In his poorly-received hearing with the Senate Armed Forces Committee Thursday, Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel walked back on his previous statement about the “Jewish Lobby,” saying he “didn’t have a specific person in mind” when he said it “intimidates” people. But according to M.J. Rosenberg, anti Israel activist, and former Democratic party fixture, Hagel was lying to the Senate, specifically regarding his positions on Israel. During the hearing on Friday, Rosenberg tweeted:
“I spent a couple of hours with Hagel a few years ago. Talked about Israel. Happily, he is lying today & knows it. He’ll be a good SeDef.”
Rosenberg, who has asserted that “AIPAC owns the Senate,” resigned from Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog group, following controversy over his continued use of the term “Israel-Firster.” Rosenberg has boasted of having popularized the term in progressive circles. Prior to Rosenberg, the phrase “Israel-Firster” was more commonly associated with right-wing antisemitism, appearing in “Wilmot Robertson’s Instauration journal, a 1988 antisemitic book called ‘The F.O.J. [Fear of Jews] Syndrome’, and David Duke’s website.” The Obama-affiliated Center for American Progress think tank apologized for using the term in 2011.
Hagel’s views on Israel include a belief that “Israel keeps the Palestinians caged up like animals.” When leading a crusade against the USO port in Haifa, he allegedly said “Let the Jews pay for it” to Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
“He essentially told us that if we wanted to keep the USO [in Haifa] open—and when I say ‘we’, he meant ‘the Jews’—he said the Jews could pay for it,” Halteman told the Washington Free Beacon. “I told him at the time that I found his comments to be anti-Semitic. He was playing into that dual loyalty thing.”