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How AIPAC Is Losing

Chuck Hagel will be secretary of Defense, and Iran will go nuclear. So much for an all-powerful Israel Lobby.

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(From Left to Right: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com, AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images)

This weekend, more than 10,000 pro-Israel activists, Jews and non-Jews alike, will gather at the Washington convention center for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference. These friends and supporters of the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship will hear from members of Congress and the executive branch who will all testify to the singular influence that AIPAC, as the pillar of the pro-Israel community, wields in the capital of the free world.

But just how powerful is AIPAC if a man who refers to it as the “Jewish lobby” and has defiantly claimed that he is not an “Israeli senator” is slated to be our next secretary of Defense? And, most significantly, how much influence does the lobbying organization actually exercise if it can’t carry the day on the single issue that’s been at the very top of its agenda for over a decade: stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Despite an operating budget of more than $60 million, on the most crucial issue facing Israel’s security, AIPAC has lost the policy debate. The winners include those who believe you can’t stop a nation from getting the bomb if it’s determined to do so, those who think the Iranians have a right to nuclear weapons, and those who argue the Iranians can be contained—among them, our new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

***

For the past two months, those invested in the Israel-U.S. relationship have been fixated on whether or not Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would fundamentally alter U.S. policy toward Israel. In addition to his revealing statements about Jews, the former senator from Nebraska voted against sanctioning Iran and against designating the Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization.

Yet AIPAC has remained totally mum. The group says it focuses its energies on matters of policy rather than personnel. If it campaigned against Hagel, where would it stop? The organization would potentially have to take a position on every Cabinet nominee. Meantime, in the absence of AIPAC, other pro-Israel organizations have come out publicly against Hagel, like the Emergency Committee for Israel. For taking the lead on this issue, they have been labeled partisans, while AIPAC has preserved its bipartisan status.

But it’s not clear how much that label matters when a very influential segment of the Democratic party has made it plain that supporting Israel isn’t a top priority. I’m not just referring to the delegates who booed pro-Israel changes to the party platform on the floor of the convention in Charlotte last summer. I’m talking about the White House.

Pro-Israel Obama supporters on the Hill and in the press keep trying to make the case that in spite of how it might look on the surface, the administration cares deeply about the U.S.-Israel relationship. They point to the success of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries as evidence that the security and military cooperation between the United States and Israel has reached unprecedented highs under Obama’s stewardship. But politics is mostly about how things look. And if the administration really cared that much about Israel, it wouldn’t nominate a secretary of defense who referred to defenders of the U.S.-Israel relationship as “the Jewish lobby.”

***

The paradox is that by giving personnel a pass, AIPAC has lost the policy debate. Policy is made by people who believe in certain ideas, principles, and even fantasies. What Hagel seems to have learned from his tours of combat in Vietnam is that it is a fantasy to imagine that you can bomb a country into submitting to the will of the United States. Presumably, this is why he also opposed the war in Iraq. The problem is that deconstructing such a fantasy does not necessarily leave you with reality. In Hagel’s case it has left him only with an equally dangerous fantasy: that instead of waging war, it is possible to reach an accommodation, if not an amicable understanding, with nations that have clearly identified themselves as adversaries.

This fantasy is shared by much of the U.S. policymaking elite, including Obama. Indeed, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution every White House has sought comity with the Iranians. The fact that all, including Obama, have failed, is proof that the endeavor is not possible. From this perspective, it is also clear that Western sanctions against Iran and the secret war conducted against Iranian scientists and installations are intended less to destroy the nuclear program than to prolong the fantasy that at some point the Iranians will come to their senses and abandon their search for a bomb. It is noteworthy that the majority of the American electorate does not share this fantasy, with a Pew poll last year showing that 58 percent support U.S. military action against the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

But AIPAC—and this 58 percent majority—lost the debate to a host of adversaries. Some on the winning side argued for engagement. Among these were the stars of the policy pantheon, like former Secretary of State Jim Baker, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who argued that a combination of incentives and pressures might get the Iranians to the table.

And if Iran didn’t want to negotiate, some claimed that wasn’t such a big deal anyway. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has said, it’s no problem containing Iran. Journalists like Fareed Zakaria agreed. Some went even further, arguing that Iran was in fact a natural American ally. More extreme yet in their efforts were the single-minded obsessives, the creeps, like Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, and Trita Parsi, who argued that in fact the problem was not with Iran but with the United States.

If, as Hagel has said, the Jewish lobby truly intimidated “a lot of people up here,” you’d expect to see Washington all humming the same tune on Iran. Instead, it’s the Iranians calling the shots. “You must raise the level of your tolerance,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization recently told the West. “Try to find ways for cooperation with a country that is moving towards technological progress.”

The Iranian negotiating team meeting with its Western counterparts in Kazakhstan this week has earned the right to its smugness. The Iranians are installing equipment that will allow it to accelerate the production of nuclear fuel. And then there was North Korea’s nuclear test two weeks ago. At the very least, it signaled to the Iranians that in the end, despite all of the tough talk coming from the White House, the Americans are not going to stop the Iranians from acquiring the bomb.

Tehran has the upper hand in negotiations because it recognizes that all the White House wants is some sort of deal it can sell as a victory. And the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby has no choice but to swallow it and smile.

