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The Hagel-Clemons Worldview

12:41 PM, Jan 7, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Here's an exchange from MSNBC this morning between Steve Clemons, a close friend and ardent supporter of Chuck Hagel, and Dan Senor:

STEVE CLEMONS: The most important thing about Hagel—and with all due respect to Dan and some of his colleagues—there seems to be this effort by Israel and its supporters over and over to continue to run resolutions to say, “How much do you love me, America? Do you love me today, do you love me tomorrow, do love me again?” And I think that what Hagel has done has said, “I’m supportive of Israel, but at the same time, I’m not going to create a zero-sum game between Israel and its neighbors that also have vital national security relationships with the United States.”

CHUCK TODD: On that point, signing a letter vs. voting for aid are two different things.

DAN SENOR: Sure. But, Chuck, when senators vote to designate the Iranian revolutionary guard corps a terrorist organization, what these senators cite is not just the threat Iran poses to Israel, they cite the threat that Iran poses to America. When they cite—when they vote to designate, or call on the E.U., for instance, to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, they cite the damage that Hezbollah has done to American military men and women, to American security interests. And for Steve to just—to sweep this away as this is just Israel and Israel supporters wanting a bunch of love letters is really, I’d say actually, offensive.

Clemons's statement is deeply revealing of the Hagelian worldview. In the Chuck Hagel/Steve Clemons universe, it's routine to have contempt for "Israel and its supporters"—they're just silly people who always want to be reassured that America "loves" Israel. And, in the Hagel/Clemons universe, for the U. S. government to be pro-Israel is to "create a zero-sum game" between Israel and "its neighbors." Which neighbors? Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, who were the subject of the resolutions that Hagel opposed.

We trust the Obama administration won't muzzle Steve Clemons and the other true friends of Chuck Hagel. Their hostility to Israel is so deep that, like moths to a flame, they can't help but express it even when they know it's imprudent to do so.

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