National Jewish Organization Calls On President Obama To Not Nominate Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and one of the largest Jewish organizations in the US has urged President Barack Obama not to nominate Iran- and terrorist-apologist and Israel-basher Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s record is one of being a frightening and dangerous apologist for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah, as well as for the terrorist regime of Iran, while being arguably one of the most vicious and hostile critics of Israel. The ZOA believes that appointing Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary would also serve to confirm the fears that many have that President Obama is no friend of Israel and is not serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
Reports indicate that the former Nebraska senator and current co-chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, is a front-runner for nomination. A recent report states that President Obama is “expected to announce his nominees for secretaries of state and defense in the next two weeks, with former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on the short list of potential choices to head the Pentagon, senior administration officials said on Tuesday”
Chuck Hagel’s record:
* In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, a position President Obama has not taken up.
* In 2008, Hagel was “solely responsible” for blocking an Iran sanctions bill (Seth Colter Walls, ‘Dems Blame Senate GOP For Blocking Iran Sanctions Bill<http://www.
* In a 2006 interview with former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller, Hagel said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill
* In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization (‘NJDC Criticizes Senators for Refusing to Call on EU to add Hezbollah to List of Terrorist Organizations<http://njdc.org/
* In July 2006, at the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hizballah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire (‘Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast
* December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.
* June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit and was one of only two senators in to vote against renewal of the Libya-Iran sanctions act.
* November 2001: Hagel was one of only 11 senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasser Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.
* In July 2001, Hagel was one of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iranian sanctions bill.
* October 2000: Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
Eli Lake, senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, has written,
“In the past, Hagel has even garnered opposition from pro-Israel Democrats who have defended Obama’s Israel record. Ira Forman, who was in charge of the Obama reelection campaign’s outreach to Jewish voters, said in 2009– after Hagel was named co-chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board – that he would have opposed Hagel’s nomination for a more substantive position. The former senator was not only a frequent no vote on sanctions against Iran, but The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday he also serves on the board of directors of Deutsche Bank—which is reportedly being probed by U.S. authorities for possible violations of the very kinds of sanctions Hagel opposed when he was in Congress.”
Other figures in the pro-Israel community have expressed concern about the possibility of Hagel being nominated. An unnamed senior pro-Israel advocate said, “The pro-Israel community will view the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel in an extremely negative light. His record is unique in its animus towards Israel.”
Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC and the CEO and president of the Israel Project has said, “While in the Senate, Hagel voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, refused to call on the E.U. to designate Hezbollah a terrorist group, and consistently voted against sanctions on Iran for their illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. It is a matter of fact that his record on these issues puts him well outside the mainstream Democratic and Republican consensus”
David Harris, president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council – a body that normally enthuses about President Obama’s Mideast policies and record – said in 2010, when there was speculation that President Obama might nominate Hagel at that juncture for Secretary of Defense when Robert Gates was stepping down, “Clearly, Hagel has a mixed record on Israel, but that record frankly puts him at variance with the president’s own policies vis-a-vis Israel.”
Former New York City Democratic mayor and Obama supporter Ed Koch said Hagel, “would be a terrible appointment … and so do apparently most of the Jewish leaders who have expressed themselves … Such an appointment would give great comfort to the Arab world that would think that President Obama is seeking to put space between Israel and his administration … I hope he doesn’t go forward with that appointment” (Dan Halper, ‘Koch: Hagel “Would Be a Terrible Appointment<http://www.
Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and treasurer of the Washington PAC, also said at that time, “I would regard him as the bottom of the class as far as Israel goes … Hagel would be in a position to reinforce the worst aspects of the administration’s current Middle East policies, which would be very dangerous for Israel.”
A further longtime Jewish political operative, who declined to speak on the record so as not to be seen prematurely criticizing the Obama administration in 2010, said, “Given [Hagel’s] long, questionable record and the clear problems his nomination would cause — not to mention the volumes of criticism by other Democrats for his rank hostility to Israel – it is hard to believe that the White House would want to make such a risky choice at precisely the time we are asking the Israeli to ‘trust us’ on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict … I wonder how [Hagels] career-long effort to derail sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear problem will comfort the Israelis or our Arab and European allies at this critical juncture?”
A Democratic operative who campaigned for Obama in the Jewish community also said in 2010, “If he was in fact appointed, I would find his appointment difficult to reconcile with my views of the administration” (Adam Kredo, ‘“Bottom of class” Hagel’s bid draws frosty reception<http://
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are horrified and shocked about the prospect of Chuck Hagel serving as Secretary of Defense. As a senator, Hagel accrued one of the worst anti-Israel records of any member of Congress, as well as being a frightening apologist for the Iranian terrorist regime and the Hamas and Hizballah terrorist groups.
“Prominent supporters of Israel, both Democrat and Republican, have voiced deep concern and fear about the prospect of Hagel’s nomination – and with good reason: not only has he shown a consistent strain of outright hostility to Israel, but he opposes sanctions, let alone military action, to prevent Iran going nuclear and becoming a major strategic, if not existential threat, to both the U.S. and Israel.
“Appointing Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary would also serve to confirm the fears that many have that President Obama is no friend of Israel and is not serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
“Not only is Israel’s existence threatened by an nuclear Iran – so is the U.S. Were Iran to go nuclear, it would engage in nuclear blackmail and terrorism even more extensive than at present behind a nuclear umbrella. Even if Iran never fires nuclear missiles at the U.S., who really believes Iran wouldn’t give such weapons to terrorists? And who believes that, once having such weapons, terrorists wouldn’t use them on the U.S.? And even if neither used them, what unending series of concessions and retreats would America have to undertake to ensure that this continues?
“We strongly urge President Obama not to nominate Chuck Hagel for the post of Defense Secretary. This appointment would be bad and dangerous for America and bad and dangerous for America’s closest and most loyal ally, Israel. We urge people to call upon their U.S. Senators (Capitol Hill switchboard: 202-224-3121 ) to urge President Obama not to nominate Chuck Hagel.”
Filed Under: Politics
About the Author: Menachem was previously a feature article writer for the Milwaukee Journal. He currently runs a small publishing business in Michigan focusing on books and magazines for the tourist industry. He is looking forward to writing for Jewocity and connecting with its readers. More about Menachem