Report: Despite Controversial Israel Policy, Chuck Hagel Is Frontrunner for Defense Secretary Position
CNN is reporting that Sen. Chuck Hagel has met with both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and is the front runner for the Secretary of Defense position soon to be vacated by Leon Panetta.
One Democratic source familiar with the process told CNN Hagel is “the frontrunner.” Another Democrat with knowledge of the process told CNN Hagel’s nomination is “almost a done deal.”
As The Algemeiner reported last month, Hagel’s policy towards Israel has been roundly criticized .
“He is one of the most hostile critics of Israel that has ever been in the Senate,” Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America told The Algemeiner bluntly.
A few years ago the NJDC outlined Hagel’s record on Israel:
- 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 Yasir 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]
An article posted to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s website last week details Hagel’s murky Israel record (keep in mind that Hagel is a Republican). The article stated that “for the President to elevate Hagel to a position of trust would be construed as a gesture of indifference – if not outright contempt – toward Jewish Americans and every American who supports a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.”