Avishai Accuses Hagel’s Critics of McCarthyism

Bernard Avishai of The Daily Beast has accused those who are critical of Chuck Hagel -because of his stances on issues related to Israel- of practicing a new Mccarthyism.  “I think it is time to acknowledge, bluntly,” he said, “that certain major Jewish organizations, indeed, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations—also, the ADL, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, political groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition…are among the most consistent purveyors of McCarthyite-style outrages in America today.’

Many Jewish (and non-Jewish) groups and figures have, in fact, objected to President Obama’s suggestion that he might appoint Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Indeed, according to Caroline B. Glick of The Jerusalem Post, “Hagel’s looming appointment provoked angry responses from many leading Jewish voices in the US.”

One of Hagel’s critics is William Kristol of The Weekly Standard, who, according to The Post, accused Hagel of having “anti-Israel, pro-appeasement-of-Iran bona fides.”   Several lawmakers have also criticized Hagel. According to Fox News, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said that he was concerned about Hagel’s stances on Israel and Cuba and Iran.  According to National Journal, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also voiced concerns over some of Hagel’s stances and said that he would face “a tough confirmation.” National Journal also reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) criticized Hagel for his stances on Iran.

Criticism of Hagel stems both from his positions and his rhetoric. According to Yitzhak Benhorin of Yedioth Ahronoth, Hagel voted against placing sanctions on Iran, even as Iran leaders referred to Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and called for the elimination of Israel. Benhorin also reports that Hagel  “refused to sign a letter to the European Union” which declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, in 2006, Hagel told Foreign Policy’s Aaron David Miller that “The Jewish Lobby intimidates a lot of people.”  He said that he had told people who were allegedly worried about the lobby that “we’re Americans, not Israelis” and that they should vote in the interests of America, rather than concerning themselves with Israel. While Miller himself suggests that Hagel is not anti-Semitic, and has spoken about “shared values and the importance of Israeli security too,” others have accused Hagel of anti-Semitism. And because of his votes on issues important to Israel’s security, many have expressed doubt that Hagel values Israel’s security.

Filed Under: Politics


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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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