***

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I think there is some confusion here between AIPAC and its more right-wing elements. Perhaps its power is constrained when it does not openly pursue more aggressive positions, but it it not clear that AIPAC has lost anything.

jescot says:

Dear Henny Penny – The sky is not falling and either will a Persian Bomb. It’s the President that sets policy not the Sec. of Defense. Israel and AIPAC will survive and grow despite a few personalities that emerge in the politYour piece forgets the real history of people on both sides of the aisle being critical of Israel. You say “Among these were the stars of the policy pantheon, like former Secretary of State Jim Baker” were so supportive of Israel – Do you remember this little diddy in front of congress? Again …Israel will survive critics….

Middle East Call Us – We Won’t Call You

By George Church Monday, June 25, 1990

An exchange of phone numbers is often the beginning of a romance. The exchange between the U.S. and Israel last week looked more like the prelude to a divorce. In House testimony Secretary of State James Baker complained that if Israel’s hawkish new government maintained the line of its first hours in office, Washington would have to give up trying to arrange Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He added, “Everybody over there should know that the telephone number ((of the White House)) is 1-202-456-1414. When you’re serious about peace, call us.”

Baker’s statement touched off an avalanche of perhaps 8,000 calls to the White…

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,970468,00.html#ixzz2M6ljwYXr

I usually agree with Lee Smith, but perhaos he was derailed by the anti-Hagel echochamber this time. The Atlantic has a good piece on the subject, ‘Behold Movement Conservatism’s Information Disadvantage: Chuck Hagel Edition’ http://jej.me/YzCgOC

No, AIPAC didn’t lose anything. They will keep their cushy positions and their ties with the White House and they will keep sucking in money from gullible old Jews who think they care about Israel.They might even convince themselves that they are helping Israel, being the good kapos that they are.

Unless AIPAC is trying to get Senators and Congressmen to put the interests of Israel before those of the United states, then it is hard to follow your argument.
AIPAC is one lobby among many, it is one of the stronger ones, and by not opposing a foregone conclusion, AIPAC has strengthened itself as a non-extremist lobby. AIPAC is also facilitating the positive working relationship that the DoD has with Israel by not antagonizing the new SecDef.
Being politically smart and not aligning itself in this partisan show of no substance should not be mistaken for weakness.

quizblorg says:

Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but isn’t there a chance that Obama is playing chess here? Maybe he chose Hagel because he thinks that, if military action against Iran becomes necessary, he, with his record for being hostile to Israel and soft on Iran, would be the best man to sell it to the America First crowd on the left and the right? The “Only Nixon could go to China” principle?

The problem with AIPAC is that it has become what every other major Jewish-American organization has become, a shill for the democratically affiliated. Oh AIPAC will let any Republicans still give money, just as long as these republicans don’t demand that AIPAC actually fight the anti-Israel Obama agenda, including voicing opposition to Obama personnel.

Despite Obama’s overt antisemitic ties to Wright, Khalidi and other leftist antisemites AIPAC said nothing. (AIPAC’s President at the time was a big supporter of Obama) Despite the fact that Obama demands Israel withdraw to Auschwitz borders (Eban’s words), AIPAC does nothing. AIPAC is no longer worried about Israel, it is worried about its budget and not offending the democratic money men that fill its coffers. The fact that it sat out the Hagel fight shows that AIPAC is truly a waste of time. If ZOA and even liberal leaning AJC want my money that’s who gets it from now on. Heck even the spineless-liberal-shill ADL eventually chimed in demanding answers from Hagel. These organizations actually stand up for Israel and against antisemitism.

AIPAC has allowed itself to be turned into a non-entity by not standing up to pro-Obama-Jewish-democrats. Heck I remember the day that AIPAC fought republican president’s like Reagan and Bush 43, tooth and nail when it came to Israel policy.Heck I even remember the day that AIPAC fought democrat presidents like Carter too. But Obama they give him and his inadequate people a pass. AIPAC might as well just be the senior-citizens JStreet at this point. They are useless.

Michael Kadin says:

Unfortunate as it and not a thing that can be done the United States and Israel wanted to discourage and now it seems have failed. Iran, heads of government care only for their enrichment not of its people. North Korea, helped Iran and is doing so. The United States along with its allies, have been doing all they can to stop this. The boycott, of Iran, the freezing of Iran’s assets, and most countries do not buy the oil of Iran has helped. Now we have a new Secretary of Defense, time will tell how much different policies will be. And now the big question will be will the Congress of the GOP and Tea Party, help and work together with Obama and the Democratic party.

Hey Jes, can you copy the rest of the article, there’s an account wall blocking off the rest of it.

Faival44 says:

I think it is a mistake to scapegoat AIPAC for policy failures that go much deeper than their ability to influence events. America has freely chosen Obama a second time, knowing exactly what he is and what he wants. AIPAC is a mirror of the Jewish community, not a leader in any sense of the word.

There were Jews much closer to the levers of Hegal approval than AIPAC; kissing tuchas Jews such as Levin, Shumer, Boxer, Franken, Cardin, Sanders, Lautenberg, Blumenthal, Bennet, Wyden, and Feinstein. Where were they in this debate? Out hunting 15 round magazines and assorted threats to ‘climate change’?

Don’t you know, these are the real threats to American (and Jewish) security?

Mr. Smith, your complete lack of knowledge, yet insistence on writing about, Israel, Palestinians, Jews, or virtrually any other topic, makes me suspect about the publications you write for. I have read with interest your frequest articles in The Tablet (I apologize but I do not read the far right wing magazine you primarily write for) and all you do is bash President Obama, Democrats, anyone who is willing to even think clearly on these issues. When I studied International politics in the 70′s and 80′s, I had one professor who vehemently supported the Palestinian cause. We argued constantly. Yet we respected each other enough to not denegrate the other’s character. You, Mr. Smith, seem incapable of this. I understand you are merely a “journalist”, or should I say columnist, and an very opinionated one at that, but childish name calling of those that disagree with you, and stoking fear, is not the way to garner respect for your point of view. And to The Tablet – I enjoy reading your publication, at times. However, if Mr. Smith is your “expert” on Mid-East Affairs, then it shows a failure on your part to obtain qualified journalists. Maybe I’ll stick to your reviews of kosher restaurants and recipes, and get my serious information elsewhere.

