“The Hagel confirmation battle will show whether the AIPAC crowd has cried wolf too many times and the system is now becoming numb,” said Steve Clemons, a central figure in what he calls “progressive realist” foreign policy and Washington editor at large for The Atlantic. The fight “will also out the fact that the real issue here is not US-Israel relations but rather how fearful defense contractors which suck up a huge amount of defense spending are pulling a lot of these levers,” he said…

Beinart also defended a controversial Hagel jab at the “Jewish lobby,” arguing that it’s a sentiment that many in Washington hold but few say aloud and that Hagel displayed “uncommon honesty.”

“I’ve also heard many government officials, some of them Jewish, say things similar to what Hagel is now being flayed for having [said],” Beinart wrote. “The difference is that those other officials first confirmed that they were speaking off the record. One even lowered his voice and closed the door.”

Their hope — and their foes’ fear — is that Hagel’s confirmation could mean that views outside what is considered the mainstream on Israel and Iran begin to replace the more hawkish Washington consensus.