During the marathon confirmation hearing of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Israel and Iran topped the list of issues with each being mentioned 166 and 144 times respectively. - The “ill-prepared” former Nebraska senator answered questions on Thursday in the Senate Armed Services Committee in a meeting that lasted roughly eight hours. Hagel was undoubtedly expected to face an uphill battle since his past policy comments against Israel and his opposition to White House’s decisions about Iran had assured the powerful Jewish lobby in the US, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that they needed all their ammunition for the fight against Obama’s nominee as the Pentagon chief. Several senators took aim at Hagel who had in the past branded the supporters of Israel as “the Jewish lobby” which “intimidates” US senators into doing “dumb things.”
■ Instead of asking about crucial issues like budget cuts in the Pentagon, US drawdown in Afghanistan and America’s new focus on Asia, Hagel faced “a risible array of hyperbolic, ill-informed, gotcha questions and expressions of narrow parochial concerns that had almost nothing to do with the challenges facing the next secretary of defense,” Michael Cohen wrote in the Guardian on Friday.
■ Professor Stephen M. Walt, who co-authored The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with professor John Mearsheimer in 2007, wrote on the website of Foreign Policy on Friday that the hearing provided “such a compelling vindication” of the views they presented in their landmark publication. "The bottom line is that AIPAC, which bills itself as ‘America's Pro-Israel lobby' has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress ... Open debate about U.S. policy toward Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. (p. 162),” the duo wrote in the book.
Bill Van Auken: US Defense nominee Hagel bows to right on Israel, Iran and militarism - Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel at times assumed the tone of an inquisition, with Obama’s nominee for defense secretary pushed to recant previous positions critical of Israel and swear his support for unbridled US militarism. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, did his best to present himself as an unwavering proponent of the use of American armed might around the globe.
Justin Raimondo: Hagel Hearing: The War Party’s Waterloo - Interestingly, Hagel didn’t back down: He said "I don’t know." As to what motivates any particular member of Congress on any specific "dumb thing" they do – well, he couldn’t know, could he? But of course, everybody knows about the Israel lobby: and if its power and vindictiveness were ever in danger of being forgotten, then surely the battle over Hagel’s confirmation has reminded us. To anyone who lives outside the Washington bubble, there was something profoundly weird about the ritualistic invocations of undying loyalty to Israel.