AIPAC = crack.

menloman says:

Please, the Jewish lobby has plenty of pull. How many nuclear weapons does Israel have? With what sort of oversight demanded of others?

AIPAC’s success is that it is bipartisan. This is demonstrated time and again by the overwhelmingly one-sided pro-Israel Congressional resolutions and votes (including by Hagel) and ongoing financial and military assistance to Israel even during our most recent period of budget austerity, and by the US’s strenuous diplomatic support of Israel in international organs, such as the UN and Human Rights Council. Presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet secretaries will come and go. Some cabinet secretaries, like our most recent Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, will be great; others, like Bush 42′s Secretary of State Jim Baker (of “fuck the Jews” fame), will not be as good, but AIPAC takes the long view by fostering a broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress about Israel’s strategic benefit for the United States and the historical, moral and emotional connections between the US and Israel. Iran is a complicated case. Yet no one in the current administration, including now Hagel, has endorsed anything like a policy of containment. Prevent Iran from getting the bomb is the articulated policy of the United States, which I suspect will be presented loud and clear at AIPAC’s National Conference next week, by Democrats and Republicans, by legislators and members of the Executive Branch, from Joe Biden (a featured speaker) on down. Would I have preferred someone other than Hagel to have been nominated? Sure. Was it sensible for AIPAC to have gone to war over the Hagel confirmation? Undoubtedly.

CygnusA81 says:

Funny, everything liberal Democrats supposedly care about, women rights, gay rights , anti-bigotry issues were thrown under the rug for this man.

You know why, because Leftists see Hagel as as a symbol of ‘resistance’ of the of supposedly all powerful ‘Jewish-lobby.’ AIPAC was pathetic, they know that his man cannot handle this position and will be bad for Israel’s security let alone US security.

But they stood in the sidelines anyway, knowing that his man will do whatever he can to hamper the American-Israeli alliance. And to work to hollow out American military might.

What has been shown is that the activist Democratic base does not want Jewish people to be a part of their coalition anymore. They rather side with 9th century religious radicals rather then democratic Israel.

Well one thing has been proven, the Arabist/Islamist lobby is getting stronger by the day in the Democratic party.

the lobby put its eggs in the settlement basket….so we have settlements and iran.

jescot says:

I cant get past the account thing as well but here’s one of many articles written about Baker in 1990. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-06-13/news/mn-371_1_mideast-peace-talks

HankEssay says:

Anyone who listened to the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings and can state that AIPAC isn’t powerful is either lying or is delusional (or both). Yes, Hagel got confirmed…after an ugly confirmation hearing in which Israel dominated nearly every question asked and other serious issues facing the military and the country were simply ignored. Lee Smith would have you ignore that hearing totally, as if it didn’t happen, and instead just focus on the confirmation, itself delayed for weeks, just to prove a weak point. But don’t believe it: go back and listen to the Hagel confirmation hearing. Then, ask yourself: does AIPAC have too much or too little power in Washington? I think the answer is pretty clear…

Habbgun says:

Obama favored Venezuela over Honduras. Will favor Iran over Great Britain and thinks the world should be run by Leftist lawyers. AIPAC doesn’t have a chance and is a waste of a $60 million dollar budget. Until Jews are not willing to be bound up hand and foot by a mere political machine like the urban Democrats this type of thing will be the norm.

herbcaen says:

The soul of the democratic party in the US actively desires a nuclear armed Iran. Why? 1) A nuclear armed Iran could deter the US from intervening in the Middle East, ala Iraq/Afghanistan
2) A nuclear armed Iran could put pressure on the last colonial outpost, Israel (as Obama sees it). Obama views Israel as gefilte fish that has been at room temperature for a month. Iran can put pressure on Israel that Obama cannot because of domestic considerations.
3) Iran’s big mistake here is not negotiating directly with the US. Hagel and Obama are so desperate for a deal that if there were joint negotiations, they would ship Iran nuclear material themselves to seal the deal.
AIPAC is powerful, but not as powerful as the Democratic party. I miss the Democratic party of old (Scoop Jackson democrats) and cringe as it becomes the American Baath party

herbcaen says:

that is way too smart for our government

Hard Little Machine says:

AIPAC’s stance of ‘policy not personnel’ makes sense with Obama because none of Obama’s cabinet officers are anything but stupid monkey puppets wheeled out to mouth his words and take the heat for his horrible decisions. Hagel’s job will be to pretend he’s not Obama as he slashes the DoD massively. He won’t last the who term, he’ll likely be out in a year and a half after having run cover for Obama’s budget cuts. The only difference between them is Hagel wants to see nuclear weapons used on the Jews and Obama simply won’t care when they are.

@allon: exactly. Instead of supporting settlers, AIPAC should’ve focussed on real threats for Israel, e.g. Iran or Hezbollah. By supporting hardline right-wing weirdos the pro-Israel camp lost much credibility and progressives’ support. That’s a pity!

