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Letters: Hagel, Israel and the Defense job

December 22, 2012

Re "The Hagel litmus test," Editorial, Dec. 20

What a breath of fresh air: that it is not a bad thing for the U.S. to choose a secretary of Defense based on what's best for this country rather than for Israel.

It is time to rethink the cliche about our "unshakable" relationship with Israel. How come our relationship with, say, Britain or Canada is never described so warmly, even though both countries hew more closely to our idea of civil rights? There was a time when our relationship with white South Africa was warm, but when the Boers drifted into apartheid, the relationship chilled. We ought to consider some shaking of our relationship with Israel toward equal civil rights for all under that country's governance.

If former Sen. Chuck Hagel's dispassionate attitude shakes the Israeli government off the road to apartheid, so much the better for the U.S. and for Israelis.

Laurence H. Pretty

Pasadena

Your editorial commenting on Hagel's pronouncements vis-a-vis Israel over the years says of his absolutely damning opinion about the power of "the Israel lobby" that "intimidates" senators and congressmen (as though senators are subject to arm-twisting and bribery in America!) that it doesn't seem a sufficient reason to prevent his becoming secretary of Defense.

What does it take to brand his view as not only false but outrageous, and his defense policy experience as utterly insufficient?

Jascha Kessler

Santa Monica

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