A recent posting on the AJC (American Jewish Committee) web site http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=7oJILSPwFfJSG&b=8478375&ct=12966983¬oc=1 titled ” AJC Calls for Further Senate Review of Hagel’s Record” states that “in light of his complex record in the Senate and controversial statements he has made since his public service on strategic and political affairs – notably grappling with the range of pressing Middle East issues – AJC believes that further Senate deliberation is called for before any final vote is taken…Moreover, reports are now circulating that the nominee purportedly spoke derisively in recent years of U.S. policy-making regarding Israel and the vital U.S.-Israel relationship. Thus, we feel it especially important that Senator Hagel be given a full opportunity to clear the air, so that the Senate can have a more thorough picture of the nominee’s views.”
I STRONGLY DISAGREE with the AJC’s position for the following reasons:
- The recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Chuck Hagel can only be characterized as an example of personal vendetta and an attempt to defame the character of a former Senator who served not only our democracy but also his country on the battlefield. During the hearing the Republican Senators made it clear that they had no interest in obtaining a thorough picture of the nominees view. Instead, he was accused of being endorsed by Iran.
- Unfortunately, the character assassination does not stop here. The Texas freshman Senator Ted Cruz seems to be a loyal disciple of McCarthyism. Before the vote of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to approve Hagel’s nomination he claimed that “We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups. …It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.” This is utter nonsense! Unfortunately, Ted Cruz represents just the tip of the iceberg of those within the GOP who are now reapplying the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.
Yes, the AJC is absolutely correct in stating that we are a strictly non-partisan organization and that we speak up only out of concern for policies we deem vital to our nation and central to our organizational mission. I also want to emphasize that I fully support and promote the AJC’s mission building bridges of understanding, advancing the security of Americans and the democratic world, combating anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.
Therefore, I call upon the AJC leadership to take a principled position against the McCarthy style witch hunt,to strongly speak up against the false claims of Antisemitism made against the candidate and to respect the nominees verbal assurance that he will support the current US policy towards Israel.
This dragged out nomination process inadvertently provides canon fodder for those who falsely claim that US policy is being dictated by the “Jewish lobby” in Washington. Instead, we should emphasize that within a democracy different political views can be expressed and that a nominee for a senior cabinet position can get a fair and balanced hearing.
Finally, we should be all aware that when ( and not if) Chuck Hagel becomes Secretary of Defense he is expected to listen to the concerns and ideas of those who opposed him and that we should not forget that he will not make but execute the policy of the President of the United States of America.