AIPAC did not “support” settlers. It also did not oppose them. Israel supports a strong Israel-U.S. relationship, support for Israel by the U.S., and the idea that problems between the U.S. and Israel should be worked out quietly as friends. Israel does not take a position on Israeli policies. AIPAC worked to support Israel and a strong Israel-U.S. relationship during the Begin and Shamir years, when Israel’s policy was to expand settlements. Similarly, AIPAC worked to support Israel and a strong Israel-U.S. relationship during the Rabin-Peres-Barak-Sharon years, when Israel turned over many aspects of sovereignty to the P.A. and when it uprooted settlements in Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

AIPAC will be as successful in stopping Iran from getting the bomb as it was with North Korea.

neils60 says:

No one knows if Israel has any nuclear weapons. And, that’s what keeps it from becoming cannon fodder for its neighbors. Regarding Iran’s nuclear program, remember, It’s Iran that threatens to wipe Israel off the map, even “sacrificing half the population of Iran” in order to accomplish that task, according to its little Adolph.

neils60 says:

Evidently, you didn’t listen to Sec. of Defense Hagel’s answers during his hearings, as he had to be corrected, frequently, as to what Pres. Obama’s policy was in regard to Iran. One error, among others, was that he thought that Pres. Obama’s policy towards Iran was CONTAINMENT.

menloman says:

Thanks for saying the obvious; With nuclear weapons people tend to leave you alone. Look what happened to Libya when they gave theirs up. Until Iran get it’s weapon all they have are verbalized threats. But, ‘no one knows’ if Israel has nuclear weapons? With all the Jewish nuclear scientists around they would have to be incompetent.

Jacob Arnon says:

Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense wasn’t a test for AIPAC because that organization did not officially oppose his nomination or confirmation.

What we found out was that many of the leaders of AIPAC and the ADL, and certainly Jews in the Senate could really not be bothered to stop an overt Jew hater from becoming the SecDef because they were concerned about their personal positions relative to a newly re-elected president. Its all about personal power, access and access to lucrative jobs and investments outside of government. We now have a clear empirical example of how the Jews in Germany pre WWII managed to delude themselves into thinking the Nazi think would pass.

Hagel had the good judgement to oppose the Iraq war. He’s not a chicken hawk like the neo-con crowd. He knows what war means and will not needlessly send men to die for a war of choice. On all the major votes when he was senator, he supported Israel, but just as there are political divisions in Israel, Hagel is not a rubber stamp but a man of thought.Our current policy set by Obama is to prevent Iran from obtaining atomic capapbilty. As Secretary of Defense Hagel will implement the president’s policy. The neo-cons drummed up charges of anti-semitism and anti gay, because they wanted to derail a man who would not sacrifice American lives to uphold empire. Bush’s foreign policy has been one of the greatest failures in American history, and Hagel’s nomination signals a change of course by Obama. After the “surge” in Afghanistan, which just wasted our national resources and our soldier’s lives the Generals and the neo-cons have lost their hold on Obama. It is the same process Kennedy went through and the nation will be the better for it.

aminoff says:

We are witnessing the death of the Jewish lobby. The Jewish lobby (AIPAC) has shown that it has little influence and that the Congress, the Senate and the Administration don’t have to be concerned about the Jews any longer.

I sincerely believe at the end of the day the Jews/Jewish “leadership” were scared of taking on this battle and afraid of being accused of “dual” loyalty. For us Israelis all the Sec. of State and Sec of Defense can do to us is make our political lives more difficult. But we will do what needs to be done in our interests with or with out the U.S. Admin. Never Again actually means something here.

You mean actual Jews don’t support the AIPAC agenda? Hear what your mouth is saying. Sorry, America and American Jews are not the auxillary of Israel. Israel is our client, not the other waay round. Israeli politicians need to come, hat in hand, to our leaders, not the other way round. AIPAC has lost on this issue because it has failed to convince the bulk of American Jews that America needs to go back into the Middle East to fight another war. Americans, as a group, support Israel, but I, for one, am not asking American soilders to fight for Israel, or the American public to spend tens of billions of dollars on another protracted Middle East adventure that is only marginally about our security.

You mean actual Jews don’t support the AIPAC agenda? Hear what your mouth is saying. Sorry, America and American Jews are not the auxillary of Israel. Israel is our client, not the other waay round. Israeli politicians need to come, hat in hand, to our leaders, not the other way round. AIPAC has lost on this issue because it has failed to convince the bulk of American Jews that America needs to go back into the Middle East to fight another war. Americans, as a group, support Israel, but I, for one, am not asking American soilders to fight for Israel, or the American public to spend tens of billions of dollars on another protracted Middle East adventure that is only marginally about our security.

THis post is so stupid it drools. I love people who know what the president “sees” and “thinks.” As you see it, he’s uppity negro whose forgotten his place. I can say that because I know exactly how you think, I just have to look at the evidence.

ajweberman says:

It is ironic you have someone from the Weakly Standard writing this when the neo-con scum who put out this publication are partially responsible for the appointment of Hagel. If these con men didn’t manipulate America into invading Iraq as retaliation for the scuds that were launched into Israel during the Gulf War the Iranian Nazis would have been taken out long ago. Hagel is Obama’s answer to the Wolfowitz pack and the whole WMD scam as is VVAW war-weary Kerry. If there is a nuclear holocaust in the middle east these neo-con scum have their arrogance to blame and must pay dearly.

herbcaen says:

you are the one bringing race into it, so I think you are the racist. All I need to do is listen to the Democratic national convention, when I hear them boo “G-d” and “Jerusalem”. I suspect that you are neither a Texan or a Jew, but an Iran firster

No. What’s ironic is that Israel actually did not favor the Iraq war, but don’t let that stop you from propagating lies.

