In her long career, Helen Thomas walked a tightrope. She was part of Washington’s journalistic club yet an outsider who asked unwelcome questions. When she was tossed out of the club in 2010 over a careless remark about Israel, she said she cried for days – and had few defenders. But one was Lawrence Davidson.
Since Chuck Hagel’s name was floated as possible Secretary of Defense, the former Republican senator has been subjected to vilification to blacklist him from public service, a new form of McCarthyism that replaces suspected leftist sympathies with insufficient support for Israel, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The Israel Lobby is taking aim at another prospective Obama administration appointee deemed insufficiently supportive of Israel’s Likud policies, ex-Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel. A similar campaign of vilification was waged against Ambassador Chas Freeman in 2009, as he recalls.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel and his possible nomination to be Secretary of Defense are under fierce attack from Washington’s neocons and the Israel Lobby. But the tawdriness of the smears creates a chance for President Obama to stand up to this public intimidation, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.