Smearing Hagel

Dec 18 2012 @ 1:34pm

Like a kabuki dance, here it comes: the usual vile insinuations; the usual call for the Greater Israel Lobby to kill a nomination because a US Senator actually believe his job is to care first about the security and interests of the US, not Greater Israel; the reflexive equation of opposition to the Netanyahu administration or the settlements or the Gaza wars with pure bigotry. The phrases – "the odor is especially ripe" – are as preeningly self-righteous as they are toxic. You are not allowed, for example, to note that well-financed organized Washington lobbies "intimidate" lawmakers:

the word "intimidates" ascribes to the so-called Jewish lobby powers that are at once vast, invisible and malevolent; and because it suggests that legislators who adopt positions friendly to that lobby are doing so not from political conviction but out of personal fear.

It's interesting to read this familiar, exhausted, ridiculous whine in the context of our current discussion about the NRA. The NRA is routinely called the gun lobby and it is described in exactly the same terms as AIPAC: "vast, invisible and malevolent" – because it is precisely as effective and relentless and as fanatical as AIPAC in wielding money, networking and political pressure in attaining its legislative goals. But we are forbidden from calling AIPAC what it is the way we call the NRA what it is – because telling the truth about it has been stigmatized as anti-Semitism.

It's a useful ruse for bullies like the Greater Israel Lobby. It's also an insult to those who have suffered and been murdered by actual anti-Semites. But for utopian fanatics, if casually calling honorable public servants anti-Semites helps them retain their dream of a Greater Israel, so be it. Which is why the president, if indeed he is contemplating an appointment for the Nebraska Republican, should not listen to the AIPAC thugs. He should what is right for this country, and not any other's.