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It is absurd to posit that Obama wants Iran to be nuclear armed. It is equally absurd to suggest, as some Israelis have, that the US & Israel should bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. As a Jew deeply committed to Israel’s security, I’m impressed that some senators have the guts to cut across the AIPAC grain, and bother to risk their popularity by advocating for a sane policy against Iran.

Marc517 says:

An important part of the strength of AIPAC (and any lobby group) is knowing which battles to fight and which ones to take a pass. In this case, had Republicans not cynically forced Susan Rice (who was well respected by the pro-Israel community) to withdraw her nomination for Secretary of State, there could have been a real discussion about Hagel (who seems to have little support from anyone). However, after Rice pulled out, the White House made clear that they were not going to be bullied by Republican opposition. Therefore, instead of getting Michelle Flournoy (an immensely qualified person who could have been the first woman in that post), we are all stuck with Hagel as Secretary of Defense. AIPAC correctly read the tea leaves (and knows how difficult it is to defeat cabinet nominee who is a former Senator – even if he is disliked by both parties) and made a wise decision to back off. The Emergency Committee for Israel lacks any such wisdom, which is why only a far right fringe in the Jewish community (and an even smaller right-wing fringe of the politicians) take them seriously.

AIPAC had no business getting involved in the Hagel nomination, and it correctly stayed away.
The status of Iran as a nuclear power is an even greater problem to the US; it would show the president as a paper tiger. The US will take the steps necessary to prevent nuclear arms in Iran.

When has Israel ever asked American soldiers to fight for it?

Sitting on the fence, which AIPAC is renowned for doing, may not be a sign of weakness, but it’s certainly a sign of uselessness.

Did Hagel also have the “good judgment” not to support putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list?

Please. Forget AIPAC. After listening to the Hagel confirmation hearings the only conclusion a thinking person can come away with is, to put it bluntly, the guy is a clueless moron.

Please. Forget AIPAC. After listening to the Hagel confirmation hearings the only conclusion a thinking person can come away with is, to put it bluntly, the guy is a clueless moron.

Indeed.
And we also have “a clear empirical example” of how the Jews in
America were willfully blind to the atrocities being perpetrated by the Nazis.

Indeed.
And we also have “a clear empirical example” of how the Jews in
America were willfully blind to the atrocities being perpetrated by the Nazis.

Exactly. The Jews of Europe could not rely on American Jewry and the Jews of Israel should NEVER rely on American Jewry.

Exactly. The Jews of Europe could not rely on American Jewry and the Jews of Israel should NEVER rely on American Jewry.

You can argue whether invading Iraq was good military strategy, but leaving Iran alone will be the worst existential threat ever for America. All you need is for one loon to cross the southern border with a suitcase full of nuclear material and KABOOM one American city will be vaporized. Personally, I’m not willing to take that risk, and neither should the entire citizenship of America.

When you are dealing with people who are more than willing to die for their cause, you can not afford to take any risk of them using a device, and they will.

You may want to read my comments above. It is absolutely wrong to think that Iran can be contained. Given the chance the Mullahs will detonate a nuclear device even if it means they may be vaporized in a second strike. Obama and Hagel do not understand the situation. Obama dreams of a nuclear free world. I dream of a world that I can wake up in tomorrow morning. Oh, I don’t plan to learn Farsi either.

And Hagel was supported by progressive Jews in the Senate that have no problem taking chances with my families’ lives. Who elects these people?

I’m only asking rhetorically.

Very true. And many of us (not me) are drifting away from supporting Israel, mainly those on the left. To them, Israel has become a nuisance. Go figure.

First of all, I don’t like being called “Scum”, especially by someone who does not know me. Second; I’ll bet if you start digging in the eastern Syrian desert, you will find all the WMD. Sadaam Hussein was too smart to lie about what he had. Third, don’t talk so lightly about a nuclear holocaust anywhere. It’s childish and ignorant. The radicals in Islam will use what they develop. You can depend on that. They said they would sacrifice half the Iranian population from a retaliatory strike. Iraq has nothing to do with Iran. They are separate issues, especially in light of Israel’s strike on the Osirak reactor in 1981, I believe.

Don’t bet on that. Obama could very well do nothing for many reasons. He thinks talking to the Mullahs will solve this issue. If that were true we would have had an agreement or understanding by now. Remember, I those loons are willing to die for their cause. You don’t talk to them you eliminate them.

herbcaen says:

Azzajew syndrome… a very common malady among those Jews embarassed by the zionist entity. More signs of azzajew syndrome ” deeply committed to Israel’s security” can be translated to… Israel and Iran are equivalent. If Israel has the bomb, then Iran should have one too
The real kicker…most Jews with Azzajew syndrome would welcome an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, because it would vicariously grant them victim status, which is cool to have when you actually dont have to suffer

As reported in the Jerusalem post, In a recent letter to Barbara Boxer, Hagel condemmed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. I don’t know how you can be any clearer than that.

I really don’t think you have greater access to information or understanding about the Iranian situation than the President of the United States, whose stated policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. If Israel feels its existence is threatened it will act, and one of the only countries in the world who will support Israel is the USA, no matter who is president. I’m not big on learning Farsi either.

ajweberman says:

Mendacity, what mendacity. Look how they continue the lie for years and years. A fairy tale. Don’t you think satellite surveillance would have detected their movement into Syria. Lie after lie from arrogant scum so we get a Hagel, the anti-Wolfowitz. I suppose Ramzi Yousef was an Iraqi agent as Wolfowitz’s buddy Laurie Mylroie stated. There is no sacrifice of half the population – those who die go to Muzzie Heaven where all that is forbidden on earth is allowed – such as sex with whores who remain virgins, sex with young boys, Veuve Cliqouet flowing from the faucets etc. Iraq has nothing to do with Iran? They are both Sha’ia and were at war for years.

