The Mutt and Jeff of the Obama administration

By Melanie Phillips, author of the best seller, Londonistan

The Mutt and Jeff of the Obama administration

(Please also view 6 minute video below produced by Prager University titled, The UN vs. Israel)

Is the United States about to become a laughing stock to the rest of the world? It seems to have accrued a Defence Secretary who is the toast of Iran, and a Secretary of State who is a blithering idiot.

It was hard to imagine that the new guy at State, John Kerry, could make himself look even more stupid than he has done by his science-denying belief that the planet is about to fry through man-made climate change. Well, he has indeed now exceeded such expectations.

First, he invented a new country. In trying to praise diplomats who were working on behalf of the United States in the Central Asian region, he thanked them for their work in ‘Kyrzakhstan,’ according to various media reports, and credited their efforts in ‘support [of] democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia’ – apparently muddling up America’s major ally in the war on terrorism, Kyrgyzstan with its neighbor to the north, Kazakhstan.

Oh dear. Well it could happen to anyone. But a US Secretary of State?

Then in Berlin, he bragged to students that in America, freedom of speech was such an absolute that,

‘You have a right to be stupid if you want to be.’

Never a truer word, you might think – especially when you consider that he also said this:

‘People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another’,

and where he said it – in Germany, where neo-Nazi expressions are banned and with very good reason. We now look forward to Mr Kerry’s denunciations of those in America (such as his predecessor, Hillary Clinton) who protest that disobliging references to Islam should be suppressed as ‘Islamophobia’.

Then there’s Chuck Hagel, now confirmed as Secretary for Defence thanks to brain-dead or spineless Republicans who failed to block his appointment.

This despite Hagel’s opposition to sanctions against Iran; his refusal to call Iran’s Republican Guards or Hezbollah terrorist organisations; his animus towards Israel and his claim that the ‘Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here’; his questionable comments about homosexuals and his stunningly inept and incompetent performance at his confirmation hearing, where he first said

‘I support the president’s strong position on containment’

And then, after being handed a note, wittered:

‘If I said that, I meant to say that obviously, his position on containment, we don’t have a position on containment.’

Would you even give a job reading the weather forecast to such a person?

Now it turns out that Hagel has also upset India by having suggested, in a previously unreleased 2011 speech, that India has ‘for many years’ sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.

No wonder the Indians have responded in fury that his remarks were not grounded in reality, ‘paranoid’ and ‘over the top’.

Not so much a Defence Secretary, then, as an Offence Secretary – upsetting America’s allies and sucking up to its mortal enemies.

Kerry and Hagel – the Mutt and Jeff of the Obama administration.

And Iran, not surprisingly, is beating its chest in delight and racing towards building its genocide bomb.

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996

The Real Israel Lobby? It’s the American people.

The Weekly Standard
February 4, 2013


Chuck Hagel: “The Jewish Lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. .  .  . I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States—not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that.”

Much has been made of why Senator Hagel’s now-infamous words are so offensive to American Jews. The statement, it has been noted, conjures images of dual loyalty, and implies that Washington politicians are in the pocket of a Jewish cabal that does not truly seek the interests of the United States. These criticisms are certainly true, but it is important that American Jews also articulate another profound problem with Senator Hagel’s statement: that it both ignores the existence of the many millions of non-Jewish Americans who care deeply about Israel’s security, and reflects disregard for why they do so. 

This devotion to Israel’s well-being was made most manifest to me when I was privileged to deliver an invocation at the Republican National Convention last August. In my prayer, I spoke of the American belief that our liberties were the gift of God, and that in enunciating this principle America had been called to serve as a “beacon of freedom to the world, and an ally of free countries like the State of Israel, an island of liberty, democracy, and hope.” The audience, composed almost entirely of non-Jews, broke into applause at these words, an unusual reaction to an invocation. Most overwhelming was the warm reaction I received from the delegates throughout the day, thanking me for my prayer, and expressing their concern for, and blessings on, Israel. 

This expression of love for Israel was not, as is often unfairly suggested, founded on apocalyptic expectations, but rather on the conviction that Israel is indeed an island of liberty in a region that is an ocean of hostility to America and the American idea. As such, Israel’s endurance represents a triumph of the American vision—a vision that was, in part, inspired by the Bible, the book bequeathed to the world by Ancient Israel. The depth of this American conviction was most eloquently expressed not in a rabbinic invocation, but rather in a speech made by a non-Jewish former governor of Texas, who never served as a senator from Israel, but did spend eight years as president of the United States:

The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul. .  .  . In spite of the violence, in defiance of the threats, Israel has built a thriving democracy in the heart of the Holy Land. You have welcomed immigrants from the four corners of the Earth. You have forged a free and modern society based on a love of liberty, a passion for justice, and a respect for human dignity. You have worked tirelessly for peace. And you have fought valiantly for freedom.

These words were spoken by President George W. Bush in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding. If someone had lived his entire life in Israel and never met an American, he might have been surprised by the profound love for the Jewish state expressed by this non-Jewish president. Yet Americans understand that the president was giving voice not only to his own views but also to those of so many other citizens of the United States. It is because of these Americans that the United States has stood steadfastly with Israel. If anyone ought to understand this, it is a certain former “United States senator”—and a Nebraskan, representing Middle America, no less.

Before the 2012 election, one editor of a prominent American Jewish newspaper mused that in contrast to President Obama, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush scored high on what he called “the kishka factor,” a Yiddish way of saying that these two presidents embodied a love for Israel in their gut, an “emotional kinship to the Jewish State.” Senator Hagel has, in the past decade, made the state of his own kishkes quite clear. 

At the same time, I have been blessed to encounter numerous Americans—and they are typical of millions more—who have no idea what the word “kishkes” means, but whose concern for the state of Israel is bone-deep, and this concern is founded on a loyalty to the American idea and a profound understanding of its role in history and in the world.

We will see this non-Jewish “pro-Israel” lobby on display at the Hagel hearings, when we hear from senators from diverse states, who will, as the Hagel nomination is considered, not only make known their own concern for Israel, but represent thereby the genuine devotion and concerns of their constituents. In this way these “United States senators” will fulfill their duty to the Constitution of the United States. 

It is for these senators’ properly representing those non-Jews who voted for them, and for those Americans’ loyalty to, and love for, the vision and destiny of America, that this American Jew will remain forever grateful. 

Meir Y. Soloveichik is director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan.