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Why Are Right-Wingers So Crazy in Love With Israel?

World  (tags: americans, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', conflict, ethics, freedoms, government, humanrights, israel, middle-east, palestine, politics, Refugees&Relief, society, terrorism, violence, war, world )

- 1940 days ago -
Ever since word leaked that Chuck Hagel would be nominated for Secretary of Defense, Senate Republicans have launched a non-stop attack against their former colleague from Nebraska.

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Kit B (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 12:54 pm
(Photo Credit: en

It's much more than evangelical Christians hoping for the rapture.

Ever since word leaked that Chuck Hagel would be nominated for Secretary of Defense, Senate Republicans have launched a non-stop attack against their former colleague from Nebraska. It’s not just neoconservatives. The assault comes from across the ranks of the GOP. The charge that first dominated the headlines and is still, in many quarters, the loudest: Hagel is “anti-Israel.”

To call the evidence for this charge thin is an understatement. In the Senate Hagel went on record with the same pro-Israel sentiments expected of every senator: “The United States will remain committed to defending Israel. Our relationship with Israel is a special and historic one,” he said.

The L.A. Times notes that he put American money where his mouth was, “voting repeatedly to provide [Israel] with military aid.” He supported an Israeli-Palestinian peace as long as it did not compromise Israel's security or its Jewish identity -- a crucial demand for most Israelis.

So what are his alleged “anti-Israel” crimes?

1) He suggested that Israel should negotiate directly with Hamas -- which in fact Israel is already doing, since it’s obvious that no peace agreement can endure and keep Israel secure unless Hamas signs on to it.

2) When Hagel affirmed America's enduring support for Israel, he added that “it need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships.” In other words, he wants an even-handed policy that puts American interests first.

3) In an interview Hagel once said that, as a senator, he did put U.S. interests first: "The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people [o on Capitol Hill]. … I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States.” The interviewer, the State Department’s long-time (and Jewish) Mideast expert Aaron David Miller, saidthat Hagel was merely stating “a fact: the pro-Israeli community or lobby has a powerful voice. … To deny that is simply to be completely out of touch with reality." Miller called the attempts to paint Hagel as anti-Semitic "shameful and scurrilous."

To sum up the charge, Hagel has shown that when it comes to the Israel-Palestine issue he faces the facts, takes a reasonable view, and as Secretary of Defense would put his own country’s interest first.

To his critics, that’s simply unacceptable. Like most supporters of the Israeli government, they treat even the slightest hint of criticism as if it were a mortal attack on Israel itself. The slightest deviation from their “Israel can do no wrong” agenda evokes howls of condemnation.

Who are these American devotees of (right-wing) Israel? Here is the one place Hagel can be faulted. His widely cited comment about the power of “the Jewish lobby” suggests that Jews are to blame for keeping U.S. Mideast policy so blatantly one-sided all these years. Hagel later apologized, saying that he really meant the “pro-Israel lobby.” But the mistaken stereotype persists that Jews control U.S. Mideast policy.

In fact, what American Jews do is debate vigorously among themselves about Israel and U.S. policy. There are multiple Jewish “pro-Israel” lobbies promoting quite different views. A spokesman for one of those lobbies, J Street, rightly says that by now “the center of the community is exactly where Sen. Hagel is on issues relating to Israel.” And J Street has recent polling data to prove it.

Maybe that’s one big reason AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), the Anti-Defamation League, and other old-guard Jewish groups that typically support Israel, right-wing and wrong, are so far remaining silent on the Hagel nomination. Maybe they’re finally recognizing the truth that Peter Beinart and so many others are revealing: Those big-name organizations are run by aging conservatives who are out of step with the rest of American Jewry. Few serious observers credit their claim to speak for the Jewish community as a whole. As their credibility fades, so does their political power.

Another sign of the changing times: Even the Senate’s most prominent Jewish “pro- (right-wing) Israel” hawk, Charles Schumer, has announced his support for the Hagel nomination.

Recent polls from CNN, the Huffington Post, and Pew make it clear that, in the U.S., the strongest support for Israel’s right-wing policies now comes not from Jews but from Republicans. They’re roughly twice as likely as Democrats to take Israel’s side, while Democrats are about five times as likely as GOP’ers to sympathize with Palestinians. (About 70 percent of Jews vote Democratic.)