When he was asked at the time to add his name to a Senate resolution, he refused. Sending a letter now to Barbara Boxer, when he’s going thru nomination hearings, is a joke.

Er, most people have a ‘greater understanding’ about the Iranian situation than the current President of the U.S. He & his administration are not only woefully ignorant on these matters, but frankly, are not that interested in foreign policy/national security. And yes, the US will probably support Israel, but it’ll be POST-MORTEM, i.e., only after Israel is hit. As to Mr. Obama’s “stated policy” of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, FYI: the Iranians have ALREADY obtained nuclear weapons, so now what is Mr. Obama’s “stated policy”? (It tends to shift with the wind.)

“All you need is for one loon to cross the southern border with a suitcase full …” No one’s even close to buying it, dude. Not even the big neocons are pretending Iran is anything other than Israel’s concern. This is another reason people are turning against Israel: the dishonesty of it’s supporters.

Margaret Thatcher once said: “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” That’s on AIPAC being “bipartisan” (aka sitting on the fence). (And btw – there is no “ongoing financial assistance” from the US. Israel gets military aid in the form of buy-backs.

Has nothing to do with the “Jewish lobby.” Has everything to do with Israeli ingenuity and desire to survive.

Who is “we”?

AIPAC-right wing elements?! Are you kidding? AIPAC holds itself out to be “bipartisan” (aka a fence-sitter) and its current president, Lee “Rosy” Rosenberg, is a former Obama bundler (fundraiser) from Chicago.

Maybe, but it was certainly a test for AIPAC’s members/constituents, you know, the ones who voted overwhelmingly (78%) for Mr. Obama and his ‘taste’ in nominees. What good are AIPAC et al if they don’t educate their constituents?

No one’s buying it? Really? Well, they’d better buy it, dude, since it’s widely-known that Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, has set up shop in South America (Mexico, Venezuela, etc.), not to mention sleeper cells here in the US. Also, not sure who/what you consider “neocons” or is that a veiled reference to right-leaning Jews? As to the people who are “turning against Israel”, they’re either ignorant & uninformed or anti-Semites, but in any case, they’re definitely folks who don’t constrain themselves with FACTS when expressing their opinions.

I take Chuck Hagel at his word as he becomes our new Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel on Iraq at the time the country plunged into a foolish war, unfortunately endorsed by AIPAC: “It is interesting to me that many of those who who want to rush this country into war and think it would be quick and easy don’t know anything about war. They come at it from an intellectual perspective versus having sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off.”

It’s easy to be gung-ho and send others to death and destruction. Dick Cheny said, “he had other priorities during the Vietnam War.” A position taken by many other neo-con chicken hawks.

When has Israel ever asked American soldiers to fight for it?

I agree. There are differences of political opinion in Israel, American Jews should also form their own opinions, and not be given an opinion. I am grateful that Israel has strong support in AIPAC, even when I don’t always agree with them.

I agree with most of what you have to say, but I am glad this country now has a Secretary of Defense instead of a Secretary of Offense.

LouAdams says:

Nice job of re framing the argument, so it’s OK if Jews are the focus of extermination. Sure those Jews out there should come begging for our democracy’s help when their survival is threatened by obama’s malice. For you it’s acceptable in adding to the risks our brothers face outside the US. Frankly tx being a self righteous putz while Jews are in danger seems pretty disgusting to me.

LouAdams says:

you can be delusional about what reality is but labeling those who are aware of the factual dangers as liars clarifies exactly where you are coming from, and it’s not love for your fellow man.

LouAdams says:

your post is offensive, shallow and filled with you own projections. Anyone, anyone who has followed Obama’s words, deeds and relationships could not escape his malice towards Israel and it’s elected government.

LouAdams says:

silly me, I thought having a competent SOD who supports our democratic allies and opposes tyrannical fascist terrorist supporting regimes was putting the interests of the US first.

LouAdams says:

Are you still mouthing those old blame the right talking points. The issue is Hagel has been exposed as incompetent and has shown an affinity for anti American terrorist regimes. He will put this country, the USA, in more danger and will encourage our enemies’s efforts to destroy us–the US. Stop the alinski speak, Hagel is dangerous.

LouAdams says:

being an alinsky name caller and distracting the discussion of Hagel’s incompetency and aipac’s cowardice in standing up for Israel’s and America’s security has nothing to do with your hate for people who think differently than you do.

You are certainly free to take Chuck Hagel at his word. The only problem is WHICH word? Hagel has a tendency of adapting his words to whomever he’s speaking to. Plus, those who’ve heard & met Hagel over the years can tell you: the guy is CLUELESS on matters of national security/foreign policy. And that Hagel quote is moronic. No one thinks war is quick & easy, and minimizing those who have a different opinion is typical Hagel. Hagel served in the military a gazillion years ago, but so have many others. It doesn’t necessarily make him an “expert” on war or on national security policy. Hagel is an appeaser, pure & simple.

LouAdams says:

you sure have a lot of hate for people who think differently than you, perhaps you should attempt to discuss the issue without the insults and the hate.

