"Why? Because he is not a neoconservative who backs the permanent annexation of the West Bank, because he sees containment as an option for dealing with Iran, and wants to see if the U.S. can develop stronger ties throughout the region, rather than having one alliance destroy the ability of the US to retain any others. He is willing to talk to enemies, like Hamas, when there is no feasible, pragmatic way forward without their engagement."
Hagel has also drawn strong support from former Israeli New York consul general Alon Pinkas, who writes in Al Monitor, that the attacks on Hagel as "anti-Israel" are unfounded and do not serve the US-Israel relationship. He continues:
"Even by the ugly and depressing standards of Washington's [un]civility and character assassination as a beltway hobby, the recent attacks on former Senator Chuck Hagel seem venomous and iniquitous. ...
"It is fine, acceptable and necessary to conduct a debate on past and present positions and policy preferences of a candidate to be Secretary of Defense. It is, however, quite another thing to tag, brand, defame and distort his record.
"It is even worse to do what some, hiding behind the anonymity of 'Concerned Jewish Leaders' or 'The Pro-Israel Community,' have done: labeling Hagel as Anti-Israeli, and then stepping it up, almost casually, as an Anti-Semite. Chuck Hagel is neither: He is not anti-Israeli and he is not an anti-Semite."
Robert Naiman, Policy Director for Just Foreign Policy has issued a challenge to his progressive U.S. Jewish colleagues -- whom he calls "the pro-Obama Jews" -- to resist the main stream media-run campaign to block Hagel's nomination. Writing for the Huffington Post, Naiman asks:
"What do we want the next four years to be like? Do we want to spend the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons, even though we beat them in the last three presidential elections, starting with the 2008 Democratic primary?
"If we don't want to spend the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons, then we have to stop the neocons from blocking the nomination of diplomacy advocate, war skeptic and decorated Vietnam combat veteran Chuck Hagel. ..."
If President Obama does not want "to spend the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons," he should listen to Tom Friedman, Andrew Sullivan, and those four former national security advisers, and nominate Chuck Hagel as his second-term Defense Secretary.
The picture at top, from the Daily Beast, is by Leslie E. Kossoff/AFP/Getty Images.