Right-wing neoconservatives — including Bill Kristol, Eliott Abrams, Jennifer Rubin and many others — are wasting no time in launching a swiftboat-reminiscent campaign to besmirch Hagel’s reputation and derail his nomination.
One organization is fighting back in an interesting and innovative way.
J Street, “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” in an e-mail says:
We know the truth. Chuck Hagel is a dedicated public servant, a war hero, and an independent voice dedicated to our country. He’s been a friend of Israel, the Jewish people, and an advocate for a negotiated two-state solution. That’s why we’re fighting back against the lies.
After asking, “Hey – have you seen the brouhaha over President Obama potentially nominating former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense? The right-wing smear machine, including Bill Kristol and the Emergency Committee for Israel, is out in full force, with baseless charges of anti-Semitism,” J Street suggests a way for those who agree with this to make their voices know — with bagels.
In return for signing a petition in support of Chuck Hagel, J Street will donate bagels for every 18 people that sign to local food banks “in honor of Bill Kristol.”
The petition reads:
STAND UP AND SAY:
I support President Obama’s nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.
Legitimate questions should be asked during the confirmation hearings about his policy positions and prior statements, but I object to the personal smears and attacks on the Senator, which should have no place in the process.
There are many others supporting Hagel’s nomination, including Israeli politicians and government officials.
For example, outgoing Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Jewish leaders in New York on Thursday:
I know Hagel personally. When I was ambassador in Washington, we had many meetings. I cannot say that we agreed on everything, but he was a decent and fair interlocutor and you can reason with him. I think he believes in the relationship, in the natural partnership between Israel and the United States.
Addressing “an obviously skeptical crowd of American Jewish leaders, Ayalon added: “Once Hagel sits behind the desk in the Pentagon, I am sure he will be very impressed and proud of the volume of the defense relations between Israel and the U.S., which are so important for both countries,” and “Hagel is a true American patriot, and the support that America gives Israel is in America’s interest. So I am optimistic,” according to Haaretz.
Ayalon also discussed a possible “long term interim solution” to the Palestinian issue, the “fragmenting” of the Arab world and his view that “what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria,” but “spills over to Lebanon and maybe even to Iraq.” Adding, “Already today the Kurdish area of Iraq is completely autonomous – they are exporting their oil directly overseas, and there are more direct flights to Kurdish areas than there are to Baghdad, European countries have their consulates there. This is the epitome of what we will see in the Middle East.”
Read more here
Image: Courtesy www.shutterstock.com
Edited to correct a spelling error in Mr. Ayalon’s name. We regret the error