Still waiting for NJDC or the Dersh to come out against Hagel? Don't hold your breathHere's the NJDC.
The statement Monday morning came before Obama's formal announcement expected later Monday nominating Hagel, a former Republican senator, for defense secretary.
"President Barack Obama's unprecedented pro-Israel credentials are unquestionable, and setting policy starts and stops with the president," said the statement, which was not attached to the name of an NJDC official. "While we have expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when confirmed, former Senator Chuck Hagel will follow the President's lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel -- on strategic cooperation, missile defense programs, and leading the world against Iran's nuclear program."Can we call that the blind leading the blind?
And then there's Alan Dershowitz, desperately seeking a way to support Hagel while still calling himself pro-Israel.
The nomination of Hagel thus sends a mixed message to the mullahs in Tehran, who will likely interpret it as a change from a red light to a yellow or green one when it comes to their desire to develop nuclear weapons. Sending a mixed message at this point can increase the chances that Iran will miscalculate and act in a foolheartedly manner thus requiring the actual use of the military option—an eventuality that nobody wants.
The goal of America’s policy toward Iran has always been to frighten the mullahs into believing President Obama’s threat to use military force if sanctions fail. “I don’t bluff”, President Obama has famously and publicly stated. It is imperative that the Iranian leadership believe this. If they do, they may well decide that the sanctions they are currently undergoing are too painful to endure, if the end result is that they will never be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. If they don’t believe President Obama’s threat, then the sanctions alone will not dissuade them from pursuing their nuclear goal. The nomination of Senator Hagel will strengthen the hand of those within the Iranian leadership who think that President Obama is bluffing.
It is also important that the Israeli leadership believes that President Obama really has Israel’s back when it comes to preventing Iran from endangering the Jewish state by obtaining nuclear weapons. Any loss of trust with this regard may result in an Israeli decision to take unilateral military action to protect its citizens against nuclear attacks.
This is the wrong time to send mixed messages by nominating a man who has, at best, a mixed record with regard to sanctions and the military option against Iran and with regard to having Israel’s back.
Senator Hagel will have an opportunity to clarify, and hopefully to change, his previous statements with regard to these issues. He should be asked probing questions about sanctions, about the military option and about Israel’s security. In his answers he must persuade the Iranian leadership that there is no distance between his current views and those of the President who has nominated him. The President must also persuade the Iranian leadership that his nomination of Hagel does not constitute any backing down from his commitment to use military force, if sanctions don’t work.
Independence may be a virtue for a Senator, but it is a vice when it presents conflicting messages at a time when it is imperative that the Iranian leadership understand that the Obama Administration, indeed the United States as a whole, speaks with one voice when it says that Iran will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, even if that requires the use of military force if all other options fail.Read the whole thing and note what he doesn't do: He doesn't come out against the nomination. Loyalty to Obama and loyalty to the Democratic party trump support for Israel?
And in case you're wondering where prominent Democratic Senators stand, here's a roundup.
A number of prominent Jewish Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have suggested they would support Hagel, but others like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have expressed reservations and still others have been outright opposed, including Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee; former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a contender to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for an interim should Kerry be confirmed as expected as secretary of state; and Susan Turnbull, a former vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who is active in the NJDC.Of the people on that list, only Feinstein, Levin and Schumer (and possibly Frank - who's probably worried about Hagel's hatred for gays) actually have a vote. I'd be interested in hearing about Hillebrand (the second Senator from New York) and Menendez (NJ) among others.
Oh yes - and I'd love to hear from Ed Koch.
Labels: Chuck Hagel