Israël et le “gauchiste” Hagel

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Israël et le “gauchiste” Hagel

Voici quelques extraits de commentaires de la presse israélienne après la nomination de Chuck Hagel à la tête du Pentagone. Il ne fait aucun doute que la tonalité générale est d’apprécier cette nomination, notamment comme un indiscutable durcissement de la politique américaniste à l’encontre d’Israël, voire une “punition” d’Obama à la suite de la prise de position de Netanyahou en faveur de Romney. D’une façon générale, il n’est bien entendu pas question de voir dans Hagel un adversaire d’Israël, mais plutôt un réaliste qui ne prendra pas de gants pour juger froidement, en fonction des intérêts US, la position à prendre vis-à-vis des décisions politiques d’Israël ; un homme avec lequel les “relations stratégiques privilégiées” des USA avec Israël vont perdre nombre de leurs privilèges.

Quoi qu’il en soit de la réalité de la politique qui sortira de l’épisode actuel, il est important de noter cette perception des éditorialistes israéliens, qui vient en notable contraste avec les dernières affirmations officieuses ayant filtré du gouvernement israélien selon lesquelles Netanyahou n’avait aucune crainte et attendait d’excellentes relations avec Hagel. Mais, après tout, et malgré le contraste, ceci complète bien et confirme cela... La réserve de Netanyahou, contrastant avec diverses occasions où il manifesta des positions marquées vis-à-vis de la position US, s’accorde avec celle de l’AIPAC (le lobby pro-israélien) qui a abandonné toute idée de s’opposer, dans tous les cas d’une façon ouverte, à la nomination de Hagel. Officiellement, effectivement, les Israéliens et leurs alliés directs washingtoniens font plutôt le gros dos, craignant plus de dégâts que d’avantages d’une opposition marquée à Hagel, alors que le même Hagel semble avoir désormais pour sa nomination moins d’oppositions qu’il pouvait craindre. Pour le fond des choses, les commentaires de la presse israélienne marquent, eux, un aspect pessimiste incontestable devant la nomination de Hagel.

• Sever Plocker, dans Yedioth Ahronoth, le 8 janvier 2013, n’hésite pas à rapporter le jugement selon lequel nombre de républicains pro-Israël au Congrès jugent que Hagel peut être considéré comme un “gauchiste” («From their point of view, he has undergone a radical change of political heart and he is now considered to be one of the despicable leftists.»). Plocker écrit notamment :

«US President Barack Obama announced last night his intention to appoint former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his secretary of defense—an announcement that will be the first course in the bitter meal that Obama intends to feed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the course of the presidential elections Obama kept a poker face and didn’t respond to Netanyahu’s overt enlistment in support of the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. Obama reined in his anger and sense of insult; now the time is slowly arriving to settle that score.

»That is not to say that Obama’s desire to “punish” Netanyahu for his intervention in the presidential elections played a decisive role in the decision to offer Hagel the Department of Defense. The Israeli factor in that decision was subliminal and secondary, but strong enough to tip the scales in favor. Hagel as the US secretary of defense is, as first written here, the worst nightmare of the right wing Israeli government that is expected to be formed here after the elections, according to the polls. But it isn’t only that future government’s worst nightmare. Judging by the numerous interviews that Hagel has given in the distant and near past, he comes across as a conservative politician who loathes what he perceives as the excessive influence wielded by the Jewish lobby in America, supports dialogue with Iran on its nuclear program (he scrupulously refrains from citing the military option), is opposed to intensifying sanctions and is prepared to extend a hand in reconciliation towards Hamas.»

