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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top House Dem Engel: Hagel has 'endemic hostility' toward Israel

In a Friday interview on C-Span, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he has a real problem with potential Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's 'endemic hostility to Israel' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
In an interview Friday taped for C-SPAN's Newsmakers, conducted jointly by The Cable and Politico, Engel said that Hagel's record on Israel and Iran make him a poor choice to lead the military. In particular, Engel said he was irked by Hagel's reference to the "Jewish lobby" in an interview with former official Aaron David Miller. (Miller supports Hagel's nomination.)
"I think that remark is troublesome, it's problematic. It shows at the very best a lack of sensitivity, at the very worst perhaps a prejudice. And I'm concerned about it, I'm concerned about the nomination," Engel said. "If I were doing the appointing, I would not appoint Chuck Hagel."
Engel, who represents the Bronx, Rockland, and Westchester, said he has been hearing a lot of opposition to the potential Hagel nomination from his constituents. He also said that Hagel's activities related to Israel, including his statements on Hamas and Israel's influence in Washington, show a pattern of "hostility."
"It seems there is some kind of an endemic hostility towards Israel and that's troublesome to me and troublesome to a lot of people," Engel said. "In the sensitive post of secretary of defense, those are warning bells. Those are red lights."
Obama should have the privilege of picking his own team, Engel said, but he predicted that Obama will pass over Hagel to avoid the controversy.
"I think [the president] knows that the Hagel nomination potentially is a problem," he said.
Still waiting for similar sentiments from Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), both of whom do have a vote.

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