Chuck Hagel and the ‘Jewish Lobby’

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor.


I recently examined the records of two career politicians all but certain to be nominated for top spots within the Obama administration – John Kerry for Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. While John Kerry’s record on Israel is mixed at best, Obama’s man for Secretary of Defense is downright hostile. What’s more, a deeper look at Hagel’s record reveals a deep-seeded hatred of Israel far beyond the norm for ordinary run-of-the-mill Israel critics.

I hate to use the term “anti-Semitic” because its overuse results in dilution of its negative connotation. The term “anti-Semite” should be used sparingly and with extreme caution and only when one is absolutely certain that the recipient of the pejorative is indeed an anti-Semite. I have come to the reluctant conclusion that not only does Hagel harbor animus toward Israel, he displays anti-Semitic tendencies.

Anti-Semitism has morphed throughout the years, and only the most boorish cling to the old-school style anti-Semitism. We see this type of xenophobia prevalent in the Arab and Muslim world. When the Islamo-fascist dictator of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, concurs with an anti-Semitic screed that calls for the destruction of the “yahuds” – that’s old-school anti-Semitism. Similarly, when government-controlled Arab and Iranian media spew forth claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in ritualistic fashion to prepare Matzoth for Passover, that too is classic anti-Semitism and very easy to identify.

But today’s anti-Semitism has taken a more insidious form and masks itself as legitimate criticism of Israel with the purported aim of advancing “human rights.” Famed humanitarian and Soviet dissident Nathan Sharansky recognized the problem and postulated a test – which he termed the “3D-Test” – to distinguish between “legitimate” criticism of Israel and veiled anti-Semitism masquerading as legitimate criticism.

While Hagel doesn’t fit as neatly into Sharansky’s 3D-test, as say, someone like Alison Weir (not to be confused with the British historian and author Alison Weir), the notorious chief of a hate mongering organization, his past actions and veiled references to Jewish influences in Washington make him come pretty darn close.

With the possible exception of former KKK member Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Chuck Hagel is arguably the most hostile anti-Israel senator ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. His record features a laundry list of anti-Israel actions that include his failure to sign a bipartisan letter to the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations. He was one of only a handful of Senators who refused to sign the letter.

Prior to September 11, 2001 Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than all other terrorist organizations combined. It was also responsible for targeting and destroying Jewish centers in Argentina, resulting in countless of civilian deaths, for no other reason than its lust for the murder of Jews.

Chuck Hagel currently serves as Chairman of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy blog. On December 11, 2012 the Atlantic Council published a front page article titled “Israel’s Apartheid Policy.” Of all the anti-Semitic canards and libelous statements about Israel, perhaps none is more egregious than labeling Israel an “Apartheid state.”

The article notes that Israel maintains separate roads for Arabs and Jews and implies that this situation existed since the Six-Day War, which is utter rubbish. Prior to the Oslo War (also know as the Second Intifada) Jews and Arabs were freely able to utilize the same roads. It was only after Arafat unleashed his wave of homicide bombers and drive-by shooters that security concerns dictated curtailment of terrorist movement. The Palestinians have only themselves to blame for their predicament. Violence entails consequences and no responsible nation can allow its citizens – women and children – to fall prey to violence of the most horrific sort.

Moreover, the article neglects to note that Israeli courts, at the request of Arab-affiliated organizations, periodically review the security situation and allow for the loosening of restrictions as the security situation warrants. The article also repeats the lie that planned Israeli construction in the E-1 section near Jerusalem would sever land links between Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Even the New York Times, with its lengthy history of anti-Israel bias, acknowledged (belatedly) that this was simply not the case.

It seems highly unlikely that Hagel, as chairman of the Atlantic Council, was unaware of this article’s intended publication and this is especially true in light of its timing. The likelihood is that Hagel either agrees with this vitriol or wishes to perpetuate it even if he doesn’t believe it. It’s bad any way you look at it.

