Politico's Maggie Haberman reports:
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Chuck Hagel “almost had tears in his eyes” as he explained to the former Nebraska senator that the expression “Jewish lobby” is rooted in a negative depiction of Jews....
“He struck me as sincere, and you know, you have to be sitting there at the meeting obviously, but I also told him when he used the word Jewish lobby what it meant to Jewish people,” he added.
“And I told him what a double standard is. That Jewish people throughout the centuries have suffered a double standard. Everyone could be a farmer except Jewish people. Everyone could live in Moscow except Jewish people. I said when everyone else can lobby but all of a sudden when those of us who are pro-Israel lobby, it’s a negative, that’s a double standard. And I’m sure you didn’t mean it, but it harkens to the old days.
“And he really, you know, he almost had tears in his eyes when he understood. So I believe he will be good.”
Of course he had tears in his eyes. He was willing to lie, transparently, about his beliefs to become Secretary of Defense; why wouldn’t he work up some mist to convince a guy with the power to torpedo his confirmation that he’s really and truly changed his ways? This story is the whole Hagel confirmation process in a nutshell, in fact. Here’s one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate telling you he had to explain the basics of Jewish persecution to a former colleague as if he was a seven-year-old. And yet he’s going to vote for him anyway because, even though he’s patently unqualified, now that he’s mastered “Anti-Semitism for Dummies,” he’ll be “good.”
One lingering question: Did Schumer attempt to explain to Hagel why any of his other statements are offensive? Maybe if Schumer told Hagel why it's wrong to suggest moral equivalency between Israel and Hezbollah--or claim that Israel "keeps Palestinians caged up like animals"--the Defense secretary nominee could have mustered up a near-quivering lip to match the tears he almost had in his eyes.