However, if we are examining the issue of anti-Semitism, I am more concerned by Obama's stubborn decision to proceed with Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense, notwithstanding his questionable positions, which, according to The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chuck-hagel-is-not-right-for-defense-secretary/2012/12/18/07e03e20-493c-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html), place him "well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him." Anyone skimming readers' comments in response to recent opinion pieces regarding Hagel in US newspapers and journals cannot fail to notice the wave of accusations of "control" and "manipulation" of US foreign policy by AIPAC, "Israel firsters" and "Zionists" that has been unleashed by this nomination. Obama surely must have known that this would be coming.
In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Why Hagel Was Picked" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/opinion/brooks-why-hagel-was-picked.html?_r=0), David Brooks approaches Hagel's nomination from a different angle. Brooks believes that US health care expenses are "squeezing out all other spending," including programs for children, education and the poor. With respect to the military, Brooks states that "there will have to be a generation of defense cuts that overwhelm anything in recent history." Specifically regarding the Hagel nomination, Brooks postulates:
"Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.
All the charges about Hagel’s views on Israel or Iran are secondary. The real question is, how will he begin this long cutting process?"
Hagel will provide "cover" for future cutting by Obama of the defense budget? Maybe. But my guess is that this symbiosis extends much further and deeper. Hagel represents everything that Obama, a radical wolf in moderate sheep's clothing, could not say during his first term in office, including an underlying hostility to Israel and a desire to avoid confrontation with Iran, even if should it be days away from building its first atomic weapon.
Note that Ed Koch, who supported Obama's re-election, is now admitting that Obama is no friend of Israel (http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/01/07/ed-koch-on-chuck-hagel-nomination-obamas-reneging-on-his-conveyed-support-for-israel-has-come-earlier-than-i-thought/):
“Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when [Obama] would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”
Given the storm surrounding Hagel's nomination, it is remarkable how much political capital Obama is willing to spend to make Hagel, a Vietnam war hero with dubious administrative and executive talents, his next secretary of defense.