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December 15, 2012 10:56 pm

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

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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.

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“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.”

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  • 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!

  • Howie

    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?

  • jean

    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.

  • maria linde

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

  • Herb Grossman

    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.

    • Doug

      Didn’t Ed Koch also support Geroge W. Bush, saying, “It’s all about Israel”?

  • 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?

  • Hesh

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

  • Dan

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

    • HaDaR

      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.

    • Gail Appel


  • Michael

    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.

  • ed sussmsan

    A bad choice.