These polls, taken after Israel attacked Gaza in November 2012, showed that men, whites and older people (dare we say, “Romney voters”?) were most likely to support Israel unreservedly in the conflict.

Now we know that Republicans will attack an Obama nominee unreservedly, even when their charges on his Mideast views are irrational, to say the least. The Republican Party has become the strongest “pro- (right-wing) Israel” lobby, demanding 100% blind support for whatever Israel’s government does.

Why are Republicans so crazy in love with Israel?

One common explanation points to a love triangle: Republicans, Israel and evangelical Christianity. But after studying the interface of religion and politics in America for many years, I’m convinced that the power of religion to shape political life is usually overrated.

Some evangelical theologies do preach that Jews must control all of the Holy Land before the second coming of Christ. (The organized “Christian Zionist” movement is based on this concept, but as a political group they get little press and have relatively little clout in Washington.)

However, in the evangelical vision of the future, the powerful Jewish state is just a passing phase. In the next phase (to oversimplify a bit) all the Jews become Christians or go to hell. The New Testament image of Jews as “Christ-killers,” rejecting and therefore rejected by the true God, has never been totally erased either. So, although white evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to support Israel, their religion makes them rather ambivalent toward the Jewish religion, to say the least.

What’s more, conservative evangelicals were enthusiastic supporters of Israel in the state’s earliest years, when a large majority of Israelis were strictly secular and avoided anything that smacked of religion.

In fact many of those first Israelis were socialists. Yet American conservatives, evangelical or not, gave full support to the fledgling Jewish state.

The main reason was not religion, but politics. Israel was created in 1948, the very same year that the U.S. committed itself wholeheartedly to cold war against the "communists.” Israel soon agreed (under strong U.S. pressure, some historians say) to be the main U.S. ally in the Middle East, where, most Americans believed (inaccurately), the Arabs were all turning pro-communist.

Israel served U.S. military needs in various ways, especially as an intelligence-gathering outpost. When Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger formulated their doctrine of appointing regional “policemen” to serve U.S. interests around the world, Israel and the Shah’s Iran got the job for the Middle East. With the fall of the Shah in 1979, Israel was left alone as our cop on the Mideast beat.

But Republican affection for Israel reflects much more than that nation’s military usefulness. The deepest root of the feeling is the symbolic meaning of Israel in the conservative worldview. The cold war reinforced the conservative penchant for seeing the world in moral absolutes. So Israel became the Middle East’s only “good guy,” surrounded by a sea of “bad guys.”

The Israeli government played on this simplistic dualism with a skillful PR campaign, depicting their nation as an outpost of civilized American values in a savage Arab wilderness. To most Americans, it looked like our own “Wild West” story all over again: Brave pioneers turning the desert into a fertile garden, with a plow in one hand and a gun in the other, using the gun only when they were forced to defend themselves.

In the Israeli narrative, Jews were always the victims, constantly on guard against unprovoked attacks -- just like the pioneers of the American Wild West. The fact that Jews had displaced Arabs, just as whites displaced Native Americans, often by violent means, simply wasn’t allowed into the story. Nor was the fact that Israel’s military strength made its existence quite secure. Few Americans questioned the myth of Israel’s constant insecurity.

Americans of the Cold War era empathized with Israel all the more because here in the U.S. we were immersed in our own myth of homeland insecurity, constantly on guard against the imagined threat of communist aggression. In this way as in so many others Israel seemed like a miniature America, a partner in the global battle of good against evil.

Though the Cold War is long gone, that sense of kinship remains just as strong among conservatives, who still see the U.S. and Israel as champions of absolute good in a war against the “evildoers.” Indeed Israel looks even better now because conservatives assume that the “evildoers” plotting to destroy us are the very same Arab “terrorists” who are supposedly trying to wipe out Israel.

Conservatives simply ignore the facts. West Bank Palestinians have shifted almost entirely to nonviolent tactics in their struggle against military occupation. Even in Gaza, Hamas has long observed a truce, firing rockets only when Israeli attacks provoke them. And for years Hamas leaders have been supporting a two-state peace agreement. But none of this fits the conservatives’ beloved Wild West stereotype or their narrative of endless insecurity. So they mistakenly go on assuming that Israel is constantly under attack by vicious savages.

