Chuck Hagel: Walt and Mearsheimer's dream come trueChuck Hagel, the anti-Israel former Nebraska RINO Senator whose name has come up as a candidate for Secretary of Defense (Hat Tip: Jack W for the photoshop). The Republican Jewish Coalition has a treasure trove of problematic actions, statements and pronouncements by Hagel that ought to concern every supporter of Israel. I want to highlight one part of one of the many links in the RJC piece, which is from this 2010 Contentions article by Jennifer Rubin.
Finally, Hagel is a nominee who would thrill the Walt-Mearsheimer Lobby:Read it all. Read this one too.
In an interview quoted in Aaron David Miller’s book on the peace process called The Much Too Promised Land, Hagel said: “The political reality is that … the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”A Democratic, pro-Israel activist alarmed by the possibility of a Hagel appointment told me:
Hagel then described a meeting he had in New York with a group of supporters of Israel, one of whom suggested Hagel wasn’t supportive enough of Israel. Hagel said he responded: “Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind. I’m a United States Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”
In 2006, after Hezbollah attacked Israel and instigated a war, Hagel took to the Senate floor and called on President Bush to demand an immediate Israeli cease-fire and accused Israel of “the systematic destruction of an American friend, Lebanon” and of “slaughter.” Given that Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any terrorist group except al-Qaeda — including 241 brave young Marines and some of our finest CIA officers — and Israel is one of our closest allies in the world, these kinds of statements not only call into question Hagel’s views but his fitness to serve as secretary of defense or in any other national security capacity.A Hagel nomination would be a political nightmare for Senate Democrats — another “walk the plank” request from the White House that would paint them as weak on defense and on the Iranian nuclear threat. Maybe this is a trial balloon. If it’s more than that, it will go over like a lead one.
Given his 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 Israelis to “trust us” on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict. I wonder if his career-long effort to derail sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear program will comfort the Israelis or our Arab and European allies at this critical juncture. Then again, given President’s Obama’s record in this area, this is a matter of serious, ongoing concern.
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