A recently surfaced article about Chuck Hagel in the Lincoln Journal Star quotes the defense secretary nominee as saying Israel is keeping the “Palestinians caged up like animals.”
The article, dating to January 12, 2003, covered a speech Hagel delivered at the Lincoln Pius X high school. Hagel told the audience that the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians has a connection with the Iraq issue, and the rest of the Arab world, warning of “severe consequences” if the US was inactive.
Following Hagel’s nomination, criticism has been raised over his remarks on the “Jewish lobby,” his opposition to Iran sanctions, and his homophobic comments about a US ambassador.
Hagel has received support from across the aisle from prominent Democratic Jewish congress members such as Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer. Schumer described the controversial nominee as “forthcoming and sincere.” But his own party has been less willing to support him. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that she believes Hagel “has a difficult time understanding that Israel is our ally.”