A test-case of Israeli influence in US politics: Hagel under fire from pro-Isarel hawks

By Bernd Debusmann
The Daily Star, Lebanon

Story Summary

A growing controversy over one of President Barack Obama’s candidates for the top Pentagon job is turning into a test case for the influence of Israel’s most fervent right-wing supporters, some of whom equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

Right-wing pro-Israel hawks began a campaign to portray Hagel as hostile to Israel and soft on Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah almost as soon as the senator was first reported to be Obama’s favorite choice to replace Leon Panetta.

Bret Stephens, the influential foreign affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal, echoed that theme in a column headlined “Chuck Hagel’s Jewish problem”. He argued that if Obama indeed nominated Hagel, it showed that the president was no friend of Israel.

Others weighing in with expressions of alarm over the prospect of Hagel as defense secretary included Abraham Foxman, the head of the anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group; Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition; and Josh Block, former spokesman of the American Israel Political Action Committee.

Read more: http://dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2012/Dec-27/199955-hagel-under-fire-from-pro-isarel-hawks.ashx#ixzz2GEqrYjHo
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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