But what nails it for me and what is perhaps most disconcerting is Hagel’s 2006 pejorative reference to the so-called “Jewish lobby,” conjuring up the old anti-Semitic canard – very popular in the Arab world and among Nazi conspiracists – of rich, powerful Jews pulling the strings of Washington. Images of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion come to mind and perhaps this is what Hagel wanted his audience to absorb.

Sorry Chuck but there is no “Jewish Lobby.” There is an organization called AIPAC composed of American citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, who believe that close cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is advantageous to both countries. That at a time when chaos, mayhem and fanaticism grips the Muslim world – for reasons having nothing to do with Israel –  it is important now more than ever, to recognize Israel’s strategic importance and its underlying moral similarities with our nation.

But someone like Hagel, who views matters through the narrow prism of Jew and non-Jew, sees only the “Jewish lobby.” His reference to the “Jewish lobby” is demonstrative of his myopic outlook that precludes any possibility that many non-Jews are supportive of Israel for a plethora of reasons including but not limited to, shared values and strategic interests. In fact, a recent Pew research poll confirms that Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, and this poll is consistent with past polls that revealed similar results.

I could be wrong of course but I believe that Chuck Hagel meets the criteria as set forth in Sharansky’s formulation and if he is nominated and confirmed, U.S.-Israeli relations will likely spiral and that will be bad for both countries.

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  • Mary Sue

    It would be interesting to dig deeper to find the roots of Chuck Hagel's anti-semitism problem. I wonder how he'd react if he found out that there's Muslim-Only roads in Saudi Arabia!

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Google Images "muslims only" to see for yourself.

      • Mary Sue

        has Hagel seen them?

  • pierce

    Both men mentioned in this article are, in my humble opinion, ELITISTS. They both think they are better than they are, and with their egos, such as they are, should never be considered for either position. We don't need elitists in Washington, we need humble, down to earth people.

  • Greg

    Wow, coincidence or not, he was Chairman of American Information Services (AIS), later known as Election Systems & Software !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • doubleblack

    When are you going to bring some brilliant psychiatrists together to analyze these jew haters?
    Once we have a good understanding of what drives these haters a treatment plan can be planned
    to combat these potential monsters.

  • Questions

    Ari Lieberman has it right: Chuck Hagel is genuinely hostile toward Israel. A caveat, however. I resent the author's reference to the late West Virginia senator, Robert Byrd, as a "former KKK member." That is NOT what defined Byrd either as a man or as a public servant. It's just a cheap way of bringing up that nonexistent bogeyman of "liberal racism" — as if Democrat and liberal automatically mean the same thing.

    The real scandal of Byrd was that he wound up a Ted Kennedy-style affirmative action booster who received almost perfect 100 percent scores on the NAACP's annual congressional report card. If he hated Jews, he must have kept that side of himself well-hidden.

    • Mary Sue

      the thing about the KKK is it was created by members of the Democrat party. And when Robert Byrd was younger, he was just as "liberal" in his politics as he was right up til the end.

      But it is mentioned to combat the false narrative that only Republicans are racist.

  • Herbster

    Kerry will be added to the long list of incompetent drones in the obama administration. He will be confirmed easily by the "Old boy network" in the senate. John (I cross the aisle) McCain already gave his stamp of approval. Can his sock puppet, Graham be far behind? …….and the so-called "Independent'" Lieberman will no doubt vote "Aye." These three musketeers are a disgrace to the nation. In advance, you can add Kerry's name to the list of the worst secretaries of state in history. Albright "Concussion" Clinton and now Lurch the ketchup king. Hagel is merely the mirror image of our demander in chief. No further comment is necessary…….

  • Ghostwriter

    What an idiot Hagel is.

  • Jack

    WHAT MATTERS IS HIS INTEREST IN USA OR ISRAEL.
    SO WHY DOES THE JEWISH LOBBY CARE?

    I am really shocked to read this article, that a candidate is not suitable because he is not servile enough for a foreign nation!!

