Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is President Obama's likely pick for Secretary of Defense. As we discussed last week Hagel is weak on terrorism and Iran and has a long track record of being both anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Over the past few days an anti-Hagel wave has been building from both GOP and Progressive sources.
The Washington Post, one of the Bibles of progressive news published an editorial called Chuck Hagel is not the right choice for defense secretary, saying in part:
Former Senator Chuck Hagel, whom President Obama is reportedly considering for defense secretary, is a Republican who would offer a veneer of bipartisanship to the national security team. He would not, however, move it toward the center, which is the usual role of such opposite-party nominees. On the contrary: Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.Even Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League who usually puts progressive politics before his organization's mandate said;
“Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.”Democratic Party senators have distanced themselves fro Hagel's Anti-Semitic remarks
I know there are some questions about his past comments and I’ll want to talk to him and see what his explanation is,” said Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal. “Yes, it would give rise to question, but there are so many very significant issues and factors to be considered, and he has many profoundly significant qualifications for the job.”And on the GOP Side:
“Any comment that undermines our relationship [with Israel] concerns me,” said Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Asked if the reference to the “Jewish lobby” is such a statement, Casey said, “Sure, yes.”
Michigan’s Carl Levin said he does not agree with Hagel’s view.
“I don’t think it’s an appropriate statement,” Levin said.
Asked about Hagel's 2006 statement that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people here," Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he would "have to answer for that comment" if he is nominated.A Hagel nomination might end up to be a war this President does not want to fight right now.
"And he'll have to answer about why he thought it was a good idea to directly negotiate with Hamas and why he objected to the European Union declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization," said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He's been a friend, he has a stellar military record, but these comments disturb a lot of people."