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Thu Jan 10, 2013, 06:27 PM

Chuck Hagel's Israel litmus test

What American Jews or Israelis think about Chuck Hagel's views on Israel shouldn't be the primary criterion to judge his nomination for secretary of Defense.
By Aaron David Miller

January 8, 2013

Jews worry for a living. Their dark history and, in the case of American Jews, their legitimate concerns about the security of the state of Israel impel them to do so.

But sometimes those concerns are overblown and reflect a kind of collective cosmic oy vey that gets in the way of sound and rational judgment.

Such is the case in the matter of Chuck Hagel's nomination to be President Obama's next secretary of Defense.

Some of the comments attributed to Hagel about lobbies, Israel and the like come from an interview he gave me for my last book about American Middle East policy, particularly his use of the term "Jewish lobby."

More: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-miller-chuck-hagel-israel-20130108,0,3103116.story

Aaron David Miller, vice president for new initiatives and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, served as a Middle East negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations. He is the author of "The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace."

I have to say that I agree with just about everything Aaron David Miller wrote in this article. In fact, I'm posting it just so I can refer to this post should I need to in future DU discussions.

My judgment of antisemitism is much like the DU Terms of Service: "In determining what constitutes bigotry, please be aware that we cannot know what is in anyone's heart, and we will give members the benefit of the doubt, when and only when such doubt exists." I have substantial doubt based on what I've read so far on Hagel's supposed antisemitic statements that in his heart he is an antisemite, although I hardly endorse numerous other positions he has held in the past and in all likelihood continues to hold. But I resent the attempt to smear Hagel with the charge of antisemitism for political purposes. My biggest objection to the political usage of Jews in the politics of this nation is our treatment as pawns. Miller is right, "The problem is that nobody is honest about the issue."

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