• Orly Azulai, de Yedioth Ahronoth également, juge que la nomination de Hagel représente, de la part d’Obama, une volonté “de dialogue et de réconciliation avec le monde, y compris avec ses ennemis”, – ce qui semblerait indiquer effectivement une distance nouvelle prise avec Israël, qui n'est pas précisément “réconcilié” avec le monde ni féru de dialogue avec ses ennemis. Azulai écrit le 8 janvier 2013 :

«The message to Jerusalem is clear: it won’t be easy from now on getting a green light from Washington to embark on an adventure in Iran. That is one of the reasons why top figures in Jewish organizations in the United States, as well as high-ranking Israeli political officials, have been spending the past number of weeks engaged in a concerted effort to prevent Hagel from being appointed. They argue that he is bad for Israel because he supports dialogue with Hamas and Hizbullah, and he doesn’t think that the solution to the Iranian nuclear program is war. Conversely, Hagel is the friend of liberal Jews who say that not a single past statement of his indicates that he doesn’t support Israel.

»The answer is that the new secretary of defense supports Israel, but from the opposite direction. He won’t applaud every Israeli course of action, but nor will he damage the security umbrella that theUnited States gives Israel. The only difference will be that the wind blowing from the direction of the Pentagon will be chillier—because, among other reasons, he certainly won’t forget the people who all but committed character assassination against him and sent tentacles from Jerusalem to Washington in an attempt to prevent him from being appointed.»

• Dans Ma’ariv, Nadav Eyal apprécie la nomination de Hagel comme une accentuation d’une ligne réaliste à Washington, d’ailleurs dans la ligne de nombreux républicain, notamment les secrétaires d’État Kissinger, Schultz et Baker (à noter combien, effectivement, le secrétaire à la défense Hagel est inconsciemment placé au même niveau d’autorité qu’un secrétaire d’État, en matière de politique étrangère)… D’autre part, la mise en évidence que sa nomination concerne aussi une réduction budgétaire importante des moyens du Pentagone (ce qui est une autre façon de prendre ses distances de la ligne pro-israélienne), – et cela, après un processus de confirmation qui verra une bataille cruelle dont personne ne sortira intact («It’s going to be ugly. Truth be told, it already is.»). Eyal écrit ceci, le 8 janvier 2013:

»In regard to Israel, Hagel is a Republican realist. Once upon a time those dinosaurs grazed freely in the fields of the American empire, until they became nearly extinct. The attempt to portray him as a sort of anti-Semitic enemy of Israel is ludicrous. True, Hagel would like for the US to speak directly with Iran, and no, he does not believe that war is the necessary outcome of the nuclear crisis there. He wants to avoid war at almost any price. But he is no different in that sense from either Obama or Hillary Clinton. Hagel realizes that Israel is an ally, but he has no sentimental regard for Israel. This doesn’t inspire great hope, but nor is it anything new.

»There have always been these kinds of Republicans in Washington, who tended to urge Israel to talk to the PLO. Do you remember Jim Baker, who said, F…k the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway? Or do you remember when he recited out loud the White House phone number and said about Israel: do they know our phone number? Remember Kissinger, who pressured and pressured Israel on several matters? And George Shultz and his international conference?

»The contention that Hagel is anti-Israeli will be a major argument against him in the Senate hearings. But behind this story, which everyone is writing and talking about, there is also a background story that is no less germane and possibly even more so. Hagel is not being appointed by Obama because of either Iran or the peace process in the Middle East; those are issues that Obama will oversee himself, as one of the more centralist presidents ever in foreign policy that America has had since Nixon. Hagel is being appointed because of a number, and that number is USD 700 billion. That, more or less, is the sum that America spends on defense. And this number has grown by more than 100% (yes, that’s not a mistake) in the last decade. This inflation is the result of two wars—in Afghanistan and Iraq. […]

»…Not that everyone who has been speaking out against him has done so for financial reasons, but let’s just say that lurking behind the arguments about issues of principle is an entire industry that is united in prayer that Hagel will be disqualified. The defense establishment has good reason. Hagel’s hero, the man whose picture he has hanging in his office, is former president Dwight Eisenhower, who oversaw the Normandy landing, but who was also an American president who believed in fewer wars and less defense spending.»