Even before Chuck Hagel had been confirmed as the new United States Secretary of Defense, opponents to his appointment had declared victory because in their minds victory consisted of much more than preventing him take office.
A few days ago at the neoconservative Commentary, Jonathan Tobin wrote:
The pressure put upon Hagel during the lead-up to his confirmation hearing as well as the difficulty he found himself in when questioned by the Senate Armed Services Committee wasn’t merely the usual grind nominees are subjected to. The process reaffirmed a basic truth about the strength of the pro-Israel consensus that was placed in doubt by the president’s choice: support for the alliance with the Jewish state isn’t merely mainstream politics, it is the baseline against which all nominees for high office are measured. [My emphasis.]
That’s an extraordinary statement and all the evidence suggests that it’s true.
For anyone to be considered for high political office in the United States of America, they must first demonstrate their alliance with Israel.
And this isn’t coming from some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist warning about the unfettered power of the Israel lobby. This is coming from the Israel lobby itself, or the “pro-Israel community” as they prefer to be known.
Alliance with Israel isn’t merely mainstream American politics — and the key word here is “mainstream”, which the dictionary defines as “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence.”
The strength of the Christian Zionist movement notwithstanding, to identify alliance with Israel as mainstream in American politics says much less about the concerns of most Americans than it says about the way Washington works. In other words, the degree to which alliance with Israel is mainstream says far more about the influence of the Israel lobby than anything else.
And to say that alliance with Israel is “the baseline against which all nominees for high office are measured” is to say that Washington has gatekeepers and their overriding concern is not what is good for America but what is good for Israel.
The Hagel opponents who even now are declaring victory see success in the fact that they made their nemesis demean himself and that they have made him weaker.
What they fail to appreciate is that the more transparent they make their agenda, the more resentment they will breed.
Power which was once more effectively exercised in the shadows is now out on open display. And more than anything, this is the power of loudmouths — it is power that can and will be punctured.