    He is going to be working for America, not Israel, correct?

    In no other country a candidate's loyalty to a foreign interest a QUALIFYING factor, except in USA, vis-a-vis Israel.

    The fact that his opinions on Israel are being made an issue PROVES very clearly that the Jewish lobby does indeed control our govt.

    The fact that he is being attacked shows the Israel lobby is doing its dirty deeds again–abusing honest people with the fraudulent term "anti-semite" though Judaists are mostly whites, not even Semites, and the term anti-Semite is clearly hate speech and verbal abuse and verbal terrorism.

    • American patriot

      "Jewish lobby?" Can you please tell me which PAC calls itself the "Jewish Lobby?" AIPAC is a PAC which has Jewish and non-Jewish members (like any other PAC) and which believes that close cooperation between natural allies with shared values, is good for both countries. How is that "Jewish" or "Jew lobby?" Only an anti-Semite like Hagel would view this in Jewish and non-Jewish terms. While Kerry might not be pro-Israel, at least he's not a bigot, which Hagel most certainly is.

  • Jack

    HOW IS A JEW, WHO A NOT AND WHO AN ANTI-SEMITE AND WHO IS NOT?

    People use these terms casually without having basic knowledge about their meaning or their own identity, often with interesting results.

    For example, in this story below, a person biologically related to those European gentiles that people who calling themselves “Jews” now celebrate victory over annually during Hannukah, beat up and electrically shocked a REAL JEW, directly from the land of Moses, far more biologically related to Moses than the person who shocked him. The beater, for beating up a real Jew (as real as one could possibly be a “Jew”) would certainly be considered “anti-Semite” by many.

    See:
    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahco

    A fake “Jew” telling a “real Jew”, who is far more related to Moses than the former, to go back to Africa, is truly the most “anti-semite” and “Neo-nazi” thing one could do, isn’t it?

    P.S. Also, the book “Invention of the Jewish People” by Shlomo Sand is quite interesting.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Hagel is and antisemite, now who would want and antisemite as Secretary of Defense in todays
    raving savage Islamist loonatic asylum, who could be so vile to do so when Israel is fighting
    for it's life, who, just who is this vile???………….Would this villian have and Arab name and
    bow to Islam while doing everything in his power to undermine Israel, we know. Hagel is a
    dirtbag, dirt attracts dirt……………………William

  • American Patriot

    Good article and valid points. Hagel is bad for America. Hagel is bad for US-Israeli relations. Hagel is bad news. Just look at some of his endorsers. The Iranians & Stephen Walt. Need I say more?

  • rf10

    No one can dare criticize Israel in the US. In Israel, there is far more debate tolerated than in the US.

    All I can say is why do they keep pushing to release Jonathan Pollard, a true enemy of the US and traitor, and who was he working for?

    And remember the Liberty. 30 US Sailors murdered by Israel. We must do what is in the best interests of the US, not Israel.

    • American Patriot

      rf10. You are a miserable lowlife perpetuating conspiracy theories that have been debunked 1000 times over. Thorough investigations on the Liberty matter were conducted in the US and Israel and all concluded that it was a mistake that occurred during the fog of war. Ever hear of friendly fire? This happens during war, which is nothing more than organized chaos. But you're not interested in facts are you. Your presence here is more sinister. Go back to your David Duke cave or whatever rock you called from under. Your presence here is unwanted, scumbag.

      • lou del pozzo

        You're talking out of the wrong hole and obviously know nothing about the USS Liberty incident. It was a clear cover-up by the powers-that-be, starting with President Johnson, who recalled the jet interceptors from two carriers because, "I don't want to embarrass my Jewish friends." And the "investigation" that took a whole week (should have taken six months) and allowed no Israeli witnesses. A two hour "mistake?" Not likely. A clear American flag, on a clear day, and a ship that no way resembled an Egyptian horse carrier. The full force of the Israeli air and navy forces to sink an Egyptian horse carrier. And what about the Israeli pilot who refused to continue the attack because "It's an American ship, by god!" And I could go on and on, but you surely aren't interested, otherwise you would read the accounts of the witnesses as to the visciousness of the attack from the straffing to neapalming to the torpoeding to the straffing of life boats. A case of mistaken identy, my ass. They did it for a reason and got away with it.

