Bad news for Israel: Obama wants Hagel at DefenseChuck Hagel is President Obama's leading candidate to become Secretary of Defense (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Hagel “has the political skills to navigate some really treacherous waters,” said former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey. “He’ll enjoy wide respect in the military himself, and for a civilian leader, that’s important.”
“He enjoys the confidence of the president and has a good relationship with the Senate,” he said. “He stayed very close to the current operational needs of the military.”
He would join Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a Republican in the Democratic president’s cabinet.
In the Senate, Hagel’s committee assignments included Foreign Relations and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He retired after two terms, keeping a promise he made when he first ran for the Senate. Upon leaving office he joined the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service as a distinguished professor.
Obama considered naming Hagel to his cabinet during the president’s first term. Hagel was mentioned after the 2008 election as a contender to head the State Department and Veterans Affairs.
Like Obama, Hagel was a critic of the war in Iraq. He joined then-candidate Obama on an overseas trip that included stops in Iraq and Afghanistan in July 2008.
Obama in 2009 named Hagel as the co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, an independent, nonpartisan panel that makes recommendations on improving the performance of U.S. intelligence gathering. He’s also chairman of a separate oversight board that reviews U.S. intelligence compliance with laws and the Constitution.Let's go to the videotape.
This is not good news for Israel.
Here is what the Jewish Democrats said about Hagel in March 2007:What could go wrong?
As Senator Hagel sits around for six more months and tries to decide whether to launch a futile bid for the White House, he has a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel. Consider this:
# In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
# In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
# In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.
# In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.
# In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit.
Here's what the National Review wrote about Hagel's stance on Israel in 2002:
"There's nothing Hagel likes less than talking about right and wrong in the context of foreign policy. Pro-Israeli groups view him almost uniformly as a problem. 'He doesn't always cast bad votes, but he always says the wrong thing,' comments an Israel supporter who watches Congress. An April speech is a case in point. 'We will need a wider lens to grasp the complex nature and consequences of terrorism,' said Hagel. He went on to cite a few examples of terrorism: FARC in Colombia, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and the Palestinian suicide bombers. Then he continued, 'Arabs and Palestinians view the civilian casualties resulting from Israeli military occupation as terrorism.' He didn't exactly say he shares this view - but he also failed to reject it."
And here's what the anti-Israel group, CAIR, wrote in praise of Hagel:
"Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel ?" [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/28/06]