The reason to nominate Hagel, in addition to his qualifications for the post, is that the Israel lobby has decided to demonstrate its clout by preventing his nomination. Like the National Rifle Association, the lobby has an intense need to demonstrate that it's in charge. It does not like Hagel, so he will not get the post. Successfully blocking him would demonstrate that no matter how far Israel lurches toward the right, no matter how many settlements are built, no many how many Palestinians are thrown off their land or just abused, the United States will simply grin and bear it.
Obama could, of course, issue a statement or deliver a speech re-stating U.S. policy on settlements, a Palestinian state, and the need for peace. But the sad fact is that no one believes that this administration will ever back up its fine words on Israel and Palestine with deeds, not after the past four years of giving in to Netanyahu over and over again.
There is only one way to send a message to Israel that will be heard: it will be by nominating Hagel. It is Israel and the lobby that created the Hagel issue. Why not use it to America's advantage? And Israel's too. After all, it is Israel not the United States that seems to be going over a cliff and, sadly, it is not just fiscal.
Mr. President, nominate Hagel. And fight for his confirmation.
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