Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Chuck Hagel Joins the Palestine Firsters

January 14, 2013 12:34 am 4 comments

Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel speaks at a forum for the Law of the Sea Convention in Washington, D.C. Photo: Wikipedia.

Chuck Hagel established himself as a Palestine Firster on October 27, 2009, speaking at J Street’s first national conference: “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central, not peripheral, to US vital security interests in combating terrorism, preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, stability in the Middle East and US and global energy security.”


In contrast with the worldview of Hagel and other Palestine Firsters, none of the tectonic developments on the stormy Arab Street derives from the Palestinian issue, the Arab-Israeli conflict or Israel’s policies or existence.

For instance, Iran is developing nuclear capabilities in order to intimidate the US into a diminished global and regional power-projection, which would facilitate the alteration of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean into an Iranian basin. Egypt has shifted from a pro-US military dictatorship to an increasingly anti-US, pro-Iran Islamic despotism, dominated by the transnational Muslim Brotherhood, which aspires to spread its own version of Islam in the Muslim world and beyond. Iraq aligns itself with Iran, serving as the most critical route of military and civilian supplies to the Assad regime, while disintegrating into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, constituting an arena for domestic and regional terrorism. Libya has switched from a decreasingly anti-US Qaddafi dictatorship to a tumultuous break-up along tribal, ethnic, geographic, ideological and religious lines, replete with increasingly anti-US Islamic-driven terrorism. In Yemen, the departure of the relatively-stable tyrant, Ali Abdullah Saleh, paved the road to further disintegration and intensified terrorism, targeting domestic leaders, the Saudi regime and other US interests. Syria has been violently split into rival fiefdoms with over 50,000 fatalities since March 2011, serving as a battleground for domestic, intra-Muslim, intra-Arab and global rivalries.

Irrespective of the Palestinian issue, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Algeria experience boiling seismic undercurrents, exacerbating the 1,400 year old intra-Muslim instability, unpredictability and violence, as well as anti-US sentiments.

Moreover, the Palestinian issue is not the crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers. For example, all Arab League Foreign Ministers were supposed to visit the Palestinian Authority (PA) to celebrate the November, 2012 UN vote for Palestinian non-member statehood. However, only the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the Arab League Secretary General arrived. A March, 2012 Arab League Summit committed $100 million to the PA; nothing has been delivered. Arab leaders have repeatedly reneged on their financial pledges to the PA, marshaling their rhetoric, but not their blood or funds, on behalf of Palestinians. Thus, the October, 2010 Arab Summit pledged $500 million to the Palestinian; only 7% was delivered. Arab nations pledged more than $2 billion in support of the first and second Palestinian Intifada against Israel; less than $500 million reached the Palestinians. The October, 2000 Arab Summit committed itself to $1 billion in aid to the PLO, but delivered only $200 million. During the 1980s, Arab financial support of the PLO was less than 10% of the Arab financial support of the anti-Soviet Muslims in Afghanistan. No Arab support was accorded to the Palestinians during the 1982 Israel-PLO war in Lebanon, or during the recent Israeli operations against Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria (“Operation Defensive Shield”) and Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead” and “Operation Pillar of Defense”). Arab governments provide dramatically less financial assistance to the PA and UNRWA than the US or Europe. The red carpet, which welcomes Palestinian leaders in the West, is transformed into a shabby rug upon landing in Arab capitals. What do Arab regimes know about the Palestinian issue that Western policy makers fail to comprehend?

In contrast to the Palestine Firsters, Arab societies minimize assistance to Palestinians, as evidenced in the reluctance of Jordan – as well as Lebanon and Egypt – to absorb Palestinian refugees from Syria, while welcoming over 100,000 Syrian refugees. Jordan and other Arab countries are aware of the subversive and corrupt Palestinian track record. Currently, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorizes Syrians on behalf of Assad. In 2007, the Palestinian Fatah al-Islam assaulted Lebanese officials and soldiers. In 1991 and 2003, Palestinians fought alongside Saddam Hussein.  In 1990, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas collaborated with Iraq’s plunder and destruction of Kuwait, which provided a home to 300,000 Palestinians. During the 1970s and 1980s, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas fueled Lebanon’s civil wars. In 1970, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas terrorized Jordan, attempting to topple King Hussein, who had hosted them since 1968. During the 1950s they led the Palestinian cell of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and were forced for flee for subversion. Palestinian subversion triggered Arab retaliation, which produced more Palestinians killed, arrested and expelled by Arabs than by Israel.

The dwindling club of pro-US Arab leaders are currently traumatized by the lethal Iranian nuclear threat, the raging Arab Winter, emboldened Islamic terrorism and the potentially erupting Iraqi, Syrian and Muslim Brotherhood lava, which may consume Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf States.

However, while the Middle East is burning – irrespective of the Palestinian issue – Chuck Hagel and the Palestine Firsters are playing the Palestinian fiddle, sacrificing and inflaming Middle East reality on the altar of oversimplification and wishful-thinking.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.


  • S Peres NYTimes 1/10/13 : there are a billion and a half Muslims. The Palestinian problem affects our entire relationship with them.”
    Hagel : The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central, not peripheral…..”
    Whats your problem?

  • “Iran is developing nuclear capabilities in order to intimidate the US into a diminished global and regional power-projection, which would facilitate the alteration of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean into an Iranian basin. ”

    Wrong. Iran is developing a nuclear weapon in order to wipe Israel off the map. Its own President basically said just that a few years ago.

    • Zionism or Jewish statism, not necessarily Israel. But if the disappearance of Israel is ballot-lead>there’s a problem?

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Maybe someone can explain why there are so few United States senators and pundits who openly state that they will not accept Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense. Even the director of the ADL has not formally stated his rejection of the Hagel nomination.In addition, former US Secretary of State and General Colin Powell has offered his strong approval of Senator Hagel. Yesterday as I was listening to senators on the Sunday talk shows, I was deeply distressed by the resounding echo of accord, even by those skeptical of Hagel’s record vis-a-vis the United States’ military status as the leading world power to maintain security in its global installations, its support for Israel as its only true democratic ally in the Middle East, and its means of addressing the Iranian issue. The general consensus even before the vetting process begins seems to be that Hagel will be the new Secretary of Defense, even according to Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize winning, psychiatrist, political commentator, a man of wisdom and great foresight. Wow! No wonder why so many wealthy people have and continue to leave and purchase and invest in properties in Central America and South America for more inviting living along other quieter shores. Here I am in Skokie, Illinois, breathing in and breathing out in utter incredulity at the credibility of the leaders in this nation, preparing to teach English composition to my college students next week. I hope that Chuck Hagel will take a seed course in playing harmony to the Palestinian fiddler before he actually begins his tenure as the new United States Secretary of Defense. If he does not, I plan on purchasing eye plugs!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Features Food American Kids Taste Israeli Food, Offer Tidbits About the Country (VIDEO)

    American Kids Taste Israeli Food, Offer Tidbits About the Country (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, by, features U.S. youngsters given a plate with schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and baba ganoush. “If someone had a name like that, they’d be so sad,” one boy said, mispronouncing it as “ba-ga-doosh.” A few of the kids were able to identify correctly the elements on the plate […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →