little earlier than I thought it would. (Emphasis added)
"I did what I thought was warranted and intelligent. He was going to win! There was no question about it. I thought it would be helpful to have a Jewish voice there, being able to communicate."
Well, he guessed wrong about Obama, but, apparently, was not supporting him out of strong conviction that the man would be consistently good for Israel and the Jews. And it's clear that his voice has counted for less than nothing.
Now about the Hagel nomination he says:
"I’m sure that the Arabs are drinking orange juice and toasting Hagel’s good health.
"I believe it will encourage...the jihadists. They will say ‘ah, we are winning the battle. America is beginning to desert Israel.'"
Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Majority Leader, put out a statement about the nomination, as well:
"I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama's nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel, to be secretary of defense....Hagel's views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally..." (Emphasis added)
Senator Cornyn, cited above, concurs in this view, having said that:
"Chuck Hagel, if confirmed...would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in our nation’s history." (Emphasis added)
Note that Hagel has said that the US relationship with Israel "need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships."
To all of the above, add the following:
"In October 2000, Hagel was one of only four Senators who refused to sign a letter expressing support for Israel during the Palestinian intifada."
"In November 2001, Hagel was one of 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter requesting President Bush not meet with Yasser Arafat until Arafat’s Fatah terrorists ceased attacks on Israel."
"In November 2003, the Senate, by a vote of 89 to 4, passed the Syria Accountability Act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon. Hagel didn’t vote."
"In 2006, after Hezbollah attacks sparked a war with Israel, Hagel called on the Bush administration to open direct talks with Hezbollah’s sponsors, Iran and Syria."
So, Hagel has been nominated and Senate Armed Service Committee chair Carl Levin (D-MI) seems ready to clear him through his committee. But the Senate still has to confirm him.
That is where you come in, my friends. Please! Contact your Senators without delay. Ask that they vote against the Hagel confirmation.
You have here numerous sources to quote from, and numerous facts to present regarding his lack of qualifications for the position. But it is best to keep the message simple. And emphasize the fact that Hagel is bad for America.
You can find your Senators here:
Not, I will add here, that all of this means Kerry is a great choice for secretary of state, or John Brennan for CIA director. But I'll return to this another day.
In case you haven't heard: about a week ago, former vice president Al Gore sold the cable news network -- Current TV -- he co-founded seven years ago. It was purchased for $100 million by Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arabic cable news network owned by Qatar, and overseen by Sheik Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, a member of Qatar's royal family.
The purchase boosted Al-Jazeera's English language reach in the US nine-fold to about 40 million (although Time-Warner has dropped it). There is no rule against foreign ownership of a cable network. Al-Jazeera says it plans to develop something called Al-Jazeera America. This channel will be headquartered in New York and half its broadcasts will focus on US news.
And the other half? Well Gore explained in a statement that confirmed the sale:
Al-Jazeera, he said, shares Current TV's mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."
This is what Barry Rubin has to say about the sale (emphasis added):
"First, al-Jazeera was originally run by Arab nationalists but these people were replaced by Islamists about four or so years ago. It is thus a radical media outlet run by people who are anti-American, anti-Christian, antisemitic, and anti-Western. In other words, it is an instrument of extremist revolutionary movements. On a number of occasions it has lent itself to promote and be used by violent terrorist groups.
"Second, while al-Jazeera is more open to dissenting views than previous state-controlled media this is misleading. It is more open in English than in Arabic but former staffers in the English-language section have spoken about how it is not a free agent but the news is slanted to please the Qatari government which owns it...So al-Jazeera is also an instrument of concealed propaganda.
"Third, when al-Jazeera does have on dissenting views it tends to follow a formula....much of the nominal openness is used to create a frenzy of hatred...
"But there's more! Qatar, except for the (possibly soon to be overthrown) Syrian regime, is the most pro-Iran Arab government...
Rubin says al-Jazeera is not a station a former American vice president should want to associate with, and that Gore had every reason to know what he was doing.
Al-Jazeera is anti-Israel and anti-American, "and, again, Gore should know this.... the former vice-president of the United States cannot tell the difference between a free media and a state-controlled propaganda organ, or--which is worse--doesn't care."
"In former, sane, times, doing something like this would have finished Gore's credibility forever. Needless to say, sanity has long since jumped out the window.
"By the way, remember that al-Jazeera is controlled by an oil-producing state whose goals include maintaining the highest possible use of petroleum, a goal that is contrary to Gore's obsession with what he says is the threat of man-made global warming to destroy the planet in the near future. "
Frank Gaffney, Jr., President of the Center for Security Policy, says this about Gore's sale to al-Jazeera:
"The effect will be to create vast new opportunities for our enemies to propagandize the American people, a key ingredient of their 'civilization jihad' against our country.
"It is hard to overstate the magnitude of this treachery." (Emphasis added)
The kicker here is that Glenn Beck now says he tried last year to buy Gore's network. The response he received from Gore's negotiators was (paraphrased), "...our legacy is too important and there would quite frankly be too many people, too many friends that the vice president would have to explain why he's selling to Glenn Beck."
But sell to al-Jazeera, no explanations necessary.
In the past, al-Jazeera English's managing director spoke of a "very aggressive hostility" from the Bush administration, which had discouraged cable and satellite companies from accepting al-Jazeera. And the Obama administration now? This is most certainly just fine and dandy with them.
The anxiety I feel for the American nation right now is huge. No, it's more than this: the America I knew is gone.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.