The conservative love for Israel has been strengthened by another mistaken belief: that all Israeli Jews are white folks. In fact a sizeable number of Jewish Israelis came from Muslim lands; they and their descendants have brown skin. But few Americans know it. Yet all know that Arabs generally have brown skin. No one can say exactly how strong the racial (and sometimes, no doubt, racist) factor is in the Republican feeling for Israel. But no one can deny that it’s part of the picture.

Conservatives’ tenuous sense of security depends on the reassurance they get from believing that there’s a permanent structure in the world, based on permanent dividing lines -- between nations, races, religions, and most importantly, between good and evil, with their own kind carrying the banner of the good.

As long as they can see good battling evil, it doesn’t matter exactly who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are. It’s all essentially a matter of symbolism. So the roles can switch in surprising ways. (Osama bin Laden was once the darling of the right-wingers when he fought the communists in Afghanistan.)

Israelis are well aware of how easily American affections can change. Their press is full of discussions about the risk of losing their sole remaining ally.

For now, though, the Republican love for Israel is holding firm. It has been cemented by the recent shift to the right among Israeli Jews. Politically, the last few years in Israel have looked a lot like the Reagan years in the U.S., making it easier for the GOP to feel that sense of kinship.

Even if Israel moves back toward the center, it’s not likely to lose the fervent devotion of Republicans. They’ve been so convinced for so long that Israel can do no wrong, it hardly matters to them what Israel does. It’s Israel the symbol, not the reality, that the Republicans love.

Now they are demonstrating their ardor by acting out a symbolic drama in the Senate, attacking Chuck Hagel on the flimsiest grounds. The “pro- (right-wing) Israel” stance is “very much a litmus test for many in the Republican Party,” as Washington Post analyst Aaron Blake says, “and it will make it difficult for any Republican senator to vote for him.” Like all true lovers, they let their passion overrule reason.

So they’re taking a political gamble. In the latest polls, between 39% and 59% of Americans say they support Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. (Between 9% and 13% support Palestine.) That imbalance might make the Republican position look safe enough. But it leaves a huge portion of the electorate holding no clear preference. How all those undecided voters respond to this latest display of Republican fanaticism is anyone’s guess.

And even among those who back Israel, many will agree with what Chuck Hagel has said: "I'm a supporter of Israel, always have been. It's in Israel's best interest to get a peace. …Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn’t come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun."

The Hagel confirmation hearings should trigger a public debate, weighing the nominee’s view against the Republicans’ irrational love for Israel, which may serve their own needs in a perverse way but wreaks such terrible harm on Arabs, Israelis and the U.S. position in the Middle East.
****Many links within body of article that expand on this article at VISIT SITE***

By: By Ira Chernus, AlterNet | News Analysis | truthout |

JL A (281)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 1:44 pm
Thank you for this very interesting post reminding us that this issue, like most, is not a yea vs. nay on the two ends of the color spectrum but has many nuances and shades of gray between the polar opposite positions reflecting where many of the interested parties being defended espoused views actually are.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 4:47 pm
Noted. Anything those crazy fundamentalist evangelicals are against, I'm going to be "for."

Robert B (60)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:12 pm
Follow the money.

Süheyla C (234)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:59 pm
Thank you kit

Nancy M (197)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:49 pm
I have often wondered this in recent years. Certainly used to be the opposite. Ah well. Thanks for the good article Kit.

Carrie B (306)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:39 pm
Hypocrites! They are after $$$!

Judith G (4)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:43 pm
It's all about the Second Coming - Jesus returning to Israel, etc., etc; They don't really give a damn about the Jews.

