Steve Clemons’ disingenuous Hagelian thesis

Bill Kristol calls attention to this exchange between that most ardent of Chuck Hagel admirers, Steve Clemons, and Hagel critic Dan Senor:

CLEMONS: The most important thing about Hagel—and with all due respect to Dan and some of his colleagues—there seems to be this effort by Israel and its supporters over and over to continue to run resolutions to say, “How much do you love me, America? Do you love me today, do you love me tomorrow, do love me again?” And I think that what Hagel has done has said, “I’m supportive of Israel, but at the same time, I’m not going to create a zero-sum game between Israel and its neighbors that also have vital national security relationships with the United States.”

SENOR: But. . .when senators vote to designate the Iranian revolutionary guard corps a terrorist organization, what these senators cite is not just the threat Iran poses to Israel, they cite the threat that Iran poses to America. When they cite—when they vote to designate, or call on the E.U., for instance, to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, they cite the damage that Hezbollah has done to American military men and women, to American security interests. And for Steve to just—to sweep this away as this is just Israel and Israel supporters wanting a bunch of love letters is really, I’d say actually, offensive.

I like Steve Clemons. But I’ve been in the room when he has discussed Israel, contempt dripping from his voice. The question on these occasions is never “How much does he love Israel?” The questions are always the same ones people are asking about his friend Chuck Hagel: “How deep does his animosity towards Israel run and what are its sources?”


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