Actually, Hagel Nod Is Great for Israel
Roger Cohen argues that Hagel is a real friend of the country
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2013 1:29 PM CST
Updated Jan 7, 2013 1:55 PM CST
This file photo from July 22, 2008 shows Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, walking with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as they tour the citadel in Amman, Jordan.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – One reason the president's decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary is the right choice: We'll finally have "a serious debate on what constitutes real friendship toward Israel," writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times. Jewish groups have come out against Hagel, but their reasoning is pretty thin: Hagel isn't in favor of war with Iran, and he once referred to Israel advocates as "the Jewish lobby." In the eyes of many Jewish leaders in the US, "the only legitimate support of Israel is unquestioning support of Israel." But many American Jews no longer hold that view—as evidenced by the overwhelming number of voters who picked Obama, despite the GOP's election year claim that he had "thrown Israel 'under the bus.'"

The truth, Cohen writes, is that you can be a friend of Israel while still asking difficult questions. Such friends may not be as loud as the "self-styled 'true friends' of Israel," but they are "unwaveringly committed to Israel’s security within its 1967 borders" and believe a two-state solution can be found if both Israel and Palestine are willing to compromise. Meanwhile, the "true friends" pay little more than "lip service" to such a solution, and dismiss Palestine entirely, even though reforms have, in fact, prepared it for statehood. "Hagel, like Obama, is a quiet strong friend of Israel," Cohen writes. "The movement against him is a relic of a binary with-Israel or against-Israel vision that does not have the true interests of Israel or the United States at heart." Click for Cohen's full column.

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
DERY
Jan 8, 2013 5:27 AM CST
How about this for a change: WHO CARES WHAT'S GOOD OR BAD FOR ISRAEL?
jgarbuz
Jan 7, 2013 10:18 PM CST
There is never going to be a "Palestinian" state because giving the Arabs another state on liberated Jewish land is like giving the Nazis a state there. Israel would have a better chance of negotiating peace with Hitler and Eichmann than with Fatah and Hamas. There is one goal and only one goal and no other goal of the Arabs there than to destroy the Jewish state and put every Jew let live on a boat back to Auschwitz. There is no hope of peace, and what Israel must do now is ANNEX "Area C" where most of the settlers live, surround the West Bank completely, and put a big cover over it. There is not going to be any "Palestinian state" because it is either them, or us JEWs. One of the other will survive in that country. There is no hope for peace and the idea should be forgotten once and for all.
cornelison
Jan 7, 2013 7:52 PM CST
Chuck Hagel outclasses all the politicians who oppose his confirmation. He's a superb choice for Sec. of Defense. Word of advice for the "hawks" in Congress; If you're so gung-ho on going to war then enlist yourselves and your entire family into the military - and stay there.