LouAdams says:

are you off your meds

Guess that’s the main difference here. You prefer someone who is reactive rather than proactive. In other words, sit & wait until a nuke is dropped on our (or Israel’s) head, and then react. 6 million European Jews would be alive today if the US & Europe had Secretaries of “Offense” rather than Defense.

LouAdams says:

“One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride ‘roughshod’ over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice.”

The guy’s a nutcase, and an ignorant one to boot. Waste of time arguing with people like that.

We HAVE satellite photos showing a convoy of trucks leaving Iraq in the middle of the night on their way to Syria the day after the US invaded Iraq. What do you think Saddam was shipping to Syria in the middle of the night as his country was invaded. Milk?!

I don’t hate you, I just disagree with you.

yeah I hear they’ve got unnmanned UAV’s with Anthrax and yellow cake. If you don’t know what a neocon is you better ask somebody.

blah bah blah anti semite. That’s another reason people are sick of Israel, constantly defaming people for practicing normal western political debate.

ajweberman says:

you show me a reference to these photos, liar. You don’t think America would have taken them out if this was true. Show me evidence other than your lies

shaunn says:

Interesting article. The idea that Iran is an existential threat to Israel is an utter fantasy. Even most Israelis don’t believe this, though the govt frequently tries to stir up hysteria on this point. For this to be believable, one would also have to accept that Iran is willing to commit national suicide, and all the evidence is exactly the opposite. Now, this being said, if Iran did get nuclear weapons, it would seriously change the strategic balance in the region and that is what really concerns the US and Israel. It would be much harder to use military force with impunity in the region if the Iranians really had a trump card to play. Any pre-emptive war would be about maintaining a strategic advantage and that is much harder to sell.

RE: the AIPAC issue: I don’t think that anyone has ever claimed that AIPAC and the overall “pro-Israel Lobby” are all-powerful; it does lose occasionally. But it is absolutely clear, by now, that the Lobby wields incredible and harmful power over US foreign policy. The very fact that the GOP felt safe going after Hagel (whatever their real beef with him) over Israel and that they got him to do all but lick Netanyahu’s shoes (and even then would not approve him) says an enormous amount about how distorted US politics is around Israel. The existence of J-Street as an explicit counter to AIPAC pretty much ends the discussion about whether or not the Israel Lobby exists and is too powerful.

CiporaJuliannaKohn says:

Obama’s machine has managed to intimidate whole sections of the body politic. One tool is to smear opponents as racists. The other tool is to smear opponents as cold hearted toward anyone who is not rich.
Obama uses enemies lists to intimidate, including journalists, members of Congress and even the military.
Obama’s agenda was always to destroy AIPAC. He has done this by intimidating Democratic members of Congress and Jewish leadership.
He has set up a plethora of people who use crude propaganda, referring to Jewish supporters of Israel as “Israel Firsters,” thus raising the age old antisemitic cannard of dual loyalties.
The Obama created and Soros funded J-Street was presented to ordinary Jews as an alternative to AIPAC. Of course, that organisation is just an extension of the Obama machine.
Obama is a dangerous demagogue who rules through lies, subterfuge, dissimulation, executive orders, agency rules and secrecy and cooption of the press.
Jews, as the smallest minority in the US have been both coopted through an appeal to their usual affinity with other minorities, or outright intimidated by threats.

CiporaJuliannaKohn says:

The only reason that the Arab/Islamist lobby is getting stronger is because Obama is president.

CiporaJuliannaKohn says:

I agree that in this particular case, AIPAC acted wisely. The truth is that Obama is the only one who makes policy decisions.
Hagel is just a mirror of Obama. He has said openly what Obama thinks and wants.
The conduct of Democratic members of Congress is more worriesome. They act as Obama’s politburo.

CiporaJuliannaKohn says:

Iran is the premier international terror state. Iran has been exporting terror worldwide ever since the Islamic revolution and the invasion of the US embassy and the hostage taking of its diplomats.
Iran is currently occupying Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah, has sent Al Quds and IRGC forces to Syria where they murder innocent civilians.
Iran has committed acts of terror in India, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Thailand, Argentina, Azebaijan, and tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.
Iran has no care about the consequences of its actions, primarily because it has never had to pay a price for its international acts of terror.
Iran cannot and will not be allowed to be a nuclear power.

“Normal western political debate” – is that what you call the nonsense you’re peddling?

Thanks for regurgitating my question (see above).

Yes, we have freedom of speech here and we listen to each other. We don’t just scan what the person said for politically incorrect remarks. Ideally we do anyway.

SPEter says:

I suppose Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Iran are all great friends with Israel? Funny how American is involved militarily in each nation. Must be coincidence.

They need to start hunting Jews down in the streets like they are starting to do in Europe! Jews are the maggots of the human race and deserve to be exterminated!

Politbureau says:

You forgot those who remember Operation Fool Me Once and refuse to be fooled twice, like all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, by signing up for Operation Fool Me Twice later this year.

gornisht says:

Obama has surrounded himself with people who owe allegiance, after all he nominated them and as a result, they owe Obama. To say that there has not been a shift in the US., policy vis-a-vis Israel, would be very naive. Containing Iran, requires “A RED LINE”.

Without this line, the message is clear to Iran. Once Iran does have the capability, then what? Really nothing. Iran has called the shots! Is AIPAC to blame, ?

csno1 says:

Those innocent Jews are always looking out for us silly, Goyim. How dare we reject them?

Beatrix17 says:

We remained allied with colonial Europe while they exploited, robbed and demeaned the people of the Mideast. We even overthrew the democratic leader of Iran and replaced him with the despotic Shah. That’s why Iran hates the US. Israel is hated by their fellow Mideasterners because they allied themselves with the hated West.