Thomas P (280)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:52 pm
Noted...great article Kit. I think what has Republicans especially upset is that this administration, particularly under Sec Clinton, has called out Israel, in part by expressly stating that allowing settlements is a violation of international law (which is a fact, not an opinion). The fact that it is a violation is nothing new, but calling Israel out on it in front of the international community is. I think the Repub's want to go back to business as usual and rubber stamping most everything Israel does. I'm not sure why as it's not been helpful to anyone, incl'g Israel.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:56 pm
Even If Evangelical RepubliCONs are against Hagel, that's still suspicious to me. Hagel is Another RepubliCON & I just don't like it when Democrats hire RepubliCONs (and it just Doesn't Happen the other way around)!!!! Even IF Hagel MIGHT be more apt to balance our Middle East problems, I bet he still belongs to a Country Club that Neither Jews nor Muslims could join!;)

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 4:01 pm
One of the best articles touching the holy cow topic I've seen, thx Kit! An excellent analysis. But only that last paragraph and sentence slightly touches another major point ("..Republicans’ irrational love for Israel, which may serve their own needs in a perverse way but wreaks such terrible harm on Arabs, Israelis and the U.S. position in the Middle East ")-as Carrie correctly said: MONEY. They are crying like babies robbed of their favorite toy, fearing there might not be a beloved war filling their pockets.

marie C (163)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 5:33 pm
Noted thanks Kit

Shirley S (187)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 5:50 pm
Israel military are dedicated to WAR.

Kevin A (64)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:04 pm
Rich Israelis backed the Republican candidates (other than Ron Paul) and one threw millions of his own money behind Romney. Israel has clearly purchased the support it gets from Republicans. they want a war with Iran and most of the GOP candidates promised to send US to war for them. So I see the attachment as a business arrangement.

pam w (139)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:16 pm
Honestly...are "right-wingers" EVER in love with ANYONE other than themselves?

Richelle Rausch (43)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:43 pm
I agree with this article. Thank you

Kit B (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:01 pm

That is a good point, Pam.

Sheila S (50)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:15 pm
Sorry folks - I give this one a C+! I won't dispute the information about Hagel, but when it gets down to the "who, what, where and why" of what evangelicals believe...there's a lot of old, stereo-typical misleading misinformation.

Billie C (2)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 8:35 pm
lets see we have israel on one side and muslims on the other side. now who should we support muslim terrorists or jews who at least aren't blowing up people for the sake of some child molester. i'll stand with israel over any muslim any day. muslims need to be walled off from everybody but other muslims.

Sheryl G (363)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 9:16 pm
To sum up the charge, Hagel has shown that when it comes to the Israel-Palestine issue he faces the facts, takes a reasonable view, and as Secretary of Defense would put his own country’s interest first.

Sounds like a good plan to me.....if the Countries interest is The People's interest and not some Special Interest of a "few"......

Arielle S (313)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:33 am
Thank you for this article, Kit - it always helps to have some facts when forming an opinion. Something a good many Congressional folk don't seem to realize. As J.L. said, "there are many shades of gray" - seldom is something pure white or black.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:38 am
Israel is beautiful but we can't afford to protect it and all the unrest it has caused throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Lydia Weissmuller Price (181)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:46 am
My family and I are Christian Jews. We are children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob...but above all we are children of GOD. Exploring our history in the Tanach {old Testament} you will find that the nations we were to destroy utterly were idol worshippers who practiced the immolation {sacrifice by fire} of their children. We were to offer peace negotiations to other nations. Many times our people were conquered and almost wiped out when we disobeyed God. Search the Scriptures and you will find child sacrifice referred to over and over again {Melech, Ba'al}. HaShem {God} does not condone the slaughter of innocent children and we are instructed in the humane treatment of captives during wartime. Israel is not a state or nation. It is a people who are called to obey God. This same God spared the great city of Nineveh {read Jonah 4:11}. Many people mistakenly believe this to refer to the spiritual darkness of the population. The 120,000 persons who do not discern between their right and left hand refers to children under 5-years-of-age. Nineveh was the Capitol of a great kingdom with a HUGE population, but it was spared for the sake of the children and animals. God is not on your side in a war that purposely targets the innocent. We are chosen to OBEY God, not to use Him as a shield to hide our sins and pretend that we are righteous.

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday January 28, 2013, 8:20 am
Hagel is a puppet of Islamists and Soros.

Those who are upset with Obama's choice don't need to be right wingers or to love Israel. They just simply be people who want to keep people like Hagel as far away from making decisions that are bad for America, as possible.

