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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hagel endorses Sestak

If there was an argument to be made that Democratic Senatorial candidate Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania is pro-Israel, this ought to put it to an end.
Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who has broken ranks in the past with the GOP, gave Democrat Joe Sestak his second major endorsement from moderates in a week in his bid for a hotly contested Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Hagel told The Associated Press on Monday that Sestak has demonstrated during his two terms in Congress that he puts the interests of the nation and his constituents ahead of his party.

"I think he's exactly what our country needs more of. I think he's what the Senate needs more of — courageous, independent thinking," Hagel said. "That's what the job is about. You are supposed to use your judgment."

Hagel refused to comment on the candidacy of Sestak's opponent, Republican Pat Toomey, a former congressman.
Hagel, who has been mentioned in the past as a possible replacement for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, is notoriously anti-Israel.
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.


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]
The Republican Jewish Coalition has issued a statement, which reads in part:
"In the past, Joe Sestak, has said that Hagel is 'the guy I most admired in the Senate.'

"Now, with Hagel's endorsement of Sestak, we know that the admiration is mutual.

"This development reinforces the deep concerns held in the Jewish community about Joe Sestak as it relates to Israel.

"In order to alleviate those concerns, Joe Sestak should clearly and unambiguously address whether he accepts or rejects Hagel's views with respect to Israel and the Middle East. The Jewish Community deserves an answer."
The Washington Post's The Fix sees Hagel's endorsement of Sestak as being about Hagel's future.
Dig slightly deeper, however, and it seems clear that Hagel's endorsement is more about his own future political prospects than those of Sestak. The simple fact is that Hagel is virtually unknown in Pennsylvania and his endorsement of Sestak won't even register with most Keystone State voters.

But, endorsing a Democrat in a high profile Senate contest could well help Hagel -- sending a clear signal to the Obama Administration about the very loose ties that he retains to the Republican party.
Well, maybe. But why Sestak specifically? It's not just because he's in a tight race. It's because they share a worldview on a certain policy issue (Israel) in an area that's considered to be part of both their areas of expertise.

Pennsylvanians who care about Israel need to think long and hard about whether supporting Joe Sestak is consistent with supporting Israel. In light of Sestak's poor record on Israel and this endorsement, I would argue that support of Sestak cannot be reconciled with support of Israel.


Yes, I fell asleep in front of the computer for a couple of hours. Sorry.


At 1:27 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

You are doing a wonderful job, Carl! thanks for all your posts alerting us to these horrorshows!

At 2:42 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Do you really think that the 80%of Jewish voters that voted Obama will be scared by Herr Hagel.


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