Beatrix17 says:

We remained allied with colonial Europe while they exploited, robbed and demeaned the people of the Mideast. We even overthrew the democratic leader of Iran and replaced him with the despotic Shah. That’s why Iran hates the US. Israel is hated by their fellow Mideasterners because they allied themselves with the hated West.

Beatrix17 says:

Obama is the rock star and all his minions are diminished by his glow. The best thing to do with Hagel is to hide him under Obama’s rock. He’ll fawn over AIPAC, which is rock solid. Why do you think we’ve been here 4,000 years?

JohnnnyRebel says:

I hate Zionism and the terrorist, apartheid, land steeling, ethnic cleansing, murdering, racist Isrealei Jews who embrace it’s principles. Israel is not the “victin” here. Isreal is the perpetraitor war crimes and crimes against humanity. The real nuclear “threat” is not Iran; it is Israel. AIPAC is still today a formidable enemy of humanity and free people everywhere.

I consider the funneling taxpayer money and weapons of war to “terrorist Isrealis” to be a bad outcome. To those who claim that AIPAC is an old “toothless dog” without any bite; I say AIPAC is a “dirty dog” that needs to be put asleep and buried in a deep hole.

Disparishun says:

Yes, that is a good point — it is no coincidence. The U.S.’s level of involvement in each of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iran was dictated by how much your government thought it’d help out your good pals the Israelis. You, SPEter, are clearly a foreign policy expert!

wildjew says:

How is Israel the “real nuclear threat?” Can you be specific?

mgbmdmph says:

As is his custom, Lee Smith cannot distinguish his head from his tuchas.

Iran will acquire nuclear capabilities with or without Israeli or American intervention.

That’s a given at this point.

AQ Khan saw to that long ago.

Other rogue states are merely contributing to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political psychosis.

As American Jews, we need to do several useful
things:

1) Support Israel every way we can.

2) Encourage the United States to support Israel every way we can.

3) Stay the hell out of Iran’s internal affairs lest we encourage Iran’s neighbors, who do not like Iran any more than we do, to aid and abet Iran.

4) Encourage Neocons like Lee Smith and Dick Cheney to slither back under their rocks.

Aipac cannot be the mirror of the jewish people, when it is only a minority of jewish. Most of jewish do not apply with Aipac decision. What you dont understand if you attack IRAN again you will kill thousand of Jewish people living in IRAN. If in case they started a war and many jews will be caugh in that war and dies, this will proof us the hollocaust is a fakeness and only a part of jewish people who killed innocent jewish.

when you talk be sure what you advance, people will make lots of presumption untill they ll found out and you will loose more support. As what ISRAEL does to palestinian when 70% or more are have Jewish ROOT, yes blood.

if you or them are so much concern about jewish existance, start with the minority that u are killing like palestinian and the one you are preparing to kill in IRAN directly or undirectly.

let us prevent more casualities, let the people breath clean air without brainwash and hate that have no place. we are all human is it that hard to understand we are all human.

Dear Press:

As an active member of AIPAC, I can ensure you that AIPAC has achieved great success this past month and continues to grow strong by advocating, through bipartisanship, to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States.  This includes building strong commercial and military ties between the two closest allies.

In the past month alone, AIPAC members wrote to members and representatives of Congress and the Senate, in thanking them for their support on the following issues, that AIPAC lobbied for:

(1) Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In the Senate, members have passed a resolution (S. Res. 65) declaring that the United States will stand by Israel should it feel compelled to take military action in its own defense against Iran. In the House, members have passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), which authorizes the president to impose sanctions on any entity that maintains significant commercial ties to Iran.
AIPAC members urged their House and Senate members to support both measures in order to send a strong message that the United States will act to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

(2) Strengthening the U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation by officially designating Israel as a “major strategic partner.” Such a designation will help the two nations maximize the benefits of their alliance, which includes both commercial and military ties.

(3) Supporting the full $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel that the U.S. committed to for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and beyond, as well as the $211 million in additional funding for the Iron Dome.

These are huge successes in which AIPAC was a part of, thus, continuing to enact public policy that strengthens the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.

Continue to keep up the good work AIPAC, in ensuring that both the US and Israel are kept safe, secure, strong, and united as one nation.

Dear Press:

As an active member of AIPAC, I can ensure you that AIPAC has achieved great success this past month and continues to grow strong by advocating, through bipartisanship, to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States.  This includes building strong commercial and military ties between the two closest allies.

In the past month alone, AIPAC members wrote to members and representatives of Congress and the Senate, in thanking them for their support on the following issues, that AIPAC lobbied for:

(1) Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In the Senate, members have passed a resolution (S. Res. 65) declaring that the United States will stand by Israel should it feel compelled to take military action in its own defense against Iran. In the House, members have passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), which authorizes the president to impose sanctions on any entity that maintains significant commercial ties to Iran.
AIPAC members urged their House and Senate members to support both measures in order to send a strong message that the United States will act to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

(2) Strengthening the U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation by officially designating Israel as a “major strategic partner.” Such a designation will help the two nations maximize the benefits of their alliance, which includes both commercial and military ties.

(3) Supporting the full $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel that the U.S. committed to for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and beyond, as well as the $211 million in additional funding for the Iron Dome.

These are huge successes in which AIPAC was a part of, thus, continuing to enact public policy that strengthens the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.

Keep up the good work AIPAC, in ensuring that both the US and Israel are kept safe, secure, strong, and united as one nation.

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