Kit B (276)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:07 am

I like Hagel, I think he is a man independent of party, he thinks for himself decides on each situation, not just from a policy stand point. I believe he will make decisions for the US, that is his first allegiance.

. (0)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:14 am
I like Hagel; no Israel isn't perfect and neither are the Arabs. Maybe if we realized we are all just visitors here the planet would be a different place. I know that's idealistic and for it to occur we would have to change human nature and that's not going to happen any time soon.

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:28 am

ould Chuck Hagel, the man President Obama wants to become Secretary of Defense, secretly be a pawn of George Soros? It is a question that liberals would not bear hearing, and one that many conservatives, no doubt, would not bear going unanswered.

And indeed, evidence has come to light suggesting that the answer to this question may incline toward the positive. Specifically, a recent report by Aaron Klein of KleinOnline suggests the following about the would-be defense secretary:

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, serves on the board of a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
The Poughshares Fund has also partnered with a who’s who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the Demos progressive group, where Obama’s former green jobs czar, Van Jones, serves on the board.[...]
A primary Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, a money tunnel in which leftist donors provide funds to finance other radical groups. Tides is itself funded by Soros.[...]
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an advisor on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also served as director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.
Among the groups Ploughshares donates to the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical the Institute for Policy Studies.
This is damning stuff, and no doubt many would take evidence of a Soros connection as proof beyond doubt that Hagel is an anti-American radical, or possibly even someone who takes his marching orders from Soros.

But is that proof really so strong? Certainly Hagel’s choice to be on the board of an organization like the Ploughshares Fund, which does list Hagel as a board member on its website, is an argument against his judgment. But how much the organization’s connection to Hagel proves about his involvement with Soros, and how much a simple connection with Soros would prove about Hagel, are wider questions.

Six Degrees of George Soros: Is Hagel Connected?

To begin with, there is the matter of Hagel being on Ploughshares’ board. Certainly, given Ploughshares’ generally extremely anti-war and anti-nuclear stance (as documented in the above article), this is evidence that Hagel holds far more dovish views possibly than even President Obama. In fact, given that far left websites have attacked Soros as a war profiteer in the past, and Soros himself bought 2 million shares of Halliburton in 2007, it may indicate that Hagel holds views to the left of Soros himself.

But does serving on the board of an organization that takes some of its money from Soros prove that Hagel himself is in Soros’ pocket? Probably not. For one thing, given Soros’ aforementioned investment in Halliburton, that would make anyone serving on Halliburton’s board into a potential Soros puppet. It would also open the way to an accusation of Soros-fraternizing against people such as Dick Cheney, which is a difficult accusation to stomach. It is also unclear how much money the Tides Foundation donated to Ploughshares, whether Hagel himself drew a salary from nonprofit work with this group, and how much Hagel was involved in the day-to-day decision making at Ploughshares.

Moreover, if the aforementioned standard that serving on an organization’s board makes you complicit with the people funding it were applied, it would mean that Ploughshares is not Hagel’s only connection to Soros. In fact, given that Hagel is listed as serving on the board of the Chevron Corporation, it would mean that until last year, when Soros sold his shares in Chevron, Hagel was connected to Soros through two separate channels. In fact, given Soros’ prolific charitable giving (not all of which goes to partisan causes), there are probably more connections still to be found in the full list of other organizations whose boards Hagel sits on. That list is as follows:

Bread for the World, Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Center for the Study of the Presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, George C. Marshall Foundation, Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Global Strategy Forum, Global Zero, Hamilton Project, Initiative for Global Development, Lung Cancer Alliance, International Center for the Study Of Radicalization and Political Violence, National Bureau of Asian Research’s Next Generation Leadership Board, Ploughshares Fund, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, U.S. Institute of Peace Middle East Senior Working Group, U.S. Middle East Project, America Abroad Media, American Security Project, and The Washington Center. He is also co-chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Corporate Council.
Still, say for the sake of argument that Hagel was connected to Soros. Would that mean Hagel was an anti-American or anti-Israeli radical? Maybe, but not necessarily so. Even though Soros himself skews very far left, not everyone with a connection to Soros even qualifies as being a Democrat, let alone being a far left radical, though most of them do qualify as being relatively non-interventionist on foreign policy. For instance, Texas Congressman Ron Paul was accused by Frontpage Magazine of taking advice on foreign policy from Soros-funded scholars during the 2012 election. Paul’s foreign policy views were, obviously, far to the left of the Republican party, and arguably even to the left of the President, but no one would accuse Paul – whose time in Congress included vigorous anti-communist rhetoric prior to the fall of the Soviet Union – of being as far to the Left as the Institute for Policy Studies, which some claim was originally a communist front, though Paul may agree with its scholars on foreign policy.

