The Lost Tribe: Jewish Democrats Back Hagel

The Lost Tribe: Jewish Democrats Back Hagel

With Democrats poised to ram former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination through the Senate, despite Hagel’s refusal to turn over all relevant financial records and speeches, all eyes should now turn to the Democrats who portray themselves as pro-Israel. 

If a Republican president nominated someone as anti-Israel and borderline antisemitic as Hagel to Secretary of Defense–say, Pat Buchanan–the press would rightly have a field day. But when President Barack Obama does so, aided by self-interested politicians who proclaim their abiding belief in the ties between the United States and Israel, the press remains silent.

To recap: with his openly expressed negativity toward Jews and Israel, Hagel is the most problematic candidate for a high post in an administration in decades. Between his apparent willingness to countenance accusations of Israeli “war crimes,” his support for negotiations with Israel’s terrorist enemies, and his unwillingness to express support for Israel in the face of Palestinian terrorism, Hagel’s anti-Israel credentials are well in order. Add in Hagel’s attempt to shut down the Sixth Fleet’s USO Center in Haifa (“Let the Jews pay for it,” he spat), his scornful assertion that he is not the “Senator for Israel,” and his belief that the so-called “Jewish lobby” intimidates members of Congress, and you’re looking at a bigot.

And yet the Democrats, including President Obama, continue to push Hagel through. That’s no surprise from an administration that treats Israel more harshly than it treats most of America’s enemies. But it is a surprise from the Jewish members of the Democratic caucus, who should know better–not because they have dual loyalties, not because they represent a “lobby,” but because Jewish politicians above all should understand the importance of a safe and secure Israel.

But they don’t.

Take, for example, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). Levin has been the moving force behind the push for a vote on Hagel on Tuesday. Levin said on Monday that Hagel had turned over enough documents, but had no comment on Hagel’s antisemitic utterances and anti-Israel record. In fact, Levin saved tried to save Hagel during his disastrous hearing, failing to ask him a single question about Israel, even though he acknowledged Hagel’s “troubling” record. Yet Levin portrays himself as a friend of Israel.

The same holds true for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who originally expressed concerns about Hagel’s nomination, but quickly fell into line once President Obama made clear that he’d be sticking by his anti-Israel man. All it took was a ninety-minute tête-a-tête with Hagel to convince Schumer to abandon his pro-Israel principles and stand behind Hagel.

And there’s Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). It’s not unnatural that Blumenthal, a fake Vietnam war veteran (he served during, but not in, Vietnam as he had claimed) would support a real war veteran in Hagel. It is unnatural that Blumenthal would rip into GOP critics of Hagel for asking him tough questions about Israel, even as Blumenthal claims to be an advocate for the Jewish State.

The list goes on of Jewish Democrats who obviously care less about the security the State of Israel or fighting antisemitism than they do about staying in Barack Obama’s good graces. From Senator Dianne Feinstein to Senator Barbara Boxer, from Senator Frank Lautenberg to Senator Al Franken, from Senator Bernie Sanders to Senator Benjamin Cardin, not one liberal Jewish senator has expressed opposition to the most anti-Israel Secretary of Defense nominee since George Marshall tried to stop the recognition of Israel in 1948.

Leave aside the fact that any decent American ought to recognize the value of the State of Israel to the security of the United States, and to the growth of liberty around the world. These Jewish Democrats in particular don’t deserve the label. They’re Democrats, but they’re Jews in name only. If their religion and community mean anything to them, they’re casting them aside by expressing support for Chuck Hagel simply to please their party overlord.

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