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Panic Among the Hagelians

6:12 PM, Jan 7, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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The pro-Chuck Hagel forces, having failed to pick up momentum from the president's announcement today, seem to be getting desperate. Why else would the following bombshell magically appear on BuzzFeed's website?

Here's the dramatic headline:

Dick Cheney Apparently Didn't Mind The Term “Jewish Lobby”

And here's the heart of the story:

When Cheney was Secretary, the Defense Department published a pamphlet using the phrase Hagel has gotten in trouble for uttering. It also instructed soldiers to downplay America's alliance with Israel. …

Chuck Hagel has come under fire for using the term "Jewish lobby" in 2006 to describe those activists who support Israel, with some claiming the remark proves anti-Semitism. But in 1990, the Defense Department under then-Secretary Dick Cheney published a pamphlet using that same term."

Sounds promising for the Hagelians.

But it turns out the Defense Department in 1990 was instructing American servicemen to avoid the term "Jewish lobby:"

So how does this 1990 pamphlet legitimize Chuck Hagel's use of the term? It doesn't. The 1990 pamphlet prohibited the use of the term.

The problem is not that Chuck Hagel uttered two magic words--"Jewish lobby." The problem is that he said, and apparently still believes, "the Jewish lobby intimidates" lots of members of Congress, and that's why most members of Congress are more pro-Israel than Hagel. This statement is Hagel's problem. Revealing that Dick Cheney told servicemen not to use the same term Hagel used isn't going to solve it.

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