Finally, retiring Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may be preparing to assume leadership of one of Soros’ many organizations after leaving her present position. Clinton also spent Election Night 2004 at Soros’ apartment. Clinton’s tenure in office has been criticized for many things, but rarely for insufficient hawkishness. In fact, when she assumed office, Clinton was considered one of the more hawkish members of Obama’s cabinet by some sources.

Granted, from a conservative perspective, Soros’ views on foreign policy are troubling, to say the least. However, those looking for evidence of Hagel’s foreign policy extremism need not go so far as to ascribe sinister motives to his connection to an organization that gets money from another organization that is connected to Soros. The fact that Hagel supported resurrecting a draft, and the mission of the Ploughshares Fund more or less provides that evidence on its own:

Since 1981, Ploughshares Fund has led and supported a community of experts, advocates and analysts to implement smart strategies to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
As a publicly supported foundation, we have raised over $80 million to fund the smartest people with the best ideas. We’ve leveraged the impact of those funds with our own advocacy, connections, media profile and leadership. Combining high-level advocacy, an enhanced grantmaking capacity and our own expertise, we are enhancing global security.
In short, when a nominee serves on the board of an organization that wants to do away with nuclear weapons altogether, focusing on that organization’s connection to Soros is arguably missing the forest for the trees. The fact that Hagel skews left on foreign policy has become common knowledge by this point, and has not deterred President Obama from nominating him. Skewing far enough left to want to do away with nuclear weapons, on the other hand, may be a tougher sell come Hagel’s confirmation hearings.

Kit B (276)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:37 am

The Blaze - Good grief, Bob do you have no opinions not formed from wacky right wing articles?
While you skewer Soros , take a long look at the real agenda of the Koch family.

Hagel will do just fine.

bob m (32)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:10 am

When you see great signs and wonders and "peace' pronounced and the mark applied and black smoke rising above jeruselem (animal sacrifice in the new temple) and the children of Rome dancing with the children of islam (antichrist).....the time of the spirit of antichrist and his abominations will be upon the earth.. with the return of the LAMB of God soon to follow... repent and believe on the lord jesus Christ today ..and be saved.

Alexa R (319)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:18 am
Send a Green Star to Bob Algeron
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to Bob because you have done so within the last week.

Suzanne L (99)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:52 am
The Bush family has been great friends with the Bin Ladens. Does anyone remember how W ensured that the Bin Laden's in the U.S. were whisked out of country after 9/11 when every other plane was grounded?

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:07 pm
Kit, Ploughshares Fund remains what it is, and Soros remains what he is, no matter who wrote about them.

Obama let Muslim Brotherhood people in - you can see the results of it all over the Middle East. Bush was a friend to Bin Ladens, who supposedly denounced Osama and did not contribute to terrorism.

Here we have a supporter or at least symphatizer with the virulent terrorist groups, with some socialist flavour.

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:18 pm
Thank you for the article Kit. Motivations and agendas aside, Isreal is a powerful country with a solid economy. I am sure they will do just fine without our help. Perhaps some of this aid money would be better spend at home, certainly in this case.

Mitchell D (87)
Monday January 28, 2013, 6:40 pm
So many good points and such dunderheadedness!
I particularly want to cite Judith G's comment about the purported second coming, as this seems to be the reason the Evangelicals are so supportive of Israel, simply as they apparently see it as having a role in setting the stage for Jesus' return, and then, literally, the hell with them.
Of course, the recent research about conservatives, in general, having a very narrow, black and white view of the world, fits into the "Good Guy/ Bad Guy" point of view.

