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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:39 PM

Attacks on Chuck Hagel Show Political Correctness At Its Worst

Jonathan Weiler

A range of critics has emerged to challenge the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be President Obama's next Secretary of Defense. Their attacks have mostly centered on Hagel's supposedly "fringe" ideas about Iran -- he has voiced support for negotiating with that country -- and for his alleged hostility toward Israel. Upping the ante on that line of attack, Bret Stephens, writing yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, said that remarks Hagel made a few years ago had the "odor" of antisemitism.

Hagel, in all likelihood, is eventually going to be confirmed. But the brouhaha over his nomination reflects poorly on how little room for debate there is in the United States on critical foreign policy matters.

Ben Armbruster at ThinkProgress writes sensibly about how misplaced the attacks on Chuck Hagel are.

For example:

- Hagel's support for negotiations with Iran and reluctance to go to war with that country are a) consistent with the president's own stated views; b) consistent with that of the vast majority of Israel's major security officials; c) in line with American public opinion. Hagel has, by the way, voiced strong public support for sanctions against Iran.

- Hagel's suggestion several years ago that Israel negotiate with Hamas is also well within the acceptable boundaries of Israeli political discourse (which, as has been pointed out innumerable times, includes more wide-ranging and critical views about Israel's conduct than is true in US discussions about Israel). Israeli President Shimon Peres and other senior security officials there have said essentially the same thing.

- Hagel has, in fact, made repeated statements in support of Israel's security prerogatives, and has described Israel's relationship with the United States as "a special and historic one."

MORE...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-weiler/political-correctness-at-_1_b_2432804.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular,iran

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Attacks on Chuck Hagel Show Political Correctness At Its Worst (Original post)
Purveyor Jan 2013 OP
democrattotheend Jan 2013 #1
Jeff In Milwaukee Jan 2013 #3
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #6
democrattotheend Jan 2013 #7
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #8
democrattotheend Jan 2013 #9
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #2
Jeff In Milwaukee Jan 2013 #4
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #5

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:57 PM

1. I was bothered by his "Jewish lobby" comment

I don't really disagree with his views on Israel, but I was really bothered by his use of the phrase "Jewish lobby" in what I think he meant to describe AIPAC. Conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the government or having too much influence have been used to marginalize us and persecute us for centuries.

I am not saying Hagel is anti-semitic but he should have known better than to use a phrase like that. If that's being overly politically correct, so be it.

I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but I think he needs to explain himself on that. I hope he will be asked about it during the confirmation hearings.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:20 PM

3. What I've heard on this subject...

I believe this came from a guest on Stephanie Miller. Hagel used this phrase once -- it was clearly a misstatement in an interview back in 2006. Doing a quick Google search, every reference to Hagel and the "Jewish Lobby" tracks back to that lone interview. So it's not like this was a phrase he's been using over and over.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:53 PM

6. It's been said by others, including another Senator, and apparently

caused no offense.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:26 PM

7. I have always been offended when I have heard that phrase

And I know a lot of Jews feel the same way. It's inaccurate and plays into negative stereotypes that have been used to stir up anti-Semitism for decades. A United States Senator should know better than to use a phrase that provokes fear of outsized Jewish influence in government given our history. Who is the other senator who said it?

FWIW, I don't even disagree with the point I think Hagel was trying to make. But I hope that he apologizes or at least clarifies what he meant, because his wording was offensive and irresponsible.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:30 PM

8. Bill Nelson of Florida said it. It was a thread in DU a few days ago.

No one even bothered to respond to the thread.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:36 PM

9. I didn't notice it

But he should be condemned for it too, although it might be more or less offensive depending on the context. Hagel talked about "the Jewish lobby intimidating people" on the Hill, implying that Jews have outsized influence in government.

I know that Nelson is a strong supporter of Israel but he should know better than to use the phrase "Jewish lobby", although like I said, context matters.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:12 PM

2. See, I think Hagel's attacks on Hormel show heterosexualist culture at it's worst.

Watching folks fall all over themselves to defend a hate speaking, anti choice, Iraq War supporting Republican is really a surprise to me.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:23 PM

4. Hormel was on Stephanie Miller today...

Saying that he's on board with Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Hormel on the show (via Stephanie's blog): “Times have changed and this gentleman has changed as well.”

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:46 PM

5. I really don't give a fig. Hagel is a bigoted, anti choice Republican who voted for the Iraq War

and the rest of Bush's Wars. The man promoted teacher led prayer in public schools. He was wrong about Iraq when it mattered, and there is nothing much about him I like. I disagree with his wildly consistent Republican voting record as a Senator. He's got an 11% rating from NAACP, O% from Pro Choice groups, 100% from the right to lifers, 0% from HRC.
Very sorry but I don't endorse any Republicans for anything, much less one with a far right wing record like that. If that is a problem on DU, not supporting Republicans who oppose all I stand for, well then so be it!

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