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Ed Koch and Alan Dershowitz React to Obama’s Hagel Betrayal

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On January 7, 2013 @ 7:50 pm In The Point | 24 Comments

During the election, I had said that Koch was the one who went into this with his eyes open, or at least as open as the eyes of a liberal could be.

As a practiced politician, Koch never believed in Obama, he did believe in having a pro-Israel seat on the side of a man who was going to win anyway. But Koch failed to understand just how rotten Obama was and how little that influence would mean. The old Koch who stood up to Jimmy Carter might have called it correctly, but the new old Koch made a bad bet.

“Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”

“It’s very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it,” Koch said, “and it undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don’t think he (the President) worries about that now that the election is over.”

Earlier means two months later.

Koch hopes that Congress will be able to block some of the damage if Hagel is confirmed, but as a former Congressman, Koch should know that’s wishful thinking. It would have been wishful thinking back then, today when Obama uses executive orders to do anything he likes domestically, foreign affairs is a complete imperial domain.

Koch hopes that Democrats in Congress will oppose Hagel’s appointment, and he sees it as part of the path to blocking Hagel, “if he (Hagel) is not (confirmed) it’ll be because the republicans take him on, and a few good democrats. It’ll be interesting to me to see how the two senators from New York work on this issue. I hope they’ll join the republicans. But I doubt it.”

“To me this is a test for Chuck Schumer, where he stands, and what he will say,” he added.

Gillibrand certainly won’t. Even if she acts like Schumer’s puppet sometimes. And it’s doubtful that Schumer will either. It’s a sure bet that Schumer didn’t want this fight, but now that he has it, he will probably confine himself to asking Hagel one or two soundbite questions that he will later be able to use to cover his ass, and go on assuming that he’s not likely to lose the Jewish vote over Hagel. But before that he’ll shake Obama down for something.

Koch explained to The Algemeiner why he decided to back the President’s re-election even though he says he suspected that Obama would backtrack on his pro-Israel overtures. “I did what I thought was warranted and intelligent,” he said, “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.”

The Mayor says he has no regrets, “it’s wouldn’t make any difference. The Jews were going to vote for him no matter what. And that’s the nature of the Jews. They are always very solicitous of everybody else except there own needs and community.”

The Jewish vote did drop significantly. Enough that in any previous election that should have been a barometer marking Obama’s defeat. But the demographics changed in this turnout. The Jewish  vote could have cost Obama Florida, but Koch is being realistic about the limits of his ability to move that many votes around. Had Koch been beating the drum against Obama, along with other pro-Israel Liberals, he might have made a difference, but it’s doubtful that it would have changed the final outcome.

Koch was realistic about that, but less realistic about how far Obama could be trusted. Dershowitz, on the other hand, is far less realistic. But then again Dershowitz isn’t really a politician and doesn’t have the same grasp of the territory. He does, like so many others, believe in Obama as a man and an idea… and that makes it hard for him to break with the illusion.

Breitbart News: Does the Hagel nomination represent a slap in the face to the pro-Israel community?

Dershowitz: No–I think it’s a heartfelt decision by the President, based on his personal relationship with Hagel. I think its a policy mistake.

I can already see that the “relationship” meme is going to be brought out by Jewish liberals to comfort themselves about what happened. “It’s not based on policy, but on some deep love that Obama has for Hagel.”

But if Obama is so personally committed to Hagel, why did he wait until Term 2 to do anything real for him? In photos of the two of them together, Hagel and Obama both look uncomfortable. Hagel, more so. There’s no deep relationship there. Hagel is just a Benedict Arnold waiting at the back of the line for his turn. And the real Benedict Arnold found out that no one really likes traitors, but that if they hang around long enough, they can catch a few crumbs from the table.

Breitbart News: Is this a sign of the direction of Obama administration foreign policy in his second term?

Dershowitz: I don’t think so. I hope not. I think this was a personal decision.

Again, Dershowitz is kidding himself. The Hagel and Brennan appointments taken together send a clear message. And it’s the same one James Baker sent.

And there are a number of Democratic Senators, Jewish and non-Jewish, who are opposed but who will either vote for Hagel, if needed, to get him through–or will vote against him if their votes are not needed.

Dershowitz is, unfortunately enough, being realistic here. Democrats likely won’t sink Hagel’s nomination, but may vote against him as a gesture.

Hagel is, in my mind, in the same league as [former Secretary of Defense] Robert Gates, who was appointed by [George W.] Bush, and Casper Weinberger, who was appointed by Reagan. Weinberger was virulently anti-Israel, and Gates was, in my view, the worst Secretary of Defense in modern history, and is largely responsible for why Iran continues to purse its nuclear program, because he had been softer on Iran than anybody.

Dershowitz might want to rethink that analogy. While Gates was more of a fluke, the Reagan Administration did have a significant Anti-Israel contingent. One of the prominent members of that contingent endorsed Hagel.

Now, there is a way out: if Hagel testifies and makes very clear that these are not his views, and that he is completely in favor of military action as a last resort, and that he agrees with President Obama that containment is off the table.

I am hoping to hear that. I was hoping to hear that today. But I did not.

Obama’s whole policy is containment, except when Obama speaks to Jewish groups he spins the sanctions as part of a plan to get Iran to end its nuclear program. But who is kidding who? Sanctions are all about containment. You apply sanctions to a country that you don’t plan to do anything about, but that you don’t want to be seen not doing anything about.

In the Algemeiner, Dershowitz writes further that,

It is also important that the Israeli leadership believes that President Obama really has Israel’s back when it comes to preventing Iran from endangering the Jewish state by obtaining nuclear weapons.  Any loss of trust with this regard may result in an Israeli decision to take unilateral military action to protect its citizens against nuclear attacks.

The Israeli leadership never believed it, but Netanyahu did believe that Romney would win. Now when Netanyahu wins and assembles a stable coalition, then the first order of business will be to use that leverage to move along a unilateral strike to slow down Iran’s nuclear program.

That’s also why Obama is moving Brennan and Hagel into key positions to block Israel’s move.


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