Richelle Rausch (43)
Monday January 28, 2013, 8:12 pm
I watched a Discovery channel program last night about Jesus and his life in Israel. The Romans were the ones who took over the land and tortured the people. Why shouldn't Italy be the country to pay Israel?

Judy C (97)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 12:32 am
This is a very good summary of the various issues that underlie this Right Wing - Israel romance. The U.S. pours money and weapons into Israel because without them, we wouldn't have any stronghold in the region. All the mythology about chosen people and so forth adds plenty of irrational support to keep the gravy train flowing into Israel. Many Right-wingers would still support the old George W. Bush belligerent cowboy approach to foreign relations. Fortunately, Chuck Hagel has the honesty and good sense to see that this situation has the potential of triggering World War III, and he appreciates the importance of diplomacy, and civilized and respectful discourse with people considered to be enemies. As I've said before, Hagel is a very good choice for Defense Secretary.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 8:57 am

Well said, Judy.

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday February 1, 2013, 2:24 am
There are a few reasons why the U.S. right-wing supports Israel.

Religious reasons, the military-industrial complex (as Israel is a major weapons-developer), geostrategic reasons (a solid ally in the Middle East does wonders for power-projection), business-interets (Israel's high-tech sector is significant), and many other noted reasons are actually pretty minor. The "good vs. evil" dichotomy in the article isn't even quite correct: It is just as easy to see things the other way, with Israel as the villain, as many on Care2 seem to do. In fact, it doesn't even quite fit with cheering when there is a real step towards peace on both sides.

It comes down to the definitive difference between conservatives and liberals, the primary dividing-line in U.S. politics, the strength (or lack thereof) of the liberal assumption that if left free, people will "succeed" (with sucess usually meaning prosperity and socially acceptable behaviour). When we see statistically significant disparity in wealth, if that assumption is taken strongly, that implies some injustice, where the poor are automatically seen as oppressed. The more strongly that assumption is taken, the more evidence is required to overturn it in any given case, and the more liberal the person making the assumption is. If the opposite assumption is taken, that differences in degrees of success are due to internal causes within a group, whether cultural, genetic, or whatever, the person is conservative in an absolute way, though that opposite assumption may also be overturned by evidence, with the standard of evidence depending on how conservative the person is. There are few neighbourhoods where the disparity is greater than in the Middle East, Israel is the relatively rich country, and the cultural differences make a great case for the core, and I think even definitive, conservative belief that internal differences, in this case culture, rather than bigotry or some other unlevel playing-field, drive differences in rates of success.

It's not just that Israeli culture, while not monolithic, tends to be a whole lot closer to American than do the cultures of its neighbours, but that it is different from its neighbours in ways that can explain the difference in wealth. Look at attitudes towards women, as expressed in the ratios of labour-force participation. Look at work-ethics, where in Arab countries work-ethics can get so bad that they leave their military equipment in such direpair that it becomes useless. Look at the organization of societies, with Arab states facing two competing hierarchies of governance, the official government and the clan or tribal leadership which may tell people to follow different rules from the laws of the land, while the Israeli government has no such internal competition. Look at the value placed on education within the households of the different cultures. Look at the strength of democracy on one side and rate of rebellions on the other. The point isn't that one is morally superior to the other, but that one is so much more conducive to wealth than the other that this difference appears to account for the difference in "success".

On the other end, we can look at the advantages that one group had, through no merit of its own, relative to the other: Look at the diffrences, until recently, in accessible natural resources. Look at populations. Look at foreign aid (Israel receives serious military assistance, covering roughly a fifth of its military budget, but its own military spending as a fraction of GDP is higher than nearly any Arab state anyways, so that really doesn't explain economic differences). They point the wrong way to explain the disparity in wealth. The argument has been made that even Israeli control over Palestinians, and with it frankly better governance, the lack of need for a miltiary budget, the opening of the first Palestinian universities, and other benefits, doesn't even support the argument that the difference in wealth is due to inter-group relations or accidents of nature. The usual search for evidence just doesn't the liberal assumption that, left on their own or given whatever extrinsic advantages Israel has, Arabs would "succeed" to any degree even close to that of Israel.

Essentially, the Middle East plays almost perfectly into the basic conservative philosophy, with Israel playing the part of the conservative role-model.
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