  • jean

    There are many reasons to oppose Chuck Hagel besides Israel, anti-semitism and Iran.

    To me he is the stereotypical Archie Bunker type bigot. His policies have been anti gay (even now after his late and self serving apology he doesn't support equal benefits for gay military families. He is anti-African American (with a 17/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception)
    and
    Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

    “Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. Yes, Hagel wants to gut the Pentagon’s budget. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Republican Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

    “Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”

    Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

    “Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”

    Multiple sources corroborated this view of Hagel.

    “As a manager, he was angry, accusatory, petulant,” said one source familiar with his work on Capitol Hill. “He couldn’t keep his staff.”

    “I remember him accusing one of his staffers of being ‘f—ing stupid’ to his face,” recalled the source who added that Hagel typically surrounded himself with those “who basically hate Republicans.”

    Sources expressed concern about such behavior should Hagel be nominated for the defense post. With competing military and civilian interests vying for supremacy, the department requires a skilled manager, sources said.

    “The Pentagon requires strong civilian control,” a senior aide to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Free Beacon. “It’s already swung back in favor of the military over the past five years. A new secretary of defense should push it back in its rightful place, but it’s doubtful Hagel would be that guy.”

    “It’s not clear that [Hagel] has the standing, the managerial prowess, or the willingness to gore some oxen,” said the source.

    One senior Bush administration official warned that Hagel is ill informed about many critical foreign policy matters.

    “He’s not someone who’s shown a lot of expertise on these issues,” said the source, referencing a recent Washington Post editorial excoriating Hagel’s record. “That [op-ed] was extraordinary.”

    “Only in Washington,” the official added, “can someone like [Hagel] be seen as a heavy weight. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

    Hagel is likely viewed positively by the administration mainly because he is a Republican who often criticizes his own party, the source said.

    “He’ll dance to a tune played by the White House,” said the former official. “That I think is the real problem.”

    As lawmakers consider a deal to avoid sweeping budgets cuts and tax hikes, Hagel’s support for slashing spending at the Pentagon has irked many defense hawks.

    “This is a time when a secretary of defense needs to be raising hell about the sequestration cuts,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “It’s not clear that Hagel has any interest in picking that fight.”

    Hagel’s reluctance to chastise Iran also remains a central concern.

    As chief of the Pentagon it is expected he would avoid planning for a military intervention should Tehran refuse to end its clandestine nuclear enrichment program.

    “The military brass is already reluctant to offer up any military options on Iran even though it’s their job to have something on the books and to leave the options of the commander in chief open,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “Hagel will only reinforce these worrisome tendencies.”

    “Chances are he’ll view any legitimate effort to talk about military options with Iran as some plot by the ‘Israel Lobby’ to box him in,” the source said.

  • anonnicsa

    It's fun being an atheist, I can read stories like this and laugh..Anti-Semite, lol..What a funny word almost like racist hey. I don't think anybody hates a Jew for being a "Jew" (Since you are a person just like the Arab and the Christian, 10 fingers, ten toes), I believe some hate Jews for how they portray themselves. If you portray yourself as Master of the universe or the "chosen people", then people will hate you. If you believe it is fine to extort anybody else but your Jewish friends the world will see that is separatism and hence you will be separated.

  • Ralph Spyer

    Why does Iseral get more aid than any other country ? Why does Israel get more arms than any other country? Why is it that Israel is the only country [for now] to have weapons of mast distruction? How many Americans senators and congress men and women have duel citizenship with the jewish state ,are they Americans First or do they serve two masters???