Prominent Hagel Detractor Endorses Fascistic Vision of Israel

One of Chuck Hagel's most vociferous critics is a Breitbart writer named Ben Shapiro, who is responsible for this bit of immortal journalism:

On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called "Friends of Hamas."

There is, of course, no group called "Friends of Hamas," and Chuck Hagel did not receive funding from this group, which, as I just mentioned, does not exist. (Dave Weigel did the hard work of proving its non-existence, and Dan Friedman, from the New York Daily News, subsequently explained that he may have inadvertently introduced, in a joking fashion, the idea that such a group did, in fact, exist.)

I bring this up not to question the quality of journalism perpetrated by writers associated with the Breitbart site. (Full disclosure: Breitbart.com has argued that I am a "court Jew" who has been "obsequiously bending over for Barack Obama for some time.") Instead, I bring this up to note the remarkable fact that Mr. Shapiro, who has positioned himself as a stalwart defender of Israel and of the Jewish people, has expressed views that place him squarely in the fascist camp. Not only is he to the right of Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama, he is to the right of the mainstream pro-Israel community; of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America; the Likud Party; and the governing body of the West Bank settlement movement.

In a column published in 2003, Shapiro explicitly endorsed the idea of forcibly expelling the Palestinians from the West Bank. This was the position of the extremist Meir Kahane, who was banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from participating in Israeli politics because of his racist views. Here is an excerpt from one of Shapiro's columns, entitled "Transfer is Not a Dirty Word," which, to the best of my knowledge, he has never renounced, not that it would matter particularly much:

The Jews don't realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It's not genocide; it's transfer. It's not Hitler; it's Churchill.

After World War II, Poland was recreated by the Allied Powers. In doing so, the Allies sliced off a chunk of Germany and extended Poland west to the Oder-Neisse line. Anywhere from 3.5 million to 9 million Germans were forcibly expelled from the new Polish territory and relocated in Germany.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was pleased with the result. In 1944, he had explained to the House of Commons that "expulsion is the method which, so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble ... a clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by the prospect of the disentanglement of populations, nor even by these large transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions than they ever were before." Churchill was right. The Germans accepted the new border, and decades of conflict between Poles and Germans ended.

Arab-Jewish conflict is exponentially more volatile than German-Polish conflict ever was. And the solution is far easier. If there was "room in Germany for the German populations of East Prussia and of the other territories," as Churchill stated, there is certainly room in the spacious Muslim states of the Middle East for 5 million Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. If Germans, who had a centuries-old connection to the newly created Polish territory, could be expelled, then surely Palestinians, whose claim to Judea, Samaria and Gaza is dubious at best, can be expelled.

It's time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn't a solution.

Shapiro has argued that Jews who support Barack Obama (the majority of American Jews, in other words) are, in essence, self-haters and "Jews in name only." But Shapiro is the one who seems completely divorced from Jewish values. His leadership role in the dump-Hagel movement reflects well on Barack Obama.  

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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