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February 14, 2013 11:13 am

ZOA’s Klein Says Jewish Leaders Called Him to Stop Opposing Hagel

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A screenshot from an anti Hagel ad.

American Jewish leaders have pressed the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to stop publicly opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary because making that a “Jewish issue” is “bad for the Jews,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

“I was called by major Jewish leaders, personally called, and [they] told me to stop our campaign against Hagel,” ZOA President Mort Klein told the Post.

ZOA was “the only major Jewish group to publicly oppose Hagel and [John O.] Brennan [for CIA head]” besides the Republican Jewish Coalition, according to Klein, who explained that such was the case because Jewish organizations are “frightened of making an issue seem more important to Jews than others.”

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Klen said on Tuesday that “AJC, AIPAC, ADL [and] the Conference of Presidents never came out and said we oppose this man [Hagel] because he is horrible on Iran, he is horrible on terrorism, horrible on Israel, horrible on fighting radical Islam.”

Hagel chairs the Atlantic Council think tank, which in December published a column titled “Israel’s Apartheid Policy” as well as a policy paper predicting that Iran “should be viewed as a potential natural partner” for the U.S. He did not sign various pro-Israel letters backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) while he served in the Senate, but did sign a 2009 letter asking Obama to directly negotiate with Hamas. But in his Senate confirmation hearing, Hagel said “No one individual vote, no one individual quote or no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record.”

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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Where is the conscience of the United States Senate? Where is the conscience of US Jewry? With Iran biting at the bit of a Hagel Secretary of Defense and a Brennan at the helm of the CIA, Israel is left in the lurch. “It takes strength to love,” once said Martin Luther King, Jr. Those who support AIPAC, the ADL, and the ZOA–do you have the moxie to support your brethren in Israel who are on the front lines of terror? Do you have the courage of your convictions? Do you stand up to adversity or whimper in retreat when your voice is most needed? Stand up and be counted for Heaven’s sake!

  • “According to Klein….Jewish organizations are frightened….” How pathetic is that?

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Let us not hold back on speaking the truth, even it rattles the cage a little bit! Blocking Chuck Hagel is in the better interests of the American people and the United States of America.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Hagel’s becoming the Secretary of Defense is more important to American Jews than to any other ethnic or religious group in the United States. To have a Secretary of Defense who “chairs the Atlantic Council which published a report about Israel’s apartheid policy, who consider Iran to be a potentially natural partner for the United States, and who signed a letter requesting that President Obama directly negotiate with Hamas” altogether speaks tomes about the morality, generosity, kindness, understanding, perspective, and insight regarding Jews in the United States as well as Jews in Israel. The two communities are connected at the hip, so to speak, with only about 13.5 million Jews in the world, 6 million in Israel, 5.5-5.75 million in the US. This assessment is not to discount the fact that someone who wants to make friends with an extremists, fanatical, odious theocracy as is Iran is unfit to run the US Defense Department. This is not to say that someone who who wants to make nice with terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, would be a defender worthy of the American people holding a value system honoring life, not sanctioning death. Senator Harry Reid and those senators supportive of Chuck Hagel’s nomination need their heads examined! And those who agree with them–Democrat, Republican, or Independent–are also in need of psychiatric assistance big time!