Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Ed Koch on Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary: “It Would be a Terrible Appointment”

December 15, 2012 10:56 pm 14 comments

Former senator Chuck Hagel in Irag. Photo: Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.

In a recent interview with The Algemeiner, former New York Mayor and staunch backer of President Obama’s re-election, Ed Koch, strongly opposed the possible appointment of former senator Chuck Hagel as America’s next defense secretary, due to the latter’s perceived hostility towards Israel.

“I believe it would be a terrible appointment,” he said, “and so do apparently most of the Jewish leaders who have expressed themselves.”

Explaining his opposition to the appointment, which is looking increasingly likely to materialize, Koch said that it would lead Arab states to believe that President Obama was seeking to create distance between his administration and Israel.

“Such an appointment would give great comfort to the Arab world that would think that President Obama is seeking to put space between Israel and his administration,” Koch said, “I hope he doesn’t go forward with that appointment.”

Koch says that since his election, Obama has acted in support of Israel. “He has been stalwart since the election, nobody has stood up as well as he in support of Israel, I hope he continues with that,” he said. But the appointment of Hagel, he concluded, “would be a great mistake.”

Hagel has been roundly criticized by Jewish leaders and groups from across the political spectrum for his policies relating to Israel and the Middle East.

In a September interview with The Algemeiner, Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein said, “He is one of the most hostile critics of Israel that has ever been in the Senate.”

“There is only a handful of senators that have been openly hostile to Israel and Chuck Hagel is one of them,” Klein added.

In 2007 the National Jewish Democratic Council listed on its website a number of instances where Hagel’s positions relating to Israel have appeared to be hostile. The Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement Friday that choosing Hagel would be “a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.”

Last week The Algemeiner reported 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 with knowledge of the process told CNN that Hagel’s nomination is “almost a done deal.”


  • Hey this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  • I’m a secular proud American 70 yr. old Jew—I served in the Army–My father & 4 uncles all were in combat WWII—All cousins served Korea—-I would love a vet in this position—However, Chuck Hagel is an anti-semite & an Iranian ass kisser—I won’t mention his ethnicity,as most of them are decent people, but he’s a throw back to the anti semites of his motherland—O’bama, are you nuts?

  • There are many reasons Chuch Hagel makes a very bad choice. People who have worked with him says he is a bad manager.

    More importantly, he is a bigot.

    Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) once opposed a nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg because he was “openly aggressively gay,” BuzzFeed reports:

    “Ambassadorial posts are sensitive,” Hagel told to the Omaha World-Herald in 1998, opposing the nomination of philanthropist James Hormel. “They are representing America,” he said. “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”

    Some LGBT rights groups are already criticizing the potential selection of Hagel to replaced Leon Panetta.

    Hagel was a long-time supporter of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. In 1999, he told The New York Times, “The U.S. armed forces aren’t some social experiment.”

    Hagel is considered one of the finalists to succeed Sec. Leon Panetta at the Defense Department, though sources have told the Free Beacon that Hagel may no longer be the president’s top choice for the spot, as criticism of his potential nomination mounts.

    His comments about the Jewish lobby are very much the voice of a bigot. Just replace NAACP or La Raza to realize how wrong it is to criticize any group for advocating for it’s interests.

    Speaking of the NAACP Hagel gets a 17 out of 100 from them because he is an antii-black and anti-latino bigot that is against affirmative action.

    The President should endorse someone who represents diversity a Democratic woman would be nice.

  • Thanks for the wonderful article it has really helped me. Two things I like about the post, one it is straight forward and two it does not attempt to promote anyone’s position particularly. I like this one Algemeiner.

  • You see the true face of Hussein Obama. To nominate Hagel is the terrible blow to all Jews. Now Israel is ina mortal danger.

  • Has Koch no shame? He knew that Obama was hostile to Israel and once re-elected would do all he could to aid those trying to destroy it, as he had before his re-election campaign. Yet Koch supported Obama to maintain his standing in the “liberal,” Democratic community on the pretense that Obama was pro-Israel, even though Koch had previously criticized Obama’s anti-Israel actions and had every reason to believe that they would be even harsher in Obama’s second term, free from re-election considerations.

  • NOW you are concerned Ed? Now that your sharia loving Obama has won..
    Don’t worry Ed…if Hussein Obama does not choose Hagel…he will choose Rashid Khalidi.

    Happy now Ed?

  • American Jews must confront Hagel to explain his position on Israel at all public appearances and in all the media.

  • Is there anyone more pathetic than Ed Koch the eunuch? Actually, there is. Alan Dershowitz the pitiful.

    • They BOTH knew that they were calling to re-elect someone who is deeply anti-Israel.
      They could not expect an elephant to fly, and if they did they are sick!
      They got what they voted for: a pro-muslim and DE FACTO hostile to Israel president, who in ALL of his foreign policy choices has been favoring the radical islamist.

    • Amen!

  • why would anybody be suprised that Obama would distance himself from Israel. He is simply following through on his infamous Cairo speech – resetting the US relationship with the Arab world. The President does what he says he is going to do but most of the American Jewish Community has a deaf ear to his intentions. Reset means reject the policies of the past. Thus Chuck Hagel is a perfect choice for this endeavor.

  • A bad choice.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →