AIPAC, unlike, say, the Republican Jewish Coalition, or the Bill Kristol Coalition, tries — sometimes imperfectly — to both be, and appear to be, bipartisan. The people who run AIPAC aren’t stupid: They know that if they foment strong opposition to Hagel on the Hill, they will earn President Obama’s enmity, whether or not they succeed or fail. Discussions inside the group — and what the group is hearing from its friends on the Hill, and in the Administration — is that the President very much wants Hagel at Defense, and would be very upset if a group whose agenda he has more-or-less supported (a strong no to containment of Iran, maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, siding with Israel at the United nations) tries to deny him the defense secretary he wants, and who is a personal friend.

The Administration is worried most about AIPAC — it does not generally pay attention to the editorials of The Weekly Standard — and its emissaries have been working overtime to ensure AIPAC’s quiescence.