Hagel Eats Crow (title & story slightly improved by moi – RB)
JTA, Jan 31 2013
In his Senate confirmation hearings, Hagel expanded on his apology for telling Aaron David Miller in a 2006 interview that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel.” Hagel offered a fulsome rephraseation in tune with current preferred locutions:
I’ve already said I regret referencing “the Jewish lobby.” I should have said “the pro-Israel lobby.” I should have used another term and I’m sorry and I regret it. On the use of “intimidation,” I should have used “influence,” I think that would have been more appropriate. I should not have said “dumb” or “stupid” because I understand or appreciate there are other views on these things.
The difficulties of getting pat the pro-Israel lobby’s preferred locution, “the pro-Israel lobby,” were evidenced in departures from this by Senators Wicker and Graham, who both called it “the Israel lobby.” This designation discomforts officials in the pro-Israel lobby who see the dropping of the prefix “pro-” as intimating loyalty to another nation. Senators also asked Hagel about his past skepticism of some Iran sanctions and his wariness of a military strike. He reiterated his commitment to sanctions and said all options, including the military option, were on the table in order to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Hagel also said he was committed to the special USrael relationship and the maintenance of Israel’s much-vaunted “Qualitative Military Edge” (QME). Hagel acknowledged putting a hold on comprehensive Iran sanctions in 2008, but said he did this with other Republican senators. He said the hold was placed at the behest of the Bush 43 administration.