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The Hagel Test

2:02 PM, Jan 6, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Jen Rubin, writing for the Washington Post:

If Republicans had nervy firebrands like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, someone would rise up to declare, “Chuck Hagel’s America is a land in which gays would be forced back in the closet and Jews would be accused of dual loyalty. Chuck Hagel’s world is one in which devastating defense cuts become a goal, not a problem; we enter direct talks with the terrorist organization Hamas; and sanctions on Iran wither.”

The Hagel nomination expected to come on Monday is so outrageous and the rationale for his nomination so weak that it becomes an easy no vote for all Republicans. ...

But this is not merely about Israel or Iran policy or defense spending. It is about the acceptability of the worst expression of anti-Semitism, the accusation of disloyalty. There is no other meaning to Hagel’s phrase “Jewish lobby.” The declaration from Hagel that he is not “the senator from Israel” (Who said he should be?) is again a direct attack on Jews’ fidelity to the United States. For decades this kind of venomous language has been gaining acceptance in Europe. But never in America. In elevating Hagel the president in a real and troubling way moves us closer to Western Europe. Indeed the most disturbing aspect of Hagel’s nomination is not his impact on policy (President Obama has and will continue to make one blunder after another), but what it says about the U.S. president’s willingness to embrace a man espousing the world’s oldest hatred.

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