I am not one for admitting I am wrong, but sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming that I have to say it. I was wrong. Specifically I have been repeatedly wrong when I said that the Israel lobby could not be defeated unless and until the President of the United States confronted it directly.
As one who believes that the lobby is a bad influence in American life, I suppose I should be glad that the lobby's overreaching is finally being taken note of. On the other hand, I don't like it. The Lobby, despite its claims, does not speak for most American Jews, not by a long shot.
Senator Hagel's confirmation has to await action by the Senate Committee and by the full Senate. But we do not have to wait for confirmation that with respect to the Middle East peace process, the U.S. Congress remains in the grip of the Israel lobby.
While recognizing that war can be necessary, Chuck Hagel understands -- out of both personal experience and practical consequence -- that war is best avoided, if possible. Unlike the war-happy neocons, he sees military force as a last resort.
A dangerous confluence of circumstances has developed in recent years. The pro-Israel community has lost its moral compass. It has done so by valencing "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?" to the exclusion of "And if I am only for myself, then what am I?"
Maybe Chuck Hagel isn't the right man to head the Defense Department. If so, it isn't because he is an anti-Semite. Let's have an honest and civil debate over his qualifications for the office. Israel loses when its American supporters resort to demagoguery allegedly on its behalf.
We are Americans and vote based on American interests. AIPAC represents its 100,000 members and, more significantly, the donors associated with it. It does not speak for the community as a whole, not by a long shot.
For most outsiders Ayatollah Fadlallah was just another bearded Muslim priest warped in from the medieval period hell bent on destroying western civilization. For Middle East insiders he was a moderating force.
I am not going to deconstruct a Goldberg column. His biography tells you everything you need to know about him. The sad thing is that he is only 45. Imagine how ethnocentric and terrified he will be at 60.
Alan, what did you mean when you said J Street had "gone over to the dark side"? That those who don't think ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a U.S. national security interest are the forces of light?