As Jim has pointed out, the battle over Chuck Hagel’s highly probable nomination as Secretary of Defense has been a decisive test of whether President Obama is serious about curbing Israel’s and Benjamin Netanyahu’s excesses in his second term. It has also put the spotlight on neoconservatives and Israel lobby groups in the US in an unfamiliar way.
The fight over the former Nebraska senator has essentially been defined by two sides. Hagel’s loudest and fiercest opponents, including neoconservative Weekly Standard editor in chief, William Kristol, have put smears and evidence-free hits at the top of their complaint list, while Hagel’s supporters have provided thoughtful analyses of his credentials and past service. All this has led to even unlikely candidates like MSNBC’s Joe Scarbourough telling it like it is on National television. And while criticism of Israeli foreign policy and Israel lobby groups in the US often leads to accusations of anti-semitism (no matter how baseless), the way Hagel’s leading opponents have chosen to conduct their war seems to have backfired on them. They are now under the spotlight as much as Hagel is.
Of course, as Josh Rogin reminds us, the real battle has yet to begin.
Photo: Senator Chuck Hagel shares a light moment as he introduces Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, left, shortly before they deliver remarks as the keynote speakers at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, Washington D.C, May 9, 2012. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett) (Released)