Notably absent from the cast of critics: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Washington’s largest and most well funded pro-Israel lobby.
The powerful lobby, which doesn’t typically shy away from a fight, has decided to sit this one out, say several House and Senate staff members, as well as some pro-Israel activists in Washington.
“Staffers and members are trying to find out what AIPAC thinks of Hagel, and we are not getting anything,” one Senate Republican staff member said. Another Senate staff member said, “AIPAC will be sitting this one out.”
AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman didn’t comment directly on its strategy regarding Hagel’s nomination. “Our position remains the same as it always has been,” said Wittman. “AIPAC does not take positions on presidential nominations.”