Chuck Hagel

The Year AIPAC Lost—A Lot

For the last few weeks, we've been presenting some of the success stories of 2013. Today, we want to do something a bit different. Let's talk about some of this year's losses—AIPAC's losses, that is.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee—known popularly by its acronym, AIPAC—has acquired a reputation as an organization that pretty much always gets what it wants. When it somehow doesn't—like in 2008 when our coalition got its Iran blockade bill shelved—it's a really big deal. So one of the most surprising—and exciting—things about 2013 was the sheer amount of times AIPAC failed to achieve its goal.

Let's go back to the beginning of the year. President Obama wanted Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. AIPAC didn't, and launched a major campaign against him. JFP, along with our coalition partners, pushed back. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC sent 300 lobbyists to the Hill to push for US military strikes on Syria. We succeeded in delaying a decision long enough for a diplomatic deal to be reached. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC did not want a rapprochement between the US and Iran in the wake of Hassan Rouhani's election. We encouraged diplomacy. 131 Members of Congress backed a reinvigorated effort to engage Iran. The Obama administration ended 30 years of silence by engaging in high-level talks that brought about an interim deal. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC and its friends in Congress have been trying to nuke the Iran deal by pressuring Congress to pass new sanctions and other incendiary legislation. But Congress just ended its last session of the year—and no legislation passed. On top of that, we got Sen. Elizabeth Warren to back the interim deal during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. We won (twice!); AIPAC lost.

OMG! Did Chuck Hagel say the A word?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse — Senate Republicans and their friends in the Greater Israel Lobby are using classic McCarthyite smear tactics to try to derail the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham dug up an unsubstantiated report that Hagel once voiced concern over Israel “becoming an apartheid state”, and now the Lobby is making hay of the charge.

Unless we act now—we have until Tuesday when the Senate reconvenes—the Lobby could succeed in smearing a public servant for saying what many high-ranking Israelis, including former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have been saying for years. [1] [2]

Join us and our partners at Jewish Voice for Peace now.

Sign our petition to Senator Lindsey Graham telling him that he can't smear Chuck Hagel for having a mainstream Israeli view.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hagel-a-word

[More quotes from prominent Israelis using "the A word" can be found here.]

Graham and friends fail to understand that a responsible United States’ Middle East policy must include recognition of millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule without their basic rights, or inside of Israel as second-class citizens. Only then can we hope to reach a lasting peace for both peoples.

Israel’s many public officials who have talked about apartheid recognize this, but most Senate Republicans are acting as if full support of Israel’s settlement policies is required for the position of US Secretary of Defense.

Already, Christians United for Israel has called for President Obama to remove Hagel’s candidacy. And the American Jewish Committee has called for “further deliberation” on Hagel’s candidacy. Now 15 Senate Republicans have written to President Obama, demanding that he withdraw Hagel's nomination. [3]

Transcript: Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense

(Morning Session)

SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): All right. Alrighty. Here we go. Y'all -- are y'all set?

Sen. LEVIN: (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody.

The committee meets today to consider the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.

But before we begin, I want to first welcome Senator Inhofe as the new ranking Republican on our committee, succeeding Senator McCain. Senator McCain has been a great partner over the last six years, and I thank him for all that he has done to get our bills enacted, for all of his leadership on a host of issues, for his support of the work of this committee and for always keeping our hearings lively. Senator Inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee over his 20 years on this committee, and I know that we're going to work well together to continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee.

We're also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both those who are new to the Senate and those who are new to our committee: Senators Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine and King on the Democratic side and Senators Blunt, Cruz, Fischer and Lee on the Republican side. You will all find that this is a wonderful committee where we work across party lines to support our troops and their families and their national defense mission.

I'd also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to Secretary Panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to California to serve our country first as director of central intelligence and then as secretary of defense. Secretary Panetta has provided a steady hand at the Department of Defense through two very difficult years and has earned our great respect and our appreciation.

Call Senators in Support of Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense

Diplomacy advocate and war skeptic Chuck Hagel is reported to be President Obama's first choice for Secretary of Defense. Hagel would work to end the war in Afghanistan, avoid war with Iran, and cut the Pentagon budget. Right-wing neocons are organizing a smear campaign to try to scuttle the nomination. Urge your Senators to speak up for Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense.

There is a petition at MoveOn here:

Back Obama in Tapping Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
http://signon.org/sign/back-obama-in-tapping-1

You can find phone numbers for your Senators here. If you can't get through to your Senator's DC office, try a local office in your state. All those numbers are given here:
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

A suggested message is:
"I urge you to publicly support Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense, and to speak out against the right-wing attacks on Senator Hagel."

You can report your calls to MoveOn here:

http://www.signon.org/tools/call.html

Thanks for taking action! We've never been this close to having someone like Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense! Let's keep up the pressure!

Don't Let Neocons "Swift Boat" Obama's War-Skeptic Pick for Defense Secretary

The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to "Swift Boat" the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense by making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel—a former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, long-respected moderate and thoughtful voice on foreign policy, and decorated Vietnam combat veteran—is "anti-Israel."

The real reason the neocons hate Hagel is that he's a war-skeptic and a diplomacy advocate. As a Senator, he voted for the Iraq war. But then he became an early and harsh critic of the war and called for it to end. Hagel was an early advocate of diplomatic engagement with Iran, has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran, and has also backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan. Hagel has described the Pentagon as "bloated" and has said "the Pentagon needs to be pared down."

We deserve a war-skeptic and diplomacy advocate as Defense Secretary. Americans voted against the foreign policy of the neocons in 2008 and 2012. But the neocons are still using their insider influence and slander tactics to try to dominate policy.

We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy. All of us opposed to these tactics, including the President's support base of liberal Democrats, must make our voices heard. That's why we've set up a petition on MoveOn's community petition site, SignOn, against the Swift Boat campaign on Chuck Hagel. Will you help us move this petition forward, so more MoveOn members will see it? You can sign and share the petition here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hagel-nomination

Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman explained what's at stake in this fight in his blog on Huffington Post. You can read and share that here:

J Street Pushes Back on Neocon Bid to "Swift Boat" Chuck Hagel Nomination as Defense Secretary
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/j-street-chuck-hagel_b_23329...