Chuck Hagel: Bad Choice for America and Israel
Senator Chuck Hagel
Back in 2007, then Senator Barack Obama stated that he believed that he had the capacity to unify the United States better than Hillary Clinton. However, in his second term as President of the United States, by proposing the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel for US Secretary of Defense, he is dividing the American people and alienating many who are strongly opposed to this nomination.
Hagel had a reputation as someone always in the center of controversy and who took fringe positions. He never was a consensus builder, especially on critical foreign policy issues such as US-Israeli relations and Middle Eastern policy in general. Despised by much of his own Republican Party, one US Senate aid described Hagel as an “anti-Semite,” claiming, “Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is.”
Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League concurred with this Republican Senate Aid, stating, “Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former President Jimmy Carter.”
Indeed, Hagel had a very problematic record in the US Senate. For example, a statement made by the US Senate criticizing anti-semitism in Russia was signed by every single US Senator, except Hagel. In 2000, Hagel was only one of four US Senators to refuse to sign a letter in support of Israel. In 2003, Hagel was one of eleven senators who refused to support sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and the occupation of Lebanon.
Following the Second Lebanon War, Hagel described Israel’s war against Hezbollah as “the systematic destruction of an American friend.” In 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. In 2009, Hagel urged Obama to support negotiations with Hamas. And Hagel was one of two US senators who opposed the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. Given all of this, to appoint Hagel to be US Secretary of Defense would not only be disastrous for Israel and the Jewish people, but also for America and the free world.